external hard drive enclosures versus a dock

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Sossity, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. Sossity macrumors 65816

    May 12, 2010
    I was asking about a back up hard drive & someone suggested this to me;

    Have you considered a "dock" style setup?

    For about $20-30, you can get one of these:
    (many items shown, pick the one you like)

    ... and then pick up one or more "bare drives" from the vendor of your choice. I like newegg.com and Seagate drives.

    I put the bare drives back into the anti-static bags in which they came when I'm not using them.

    If you want more connection options than just USB2, you might consider one of these:
    (a little more $$, though).

    The advantages of choosing a dock/drive setup for backup are:
    - drive and enclosure aren't "married" to one another. If you have a problem with the dock (but drive seems ok), just get another dock. If you are having a problem with a drive (but dock is ok), just get another drive.
    - you can add additional drives (say, to create a second backup), but all you need is the one dock.

    The DISadvantage of the dock/drive setup is that (at least in my opinion) it's not designed for "continuous usage" -- that is, a setup where you turn the drive on and leave it running ALL THE TIME. I wonder if there would be enough "air movement" around the drive, without "forced ventilation" such as a fan. Having said that, I've used my drives in a dock for a few hours at a time, and they just get warm to the touch, and not hot.

    But if you're going to use it on and off for backups and "secondary online storage" that you access now-and-then, it makes a great solution.

    This has me thinking about docks in general, since the available ports are limited on my 2010 macbook pro, & hubs may not always be the most reliable, would a dock allow me to switch out my bare hard drives & through a cable still have them directly connected to my macbook pro?

    I would like to have usb & firewire400/800 esata options on the dock.

    which would be safer for my external hard drives? a dock or getting separate enclosures for each one?

    one thing I have to consider is my work area does get dirty & dusty, I clean up as much as I can (I live in an older building)

    would there be more risk in me handling the bare drives?

    would they overheat in extended periods of use? like for 2-5 hours?

    I have also seen dual slot docks, would one of these provide enough power to each of my drives?

    my hard drives are 3.5 inch at 72rpm 1Tb, one is a seagate barracuda, & the other is a hitachi deskstar.
  2. chasemac macrumors 6502a


    Jan 30, 2005
    In a house.
    Your links do not point specific. But I think an external enclosure is a great think to have. Make sure you get an enclosure that will work with your HD.
  3. Sossity thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 12, 2010
    so do you think I would be better off with an enclosure rather than a dock? do you know what the difference is between these? docks allow one to swap out hard drives & enclosures permanency hold each hard drive.
  4. John T macrumors 68020

    John T

    Mar 18, 2006
    I suppose if you have more than one drive that are not used with any degree of regularity i.e. backups, a dock would be convenient. However, if you have just one or two drives, I personally would prefer them in a caddy - as I have!
  5. millerj123 macrumors 65816

    Mar 6, 2008
    A dock makes it easy to do rotating backups that can be taken off-site. The other nice part is that by design you can just get a bigger drive as prices drop. Many enclosures don't allow you to swap the drive itself.

    I know folks who've had originals and backups ruined/stolen together.
  6. Fubar1977 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2010
    North Yorkshire, UK
    Docks are really handy.My friend has an external dock with 4 hotswappable bays, really useful.
    It`s also got an eSata port.
  7. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    I've been using a 3.5" drive in a dock for about 4 months without problems. You do have to be more careful around it though (especially during winter when static electricity is more of a problem).

    The dock vs enclosure question largely depends on how you're using the drives. Will one of the drives be your main working drive, with the others being backups of that drive? If that's the case, it's probably worth putting the main drive in a case since it's being used all the time then use the dock purely for rotating in your backup drives. This is the type of setup I'm working towards at least.

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