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Looking to buy an external hard drive

Old 08-15-05, 06:17 PM
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Looking to buy an external hard drive

something around 160gb that I can hook up to my laptop to save some documents. What should I look for and where should I shop for one?

I also heard about enclosures, how do they exactly work?

Thanks
Old 08-15-05, 07:42 PM
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External hard drive = A hard drive already installed in an enclosure, with a power supply, and USB+/or Firewire Interface. Plug it in, format it, and go.

Enclosure = Empty case with a power supply, and USB+/or Firewire Interface. You supply the hard drive and install it yourself. You can save some money this way, and have a case that you can easily use later, if you want to put in a bigger hard drive. Install hard drive, plug it in, format it, and go.

I have one of each, and they both work fine. There are too many brands/configs to really recommend any specific one.
Old 08-15-05, 08:12 PM
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Well, not 160gb, but there's a WD 80gb external hd for $50 after rebates at CircuityCity this week.

But for the larger size I would go the separate enclosure route.
Old 08-16-05, 10:30 AM
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I bought a WD 160G hard drive during a great sale at CompUSA and their 3.5" USB2 enclosure. Total price was about $45. I have been using it for about 2 months now with no problem.
Old 08-16-05, 10:59 AM
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Is it hard to install the hard drive inside the enclosure?
Old 08-16-05, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Howiefan
Is it hard to install the hard drive inside the enclosure?
it's very easy: connect IDE cable and power cable to HD, put the screws on, and you are ready to go.
Old 08-16-05, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by lxl
it's very easy: connect IDE cable and power cable to HD, put the screws on, and you are ready to go.
If you get a decent enclosure that works with your computer(s). I haven't found price to be the single factor that determined that.

I've had USB ones that didn't work at all and I've had USB ones that worked great. I would suggest getting Firewire as well as USB 2.0 because Firewire is faster, it would be more versatile, and if the USB didn't work the Firewire probably would.
Old 08-16-05, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by X
If you get a decent enclosure.
Where would you recommend me to buy a good enclosure? I'm from Canada so I can't buy from Newegg (they don't ship out of the US)
Old 08-16-05, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Howiefan
Where would you recommend me to buy a good enclosure? I'm from Canada so I can't buy from Newegg (they don't ship out of the US)
Probably somewhere that you can return it to if it doesn't work.
Old 08-16-05, 02:12 PM
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I've had a WD 80GB for 6 months or so and have been very happy with it. Easy interface for backups, no problems playing my mp3's off of it and no problems in general.
Old 08-16-05, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Howiefan
Where would you recommend me to buy a good enclosure? I'm from Canada so I can't buy from Newegg (they don't ship out of the US)
Is there a CompUSA in Canada? Does newegg not ship to Canada or is it too expensive to have it shipped there?
Old 08-16-05, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Howiefan
Where would you recommend me to buy a good enclosure? I'm from Canada so I can't buy from Newegg (they don't ship out of the US)
Have you checked out www.redflagdeals.com lately?

In any case, I picked up a Hotway aluminum enclosure for ~ 36 bucks and a 120gb Samsung ide hdd for ~ 90 bucks CAD from www.ncix.com during their weekly "sales" because I needed another route for backups. Works fine. Check out their current "sale", top banner on their site.

Should have waited because a week later the Maxtor 200gb ide 16mb cache drive went on sale for 100 bucks.

You should be able to find the same deals at your local high volume comp store if you are in Ottawa.

Anyways, install is simple and autodetects with XP. You will probably have to load drivers if you use it with win98 plus have to address the 137gb limit issue.
Old 08-16-05, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Howiefan
Where would you recommend me to buy a good enclosure? I'm from Canada so I can't buy from Newegg (they don't ship out of the US)
Have you checked out Future Shop's site?
http://www.futureshop.ca
Old 08-16-05, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by X
If you get a decent enclosure that works with your computer(s). I haven't found price to be the single factor that determined that.

I've had USB ones that didn't work at all and I've had USB ones that worked great. I would suggest getting Firewire as well as USB 2.0 because Firewire is faster, it would be more versatile, and if the USB didn't work the Firewire probably would.

Actually you are incorrect. USB 2.0 is faster then Firewire/IEEE. Although having a backup option is nice.



My question is would an enclosure be as stable as one that is premade? It seems that if WD made the enclosure and the drive they could isolate it better and provide more custom shock absorbers then if it was in a simple box that everyone had to be able to put together. Has anyone opened one of them up.
Old 08-16-05, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by tanman
Actually you are incorrect. USB 2.0 is faster then Firewire/IEEE. Although having a backup option is nice.



My question is would an enclosure be as stable as one that is premade? It seems that if WD made the enclosure and the drive they could isolate it better and provide more custom shock absorbers then if it was in a simple box that everyone had to be able to put together. Has anyone opened one of them up.
I think you are right about the usb vs firewire...but I don't think the difference is very much.

