Bare 2.5" HD for USB 3.1 Type-C case?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Huginnmuninn, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. Huginnmuninn macrumors regular

    Huginnmuninn

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    Oct 8, 2011
    #1
    I've got a new iMac with 2Tb Fusion Drive, and I've got an 8Tb external USB 3.0 Seagate backup drive. and right now I am considering getting a USB Type-C case like this $35 model and stuffing it with a hard drive (not SSD) in the 2Tb-4Tb range, mostly for containing photos and ripped videos.

    What are the best bare 2.5" drives to consider for keeping permanently attached and getting their power from the iMac itself?
     
  2. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #2
    That case that you linked will be limited to drives of 9.5mm or thinner.
    I haven't seen any 2.5-inch hard drives larger than 2TB that would fit in your case.
    (They may exist, but I didn't find any with a quick search)
    Here's a nice 2TB from Seagate, only 7mm tall.

    If you want more storage (5TB is available, maybe more) in a laptop-size drive, then you will need a case that allows up to 15mm height.
     
  3. Huginnmuninn, Oct 6, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017

    Huginnmuninn thread starter macrumors regular

    Huginnmuninn

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    Oct 8, 2011
    #3
    Ah, thanks for pointing that out. I used that case as an example because it was well-reviewed on anandtech last year, and I want a USB 3.1 Type-C case that doesn't require a separate power cable.

    So either I stick with a 2Tb bare drive like the one you mentioned (thanks!) or I look for another case....

    EDIT: According to the specs for that 5400rpm drive the transfer rate is 140 MB/s so I'd just be wasting the 3.1/Type-C speeds, since USB 3.0 can theoretically handle up to 640 MB/s.

    If I wanted to go up to 4Tb are there any solid enclosures for USB 3.1/Type-C that can be powered by the cable alone (and handle the draw of larger drives)?
     
  4. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    Jan 23, 2017
    #4
    I just checked the USB-C 2.5-inch enclosures we carry, and, oddly enough, all of them are the slim profile not compatible with the thicker high-capacity 2.5-inch HDDs! Strange!

    Whether the enclosure supports USB 3.1 gen 1 (formally 3.0 SuperSpeed) (via type C-->C, A-->C, A-->Micro B, C-->Micro B) or that plus 3.1 gen 2 (type C-->C, C-->Micro B), the transfer speeds are not going to be any different with a HDD. The fastest laptop hard disk drives I know of top out around 150-160 MB/s and the fastest enterprise desktop hard disk drives around 300 MB/s.

    Are you set on that case, specifically? I ask because this case might interest you, as it supports 15mm allowing you to use up to a 5GB 2.5 inch HDD such as the Seagate model - it uses the same 1351 chipset as the StarTech IIRC, and IMO is built better. If you ever decide to use the enclosure with a SSD and wish to use 3.1 gen 2 to get that tiny bit extra from a 6Gbps SATA SSD, all you would need is a gen 2 cable like this.
     
  5. Huginnmuninn thread starter macrumors regular

    Huginnmuninn

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    Oct 8, 2011
    #5
    Interesting. I guess for faster speeds I need to look at 3.5" drives, which then would necessitate an AC adapter (which I don't want to use).

    Thanks! No, I'm not set on that case, and the one you linked to looks pretty good. I know though that with 3.5" drives the 5Tb drives have higher failure rates than the 4Tb ones, which is why I was looking at 2Tb/4Tb. Unfortunately the better drive failure surveys, like the ones published by Backblaze, are all for 3.5" drives, not 2.5" ones.

    EDIT: What's the effective difference between the case you linked to and this one which seems to have a regular USB 3.1 connector? Is one preferable over the other for direct-connect to a port on the iMac?
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    OP:

    I have one of the Oyen "MiniPro" enclosures that Zap mentioned above in reply 4, and it's a solid, excellent case. Worth the extra cost (which really isn't much)...
     
  7. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    Jan 23, 2017
    #7
    Both of the two cases IIRC use the same AS-M.1351 chipset and support 10 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 2 (and of course, 5Gbps USB 3.1 gen 1, formally USB 3.0). To my knowledge, the 1351 is considered one of the best currently available, and obviously supports USAP, which will benefit HDD transfer speeds compared to an enclosure without it. (With Windows, the 1351 chipset supports a TRIM command with SSDs through Powershell - but in macOS this is not applicable unless something changed with High Sierra.) The USB-C case uses a USB-C connector on the enclosure side and does not support as thick of a HDD, where as the original one I linked to uses a USB Micro-B connector on the enclosure side and supports up to 15mm drives like the massive capacity offerings from WD and Seagate. (USB-C is arguably more durable than micro-B, and has the convenience of reversibility, but this is not really a selling point unless you plan to unplug the cable from the enclosure many times each day.) Both will supply the bus power needed to power a HDD when connected directly to the iMac or to a powered hub (with a passive hub you may or may not be able to get by on bus power alone, depending on the hub and the drive's energy requirements - one really nice thing with the MiniPro is that they do have a DC-in jack, should someone desire to use the drive with a low-power passive hub and should that hub not supply sufficient bus power [most enclosures in this price range do not have the DC-in port at all.])

