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Old Jan 6, 2013, 04:10 PM   #1
Ne0the1
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Turning Internal Hard drive into External Hard Drive - Help Please

Hello all,

I have a quick question, I have an internal hard drive taken from an iMac, and I wanted to turn it into an external drive.

I know there are various kits available to to do this, however, I was under the impression that hard drives come in only a few standard sizes, 2.5" and 3.5" for example.

When I measure this drive, it seems to be almost 4" (Width) 5.5" (Height) and 1" (Depth)

Can some one please explain to me, which type of enclosure I should get?

And also, which would be the fastest type of transfer possible, firewire or thunderbolt etc?

Thanks in advance.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 04:12 PM   #2
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What model is the iMac? If it's a newer one (2006 and newer), you need a 3.5" SATA enclosure. If it's older, you need a 3.5" IDE enclosure.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 04:17 PM   #3
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Hi,

Thanks for the reply.

I don't have the iMac anymore, I got it in 2010 I believe.

If I get the 3.5 Sata Enclosure, i've seen usb connections, is there a faster alternative?
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 04:20 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ne0the1 View Post
Hi,

Thanks for the reply.

I don't have the iMac anymore, I got it in 2010 I believe.

If I get the 3.5 Sata Enclosure, i've seen usb connections, is there a faster alternative?
eSATA is the fastest available. I'd get an enclosure with USB 2.0, Firewire, and eSATA.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 04:22 PM   #5
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eSATA is the fastest available. I'd get an enclosure with USB 2.0, Firewire, and eSATA.
Thanks,

What is eSata, i'm not sure if I have one of those connections on my new Mac?
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 04:34 PM   #6
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Thanks,

What is eSata, i'm not sure if I have one of those connections on my new Mac?
It's external SATA. Your mac does not have an eSATA port. Your fastest option is to get a Firewire 800 enclosure.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 05:03 PM   #7
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Thanks again,

And then after that its USB 2.0 and then Firewire 400, I assume?
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 05:08 PM   #8
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Thanks again,

And then after that its Firewire 400 and then USB 2.0, I assume?
Yep. Actually, if your Mac is new enough to have USB 3.0, that's faster than Firewire 800.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 05:08 PM   #9
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You could also put it in a Synology NAS and wire it via GigE.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 05:12 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by AlphaDogg View Post
Yep. Actually, if your Mac is new enough to have USB 3.0, that's faster than Firewire 800.
Unfortunately it doesn't.

Wheres the best place to buy the Firewire 800 enclosure? also would you recommend I get one with a built in fan?

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You could also put it in a Synology NAS and wire it via GigE.
Thanks for your reply,

I have no idea, what either of these are?
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 05:16 PM   #11
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You could also put it in a Synology NAS and wire it via GigE.
Gigabit ethernet is just that; it's gigabit ethernet because it has a theoretical speed of 1Gb/s. USB 3.0 has a theoretical speed of 5Gb/s. Firewire 800 has a theoretical speed of 800Mb/s. Firewire 400 has a theoretical speed of 400Mb/s. USB 2.0 has a theoretical speed of 480Mb/s.

But really, the bottleneck will be the HDD. A mechanical HDD probably has a theoretical speed of 150Mb/s and realistic speed of 75Mb/s. So really, USB 2.0 would be fine, but for some reason in practice, it's a lot slower than any other connection when used with a mechanical HDD.

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Unfortunately it doesn't.

Wheres the best place to buy the Firewire 800 enclosure? also would you recommend I get one with a built in fan?[COLOR="#808080"]
This is one I would strongly recommend: http://www.amazon.com/Macally-Hi-Spe.../dp/B003VTZFN4
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 05:17 PM   #12
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A NAS = Network Attached Storage.
GigE = Gigabit Ethernet (your iMac has this, and hopefully so does your router)

Synology makes a 3.5" HDD enclosure called a NAS. The DS212j is popular (what I use) and because it's last years might be available on sale. The 112j is even cheaper (single drive).

It's a type of server based on Linux and can do much much more than a simple HDD enclosure.

www.synology.com for details.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 05:18 PM   #13
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Thanks,

I was wondering, I am looking at a few hard drive enclosures now, with firewire 800 and some of them say 100MBs - is this adequate?

And relating to what you was just saying, would this 100MBs be the actual speed and not the theoretic speed of 800MBs
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 05:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueroom View Post
A NAS = Network Attached Storage.
GigE = Gigabit Ethernet (your iMac has this, and hopefully so does your router)

Synology makes a 3.5" HDD enclosure called a NAS. The DS212j is popular (what I use) and because it's last years might be available on sale. The 112j is even cheaper (single drive).

It's a type of server based on Linux and can do much much more than a simple HDD enclosure.

www.synology.com for details.
The OP is simply looking to turn their HDD into an external drive. They didn't ask for network attached storage.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ne0the1 View Post
Thanks,

I was wondering, I am looking at a few hard drive enclosures now, with firewire 800 and some of them say 100MBs - is this adequate?

