What do you use for temporarily externally mounting 3.5" SATA and IDE hard drives? When I'm in the field and just have a laptop with me, I'd like to be able to mount a client's drive to my laptop for data recovery, etc. Is a separate USB enclosure for SATA and IDE the best option? Any other ideas?
I use the Newer Technology USB 2.0 Universal Drive Adapter. It's inexpensive, small, and works on IDE or SATA drives.
The ThermalTake BlacX, and other similar products, are very handy for temporarily mounting drives. No need to grab a screwdriver to open the external case, mess with power and SATA/IDE cables, etc. Just plug it in.
I bought one of my clients a Drobo. It is sweet. Almost disappointingly easy to set up.
EDIT: Note, Drobo is SATA only. No IDE...
You should take a look at WiebeTech. They offer many options for forensic recovery. Not the cheapest option, but they will give you a good idea of the features you might want to look for in other products.