SATA II enclosure with Firewire?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Molnies, Oct 4, 2007.

  1. Molnies macrumors member

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    #1
    Hey,

    I couldn't find another post with my question so I'll give it a try and see if anybody out there have any ideas on what I might want...

    I'm looking for a 3.5" SATA II enclosure, with Firewire 800 output(s).
    It needs to be able to take 500Gb but preferably up to 1TB.

    I can find so many for IDE but not for SATA, what's up with that?

    The Iomega Ultra Max 1TB would have been my #1 choice if the HDDs were changeable, but as far as I can tell it's built as a solid external drive and not to be used as an enclosure. Or am I wrong?

    Thanks for any help, even with advice on what brands to avoid and all that.
     
  2. Tastannin macrumors 6502

    Tastannin

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  3. Vader macrumors 65816

    Vader

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    #3
    Back a couple months when I bought a new 500gb HD, I was going to get a SATA II and enclosure, but I had no real luck finding a SATA II enclosure. I remember finding a few, but they were much more expensive than the ATA ones. I ended up just getting an IDE drive and using it with the enclosure I already had.
     
  4. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    #4
    I found for someone a while ago that supports Firewire 800. It is the cheapest one I could find but it can hold two hard drives and supports RAID 0. Plus it looks seriously heavy duty:cool:. Link
     
  5. cube macrumors G5

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  6. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a

    QuantumLo0p

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    #6
    Do you specifically need a SATA-II enclosure?

    If you already have a SATA-II drive it should be backwards compatible with SATA-I enclosures...

    If you don't have a SATA-II drive yet you may want to search for deals on any SATA drive, I or II...

    If you find a screaming deal on a PATA drive and think you will never put it into a computer you may want to buy it..

    As far as enclosure performace you probably won't see much difference between PATA, SATA-I and SATA-II. The interface speed is way more than the read-write speed of the disk itself.
     
  7. Molnies thread starter macrumors member

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    #7
    I don't have any SATA drives yet, but the reason why I want to have SATA II is because I want the most future proof alternative. I do have a bunch of old IDE drives (all PC formatted) but I already have a IDE enclosure with USB.

    I want a SATA enclosure since I need more space for my ever growing photo library (several hundred GBs right now and much more to come). The idea is to have 2 enclosures or 1 that can take 2 drives - and have the ability to have a HDD backup located in a safe place. And with such a backup it's better to have a bare HDD and not a whole external package if you know what I mean.

    I have been looking for some RAID alternatives but so far haven't really found any attractive offers.
     
  8. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #8
    The one I mentioned also has eSATA, which is better than FW800.
    You can add eSATA ports to a MP or MBP.
     
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #9
    That's the thing... if you use FW800, SATA-II provides you no advantage over using the same drive with a SATA-I controller. Why? One, you can use the same SATA-II drive in either enclosure. Two, if you get the SATA-II drive and upgrade the enclosure later, obviously, which enclosure you chose now is not important (only which drive, and you can use SATA-II with any SATA enclosure). Three, if you get the SATA-II drive now along with the SATA-II enclosure, even if you upgrade the drive, you are interface (FW) limited in speed already. No matter how amazing the SATA-II drive gets, you still will not realize any additional speed benefits. If you use eSATA, perhaps....

    IcyDock is my brand of preference... they have a number of SATA-II enclosures, including two FW800 models.

    http://www.icydock.com/externalsata.html

    But you really need to understand the point above.
     
  10. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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  11. Molnies thread starter macrumors member

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    #11
    No, I do get that point - but even then, I still haven't found many good enclosures for SATA I drives either, with firewire (400 or 800). I rather not use USB since I've had quite a few problems with it, not speed issues but stability.

    The drives on icydock seems good on paper, I'll have to check some reviews. Never heard of them before actually.

    That one does seem really good. I know that eSATA would be optimal, but since I have an 24" iMac I have no such luck.
     
  12. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #12
    The one I have is the silver MB559UEA-1S (USB2/FW400 SATA-I/II). I have two of them (owned for only a couple months so far, though). I bought them on a recommendation from another thread a long time ago. Both were purchased from Newegg.

    The visual match to Apple products is excellent (aluminum and white plastic, although they have several other looks as well). They have very nice folding feet for vertical storage (I use them vertically). One of them has a 7200RPM Seagate (I think?) 160GB HD and gets used as the boot drive on my iMac (dead SATA controller); the other has a 7200.10 Seagate 500GB and is only used for backup. I use both via FW400.

    Some notes... they only run via external power (mine are plugged into a Belkin UPS). No bus power. They do have firewire chaining. They're very solid. They use a caddy system but are not fully tool-less, because you have to use a phillips screwdriver to put the drive in the caddy to begin with (they could probably have used thumbscrews for this, which would be an improvement). They get along well with Apple in terms of sleep/wake.

    With respect to eSATA, if you're very concerned about future-proofing, eSATA might be a good thing, since if you got another computer that had an eSATA port, you could plug it in and immediately get a speed benefit from it, although conversely, making sure you have USB means you can expect to use it on almost any computer (whereas a Windows PC may not have Firewire). FW800 is worth it, probably -- you should see a 20% speed increase at minimum, and possibly more. Otherwise, though, you want to make sure the enclosure will boot a Mac (most all the ones in this thread will), is well powered (as convenient as it seems, I'd avoid bus-power, at the most using one that can do bus power but has a power supply also).

    Good luck!
     