Your question about the pre-assembled cases with hard drives already inside is a good one. It would make sense that if nothing else, they might have the heat dissipation setup optimized for their particular drive.
Old 08-16-05, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by tanman
Actually you are incorrect. USB 2.0 is faster then Firewire/IEEE. Although having a backup option is nice.
Actually, Firewire is significantly faster in real life even though the numbers on the specifications make it appear not to be so.

You can do a search on my posts with the word "firewire" for more information on that.
Old 08-16-05, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by tanman
My question is would an enclosure be as stable as one that is premade? It seems that if WD made the enclosure and the drive they could isolate it better and provide more custom shock absorbers then if it was in a simple box that everyone had to be able to put together. Has anyone opened one of them up.
I've opened up several non-WD enclosures that came premade with drives. They were essentially the same enclosures you could buy empty.

I would think that once you get an enclosure that works well, adequate drive cooling would be the primary concern.
Old 08-17-05, 10:37 AM
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Hey all,

I posted this before but -- my grandma bought a CompUSA brand 3.5" enclosure a few months ago -- it works great, and has a fan.

I recently bought a CompUSA 3.5" enclosure, and the design is a little different now -- there is no fan. The case is thin aluminum..... will the heat be dissapated alright? I mean, i try to shut it off when not accessing it -- but that can get annoying sometimes. i can't see them removing the fan it was really an issue.... Any more comments?


Thanks,

Matt!!
Old 08-17-05, 10:49 AM
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Just bought a Maxtor 200gb and a Hotway enclosure.

One thing though: about the enclosure some people on the nicx forums are saying 'Just be sure to set your HD jumper to master or the device won't work.' What do they mean by that and how can I make sure my HD is set to master?

Last edited by Howiefan; 08-17-05 at 10:52 AM.
Old 08-17-05, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by tanman
Actually you are incorrect. USB 2.0 is faster then Firewire/IEEE.
Nope. Firewire/IEEE 1394 is significantly faster in actual usage.

Furthermore, Firewire is even faster in theory as the data rate given for it is a sustained data rate, whereas USB2's theoretical datarates are maximum burst data rates. USB can't sustain it over any length of time.

Not to mention all of USB2's driver problems and incompatibilties that Firewire simply doesn't have.

Short answer is that firewire is far, far better in practice, if not in theory.
Old 08-17-05, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Howiefan
Just bought a Maxtor 200gb and a Hotway enclosure.

One thing though: about the enclosure some people on the nicx forums are saying 'Just be sure to set your HD jumper to master or the device won't work.' What do they mean by that and how can I make sure my HD is set to master?
Oooohhhh. Did you check the RFD forums like I said!? There's a thread about the ADS enclosure for ~ 17 bucks CAD. That's a hot deal. I ordered two because it's also a 5.25" enclosure, comes with a fan and it's free shipping.

Any case, the hotway enclosure is a nice one and is smaller than the ADS unit.

As for the NCIX forums/master issue:

when you get your HDD it will come with a little piece of paper (should) that will give you a little schematic diagram describing what jumper setting will give you "master" or "slave" or "cable select".

The jumper setting will be on the backside of the HDD. Keep the jumper - kinda of a two-slot pin- on either master or cable select. I believe I kept mine on CS.

When you install the HDD into your Hotway make sure everthing is connected and then hook it up to your comp which hopefully has XP for autodetection and just format the HDD. I actually fired up my copy of PartitionMagic 8.0 and used it to format the drive to NTFS and away I went.

Hope that helps.
Old 08-18-05, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by KillerQ
Hey all,

I posted this before but -- my grandma bought a CompUSA brand 3.5" enclosure a few months ago -- it works great, and has a fan.

I recently bought a CompUSA 3.5" enclosure, and the design is a little different now -- there is no fan. The case is thin aluminum..... will the heat be dissapated alright? I mean, i try to shut it off when not accessing it -- but that can get annoying sometimes. i can't see them removing the fan it was really an issue.... Any more comments?


Thanks,

Matt!!
I have that exact enclosure (no fan) and thus far it has worked fine (about 2 months thus far). I do turn it off when I am not using it but have left it on overnight a few times. It does heat up but the idea behind the aluminum it to help dissipate the heat.
Old 08-19-05, 02:21 AM
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Wow, well I just got schooled on the subject of USB vs. Firewire.

So the technical numbers constantly stated is the constant stream rate of firewire whereas the usb numbers are burst rates. Is this why camcorders still don't connect via USB 2? I was wondering why they didn't.
Old 08-19-05, 02:27 AM
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Originally Posted by tanman
Is this why camcorders still don't connect via USB 2? I was wondering why they didn't.
I believe so. Firewire is a peer-to-peer interface that can stream data constantly while USB requires a CPU to handle the transfer and the data rate can vary. A faster, sustained data rate is safer for video transfers.
Old 08-22-05, 08:49 PM
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I have a Buslink USB external hard drive that recently died. I opened the case to find it uses an IBM Deskstar hard drive. Can I replace this with any other hard drive, or will there be some type of firmware conflict? If reusing this case won't work, I'll probably just buy a universal case from Circuit City or someplace, then install a new hard drive into it instead.

Anyone have any suggestions?

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