We're always fans of innovative peripherals at TR and under the noses of the usual big boys Brando has come up with a wonderfully adaptable cable for the hardcore storage junkie.
The 'USB2.0 to SATA/IDE' cable is the first I've seen to support not only SATA devices but also 3.5in and 2.5in IDE drives too. This means everything from CD readers and writers, DVD readers and writers, combo drives and every flavour of 2.5in and 3.5in hard drive are supported, an impressive achievement.
Better than this however the cable is both hot-swappable - letting drives be dropped in and out at will - and can handle multiple devices simultaneously so a notebook HDD, a desktop HDD and a DVD writer, for example, could all work at the same time.
Of course all this has to be pushed through a single USB 2.0 connection but Brando has helpfully run tests using HD Tach which it claims produce HDD average read speeds through the cable of between 32.3MBps and 32.7MBps on a variety of Seagate, Hitachi and Western Digital 3.5 inchers.
Further simplifying the product is the fact that it comes bundled with an external 100v - 240v AC power brick so all connected drives can source their power from that via splitters. Clever. Finally, the icing on the cake is a $35 (£14) RRP, a price I've seen quoted for a 240v power brick on its own.
While many users will still want to go down the traditional external HDD route the USB 2.0 to SATA/IDE cable certainly offers a compelling option to power users who need a fluid and flexible way of juggling their drive options.
See, we're not all 60in HDTVs, ultra portable laptops and iPhones... ;)
Update: 'Avid Reader and Fan of TR' Martin has pointed out a second device similar to Brando's offering from Sharkoon. The DriveLink also lets users connect IDE and SATA drives in 2.5in and 3.5in form factors through a USB port and features neat status LEDs. It is a little bit chunkier than Brando's offering but at just £18.95 from Scan it doesn't cost the earth either.
Spin the bottle time...