Recommendations for external HDD enclosure


johnwhit

Link Posted 04/03/2012 - 14:59
Hi all,

I'm looking to replace my external HDD by building my own. I'd prefer eSATA connection (SATA II) but would like eSATA, Firewire and USB2 for convenience, preferably with support for 2TB drives and good reliability.

I've seen the CIT 35M17SEF but it only supports up to 1.5TB, Novatech do a reasonably priced one but it has no Firewire connection. Any advice/recommendations much appreciated.

TIA,

John
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steven9761

Link Posted 04/03/2012 - 16:23
John - have a look at:

www.misco.co.uk and/or www.microdirect.co.uk

I usually get my hardware from these guys.
Last Edited by steven9761 on 04/03/2012 - 16:24

johnwhit

Link Posted 04/03/2012 - 16:58
Hi Steven,

Thanks for that, I used to get everything from Micro Direct, they're just up the road in Manchester. They've got the Icy Box IB-318StUS-B USB 2.0 / eSATA but no Firewire. It's looking like I may have to forgo the Firewire, I just thought it would be handy for copying from the Macs we use at work.

John
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steven9761

Link Posted 04/03/2012 - 17:11
John, all you need is an old HDD (internal), and insert it in a firewire-enabled enclosure. Take a wander to your nearest PC World store (or better still - a specialist comp shop) to see if you can find what you're after.

I use a WD pocket drive between home and office. It's USB 2.0 though. My only wish is to get a USB 3.0 to hook up to my 3.0 port to see what the read/write speed is like!!

johnwhit

Link Posted 04/03/2012 - 17:19
Thanks Steven,

I was just thinking if I had all the interfaces available in one enclosure it would be very handy. I think USB 2.0 is limited to approx 33 Mb/s in reality, despite the theoretical maximum speed. eSata would allow you to transfer data as fast as the slowest drive in use be it the internal or external drive, much faster if you have a spare SATA II connector in your machine.

John
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Last Edited by johnwhit on 04/03/2012 - 17:29

prsjnb

Link Posted 04/03/2012 - 17:46
Depending on the age and spec of your motherboard, you might want to consider USB 3.0. I recently purchased an external HDD enclosure equipped with USB 3.0 from Maplin and have been impressed by the quality of construction and performance link The price is not unreasonable, IMHO, but I have seen what appears to be the same unit offered on e-bay for a little less.

HDD prices have rocketed in price in recent months due to the impact on production of the floods in Thailand. Strangely, this has not resulted in the price of external back-up drives increasing to anything like the same extent. Paradoxically, therefore, it might be more cost effective to buy one of these rather than going the DIY route and purchasing the drive and enclosure separately.

With regard to Firewire, if your current motherboard has support 'built-in' you are unlikely to experience a problem whatever iteration of Windows you are using. If not, however, be wary of using an adapter card if your OS is windows 7, as there is a known issue with the inbuilt drivers which Microsoft seem in no hurry to resolve

Jon

dcweather

Link Posted 04/03/2012 - 17:51
Ebuyer do loads. Haven't waded through to find one with firewire but certainly USB 3.0
e.g , 20
http://www.ebuyer.com/318927-dynamode-2-5-usb3-0-sata-usb3-hd2-5s-b

dcweather

Link Posted 04/03/2012 - 17:54
Ah, this one has firewire and hispeed USB and mini usb:-
http://www.ebuyer.com/221433-startech-2-5-usb-firewire-sata-external-hard-drive-...

Algernon

Link Posted 04/03/2012 - 19:11
IcyBox are really well made and usually have a flap to swap
drives in a few seconds.

I've got this one: link I use eSata, but it also works well with USB2.

For transferring files Compact Flash is now quite cheap I bought
a Kingston 255x 16gb for 16 off Amazon, but you can get up to
600x and a Firewire reader. I use a USB2 Sandisk Extreme Dual Card
Reader and leave the CF card in all the time. The SDHC slot
is free for camera use.
Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff

Algi
Last Edited by Algernon on 04/03/2012 - 19:12

johnwhit

Link Posted 04/03/2012 - 21:49
Thanks for all the recommendations. OK so it looks like I'm not going to get exactly what I'm looking for, so I'll drop the Firewire option and use USB for file transfer from the Macs. Unfortunately I don't have USB 3.0, I'm still running Win XP but I'm quite content with it. I generally use WD hard drives as I've been impressed with their durability and performance, so would probably buy WD for the external, unfortunately that limits me to USB 2.0. So the home build route using a WD SATA II drive + custom enclosure with eSATA and USB 2.0 looks like the best (if somewhat more expensive) option.

The IcyBox or the Novatech branded units are probably favourite, both have good reputations and are reasonably priced.

Thanks for all the advice.

John.
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Algernon

Link Posted 05/03/2012 - 08:12
Algernon wrote:
IcyBox are really well made and usually have a flap to swap
drives in a few seconds.

I've got this one: link I use eSata, but it also works well with USB2.

Ignore that one review on Amazon. The box has a door which you push right in until it's pushed the HDD home and into the connectors. There's a catch on it which clicks and locks. You need to use the supplied pin or a paper clip to release it. It won't open on it's own. When you open the door it pulls the HDD out of the contacts and you can swap drives.

Another thing to bear in mind is the power connector. This one uses the standard tube and pin with body and centre contacts. I don't like the DIN type connectors they never seem solid to me.
Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff

Algi
Last Edited by Algernon on 05/03/2012 - 08:14

johnwhit

Link Posted 05/03/2012 - 14:38
Algernon wrote:

Another thing to bear in mind is the power connector. This one uses the standard tube and pin with body and centre contacts. I don't like the DIN type connectors they never seem solid to me.

Thanks for the info Algi, do you mean the standard 4 pin Molex connectors as opposed to SATA power connectors? I only ask as some modern drives no longer have the older Molex provision.

They certainly look solid, alluminnium build, passively cooled, so no fan to worry about.

John
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Last Edited by johnwhit on 05/03/2012 - 14:40

Algernon

Link Posted 05/03/2012 - 19:17
Nothing like the molex. It's about 5 small pins in a circle.
Similar, but not as solid and smaller than a PS2 keyboard plug.
I think the problem is that the power supplies are bought in from
one company and the sockets on the box form another.
This is the type link

Also with the IcyBox there's no leads to the HDD to mess about with.
The Sata drive just pushes straight onto rigid connectors.
Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff

Algi

johnwhit

Link Posted 05/03/2012 - 20:54
Hi Algi,

Thanks for that, I misunderstood, I thought you were referring to the internal power connection to the drive. All is clear now, I think the IcyBox is the way to go with a WD 2TB Green drive.

John
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