Converting a hard disk into an external hard drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by sowlerrmgh, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. sowlerrmgh macrumors member

    Oct 26, 2004

    I want to invest in an external hard drive but my friend says it iwll be cheaper to buy a hard disk, case and firewire cable. Is this cheaperto do? What bits do I exactly need and where can I get them from?

  2. ChickenSwartz macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2006
    It may indeed be cheaper, but check all your options. You can buy enclosures at many retail locations, if you are in the states BestBuy has a few options.
    This is the one I have:
    It is USB 2.0, if you look around I am sure you can find Firewire.
    This kit has everything you need except the hard drive.

    The biggest disanvatage to this set up is that it is not very portable, you have to plug a power adapter into the wall. If you are looking for portable then you should look for external hard drives powered by the USB of Firewire itself.
  3. idkfa macrumors regular

    Mar 30, 2006
    You really need to decide what you want to do with your extra space. I decided to go with purchasing an enclosure and a 60GB 2.5" HD (notebook hardrive). This type of drive can be powered from the USB 2.0 port, which means you don't need an AC adapter.

    The disadvantages with a 2.5" HD are that they are more expensive than traditional 3.5" drives, they are usually not as fast, and they only exist up to 120GB in size. The amount I spent on my enclosure could have gotten me a 200GB 3.5" external hard drive. That being said, I decided that I wanted super portable for my hardrive.

    You really need to decide what you want in terms of space, and where you will be using it. If you plan on staying home with it, get a 3.5".

    Once you have that figured out, then you can decide between buying your own components, or buying it ready to go. It can be cheaper to assemble it yourself, depending on what you are buying, where you are buying it, and if the planets are in allignment, so keep your eyes open. Futureshop, a store here in Canada, has a sale on 250GB 3.5" external hard drives, for only $109.99 CDN. They have a website, and I believe they ship outside of Canada. ( That is probably the cheapest option for that size of 250GB 3.5" HD. That is, of course, USB.

    If you are planning to go with firewire, like you said, there are fewer options, especially if you want both USB/Firewire in the enclosure. They are more expensive. I just bought a Firewire enclosure for a 2.5" drive on ebay. (
    Shipping to Canada was expensive, but it was only $11.99 US for the enclosure. It is ONLY Firewire though (wanted it for booting). It also only accepts up to 60GB drives as well.

    If you want both Firewire/USB, this is a typical enclosure: The price is CDN. It is somewhat expensive, but offers both interfaces.

    Before you can really choose, decide on the following (perhaps in this order):

    1. 2.5" or 3.5"
    2. Capacity
    3. Firewire or USB or USB/Firewire
    4. SATA or PATA
    5. Pre-Assembled or DIY

    Good Luck!

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