Best 2.5" SATA firewire enclosure?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Stephen23, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. Stephen23 macrumors member

    Stephen23

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #1
    Hey everyone,

    So my eyes are starting to bleed a little from scanning forums and the web for information on updating the hard drive in my new macbook, but I wanted to solicit opinions on here about this one item. I've been looking at the various enclosures for the 2.5" drives and it seems that the choices for SATA drives that have dual firewire ports are pretty limited. I've seen people recommending the OWC drives pretty strongly, but the lack of dual ports is a deal breaker for me, as I often use both the drive and an external sound card at the same time. Not to mention that at $60, they're a little pricey.

    I did find this one though:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817347013

    which looks to have everything I need for a better price. I can't find any mention of it here... does anyone have any experience with it? I also know that some of the drives seem to have limits on what size drive they can handle... for now this one is just going to have the 250gb drive out of my new macbook, but I would prefer not to buy one that is going to me limited, as I may want to drop a 500gb or larger one into it at a later date.

    The main reason I'm reluctant to just jump in is that I usually find that Macally stuff is not always the greatest quality, but the reviews for this on newegg seem to be reasonably positive. Anyone here with any knowledge of this enclosure, or know of a better one that fits my needs?

    Thanks

    Stephen
     
  2. hughvane macrumors 6502

    hughvane

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    Location:
    Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
    #2
    Hardened and experienced forum users most often seem to recommend OWC http://eshop.macsales.com/ because it specialises in Mac-compatible products, thoroughly tested. At OWC you'll find the best products, eg. a 2.5" drive enclosure, for your Mac. Not the cheapest, but arguably the best for the job.

    So, if OWC is not for you, because it doesn't have what suits your needs, then shop around for an enclosure with an Oxford chipset and dual f/wire ports. LaCie may have something, but do check and 2x-check the chipset. [Incidentally, the Macally one you're looking at is $40 at OWC, not $60.] What about this one? http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/MOTGFWU2/ @ $50. Has dual f/wire ports, with Oxford.
     
  3. vga4life macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #3
    I like OWC, but honestly the Macally 2.5" SATA/FW400 enclosure from Newegg is fine; I have 2 and they're pretty well made and do the job with no fuss. (I used them to house the old 5400RPM drives my MBPs shipped with after replacing them with bigger 7200RPM drives.)

    The controller chipset doesn't matter much with regular 2.5" hard drives, since they're usually too slow to push the controller's limits anyhow. I do pay attention to the controller on my 3.5" enclosures since those drives push a lot more data.
     
  4. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #4
    I have both the 3.5" Macally dual firewire/usb and the 2.5" Macally enclosure.

    Like them both. Got the 2.5" for my new almacbook, to more easily transfer information without firewire.

    I guess they don't have the Oxford but they work fine for me. Got the 2.5" for about 35 bucks new.
     
  5. Stephen23 thread starter macrumors member

    Stephen23

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #5
    Thanks for the information. When I referred to an OWC enclosure (I actually mistakenly type "drive" without the "enclosure" part) I was actually referring to this one:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/MSTG400U2/

    which is the one that seems most often recommended here, but which does not have dual firewire ports. I hadn't seen the other one you pointed out, which is better, but not ideal, since one of the ports is a four pin connector instead of the standard 6 pin, and that means I will have to pay attention that I am always carrying a 4pin to 6pin cable with me, not to mention that I will also have to carry the power supply for the sound card I use, since it won't be able to be bus powered (is it even possible to run both the hard drive and a sound card both off the power of a single bus?)

    I assume the reasoning behind getting a drive with Oxford chipset is performance? What is the likely performance hit going to be? If what vga4life says is true, then I'm probably fine with the Macally, since I'm only going to be putting a 5400rpm drive in there. Perhaps a couple years down the line I may change it to a 500gb and 7200rpm drive, but by that time who knows where the various technologies will be? It might be the case that I can pick up a 500gb SSD that leaves anything available today in the dust in terms of speed for the price of this enclosure...

    I'll have a look at enclosures with oxford chipsets, and wait on a bit more feedback, but I think I'm leaning towards the macally.

    Thanks,

    Stephen
     
  6. hughvane macrumors 6502

    hughvane

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    Location:
    Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
    #6
    I'm glad you raised this matter, because I was tempted to do so in my earlier post. I suspect you're going to run into problems with your external drive if you rely entirely on bus power. There are posts numerous about the issue, and the answer is almost inevitably "get a powered hub".

    "Ah, but what about portability?" comes the reply. Good point. Cyberpower provides a 4-port battery-pwrd unit. Fits in your pocket, can be charged from your computer, etc, etc - but it's not firewire.

    I'm not sure what you'll do about your firewire power demand? F'wire hubs are expensive, and you start getting into the question of bulk for portability. [There's a futuristic sci-fi hub from LaCie called the Huby that includes firewire, http://www.superwarehouse.com/LaCie_Huby_USB_and_FireWire_Hub/130753U/p/1493427

    The recommendations of others who are using MacAlly may be your best direction. Mac-ally didn't get its name for nothing.
     
  7. gwerhart0800 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Location:
    Loveland, CO
    #7
    UPS just delivered one of the OWC FW800/USB 2.5" SATA enclosures + a 500GB WD drive to my house. I plan to use this as an external drive for backups on my MacBook Pro. The enclosure is 1/3 more than the FW400, but includes 2 FW ports + cabling for FW 6-9 and FW 9-9. I will let you know how it works out. By buying the bundle of HD + enclosure, it brought the price down a bit ... but it is still a significant premium over the USB only 500GB external/portable drives.

