I used to work in a place that I would use the USB cables all the time. They are WAY MORE convienient, but they are also WAY SLOWER. Though, to be fair, I am fairly certain they were not USB2. I believe it was USB1. I literally took half a day to transfer about 40GB off a failing HD, and when it was time to leave and turn off power (due to a scheduled power outage), I still had not finished. The next day I said to myself I wasn't going through that again, attached it as a slave in another machine, and finished the job in some absurdly small amount of time in comparison (10 minutes maybe? Don't remember now). With the newer ones, it may not be as big a deal. In the end, I would first suggest a hard-drive dock that connects via eSATA (if available for all drives - don't know now). If that was not available, I found the convenience factor outweighed time - YMMV.