Brando USB to SATA/IDE cableBrando’s USB 2.0 to SATA/IDE cable allows concurrent connections with SATA or IDE devices over the USB port and I thought it was sheer cabling genius.  The SATA/IDE cable was released recently and Brando has kindly provided a unit for this review. 


First Impressions

The SATA/IDE cable makes life easy for those who have a stack of storage devices and not enough cradles or cables to connect them.  This little beauty is three cables in one, allowing the user to simultaneously connect 3.5" IDE, 2.5" IDE and SATA devices to a computer via USB 2.0.  The package is certainly comprehensive enough to allow an almost immediate start when connecting any of the following: all SATA/IDE devices such as CDROM, DVD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD-RW, Combo drive, 2.5" hard disk and 3.5” hard disk.

BoxThe package included:
  * 1 x USB to SATA/IDE cable (length cm);
  * 1 x SATA cable;
  * 1 x AC Power adapter (100-240V, 50-60 Hz);
  * 1 x AC Power cable;
  * 1 x 4-pin Molex to SATA power cable;
  * 1 x Driver CD; and
  * 1 x User Guide.

Test Drive
It was a snap to hook up my spare 2.5" SATA hard drive.  All I needed to do was to plug the SATA cable into the SATA socket on the main able – the power adapter connects to the SATA power cable into the drive easily. 

Then I ran into a snag.  The power cable shipped by Brando has a Hong Kong plug on the end!  Luckily for me being Hong Kong born and bred, I am never far away from a HK-to-Australia power adapter.

With that situation quickly resolved I was cooking with gas.  I had no issues adding my SATA hard disk on, adding an 2.5" IDE hard disk did not cause a problem on the Brando cable end, but Windows was having a fit with all these additional drive letters competing against my customised drive letter assignments. 

Lastly I connected a clunky old 3.5" hard drive to the mix without any hiccups.

Drive access times varies depending on just how much concurrent access you require across all the devices, along with how fast your devices are natively.  Brando published some speed measurements using HD Tach:
  * HD Tach on Seagate 750GB SATA, average read: 32.7MB/s;
  * HD Tach on Hitachi 400GB IDE, average read: 32.5MB/s;
  * HD Tach on Hitachi 500GB SATA, average read: 32.5MB/s; and
  * HD Tach on Western Digital Raptor 150GB SATA, average read:

Brando USB to SATA/IDE cable loadedThe cable is hot swappable, I added and removed devices at will.  If you are the type to go down the track of "Safely Remove Hardware" then it’s a one for all, all for one deal.  The cable is still a single USB connection to the computer so all devices connected to it will be treated as one connection.

  * USB 2.0 interface, 480Mbps high speed data transfer rate, 52x CD-ROM supported;
  * Hard-disk, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, CD-RW, COMBO device, DVD-RW supported;
  * Plug and Play;
  * AC power can be used with input voltage AC 100v-240v;
  * Support Windows 98SE, Windows 2000, Windows Me, Windows XP, Mac OS; and
  * Under Windows 2000/Me/XP, no driver needed.

Sheer brilliance.  The Brando cable gives unparalleled flexibility to connect storage devices to the computer without being completely tangled in half a dozen different connectors.  There is a limitation to the bandwidth if there is a demand for high concurrency access so this cable is not suitable for someone with that sort of requirements.  But for a user who has a few different drive types lying around and need access to them from time to time without needing to purchase cradles this cable is perfect.  This cable is definitely an IT technician’s dream, they should stock up on it

The power adapter is available in US, Europe, UK and Australian ends which can be specified at purchase time.

Available now for USD$35.00 from here.