    The enclosure is this one:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/MSTG800U2K/

    George
     
  8. gwerhart0800 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Location:
    Loveland, CO
    #8
    I measured the I/O for the WD 500GB "blue" Scorpio drive mounted in the OWC FW800/USB enclosure. From my Early 2008 MBP 2.5Ghz system via FW800, I measure 78.344MB/s read and 58.619MB/s write for file sizes 20MB - 100MB. I measured this via Intech SpeedTools. I wanted FW800 for the speed and this definitely fits the bill.
     
  9. Tastannin macrumors 6502

    Tastannin

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    UT
    #9
    If I recall correctly, that LaCie Huby firewire hub is discontinued.

    Anyways, I found a great aluminum FW800/USB2/eSATA case from Oyen Digital for cheaper than the OWC one (which is plastic). I used to see the Oyen case on eBay (via Oyen) all the time. Just looked and the site is out of stock, and there is none to be found on eBay as well. Maybe they're waiting on a new batch? Worth a call, the case works great for me.
     
  10. Stephen23 thread starter macrumors member

    Stephen23

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #10
    Thanks for that!

    The Oyen drives look great, eve if it is out of stock, but they do have a firewire 400 drive with an Oxford chipset for $27.00, and others with USB and Firewire 800 as well. I think this is the route I'm going to go...

    I've decided there's not a lot of hurry though, so I may wait on the fw800's to come back in stock. After doing some reading, I've decided that I'm going to wait to switch out my laptop hard drive with the WD Scorpio Black when it comes out in 500gb size... or maybe the Seagate 7200.4 when they get released, and it doesn't look like either of those is going to appear before January. I'd actually go ahead and get the Scorpio Blue now, but they don't seem to make the Blue's without the freefall sensor, and I've read about those not being especially compatible with the freefall sensor the Mac's already use. I've never experienced a kernel panic, and I have no desire to start. The reviews I've read about the Samsung Spinpoints don't seem that impressed... so I'll wait. 250gb in the new computer is still twice what I had in the old one... But 500gb will let me carry around my full iTunes library (compressed, alas) and all of my photography work without a separate hard drive, and that will be nice.

    Thanks for the good advice and knowledgeable discussion!

    Stephen
     
  11. drichards macrumors 6502a

    drichards

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    #11
    I have the macally FW400 mentioned at the top. Newegg, $35 a few weeks ago. Bus powered, no hassles, no power brick, dual FW400 ports. I need to find my 400-800 cable but for now its plugged right in the side. No complaints, gonna set it up as a Time Machine once I get my MBP setup how I like again.
     
  12. gwerhart0800 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Location:
    Loveland, CO
    #12
    OWC FW800 plastic case gets hot ...

    I got my OWC FW800/FW400/USB case and WD 500GB Scorpio blue drive on Thursday and have been push data to the drive for the last two days. I will state that the case gets quite hot. The bottom of the case is a heat sink that the drive is attached to. When pounding the drive (CarbonCopyClone of my MBP drive and shuffling movie clips while editing, it gets very warm. I currently have it balanced on two pencils to get better airflow under the drive to the heat sink. I only plan on using this drive for backups and "sneaker net" file transfers, so I don't thing this will be a problem in the long run, but I would not use it for everyday, always on type use.

    The Oyen enclosure is probably a better choice just because it will do a better job of heat transfer over the whole body of the enclosure, rather than just the bottom like the OWC case.

    I will say that I love the speed of FW800 ... it is nearly the same speed as the internal drive.
     
  13. jmdeegan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    #13
    That is the same setup I am contemplating now...basically, I have the 250gb internal on the MBP, and I want a workspace/scratch disk for any video work I might do, and any photography work I will do.

    I know most for video say 7200rpm minimum, but did you notice if you suffered any hit by going 5400rpm for those movie clips you used? I wont be doing nearly as much video as photography, so I don't think it will matter much. Plus, 20 bucks more for 180gb more drive, even if its 1800rpm slower, seems a smart move to me
     
  14. gwerhart0800 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Location:
    Loveland, CO
    #14
    I am transferring all of my old Hi8 home movies to digital and the extra space on the external drive is used to store the "event clips" that iMovie makes. I have not noticed any issues with the drive being 5400 RPM. I actually divided the space into a 250GB partition for a backup copy of my MBP drive and the "extra space" for my video media. I am not a fan of the hourly Time Machine backup because it kills performance.
     
  15. jmdeegan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    #15
    I ended up ordering that yesterday, ships today. I was debating the slicker looking WD Studio version, but I didn't notice a 2nd FW800 port for daisy-chaining, and a FW hub is either too hard to find or too pricey, or both.

    Figure for a little less, I get the same setup plus i know I can daisychain with it.

    Im not even sweating time machine backups yet. When i do, I've got a few non-mobile external drives that fit the bill (2X1TB raid1 for iTunes, a 750 and 2x500gb drives for everything else. I need to clean those up a bit, as the 750 used to be my itunes drive, but Ill carve out a little spot for time machine sometime....the rest is mostly photos.
     
  16. Tastannin macrumors 6502

    Tastannin

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    UT
    #16
    Time machine tips

    A couple of things regarding Time Machine (TM) that might help:

    1. There's a free (donationware) app out there that allows you to adjust the TM backup interval. I haven't used it but I've seen others praise it. I don't notice much of a performance hit with TM on.

    2. My old job - I had a 1TB FW800 LaCie drive for backups. I partitioned it - one partition for a daily clone backup, one partition for TM backups, and the rest as a scratch partition. I believe the TM partition was about 300GB. My machine had a 200GB drive, and the TM partition was nowhere close to full even after a full year of TM backups.

    *shrug* YMMV - just sharing my experiences here. :)
     
  17. hughvane macrumors 6502

    hughvane

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    Location:
    Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
    #17
    Still available I see (runout mode?). The Huby is mains-powered, so that would take care of excessive power demand from the bus.
     

Share This Page