Best external hard drive enclosure?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Doju, Aug 23, 2009.

  1. Doju macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    #1
    I ordered the MacBook Pro 2.53GHz with the 250GB HDD. I also purchased a 500GB WD HDD from Newegg to upgrade the 250GB HDD for, and I'll take the 250GB HDD and use it as an external hard drive.

    So, obviously I need an enclosure so I can use it as an external hard drive, right?

    I hear Firewire 800 is the fastest, so I'd love if it had that option was available so I could transfer data the fastest. USB would be preferred as well, just in case.

    They're not very hard to install onto the HDD, are they? Not looking to spend too much, in fact the least as possible would be dandy, and it'd also be nice if the case could look half decent aesthetically.
     
  2. Heb1228 macrumors 68020

    Heb1228

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    #2
    They're very easy to install. A FW800 enclosure will be faster but much more expensive. You can get a USB 2.0 enclosure for less than $10 most of the time.
     
  3. beginnersview macrumors member

    beginnersview

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    Location:
    SF Bay area
    #3
    The cheapest external enclosures are always the USB 2.0 only type.
    As you may know, USB 2, even though its transfer rate number makes it seem very fast, requires CPU processor overhead, so actual data transfer rate is usually much slower than advertised. (in my experience, about 20% or more slow). FireWire data transfers are arbitrated by the chip bus itself, so don't have to take on gobs of extra CPU cycles.

    Your most flexible external enclosure choice would be a combo box with several port types, such as : FireWire and USB.

    If you get a FireWire 800 equipped device, that will definitely be the fastest data transfer choice.

    The only downside is that an external enclosure combo style with multiple ports will cost you more than the cheapest USB only kind. Yet it will provide you the most long term use and fastest transfer rates.

    Pricing for USB only drives can range from the low teens on up. Pricing for FireWire combo drives can range from mid 20s ($USD) from online vendors, up through 50s to around 100 from the premium vendors.

    Good choices usually include the major vendors who actively cater to the Mac user market. There are a couple of FireWire device web sites that would be good to start exploring.

    NOTE: Make sure that whatever enclosure you get, it is going to have the internal connector for the SATA type drive that will be coming from your new Mac (older enclosures only supported the PATA/IDE type of drives).

    So, if its got to be the cheapest possible, then buy a USB 2 enclosure, and live with the knowledge that it is slower transferring data. But given that you have been able to purchase a decent quality Mac and HD, I would suggest doing a bit of exploring, and buy a decent quality combo enclosure.
     
  4. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #5
  5. beginnersview macrumors member

    beginnersview

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    SF Bay area
    #6
    Here is a link to Other World Computing - a Mac focused vendor for 20 yrs or so - for their SATA 2.5" HD, FW800/USB2 drive enclosure.

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

    The encouraging thing about the web page is that it makes a point to ask you to be sure your drive is either the SATA or IDE/PATA type, even showing you a picture of the connectors so you are sure to get the right kind. Nice.

    Cost is $79.99 (so yes it is one of the more expensive... but they have been around a long time and have generally received good product review ratings, as I recall)

    (I have no affiliation with any vendor site or company...)
     
  6. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #7
    My favorites are from OWC, MacAlly and Rosewill. My 750 gb drive that runs my Apple TV is in a Rosewill eSATA enclosure. It's worked like a champ for a year (always on).
     
  7. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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  8. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    Takamatsu, Japan
    #9
    I've had the Icy Dock MB559UEB-1S ($62.99 after rebate) Firewire 800 enclosure in heavy usage for about a year now with a Seagate 1.5TB HD. It is aluminum construction and next to silent in operation. Physically it looks really nice next to my iMac, almost like something Apple themselves designed.
     
  9. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #10
    i was under the impression that we were after 2.5" external enclosures??
     