    As far as failure rates go with the high-capacity 2.5-inch HDDs, I can't say much other than some of the Seagate and some of the WD high-capacity 2.5 drives fail, so it's worth using your existing enclosure to backup this one. I'm a big HGST fan (especially of the 3.5-inch Ultratstar line - and, notably, the (amusingly loud) Ultrastar 7k6000 and the He6/8/10/14 Helium lines are the models I speak of when I noted some 3.5 drives can move data upwards of 300 MB/s), but the biggest 2.5-inch drive they offer is unfortunately only 1 TB (in the 7200 RPM TravelStar flavor.) I've also had good experiences with the 7200 RPM WD Black 2.5 (1TB size) and 5400 RPM WD 2TB Blue 2.5 - unfortunately, neither meets your requirements either.
     
  8. Huginnmuninn thread starter macrumors regular

    Huginnmuninn

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    Oct 8, 2011
    #8
    Thanks for the very valuable information. So, my HD options are either

    • (a) buying that Oyen case for $30 plus probably a 15mm-high 2.5" Seagate 4TB Barracuda ($139 from a 3rd-party seller) for $170, or
    • (b) getting a USB 3.0 external drive unit (like Seagate's Backup Plus) which runs $80-$105 depending on whether there's a sale.
    But if I don't intend to reuse the case, then just based on the limitations of the bare drive transfer speed using USB 3.1 won't actually be faster than USB 3.0 (assuming the USB3 has a good chipset), correct?
     
  9. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

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    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #9
  10. Huginnmuninn thread starter macrumors regular

    Huginnmuninn

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    Oct 8, 2011
    #10
    Thanks. But this discussion has clarified some things and considering that the laptop drive I'm looking at has a transfer speed no faster than 140MB/s I'm wondering now if that enclosure is overkill, or useless.

    Would a USB 3.0 enclosure be just as fast given the drive I'm looking at?
     
  11. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    Jan 23, 2017
    #11
    USB 3.1 gen 1 is USB 3.0 - provided the chipsets are equal, the transfer speeds of a single mobile HDD in a USB 3.1 gen 1 enclosure versus a 3.1 gen 2 enclosure will be negligible in difference. So, in this case, it makes no performance difference whether you opt for 3.1 gen 1 or 3.1 gen 2, and obviously no difference between connectors either, whether it be type-A or C. The only performance difference you would see would be if you opted for a USB 2.0 enclosure, which would obviously be slower.
     
  12. Huginnmuninn, Oct 7, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017

    Huginnmuninn thread starter macrumors regular

    Huginnmuninn

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    Oct 8, 2011
    #12
    Ah okay. So I might as well just buy Seagate's 4Tb USB 3.0 Backup Plus Portable, or WD's 4TB Black My Passport Portable. Both currently $105 but they occasionally drop to around $90.

    So I'll just wait to get a USB 3.1 Type C enclosure when multi-TB SSD prices drop - it's been predicted that SSD prices will crash in 2018 or 2019.
     
  13. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    Jan 23, 2017
    #13
    As long as you have a backup of the drive, you should be fine. Do note tho, that the SATA bridge is soldered on the WD and Seagate models you are considering - so, should the bridge fail, the drive is toast, and, should the drive or the bridge begin to fail, it can add an additional layer of complexity to data recovery.

    (side note - I'm not sure what product levels the internal drive is on those models-for example, WD calls one of their high-capacity Passport models the WD Black, but WD's actual internal WD Black 2.5 line only goes up to 1 TB - so no idea if the internal drive is comparable to the high quality the WD Black line has become known for.)
     
  14. Huginnmuninn thread starter macrumors regular

    Huginnmuninn

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    Oct 8, 2011
    #14
    Thanks. Given the lower failure rates of HGST 3.5" drives I'd generally prefer one of the 2.5" ones, but WD and Seagate own the current market for portable 4+ Tb drives, so I'm likely to go that way.
     

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13 October 6, 2017