So what do Mac and PC users have in common? The need for more hard drives than the single one stuck inside their laptop. Or stuck inside an iMac. Forget about spending good bucks on a second drive when there’s a better solution and it’s a long name to boot — being the OWC Drive Dock with Thunderbolt 2/USB 3.1 Gen 1. It’s for both Mac and Windows.
Before we get into the mechanics of using it, what’s the single biggest advantage of having this dock? The fact that it’s designed for SATA “plug n play” use with not 1 but 2 drive bays, each ready to accept having a 2.5″ or 3.5″ drive pushed headfirst in. Since there’s no need for a case around the drive, that translates into getting more hard drive space because you’re paying for the space, not the chassis holding all the bits and bytes in place. And since no adapter is needed, choosing between using a 2.5″ or 3.5″ drive is totally your call. As is the ability to “hot swap” the drives when using Thunderbolt, no need for turning the computer off first.
What isn’t negotiable is speed — you’ve got a choice between using Thunderbolt 2 or USB 3.1 Gen 1 — obviously you can’t use both at the same time, but it does give you a choice depending on what speed tech your computer has going for it. Speaking of which, there’s a significant difference in data transfer speed between Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.1. In regards to Thunderbolt 2, this means that data can be transferred between the drive or drives in the dock and the laptop/computer at speeds of up to 522 MB/s Read and 477 MB/s Write. That’s significantly faster than USB’s speeds (being 429 MB/s reading and 352 MB/s writing). Regardless of which port is used, the end result is the needed quickness for general all-purpose daily grinds (in the case of USB) and video editing and professional workflows (in the case of Thunderbolt).
There’s two reasons for now mentioning the internal power supply: the first being that it supplies enough juice to handle whatever has been popped into both drive bays running at the same time. The second is that it’s auto-switching and so doesn’t care where you take it; meaning you can use it in other countries whose electrical grids are different than here in the U.S.
The OWC Drive Dock with Thunderbolt 2/USB 3.1 Gen 1 retails for $269.75 and compliments the space it’s seated on — instead of looking like some steampunk grunge it’s got a silver aluminum enclosure with a matte black top, separate power switches and an LED indicator light for each of the two bays that screams “high end computer accessory.” But in a really good way.