Drive enclosure or external hard drive?

By mica3speedy ยท 21 replies
Dec 30, 2007
  1. What would be better to get, an internal drive and a drive enclosure or an external hard drive? I'm looking to get something that can connect with both eSata and Usb 2.0. I'm looking at getting a 500gb drive (sata?). What are the pros and cons of each? It would be used for backup for both my desktop as well as my laptop. I also may be doing some work off of it, and hosting iso files on it that will be mounted on occasion.
  2. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TS Evangelist Posts: 3,908

  3. mica3speedy

    mica3speedy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 89

  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,177   +990

    an external requires an enclosure!
  5. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TS Evangelist Posts: 3,908

    most of the external drives i have looked at come enclosed
  6. mica3speedy

    mica3speedy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 89

    you mean an internal requires an enclosure :cool: . so what would be more useful in my situation?
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,177   +990

    we're both correct :)

    moving an internal to external ->an enclosure

    all externals have disks withing an enclosure :)
  8. mica3speedy

    mica3speedy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 89

    ah yes. I'm not really liking my choices of an external drive that has both usb and esata. The seagate looks promising, but is kind of expensive at $160.
  9. Mike2

    Mike2 TS Rookie

    I think you guys are just having a little trouble communicating.

    I think mica3speedy's original question was whether he should buy an internal HD and a separate enclosure and assemble it, or should buy a pre-assembled packaged external HD. Right, Mica3speedy?

    One aspect is the cost. I think the separate components approach is a little cheaper in most cases. Another aspect is the trouble of assembling it. I've assembled about 3, and it's not a problem. Another aspect is reliability. I don't know if my problems were typical, but every one of the three I assembled had problems. One was RMA'ed back, the other two are still laying around but not used much because I have trouble trusting them. Meanwhile, I have some experience with two pre-assembled units. One of them had trouble and was RMA'ed, but all in all, they seem to be more reliable.

    Anyone else have similar experience with reliaibility of self-assembled external HD enclosures?
  10. mica3speedy

    mica3speedy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 89

    thank you Mike, that's exactly what was wondering :cool: . It looks like right now the cheaper route is the two seperate components especially with the sales going on with the hard drives. Another aspect I was looking at was the performance of the drive. I'm thinking the drives that come in the pre-built external drives aren't the greatest. So I was thinking of getting a known brand good quality drive.
  11. zazazoom

    zazazoom TS Rookie Posts: 84

    Mica3Speedy, I just bought the Nexstar 2 bay enclosure @ncix
    Vantec Nexstar MX 2 Bay

    and I bought 2 Western Digital SE16 500GB SATA2 7200RPM 16MB Cache 8.9MS

    both were on sale as the hd's went on sale for about 80$ and the enclosure was on for about 43$ :p

    Anyway I was in your position lookin at external hard drives prebuilt vs buying my own HD's and enclosing them...
    Honestly if you think about it...if you spend time buying internal hard drives you trust and know will work well and then buy a good ventilated enclosure for them...that's the way to go..
    so you're exactly right! go for the cheaper and safer route! you'll be more comfortable knowing what you have and that you put it together hehe :)
    I'm happy with my 1TB back up! (well not exactly 1TB but close! 465.76x2)
  12. technicalfury42

    technicalfury42 Banned Posts: 62

    Simply, it's cheaper generally to buy a crappy pre-assembled one. However, you can select the best drive and best enclosure for your money if you assemble it yourself. I mean, I guess if you buy the absolute crap enclosure and horrible hard drive, you can assemble it cheaper, but I think you'll find it is actually more expensive to buy a proper enclosure and proper drive, particularly since the good enclosures are $30-$50.

    Obviously, my advice contradicts all the statements made above.

    For example:
    Excellent enclosure for $50. eSATA and USB 2.0.
    Seagate 7200.11 500GB $119.00 (32MB Cache, 7200RPM).

    Total cost: $170

    However, this crap, can be had for $100 after MIR:
    Fantom Titanium-II TFD500U16 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache USB 2.0

    The warranty is also superior if you build it yourself:

    Seagate Drive (5 year)
    AMS Enclosure (1 year parts and labor)


    Fantom (1 year limited)
  13. mica3speedy

    mica3speedy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 89

    I was looking at that exact hard drive :cool: , and with the promo code NE10 it's $10 cheaper. I would rather spend extra knowing that I have something that is going to be reliable and have a decent warranty. That is a nice enclosure. I was looking at this, what do you guys think:
  14. technicalfury42

    technicalfury42 Banned Posts: 62

    The reason I suggested the AMS is that it is metal and contains a fan. This improves hard drive life because it remains cool (heat is dissipated through the metal chassis). My advice would be to at a minimum stick to metal enclosures, and preferably, those with fans. The one you linked is metal with a fan. As long as the fan isn't too noisy (check the reviews) you should be fine with that.
  15. mica3speedy

    mica3speedy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 89

    normally I would stay away from rosewill, but that looks halfway decent with an aluminum cover, and metal tray. While the ams has an 80mm, the rosewill does have a fan, but only a 40mm. Would that be sufficent to cool the hard drive?
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

    Unless this needs to be done tomorrow....

    I would bide my time if price is the issue. Last week Best Buy had a 320GB Seagate Sata (internal) on sale for $60.00 bucks cash and carry, no rebate BS.
    From time to time they offer crazy prices on external drives also.
    I have contemplated the same scenario from time to time and come to this conclusion, the reviews on external enclosures seem to be somewhat inconsistent, and an external drive is designed to function as a unit complete with a generally substantial warranty. You may save some money buy buying in 2 units, but I still think I could rely more on a manufacturer to integrate a more workable system.
  17. mica3speedy

    mica3speedy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 89

    well I finally made my decision. I ended up getting the seagate 500gb drive and this:

    this one is like the ams, except this one supports up to 1tb drives while the ams supports up to 750gb. Just in case I decide to upgrade the drive down the road :cool: .
  18. technicalfury42

    technicalfury42 Banned Posts: 62

    That should work nicely. Notice that it has an 80mm fan. It's not necessarily that the larger fans cool more than the smaller, it's that they are quieter.

    A large fan needs to spin less quickly than a small fan to move the same amount of air. Therefore, a small fan tends to whir loudly and make more noise than a larger one, which is rotating slower. To put it in perspective, just imagine how fast a 2" fan would have to rotate to generate the same airflow as a giant 36" box fan. The box fan could rotate a few times per minute, while the small fan would have to rotate hundreds or thousands of times, making quite a bit of noise.

    This is the reason that 120mm fans in cases are preferred to their smaller counterparts.
  19. mica3speedy

    mica3speedy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 89

    that's why I decided to go with that one :cool: . can't wait for this to show up; got some stuff to back up, and running out of room on my 320gb.
  20. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    Unless you are going to be doing DV editing or other hd intensive processes I wouldn't be too concerned with a fan. I've been running a 500GB in a Nexstar enclosure without a fan for a year and a half nearly 24/7. Heat isn't nearly as bad on hds as most people think.
  21. mica3speedy

    mica3speedy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 89

    rather be safe than sorry, especially since this is also going to be my backup of irreplaceable files.
  22. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    Well you should never have only 1 copy of irreplaceable files. Google published a lot of data about their hard drives and failures, and there is little corrolation to death with high temps, unless they were very hot. Infact, there is some data to suggest that running at cooler is harmful. So I wouldn't read too much into temps, I'm sure the drive won't be running hot enough to get into the danger zone.
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