There are some Mac users who just keep piles of bare hard disk and solid state disk drives around. By bare drives, I mean that they're not in any sort of external drive enclosure. This can be handy, since bare drives are inexpensive -- you don't need to pay for the enclosure or power supply. WiebeTech's UltraDock v5 (US$249.00) is the latest in a series of docks that provide a way for you to easily use those bare drives with your Mac. As you'll see later on in this review, this device is primarily aimed at IT professionals.
The UltraDock v5 improves upon its predecessor, the UltraDock v4, by adding an upgraded chip set and faster connections. WiebeTech says that the UltraDock v5 was clocked at a throughput of 211.9 MB/second when used with an eSATA SSD. This small (4.3" x 2.95" x 0.87" -- 110mm x 75mm x 22mm) blue box now comes equipped with two FireWire 800 ports, a USB 3.0 port, and an eSATA port in addition to a single FireWire 400 port. That's just on the host side. The drive side has a SATA drive port, a power out port, and an IDE/PATA drive port. You can also buy WiebeTech's Combo Adapters to connect to a variety of other oddball drives, like 1.8" drives or PCCard drives.
To give the UltraDock v5 a try, I gathered up a few drives that had been collecting dust around my house. There was an old LaCie 160 GB hard drive that I kept around, even though the power supply had failed years ago. Hmmm ... I wonder what's on that drive? I plugged in the rugged (and pretty darned large) power brick and ran the power cable to the UltraDock, then pulled out the necessary cables from the box. For this old 3.5" drive, I used the IDE cable (about 4" long) to connect the UltraDock. The drive also needed power, so I used the included standard 4-wire power connector.