External HD vs. HD + Enclosure

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by dschiller, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. dschiller macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    #1
    Hi all:)

    I'm in the market for a 500Gb backup HD. I don't know whether I should buy an External HD or a "normal" HD and an enclosure. My two (most likely) options would be:

    - Seagate FreeAgent (U$199)

    - NewerTech miniStack V2 + Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (U$198)

    I know that the Seagate External HD is fugly, but I think Seagates are the most reliable drives out there (+ 5y War.), and I'm not sure about how easy it is to connect the HD to the case (I have experience with changing internal PC components, though).

    I am accepting suggestions, though USB + FW400 is a must, and price is an issue.

    Thanks in advance for any support!

    Daniel
     
  2. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Location:
    ~119W 34N
    #2
    I have a Seagate FreeAgent 750GB (eSATA, USB2) and it's actually a pretty nice case. It's a fanless, aluminum design. The orangish power light stripe is not too bright, and the logo on the side also lights up. It has a touch-switch for power. This is a much more compact and nicer looking case than the other Seagates. I'm very happy with it

    This is my 2nd 750 - I put my first together using this case and the same Seagate 7200RPM 750GB drive. This case can sit flat, if necessary, but it's also meant for vertical. It's fanless, aluminum. I needed eSATA as this one is hooked to my DirecTV HD DVR. Nice case, with blue LED power/access indicator.

    I went with the FreeAgent mostly because it was on sale at Fry's for $239. I had paid $289 plus $31 (case) just a couple months before, so I couldn't help myself at $239.

    edit: Functionally, I don't think there will be any difference. If you want a case with a fan, then that could be a factor for noise, depending on the design.

    So, the bottom line is whether you can put one together with separate components cheaper than the FreeAgent. Lately, I don't think so. There are some other case/drives from WD, Maxtor, etc, but right now I feel best going with Seagate, Hitachi or Fujitsu.

    edit: I'm using eSATA/USB as example, obviously they make the other interfaces (FW400).
     
  3. dschiller thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    #3
    Thanks for the quick reply!

    I really don't know what to do. The FreeAgent seems to be a fine External HD (reliable, fast, well-priced), but with the enclosure, I am always able to replace the HD + it is also a hub (2 USB ports + 1 FW400). Does anyone know how easy it is to assemble/use the miniStack, how reliable it is and how well-made it is?

    Besides, I've just found this option (500Gb, FW800, FW400, USB and eSata for U$209). Anyone with experiences with Lacie to share?

    Cheers
    Daniel
     
  4. fairnymph macrumors 6502

    fairnymph

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Chapel Hill, NC
    #4
    I would prefer to do HD + enclosure because you can then easily upgrade/replace as necessary, pick the prettiest enclosure (if aesthetics matter to you), pick the best actual HD, pick just the connects you need, etc. You just have more options, which is always good IMO.

    And, it's really easy to install an HD in an enclosure, at least in my experience (with OWC's aluminum ones).
     
  5. jalagl macrumors 6502a

    jalagl

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    #5
    I bought the 500GB FreeAgent HD for $140 + tax from Fry's last week. It is a nice drive, the light is not that intrusive, and I would definitely recommend it. It is USB2 only, but, at that price, it is a no-brainer. This, BTW, is the first "external HD" I've bought as one piece. I have other 4 that I put together by buying the HD and the enclosure separately.

    If you decide to go with the HD+enclosure, I can suggest you check out Directron. I bought all my HDs and enclosures from them, and they usually have pretty good prices on OEM HDs.
     
  6. dschiller thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    #6
    Why is it that drives/enclosures with FW400 are a LOT more expensive than equivalent USB/eSata ones?

    Does anyone have a suggestion of a good-looking, wellpriced enclosure with both USB2.0 and FW400?

    And is the Lacie a reliable/good-quality product?

    Cheers
    Daniel
     
  7. fairnymph macrumors 6502

    fairnymph

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Chapel Hill, NC
    #7
    I don't know, and it gets even pricier if you want FW800. My enclosure was $110! :eek:
     
  8. dschiller thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    #8
    Hi all:)

    I've just read a review on the Seagate FreeAgent Pro, and it seems that to configure some settings of the drive, you have to use the Windows-only bundled software. I really don't care about the Backup software, but I think it would be important to have access to some of those settings, such as after how much time the drive enters "sleep" mode and the intensity of the ambar light.

    Does anyone know if I can change these settings using Mac OS X?

    Is configuring them on a Windows box and then using the drive (with the settings chosen using the PC) with my Mac possible? (That would solve the problem for me)

    Cheers
    Daniel
     
  9. Edandlindz28 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #9
    As you can see in my sig, I did the ministack with a 500gb seagate and my wife put it together, so its pretty easy.
     
  10. cardsdoc macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    Location:
    Shaker Hts, OH
    #10
    I am also planning to get a 500GB external drive for my MBP when it arrives. I am planning to use this enclosure from OWC. OWC seems to have a good reputation plus this enclosure is nice looking and it has a quad interface - esata, firewire 400/800, and USB2. Unless you have an esata card, fw800 is significantly faster than fw400 or usb2 (assuming you have a fw800 port). You can then drop in a seagate drive which are $130 on newegg. This is only a little more than the freeagent drive and this way you get best drive and interface options. Also it looks like the Lacie drive is SATA I, not SATA II - not sure how much difference it makes but it's probably not as fast as the seagate drive.
     
  11. zim macrumors 65816

    zim

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    #11
    I have that enclosure and love it, you will too :)
     
  12. Notaclone macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    Location:
    NYC
    #12
    I was told to save the software before erasing, and bring it to a PC when I want to change settings. I'm still thinking about OWC vs FreAgent, maybe CMS.
     

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