And relating to what you was just saying, would this 100MBs be the actual speed and not the theoretic speed of 800MBs
MB means MegaBytes and Mb means Megabits. Big difference there. 1MB=8Mb, so 100MB/s is the same as 800Mb/s.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 05:25 PM   #15
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The OP is simply looking to turn their HDD into an external drive. They didn't ask for network attached storage.


MB means MegaBytes and Mb means Megabits. Big difference there. 1MB=8Mb, so 100MB/s is the same as 800Mb/s.
Thanks so this would be the correct enclosure which gives me the post potential speed (Theoretical) and then based on how well the HDD can perform, would be the actual speed?

As for the NAS - it does look quite good, however I have had a quick look and it looks a bit too expensive and beyond what I actually require at the moment, thanks for your help though.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 05:27 PM   #16
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It was merely a suggestion. Up to the OP to consider whether or not it offers anything they need.

I've got a WD Studio with both FW800 & USB2.0
The USB2 is much slower than FW800, USB has much more software overhead than FW800.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 05:32 PM   #17
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Another question,

I have a Macbook Pro aswel, and it would be good to use this external hard drive for both of them, I have seem two firewire ports at the back of the enclosures, so technically with two cables I could connect them both?

However this may be slightly impractical, having a cable plugged into the MacBook Pro all the time to back up, The NAS seemed like a more wireless solution?

Is there any alternative, less expensive ways of turning an internal hard drive into a external wireless drive?
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 05:39 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Ne0the1 View Post
Thanks so this would be the correct enclosure which gives me the post potential speed (Theoretical) and then based on how well the HDD can perform, would be the actual speed?

As for the NAS - it does look quite good, however I have had a quick look and it looks a bit too expensive and beyond what I actually require at the moment, thanks for your help though.
Yes, that would be the correct enclosure which provides you with the highest theoretical speed. The actual speed will be around 10MB/s or 80-90Mb/s.
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Originally Posted by blueroom View Post
The USB2 is much slower than FW800, USB has much more software overhead than FW800.
That makes sense. I didn't think about that.
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Originally Posted by Ne0the1 View Post
Another question,

I have a Macbook Pro aswel, and it would be good to use this external hard drive for both of them, I have seem two firewire ports at the back of the enclosures, so technically with two cables I could connect them both?

However this may be slightly impractical, having a cable plugged into the MacBook Pro all the time to back up, The NAS seemed like a more wireless solution?

Is there any alternative, less expensive ways of turning an internal hard drive into a external wireless drive?
It's not possible to connect one drive to two computers and use it on both at the same time, as far as I know. The NAS is the only standalone wireless solution. You could leave it connected to your computer and turn on file sharing in system preferences and turn your new Mac into a file server for your MacBook Pro. You might want to look into getting a Time Capsule.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 05:48 PM   #19
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It's not possible to connect one drive to two computers and use it on both at the same time, as far as I know.
Thanks, I was just wondering why most have two firewire ports at the back of the enclosure.

I've thought bout getting a time capsule, I may buy one soon, but I still want to get some use out of this hard drive I have here.

The file sharing option you mentioned, would that allow, the MBP to be backed up wirelessly through the iMac?
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 05:49 PM   #20
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The file sharing option you mentioned, would that allow, the MBP to be backed up wirelessly through the iMac?
I don't think so.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 05:50 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by blueroom View Post

Synology makes a 3.5" HDD enclosure called a NAS. The DS212j is popular (what I use) and because it's last years might be available on sale. The 112j is even cheaper (single drive).

It's a type of server based on Linux and can do much much more than a simple HDD enclosure.
Is there any other decent NAS that offers the same type of features, but at a more reasonable price?
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 06:04 PM   #22
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I don't think so.
So by using a NAS, I could use my internal hard drive, as an external hard drive wirelessly? and access it from both of my comps?

Would I be able to use apple time machine with both of them using this method?
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 06:07 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by AlphaDogg View Post
It's not possible to connect one drive to two computers and use it on both at the same time, as far as I know. The NAS is the only standalone wireless solution. You could leave it connected to your computer and turn on file sharing in system preferences and turn your new Mac into a file server for your MacBook Pro. You might want to look into getting a Time Capsule.
NAS can be both wired, or wireless. You can, with proper configuration, pull off both. Some wireless access points allow for the connection of a drive to be shared over a network too. Too bad that the Airport Express can't be used that way...
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 06:16 PM   #24
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NAS can be both wired, or wireless. You can, with proper configuration, pull off both. Some wireless access points allow for the connection of a drive to be shared over a network too. Too bad that the Airport Express can't be used that way...
Thanks,

What do you mean it can be both wired, wireless and shared over a network?

I thought that sharing over a network is the same as it being wireless?
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 06:44 PM   #25
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Thanks,

What do you mean it can be both wired, wireless and shared over a network?

I thought that sharing over a network is the same as it being wireless?
Most network configurations allow you to plug into the network and access connected devices as well as connect wirelessly and access connected devices.

Yes, a NAS would in fact allow you to use the HDD that you currently have and connect it to your network for any computer on your network to access. I'm not sure about time machine compatibility.
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