better to go with external enclosure+int. drive or just ext. drive?? confused...

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by charlestrippy, Nov 12, 2006.

  1. charlestrippy macrumors 6502

    charlestrippy

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    #1
    So,
    I'm thinking about getting a new external hard drive specifically so I can boot up with FW800 and run Final Cut Pro (so it doesn't use my internal space...)

    My question - would it be a better decision to simply get a good External Enclosure and put a big internal drive inside that or just a regular external enclosure?


    It seems it's much cheaper to do it that way...

    I saw this enclosure:
    OWC OWC Mercury Elite Pro FireWire 800/400 + USB 2.0/1.1 Combo Case Kit:


    then maybe popping in a 500gb hard drive - seems a ton cheaper (and it's possible I could throw in an even larger drive..)

    what do you guys think of that? any experiences with doing something like this?

    thanks!
     
  2. hodgjy macrumors 6502

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    #2
    Here's my take, and it's just my opinion.

    I think saving a few bucks and getting a cheap enclosure is not a good idea. Why have an excellent drive put inside a cheap case (that probably has a cheap chipset inside).

    I went through the same thought process you are about a week ago. I went over to Newegg and priced out drives and enclosures that I would trust (metal, good chipsets, firefire and usb, and good power switches). When I priced them out, they were about the same price per GB as everything from OWC. So I bought the OWC Mercurcy Elite Pro AL 250 GB for $245US because it was already put together, had the proper jumpers set from the start, and has a two year warranty on the whole unit and a five year warranty on the disk from Seagate directly.

    Buying a pre-fab kit or the parts separately has no real difference, becaue the prefabs use the same parts as separate kits. You're only paying for the convenience of having it put together for you already. Since I found a prefab for a price same as parts, I went with that.
     
  3. charlestrippy thread starter macrumors 6502

    charlestrippy

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    #3
    thanks a lot for responding! ill look into getting an external all ready built!
     
  4. Maxwell Smart macrumors 6502a

    Maxwell Smart

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    #4
    It depends on your confidence in being able to set it up and pick the right enclosures. I had some extra ATA drives on hand so the decision was clear to me. To each his own.
     
  5. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #5
    CoolGear fanless aluminum FW800/400/USB2 enclosure. It's small, and as quiet as the drive itself - also, internal powersupply, so no brick. No temp problem, as the aluminum is a good heatsink. Have Seagate 500GB installed.
     
  6. charlestrippy thread starter macrumors 6502

    charlestrippy

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    #6

    really? fw800 would be great with my new c3d mbp - where would you suggest I buy that enclosure?
     
  7. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #7
  8. charlestrippy thread starter macrumors 6502

    charlestrippy

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    #8
    oh, wow - that's pricey for just an enclosure...isn't it?

    is something like this any good?



    gr8tfly,
    is that case that you showed me something that I could use to boot from (the drive within) - my plan is to put a drive in whatever enclosure and boot OS X from it with FW800 - this way I can run Reason and FCP...
     
  9. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #9
    Yea, a bit, but FW800 ext. drives are expensive, too. Paying extra for the aluminum and internal supply, I suppose. For me, was worth a bit extra, as I have limited space for it, and don't want the clutter of a brick. Not having extra fan noise is nice too.

    edit: the link looks like it's about $25 less. It's probably fine. Just a matter of if the smaller footprint, with internal pwr supply is worth the diff. Also, they don't say which chipset it uses, if that matters to you. (the cooldrive comes with Oxford)
     
  10. MikeTheC Guest

    MikeTheC

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    #10
    I've dabbled with both off-the-shelf external HDDs and ones where I did the assembly. Of course, my experience with external HDDs goes back years and years, back to the time when SCSI was the only option for a Mac.

    There's really not much to do when building the assembly. If you're going to use a regular ATA33/66/100/133 (aka "IDE") hard drive, then just make sure it's jumpered to whatever the enclosure tells you.

    If you're using a SATA drive, then there is no jumpering to do whatsoever.

    Building one is really no big deal. The primary advantage of buying a pre-built one is there's typically a warranty associated with the whole package, and that may or may not be a deciding factor for you.

    If you build your own, you can then pick a HDD with one of several warranty options (1 year, 3 years, 5 years, etc.) The enclosures themselves are unlikely to be warrantied for more than a year, but you never know.

    I have a pair of 80GB SATA drives myself, both of which came out of a PC I'd built which died on me. When I get the time and money (why is it always one or the other?) I'm planning on getting at least one, maybe two, SATA -> FireWire 400/USB 2.0 enclosures. Not only is it necessary for me, but it will also give me a lot better throughput performance than if I went with the slower ATA (a.k.a. "IDE") style drives.

    What kind of data are you planning on storing?
     
  11. charlestrippy thread starter macrumors 6502

    charlestrippy

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    #11
    I plan to use this drive to install OSX and then boot up into the drive and run Reason and Final Cut Pro (basically i'd like a drive to let me do this so that I don't have to use my internal hard drive space on my MBP)

    any personal suggestions?
     
  12. MikeTheC Guest

    MikeTheC

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    #12
    I've been doing some research into this area, since one thing I've learned is that in these sort of matters you do best to tread cautiously.

    I haven't yet run across an enclosure for SATA -> FW800, which is not to say that they don't exist. It's just that I haven't seen one yet.