  10. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

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    Jul 5, 2009
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #11
    Good to hear you like this enclosure--was ready to pull the trigger on it when I found this one: ICY DOCK MB662UEAB-2S 3.5" Pearl White USB & 1394 External Enclosure - Retail. I was planning on daisy chaining a pair of the single enclosures, so while a bit more expensive, the dual enclosure seems a more elegant/simple solution and also has a built in option for RAID configuration. As it appears to be relatively new, I was wondering if anyone here has any experience with it? (Sorry, don't mean to hijack from the OP)

    Also, to DoFoT9's point, the Icy Dock makes a 2.5 to 3.5 SATA HDD converter that can be used with the MB559UEB-1S.
     
  11. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #12
    ah fair call, i prefer to purchase the size that i need normally.. if im putting in a 2.5" drive it will be because i need the portability.
     
  12. bcburrows macrumors 6502

    bcburrows

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    Location:
    Bristol
    #13
    Icybox

    Had a few icybox enclosures and they are really well designed and simple to install.......

    One benefit of USB only is portability to other devices which can come in handy

    I have an external firewire which i use for back up time machine purposes only and a portable usb for sharing with my windows chums...

    As your 250 cant be used for backup from a 500Gb I would recommend a usb2 icy box for ease of use, cheap and of course it will power over the usb which means less cables, unlike the no power from firewire
     
  13. relativist macrumors regular

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    Jan 13, 2009
    #14
  14. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #15
    to australia?? ;)
     
  15. Swiss Apple macrumors member

    Swiss Apple

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #16
    Why not kill two birds with one stone and get a 2.5" enclosure/divx media player. It functions as a standard USB 2.0 enclosure, but hook it up to a monitor, TV etc.. and you have a remote control media player capable of HD video output (VGA/AV and component outputs). Its not much bigger than a standard enclosure and is great for media presentations, watching videos in hotel rooms, parents house etc..

    I recently picked up this one, but plenty more styles are available (make sure you get one with component outputs for best picture)

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=390074538513
     
  16. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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  17. relativist macrumors regular

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    Jan 13, 2009
    #18
    I doubt it. Is that where the OP is at?
     
  18. Jigsawjammer macrumors regular

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    Apr 29, 2009
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    NYC
    #19
    I bought a real cheap 3.5" enclosure that was a POS and didn't work. Someone on her suggested this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817347017

    It is well made and works like a champ (also looks very much like a Mac Pro)

    So- I suggest a 2.5" Macally. I find USB to be pretty decent speed wise.
     
  19. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #20
    lol nope, i was interested :p but shipping would be heaps
     
  20. chkdg8 macrumors 6502

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    Oct 24, 2007
    #21
    Did you buy this? If so, does the 2S require for you to set up RAID or can you opt out?
     
  21. jalyst macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    #22
    You should prolly rename the thread title to:
    Best external 2.5" hard drive enclosure?
    Otherwise you're likely to continue to get people who are off topic.

    I would make a suggestion but I've only researched 3.5" enclosures in depth.
    Some can comfortably do both sizes, but they're usually lame in some other way.

    Good luck!
     
  22. xlii macrumors 68000

    xlii

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    Millis, Massachusetts
    #23
    When buying firewire enclosures just be careful. Not all of them support firewire 800. Many are firewire 400 only. So just read the fine print and make sure firewire 800 is supported if that is the speed you are looking for.
     
  23. chkdg8 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #24
    I'm telling you, you can't go wrong with an Icy Dock. This is what I just purchased strictly for my TimeMachine backups: this hdd inside this enclosure and this is my set up for media: HDD // ICY DOCK MB559UEB-1S. I realized that for TM backups, you don't need to use a fast drive or even a 3.5" drive for that matter. My iMac's internal is only 320GB so I decided to match it in size and stick with a USB only solution. Again, this is your choice but it's not necessary for something that's going to be running in the background. Remember, after TM's initial back up which will take a long time, backups after that are once a day and take less than a minute if not seconds. Now, my media solution is different as I stream HD content. I settled with a 7200rpm 32MB cache drive hooked up through the Icy Dock's FW800 port but after reading a couple of posts on here, I heard that 5400rpm is good enough even for 1080P content. You can save like $20 within the speed differentiation.
     

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