I took the USB 3.0 plunge. This can be a good solution for those with off the shelf PCs where adding an internal HD is not so easy. Or you may just want to have USB 3.0 for the future. If you have a PCIx1 Express slot free and can deal with opening the side panel and inserting a card, this is probably the way to go.
I added an SIIG USB 3.0 card. This is the model:http://www.newegg.co...5150161&Tpk=siig
usb 3.0 card
Note: At the time I bought it, it was a better deal at $39.99 with free shipping.
The Sharkoon USB 3.0 docking station is the current deal. $52.99 with free shipping:http://www.buy.com/p...c/101/214876940.html
A couple of notes. After I installed the SIIG card I had to wait for the Sharkoon so I hooked up a Seagate USB 2.0 external. Even with the USB 2.0 I got a throughput improvement of about 15 to 20%. I use WD Caviar Black 3 Gb/sec in my docks. With the Sharkoon USB 3.0 dock I was able to read a 6 GB Macrium Reflect image from the dock to my HD at 90 MB/sec. Explorer can be optimistic with speed assessment in the copy dialog info, so I used Clementime stopwatch and PCalc to compute the rough transfer speed. It really got the 90 MB/sec. CrystalDiskMark was giving sequential read/write speeds of about 86 MB/sec before I defragged the WD. Since the drives are plugged into a UPS I enabled the "Performance" setting for the USB 3.0 card in Device Manager to turn on write caching.
I was hoping for large file copy at around 80 MB/sec having looked at some online benchmarks before buying. So far I'm very happy with the results.
The Sharkoon comes with a 6' USB 3.0 cable and a power pack. Also has an On/Off push button. I think the Sharkoon is made in Germany. The power pack plug has a slot in it so you can slide in one of 3 provided adapters for electric outlet types.
The only mystery so far with the Sharkoon is if there is or isn't a way to toggle the inactivity spin down. It seems to have some intelligence built in about when to spin down the drive. But after a day of use I did not get any "drive not ready" errors. If I tried to play a movie on the drive that was spun down, the player just waited for the drive to spin up, and continued. I'd prefer to keep the drives spinning all the time, but these Caviar Black run a bit hot. They way Sharkoon does it may be a good thing in the long run.
If any of you have the Thermaltake BlacX USB 2.0 docks, the Sharkoon looks nearly identical. The only difference I found other than speed is the BlacX doesn't spin down my drives when inactive.