Advice to narrow down building external hard drive parts

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by fixie701, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. fixie701 macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2008

    I take a lot of photos so i need the space/back up.

    These are the parts I'm thinking about, I just need further advice from people who have more experience with these.

    Can you help me narrow down which parts I should get for my external hard drive? Any advice would really help.

    Hard Drive:
    - Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31000340AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM - $189 (32 MB cache)
    - Western Digital Caviar GP WD10EACS 1TB 5400 to 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM - $179 (16 MB cache)
    - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM - $179 (32 MB cache)

    - Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3750330AS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM - $129 (32 MB cache)
    - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD753LJ 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM - $119 (32 MB cache)

    - OWC Mercury Elite-AL "Quad Interface" - $109
    - There's another one that's exactly the same, but houses 2 SATA drives for $119 here. My question is, should I just pay an extra $10 for the extra space for when i get a second hard drive? The point where I get confused here is that I wouldn't want to use it as RAID 0 - I want to be able to just use them both as separate hard drives.
    - ministack v3 - $109
    (I'm considering these enclosures because I like the flexibility of being able to use USB, Firewire 400/800, eSATA)

    Last Questions
    - What is the difference between a 7200 rpm vs a 5400 to 7200 rpm (Like the 1TB Western Digital one above)
    - Should I just get 750 GB instead of 1TB? I've been reading around and I know hard drives naturally fail, but it seems like 1TB aren't as stable as the 750 GB's?
    - Will the enclosures I mentioned work with the internal hard drives I listed above? (Just need to make sure it'll all work before I buy it).
    - Will heat be an issue with any of these?

  2. AndyR macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2005
    Auckland, New Zealand
    I brought that 750Gb Samsung and one of these enclosures ( for my MBP.

    Works great for Time Machine.

    I went for the 750gb for the reason that I've heard 1Tb's are more failing more frequently and I didn't want to loose this much data. Until I could afford 2x 1TB drives and RAID1 them I will just stay like this.
  3. Mebsat macrumors regular

    May 19, 2003
    I've been researching a similar setup lately...

    The Western Digital drive cycles its spin rate to save power, great for a data center, but negligable savings for a couple drives. As I recently had a WD fail, I am personally leaning toward Seagate, but definitely leaning towards RAID 1.

    WD does not even include a rotational speed on their spec sheet for the drive, which I found a bit odd. See:

    But Anandtech explains Intellipower and compares drives here:

    As far as enclosures, I have a single drive OWC Mercury Elite and it is a great enclosure and dissipates heat very nicely. I would buy the one you cited without hesitation for a media array.

    However, I am interested more in redundancy, so I am looking at the NewerTech case here: Technology/GM8U2KIT0GB/

    Same case anodized in black, with support for RAID 1. It shares the same Oxford chipset and I've been meaning to call OWC and ask why their case doesn't support RAID 1.
    (Maybe Larry from OWC will answer that question in this thread, ahem?)

    Lastly, I would seriously consider the Seagate ES2 series drives, for their higher build quality. Both the ES2 and the one above should have 5 year warranties, too. The sweet spot is the 750GB/32MB cache ES2, which is priced similarly at NewEgg and OWC.

    Finally, a word about NewEgg forums and reviews. I often read them and consider the opinions that people have...but the signal to noise ratio is so bad that I never pay attention to the overall ratings unless a product has a minimum of 50 reviews.
  4. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    The 2 drive thing can actually do

    - RAID
    - 2 disk of different sizes combined
    - 2 disks separately World Computing/MEFW924AL2K/

    Seems to be a good option. As to harddrives, get one with 5 year warranty. The 5400 rpm (or variable, non RPM in specs) will consume less energy, but slower transfer speed.
  5. fixie701 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2008
    Thanks for replies.

    I'm leaning towards Seagate since they have 5 year warranty and I've been hearing a lot of good things about it.

    What is the difference between the Seagate Barracuda and the Segate Barracuda ES.2? I was looking on and I couldn't really find a difference aside from there being less ratings for the ES.2.

    Also, I'm interested in the Enclosures that can house two Hard Drives but I don't think I know about RAID enough to actually go through with it, that's why I wanted to just be able to use both as separate hard drives.

    This is what I know about RAID:
    - RAID 0 - Not exactly a back up system, just to speed up computer
    - RAID 1 - Mirrors, meaning it duplicates whatever is placed in the primary drive. So this means I do have a backup. My question - If I use RAID 1, does the Enclosure always have to be plugged into the computer? And isn't it basically the same thing as me using two external back up hard drives, except RAID 1 does it automatically by 'mirroring'?

    My plan was to just have ONE constantly in use while the other one would be the off-computer back up for it.

  6. fixie701 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2008
  7. Jak3 macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2008
    This thread intrigued me and I must ask, what is the difference between this and an external hard drive?

    Arn't external hard drives the same thing? And they already come in a case!
    Could someone explain this to me? Thanks :D

    edit: to be a bit more clear, what is the difference between doing what he posted (where lowest cost is 228$) and one of these (not exact specs he's looking for but as an example)?

    External hard drive 1TB 7200RPM eSATA or USB 2.0 131021336 1310221288&bop=And&Order=PRICE
  8. phairphan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 21, 2005
    Reject Beach
    I have both the single and dual bay Elite-AL enclosures. They're great enclosures and I highly recommend them. For the few extra dollars, I'd get the dual bay enclosure so you have some room to grow. Both cool the drives well and the dual enclosure has a fan.

    I use them with Seagate 7200.10 and .11 drives and I've been perfectly happy.

    RAID 1 mirrors the drives, so whatever you place on one drive also gets written to the other. I'm not sure I understand what your questions is, but the enclosure doesn't always have to be plugged in, just when you're using it. The only drive that's being mirrored is the one in the enclosure.

    Jak3, the reason someone would choose this route versus a pre-assembled external is that you know exactly what's going in the enclosure. Some of those externals in your link have rather questionable reputations for both the enclosure and the drive going in it. Also, a lot of those externals are USB only. It's difficult to find an enclosure with USB, Firewire 800, and eSATA.
  9. Jak3 macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2008
    Okay, I see, it's the same thing, but it's like buying a mac or building your own computer, but in this analogy, the macs suck :eek: :D

    Yeah, that one that had Firewire, 400 and 800, USB 2.0 and eSATA is a winner! :cool:
  10. sjshaw macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2004
    640 GB drive for $85. Buy 2 of these for the price of 1 above and you have a RAID setup.

    You can search at SlickDeals for a SATA enclosure and find an active-cooled one for $39.
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    If you don't care much about what is inside, yes just buy a external drive. But then if you care about which interface chip is used, how the cooling works and the brand and model of the actual hard drive then you have to research and buy the parts. The most important part is the type of hard drive inside ad many times the external dives don't even list this information on the box.

Share This Page