  13. Molnies thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    Thanks for your help!
    I think I've decided to purchase the ICY Dock enclosure, not sure if I will choose the MB559UEA-1S (the one you have) or the MB559UEB-1S (the same, only with Firewire 800).
    The Fw400 one is priced at $60 @ Newegg and the Fw800 is $100
    Since I want 2 of them as well as 2 Seagate Barracuda 500GB drives I'm not sure I can afford the Fw800 enclosure. I mean I'm perfectly sure I can manage with the Fw400 version for now and then buy a new enclosure in two years or so when I move over to a MacPro (with eSATA)

    Anyway, thanks again. I almost forgot how much I love the Mac community since I haven't been here for almost a year or so =)
     
  14. maestrokev macrumors 6502a

    maestrokev

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    #14
    Be careful of buying enclosure from OWC

    I bought 2 new 500GB SATAII drives and then the OWC Mercury Elite Pro AL dual RAID drive. Installed myself and can't get working. Found out the OWC enclosure doesn't support SATAII, only SATAI. That's not my big problem though, I can't get the enclosure to mount on my 3 new Mac computers. Mounted once, then disappeared and can't mount again on either of the 3 computers. I sent the enclosure back to OWC for testing and they suspected power supply so whipped me a new one. I asked them to send a new enclosure but, without telling me in advance, they only sent back the old one. Now my drives still don't work with that enclosure. Since my 2 external hard drives are brand new I'm refuting their claim it's my drives that are a problem.

    In short, be careful about ordering enclosures from internet retailers like OWC and installing yourself unless you're prepared to argue with their customer service.
     
  15. moworks2 macrumors member

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    May 3, 2007
    #15
    how's about...

    http://www.macgurus.com/productpages/sata/CalDigit_S2VR.php

    or

    http://www.macgurus.com/productpages/sata/BurlyPortMultiEncl.php


     
  16. Tastannin macrumors 6502

    Tastannin

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    #16
    Ooh, didn't realize that. Ordered from them before without problems, whew.
    :D

    Anyways, regarding the SATA/SATA II argument for cases - if the case is a RAID type, I can see why that might be important, but what about pass through cases? Does it really make a difference?
     
  17. cube macrumors G5

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  18. Dafke macrumors 6502

    Dafke

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    #18
    I've got this one, work fine. Got SATA II support, USB, Firewire 400 & 800 and eSata connections.
     
  19. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #19
    SATA-2 is a colloquial term for SATA-300MBs interface as compared with the original SATA-150MBs
     
  20. jtown macrumors 6502

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    Jul 3, 2003
    #20
    I'll admit I just skimmed some of the responses so what I'm about to say may have already been said but here goes.

    1) There is no SATA hard drive on the market that can saturate a SATA I/SATA150 connection. The only advantage you get with SATA II/SATA300 on a single drive setup is a slightly enhanced command structure (NCQ) and I don't know if that would be relevant over the firewire bridge. If you were hooking up a hardware RAID controller to a single SATA300 port, you could potentially see some advantage over a SATA150 port if you were using enough drives. However, that's not the kind of setup you're discussing.

    2) All of the SATA II/SATA300 drives I've seen can be set to SATA I/SATA150 mode using a jumper.

    Bottom line: There's no reason to put a SATA II controller in the type of box you're describing because the extra cost would be wasted. There would be no performance increase gained by using SATA II/SATA300 and no compatibility issue created by using a SATA I/SATA150 controller. If you find a SATA300 box that isn't outrageously priced, it won't hurt anything to use it but it won't provide an advantage.

    As for firewire, that's definitely the way to go if you don't have an eSATA port. Performance is roughly 2x that of USB2, it handles isochronous operations (CD/DVD burning, video capture, etc.) much better than USB and the CPU overhead is much lower. Don't let the "480mbps" speed of USB2 fool you. FW400 blows it out of the water.

    Whether FW800 will give you a performance boost with the average 500 gig SATA drive is questionable but it may help a bit and certainly won't hurt. Few PATA/SATA drives are capable of sustaining transfer rates beyond the range of FW400 but they do bump up against its upper limit.
     
  21. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #21
    That's one point of view, but there are also other specs considered "SATA II".

    Saying SATA II only brings confusion.

    If you want SATA 3 Gbps call it like that.
     
  22. Molnies thread starter macrumors member

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    Sweden
    #22
    With SATA II I obviously mean SATA 300 or SATA 3 Gbit/s

    The reason I want SATA II/300 and not SATA/150 is simply because you more or less can't find the previous version of Serial ATA drives here in Sweden. The only SATA/150 HDDs I've found are the 10 000 rpm versions, other then that it's just SATA/300 that's offered in stores. That and ATA/IDE of course.
     
  23. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #23
    Tell that to all of the manufacturers who list their SATA-300 drives as SATA-2. If you get them to comply, then I'm with you on the strict interpretation.

    Molnies: You should double check on compatibility of the case before buying, of course, but in general SATA-300 MBs drives are backwards compatible with 150.
     
  24. cube macrumors G5

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    #24
    The hard drive manufacturers don't say "SATA II". It's the online shopping sites.

    Maybe the enclosure vendors, which would be less serious.
     
  25. JoshFink macrumors regular

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    Atlanta, GA
    #25
    Just out of curiousity... Would I see that much more performance improvement going with SATA over PATA? I'm going to use this in a FW800 enclosure.

    Thanks

    Josh
     

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