do external enclosures with UASP benefit spinning hard drives at all?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by sneak3, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. sneak3 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2011
    Hey there.

    Since macs now support UASP, I was wondering if I should look for an external UASP case as well for my hard drive, or if I could go with a regular one.

    Will I see any benefits by going with UASP at all with a HDD or that is only for SSDs?
  2. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    Yes, you absolutely should - it has faster real-world transfers even with HDDs (even though synthetic sustained read/write benchmarks may not blatantly reflect this except with the 7200 RPM desktop class HDDs that can support over 250 MB/s sustained read/write speeds.) I've personally noticed that the work itself tends to dictate how big the gains are over BOT. Additionally, UASP dramatically reduces CPU overhead.
  3. sneak3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2011
    Great!!! Thanks for the detailed explanation. Extremely helpful.

    By the way, out of curiosity, are you aware of any portable external HDDs that could reach over 200 MB/s write speed? SSDs still too expensive in the 2 TB+ range, which I desperately need.
  4. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    I am personally not - the 2.5-inch HDDs seem to top out around 140 MB/s, and the fastest 7200 RPM 2.5 inch HDD that I am personally aware of (the WD Black wd10jplx, which can go as high as 145MB/s using SATA/eSATA [obviously USB will be slightly slower]) only comes in capacities up to 1TB. The similarly fast Travelstar 7k1000 also only comes in sizes up to 1TB. Higher capacity options, such as the 2TB WD Blue 2.5, or 2TB-5TB Seagate Barracuda 2.5, are somewhat slower (although the Barracuda does 120-130 MB/s, which ain't bad at all.)

    If a 3.5-inch HDD will do, you could get twice the working speeds as many of the 7200 RPM HDDs can easily exceed 200 MB/s, but I assume when you say portable you need a bus-powered 2.5 drive.
  5. sneak3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2011

    Are those seagate barracudas the ones used in the Backup Plus Slim line? I'll check those out. And yes, looking for bus-powered ones :)
  6. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    That I don't know - I avoid most pre-configured Seagate and WD mobile products because of their tendency to solder the SATA bridge to the drive itself, and instead opt for purchasing the bare drive and (a much nicer) external enclosure separately.
  7. sneak3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2011
    Oh I see. What is the issue exactly with soldering the sata bridge to the drive though?

    And going back to enclosures then, any recommendation of some nice usb-A, UASP 2.5" ones to pair with that barracuda drive?
    I've heard that i should try to get one with the asmedia chip for better compatibility and reliability.
  8. seagate_surfer macrumors newbie


    Mar 31, 2017
    Cupertino, CA
    What is being referred to here is that there's a trend of what is called "shucking", which means buying external drives which can sometimes be found for really good deals, for the purpose of taking apart the casing and using the drive inside as an internal drive. Some units are not shuckable, which means that they can't be used except in the external unit as intended. Some prefer to have that capability because, should the drive fail/run into issues, they can then have the option of taking the casing apart and using the drive as an internal to access the data. It should be noted that consistently across the industry, this will typically void your warranty. To be clear, we aren't trying to villify anyone, just stating there are tradeoffs.

    We strongly advocate 2 rules when it comes to any hard drive to ensure both reliability and performance:

    1. Use the drive for the purpose for which it was intended. You wouldn't take a semi-truck to a NASCAR race and then complain it was crappy because you couldn't win races.
    2. Always, always back up your data vigilantly.
  9. ZapNZs, Oct 18, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017

    ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    No differently than Apple soldering RAM and SSDs, it's your company and obviously your call...but, with an external with a soldered bridge, should the bridge/controller fail (or the USB port be damaged, which isn't that unusual with inferior and delicate legacy USB connectors [praise be to USB-C to address this]), it can render a perfectly good drive useless, creating more environmental waste, causing the end-User greater inconvenience, and costing them more money. Further, the warranty periods on externals are, almost completely across the board, shorter than the warranty on bare drives. To your credit, you offer extremely high-capacity, affordable 2.5 inch drives that perform well and are capable of meeting a wide range of uses - and you are unquestionably the industry leader when it comes to pushing the limits on ultra high-capacity 2.5-inch drives.

    But Toshiba, Western Digital, and Seagate all make it:
    A) difficult to determine whether a particular external hard drive has a soldered SATA bridge or not (many of your [and WD/Toshiba] enclosures are difficult-to-impossible to disassemble without enclosure damage, and, as you noted, disassembly voids the warranty-which I honestly find a little silly.) When most consumers are informed of this upon having one of these style externals malfunction, their reactions I have observed have ranged from annoyed to infuriated that such information was not more readily available (mind you, many of them kept only one copy of their files [which was a mistake they made given all drives can and eventually will fail], and some of that anger was related to hearing the pricing of hardware data recovery.)
    B) difficult to determine what internal drive is being used with your external enclosures - for example, does Seagate use the proven, liked, and trusted Barracuda 2.5 in your external drives?...or do you use a lower tier drive? (Sometimes even SMART metrics are insufficient to determine what exact drive model/tier is used on some pre-fab externals.)

    While I can certainly recommend your bare internal drive + a good enclosure, or a WD internal drive + a good enclosure, I have a hard time recommending your external 2.5-inch drives, or WD's 2.5-inch external drives, to anyone given I do not personally feel that accepting the limitations and lack of readily available information justifies the price-savings.

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8 October 17, 2017