questionscan anybody recommend a good toaster-style hard…

vote-for3vote-against
vote-for3vote-against

I don't have one, so I can't offer first-hand experience, but I looked into these a couple of months ago and the Thermaltake seems to get really good reviews.

Here are some models over at the egg:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=thermaltake+dock

I've seen the single-dock USB/eSATA go on sale for about $20-$25 after mail-in rebate a few different times. I think ZipZoomFly.com has had it on sale a couple of times, so you might want to keep an eye on that site.

Right now you can get this one that supports up to 2TB 2.5" & 3.5" SATA HDDs for $40 ($30 after MIR):
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=10008418

or this one that supports up to 1TB 2.5" & 3.5" SATA HDDs for $32.99, no rebate required.
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=10007733

If you decide to go with one that requires a MIR, be sure to read the requirements carefully and meet all of them.

vote-for2vote-against

i have a Thermaltake dock that i've been using for about 6 months and i love it. its not eSATA though. i went to Best Buy to buy another one with eSATA. i used it for about 3 minutes before it stopped working and my room smelled of burning plastic. Best Buy refunded me without question but im not sure if i trust these anymore. but you can most like chalk that one up to plain old bad luck. i vote Thermaltake but neither eSATA or non-eSATA have any sort of card reader.

vote-for1vote-against

This is late (for this thread), but I saw it linked from a current thread, and since it's an item a lot of people seem to want, I thought I'd put in my single data point.

I missed out on the $9.95 refurb a bit ago, I forget the vendor, but then I found this one -- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182197&cm_re=dock_usb-_-17-182-197-_-Product -- when it was on sale for $22.99 with free shipping. That made the price essentially on par with the other one, which didn't have free shipping, plus, this one had eSATA as well as USB, while the other one was USB-only.

The refurb I originally wanted was the name brand model (Thermaltake), and this one is Newegg's house brand (Rosewill RX-DUS100), but I read somewhere that it's the same product that they OEM'd.

It has been very reliable and error free, and no smoke issues. One thing -- don't put a "toaster" on top of a CRT monitor, the degauss will kickstart the USB connection when your monitor powers up.