July 19, 2012, 2:26 PM — The WiebeTech UltraDock v5 is a multi-interface dock with a number of different connections, enabling users to connect drives mechanisms to a Mac.
Targeted at IT professionalsbut very handy for technical users who work with hardware componentsthe UltraDock v5 has connectors for eSATA, FireWire 400, FireWire 800, or USB 3 (compatible with USB 2.0) to connect to a computer. The UltraDock v5 has native SATA and IDE/PATA connections for your hard drives, making the UltraDock v5 compatible with most drives on the market. While you can attach 2.5-inch SATA drives and 3.5-inch IDE and SATA drives to the UltraDock v5 as shipped, WiebeTech sells a number of combo adapters that allow you to connect 2.5-inch IDE drives, 1.8-inch Toshiba drives, and many more.
The UltraDock v5 uses a different chipset than its predecessor, the UltraDock v4, which, according to the company, provides faster transfer rates. The UltraDock v5 also includes a new 2-line LCD screen that allows you to view important drive information and navigate through disk configuration with ease.
Along with being highly versatile, the UltraDock v5 is also easily portable. At a pocket-sized 4.30-by-2.95-by0.87 inches and encased in a durable aluminum body, you can take this adapter anywhere you need to go, or at least anywhere you might need access to a bare drive.
The dock can be powered via an AC adapter or by SATA power from inside a computer case. Using the UltraDock v5 is as simple as connecting it to a power source, connecting your bare drive, and then connecting the dock to your Mac through any of the available interfaces. WiebeTech includes screws and a metal plate that can be attached to the bottom of your bare drive to help protect your drive and to draw off some of the heat from the drive when operating. Using the small LCD interface, you can also scroll through the UltraDock v5s menu and view information on the connected drive such as manufacturer, model/serial number, capacity, temperature, and more. You can also use the LCD menus to detect, delete or change the size of the usually hidden HPA (Host Protected Area) of a drive.
Macworlds buying advice
The WiebeTech UltraDock v5 is a great piece of hardware. For $249, you get a compact solution to accessing virtually any drive, and the capability to connect to your Mac via multiple interfaces. It would be a great tool for IT workers who need to troubleshoot or deploy hard drives for multiple users. Folks who use lots of different drives but dont need enclosures for each one could also use it.