Are FW800 enclosures worth it?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by cwsm, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. cwsm macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
    I'm planning to upgrade the stock 320GB in my MBP to a SSD when Intel releases their G3 drives and I'm looking at an enclosure to put the 320GB in so I can partition it for media and Time Machine. I noticed an OWC 2.5" enclosure with FW800 costs $60-80. At this cost, I could buy myself a brand new 320GB external drive with FW800.

    Verbatim SureFire 320 GB FireWire 800 ($77.24 at Amazon)
    Iomega eGo Mac Edition 320 GB USB 2.0/FireWire 400/800 Portable External Hard Drive ($69.99 at Amazon)

    Is there any point in buying a FW800 enclosure if I can get another 320GB hard drive with FW800 for the same price?
  2. iSee macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2004
    To determine whether or not its worth it to you, I'd say consider these things before you buy:

    Enclosures are a little more flexible when you want to switch drives. When you buy an external with a dedicated enclosure they can be difficult to open and sometimes won't work with other drives for various reasons.

    Also compare reviews of the drives you're considering with the enclosure. Not all FW800 enclosures -- whether sold seperately or with a drive sealed inside -- are equal.

    Finally, think about a usb enclosure. They are a lot cheaper. So ask yourself if the speed of firewire 800 is going to make a big difference for media and time-machine.

    If I were in your position, I'd get a usb enclosure. For media and time machine, usb completely sufficient for me. You're going to want to put your old drive in some enclosure regardless. And if it turns out later that you really need the speed of FW800, you can always buy a FW800 external drive after all. One last thing -- you can get FW enclosures for somewhat cheaper than the OWC ones -- but you don't want to forget about quality, though.
  3. CyberBob859 macrumors 6502


    Jun 13, 2007
    Only thing about most USB enclosures (especially the inexpensive ones) is that they require two USB ports - one for power and the other for data transfer. Or, they would require an external power adapter. For a desktop, maybe it's not an issue, but for a laptop, the FW800 may be better. One port for both power and data.
  4. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

    Aug 13, 2008
    Kitchener, Ontario
    I actually had the opposite experience with an external drive recently. The firewire wasn't giving enough power to keep the drive mounted, but the USB was, so I ended up returning the drive as I wanted the speed of FW800.
  5. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    I have many 2.5" S-ATA HDD USB enclosures that work fine with using just one USB port, many of those enclosures aren't even high grade brands, just enclosures for 10 to 15 € and I never had to use two USB ports to actually power the HDD. I used USB cables with two ends (one for the HDD, one for the port) and three ends (one for the HDD, two for two ports), and never had to use the third end on the latter ones. I use those enclosures with an iBook, a MacBook, MacBook Pros, iMac, Power Mac and Mac Pro.
  6. Matty-p macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2010
    +1 my current usb enclosure has two usb's but only need's one to be plugged in and i still get 25-26 MB/s
  7. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    enclosures are worth it if you want to be able to swap out drives, or be able to choose which one goes in, like if you already have a drive lying around or want a high-performance drive (most externals use 5400rpm).

    I just need something faster than USB to move chunks of data around at a reasonable speed, so I have externals that came with a drive. my 320GB WD Studio (presumably has Caviar Green or similar inside) gets about 50MB/s. if I were using it for paid work, where my time is worth money, I'd buy a quality enclosure and a faster drive (e.g. Caviar Black), which would push the transfer to about 70MB/s. or I'd just go eSATA :rolleyes:.
  8. cwsm thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
    It is true that I just want to save a few minutes. I think I'm more likely to go with the cheaper USB 2.0 enclosure. For now, the extra 20mb/s is not worth $50+ to me. My 320GB isn't even 7200rpm.
  9. olletsocmit macrumors 6502


    Jun 24, 2010
    YES YES YES. If you do anything with video or uploading yes. I have 2TB of video (movies & TV shows) and a ton of huge files, software etc. FW 800 is Amazing. I will never EVER go back to usb 2.0 or FW400.

    Go to Best Buy and buy a My Book FW800 external hdd for mac and try it. guarentee u will love. U can either keep it or return it and get a dif one. I have a 12TB Droble, but you should go wiht the My Book Studio LX 2TB FW800 drive for mac, if ur a regular user.
  10. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    If you have a Mac that is only a year or two old and you don't need the extra speed of fw then no, it's not worth it. If you have an older Mac than the extra CPU overhead of USB becomes noticeable and fw (either 400 or 800) is worth it, IMO.
  11. maril1111 macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2010
    I think even with the new ones its still worth it however it depends on the task they are used for like for having your documents around no its not for video/photo editing definitely

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