portable 2.5 in drives vs 3.5 bare harddrives

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Sossity, Jul 10, 2016.

  1. Sossity, Jul 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2016

    Sossity macrumors 65816

    May 12, 2010
    apologies if I have asked this already but I have found the portables are very convenient, I can just plug them in vs swapping out my bigger bare desktop sized drives in an enclosure.

    in addtion to the convenice of the smaller size, my desktop space and drawer space is cramped, andthe smaller drives would be alot easier for me to manage.

    I have alot of data on various hard drives, and would like quick easy acess to it all.

    is there a big difference in reliability between the 2 types?

    I am also looking for some reusable labels for my portables for easy id of whats on them, and a good usb hub to work on my classic mac pro mid 2010.

    any suggestions welcome thanks
  2. chscag macrumors 68030


    Feb 17, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    At one time 3.5" drives seemed to be more reliable than their 2.5" counterparts, however, I'm not so sure that's the case any longer. Besides, with SSDs taking over the industry I don't think it's something to worry about.
  3. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    Don't trust a single hard drive for your valuable data, always backup.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Yes, if you have data that resides exclusively on an external drive (not on your internal drive), you need to keep that backed up to ANOTHER external drive.

    One copy is NOT enough!

    Having said that, I think 2.5" drives are as "sturdy" in day-to-day usage as are 3.5" drives, at least these days.
    Also, with a 3.5" drive, you'll ALWAYS need an external power supply. Many 2.5" drives can run off "bus power" (either USB or firewire).
  5. Sossity thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 12, 2010
    which type would better survive a power failure? my neighborhood has about 3-4 a year, late summer, and during windy storms.

    I read that usb powered drives can get corrupted, but ones that have a power supply are less vunerable.

    if I had my portables attached via a powered usb hub, would this help?
  6. shoehornhands, Jul 12, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016

    shoehornhands macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2014
    The only differences of any real significance (with regard to mechanical drives) are size and cost (3.5" drives are typically available in larger sizes, and a lower cost per GB than 2.5" drives).

    If you haven't already, you might also want to consider using SSDs in external enclosures. They have very low power consumption / can be powered by USB alone, and are not only available in a 2.5" form factor, but also even smaller form factors such as mSATA as well.

    SSDs are also more reliable than mechanical drives in terms of both raw endurance, as well as durability (e.g. it's all too easy to damage an external mechanical drive by bumping / dropping the drive while it's active, whereas SSDs have no moving parts, making them more tolerant to abuse).

    Additionally, you have the obvious performance benefits of SSDs. An SSD in a SATA III enclosure with UASP support gets 400+ MBps read/write over USB 3.0 / 3.1, whereas a mechanical drive isn't going to provide more than 100 MBps read/write, regardless of interface (as the bottleneck is the drive itself).

    While SSDs are still a bit more money than mechanical drives, they are now at a much more competitive / reasonable price point.

    Anyway, here are a few examples:

    Small mSATA enclosure + Samsung 850 EVO mSATA SSD:

    You can get that mSATA Samsung 850 EVO in sizes from 120GB to 1TB, and stick it in an enclosure not that much larger than a thumb drive.

    Or you can purchase any standard 2.5" SSD, and stick it in enclosures like these:

    SATA III -> USB 3.0 (5 Gbps) with UASP

    SATA III -> USB 3.1 (10 Gbps) with UASP

    One option to protect against power failure is to go with an enterprise SSD like the Samsung SM863 / PM863. These SSDs have tantalum capacitors on them to protect against sudden loss of power (they hold enough charge to wrap up any current operations and power down safely). You can also simply purchase a UPS.
  7. Sossity thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 12, 2010
    thanks for the info on ssd drives, yeah I would like to go to them, but they are still a bit too much for me right now, I need capacites of at least 2 tb for all my photos movies and data.

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