    There's a company I've run across (which, in the interest of full disclosure I have yet to do any business with, meaning they have no track record with me yet) that carries a couple different SATA-supporting enclosures. Let me post the two links for them, and then I'll discuss each one afterwards...

    External IDE or SATA Drive enclosure

    Saturn ExDrive kit

    Now, I have actually called the company to follow up with them on the capabilities/limitations of each enclosure. Here's what I've learned.

    The first enclosure referenced above has (depending on the exact model, two are listed in the table on the linked page) both USB 2.0 and FW400 ports built into the box. However, when used with a FW400 connection, the controller chipset in the enclosure will NOT support a HDD greater than 200 GB.

    The second enclosure referenced above has a different controller and does not have the capacity limitation mentioned above. However, it uses a single (and in all likelihood proprietary) connector on the back which then requires you to obtain an adapter cable from Addonics which is appropriate to the interface you're going to connect to. The rep I spoke with stated that the enclosure does come with a FireWire 400 cable by default.

    The rep was not able to vouch for whether either of these enclosures had any issues with system bootability (via FireWire; booting via USB is not supported on Macs).


    Now, quite apart from Addonics' offerings (or anyone elses' in specific), at this point I can't imagine anyone wanting to get an external HDD which doesn't use a SATA HDD mechanism, given the performance improvement gained from going SATA (aka ATA 150) vs. PATA (aka ATA 133/100/66/33). I would absolutely extend this comment and viewpoint to FW800 enclosures. I mean, come on, you're hooking the thing up to a 800 Mbps interface; why in God's name would you want to deliberately ham-string the bus with a slower HDD?

    Regrettably for our purposes here I lack personal experience in this area. However, when I get an enclosure for either/both of my HDDs, I will test things to the utmost and report my findings here for one and all to read. After all, why invent the wheel?


    Good luck!
     
  13. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #13
    Here's a link to a SATA version, also from CoolDrives. I'm sure other companies make them, as they should be able to get the same bridge boards. I'm just making the suggestion, as I've been happy with them so far.
    http://www.cooldrives.com/saiitofi80al.html
     
  14. charlestrippy thread starter macrumors 6502

    charlestrippy

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    #14

    thanks! - hopefully i'll find one!

    oh and about the "(via FireWire; booting via USB is not supported on Macs)." I have a 160gb usb external booting up just fine right now...i just would like something much faster :eek:
     
  15. charlestrippy thread starter macrumors 6502

    charlestrippy

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    #15
    okay so if i get that external drive - what hard drive should I get? (around the 250/300 gb range) - im sorry for all the help me questions - i just want to make sure I get what I need so I can accomplish the things i'm attempting! thanks for all the help so far!!
     
  16. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #16
    People tend to have their own experiences with brands. My top two choices are Hitachi and Seagate, followed very closly by WD and Fujitsu. Maxtor is at the bottom - some of their drive's firmware have caused problems with some bridge boards. (personal experience, but I just returned it)

    Larger, higher capacity, drives, with higher areal bit density tend to be faster than smaller drives (at same RPM), if that helps.

    There are probably lots of threads on HD brand choice (here and other sites)
     
  17. MikeTheC Guest

    MikeTheC

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    #17
    Wowwwwwwwwwwww. Ooh, I gotta get me one of them...

    </drool>
     
  18. charlestrippy thread starter macrumors 6502

    charlestrippy

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    #18
    okay so something like:
    Hitachi Deskstar T7K250 250GB Serial ATA II 7200RPM Hard Drive w/8MB Buffer would be good?

    just pop it into the enclosure and i'm set type of deal?

    thanks for taking the time to answer my questions too!
     
  19. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #19
    Should be fine, tho:

    Out of curiosity, I checked Fry's http://frys.com and they have "Seagate 400GB ST3400633AS-RK Serial ATA (SATA/300) Retail Hard Drive" on sale for $129 (Fry's has a lot of retail stores in CA, not sure about other states. They're familar to me, as I've spent waaay too much time wandering their aisles)

    Probably lots of other places and sales.
     
  20. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #20
    Just make sure whatever drive you buy you get the full manufcacturer's warranty, and not some cut down discount version. Seagates should be 5 years, Hitachi and Maxtor 3 years, Maxtor MaxLine server drives 5 years.
    Western Digital 3 years I think, except their RE (RAID EDITION) drives 5 years.

    Avoid drives that are pulls, reconditioned, 'recertified' or used, or otherwise do not have full factory warranty in writing.
     
  21. MikeTheC Guest

    MikeTheC

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    #21
    I've only ever heard of Fry's. I don't think they've got any stores east of the Mississippi.
     
  22. charlestrippy thread starter macrumors 6502

    charlestrippy

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    #22

    All right - sweet so....
    last question :)


    If I get this:

    seagate 400gb

    and put it into:

    http://www.cooldrives.com/saiitofi80al.html


    I should be a-okay with booting os x and running programs like final cut pro using the FW800?

    I noticed on the cooldrives site it allows you to add a 400gb in automatically for something like $139.99 (or would it be better for me to get that seagate?)
     
  23. bearbo macrumors 68000

    bearbo

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    #23
    do you have pictures of your c3d mbp:p ;) :D
     

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