Scannerz failed my external HD, but is it worth fixing?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MacRobert10, May 16, 2013.

  1. MacRobert10 macrumors 6502

    Nov 24, 2012
    I've been a fan of Scannerz for drive testing for some time. Today, the inevitable happened. An ancient, and I mean ancient external hard drive finally started beach balling, and I did a test on it with Scannerz, and it found a number of bad sectors (repeatable, so I know it's not the cable) so it's likely a head crash.

    This is an old, and I mean OLD external HD with a dual USB/FireWire interface made by the now defunct/bankrupt company, ACom. I got this thing (seriously) in 2003. I used to use it as a boot disk for my old iBook back then and when not using the iBook as a portable, I'd use it as a workstation and this drive would be the main drive. I then moved to a PPC Mac Mini and it still got a lot of use. In about 2008, because of its age, it really got relegated to doing nothing more that making redundant backups. I'm actually surprised it didn't fail earlier.

    I'm not even interested in trying to repair/recover or attempt to get the drive inside this internal enclosure working because of its age. However, even though it's only a Firewire 400/USB 2.0 interface, the housing is still useful. I'm considering just swapping out the drive and replacing it with a new, even bigger one, but as you might guess, being that old its using an IDE interface.

    To the best of my knowledge, no one's been making drives with IDE interfaces for some time, but I might be wrong. Considering how cheap HDs are these days, if I could get a big, fat one, with say 500GB of storage, this could actually make a decent backup drive. I know the interface isn't as fast as it could be, but for a backup drive, who cares?

    The question is, where to get one at a reasonable price? I see a fair number of these drives on the market, but an awful lot of them bear the label "refurbished" which makes me wary of them.

    Anyone know of a good, reliable source for old HDs like this that might still carry a real manufacturers warranty?

  2. ZVH macrumors 6502

    Apr 14, 2012
    You can still find IDE drives out there that aren't refurbs, but expect to pay about $70-$150 for one with a size of anywhere from 120G to 360G. Don't expect to find anything much bigger than that either because they probably didn't exist or if they did they were rare. Now that they're rare, so to speak, they're commanding a premium.

    What I would do instead is this:

    1. Find a small IDE <-->SATA bridge or adapter and inside the unit.
    2. Use a SATA drive

    I saw some video clip of some guy doing this with an old Maxtor. I bet the cost of a real SATA drive is so much lower than a comparable IDE drive that you could get both the SATA drive and adapter for less than a real, non-refurb'd IDE drive...and you could use it in other systems too if you needed to.

    Check this out, for example: 40-pin Female to SATA Adapter_STP-IDE2SAT25
  3. johnnnw macrumors 65816


    Feb 7, 2013
    Maybe I'm missing something but for the price you could get a crappy IDE drive why not just get a 1.5-2TB external drive?

    Why keep using an expensive dinosaur?
  4. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Doubly true if it's a FW400 drive.
  5. MacRobert10 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 24, 2012
    The bridge idea is a great idea! Thanks, Mac.

    I have about 5 systems, and they're not all new. FireWire 400 fits the bill for all of them. The IDE drives are a rip off. I found a "new" one for about $120 for 360G. I can get an adapter for about $10-$20 and a slower (3GB data rate) SATA for $60 and it's 1TB.

    THANKS! The adapter idea didn't even occur to me.
  6. ZVH macrumors 6502

    Apr 14, 2012
    Make sure you get the right type of adapter. If you'll notice in some of those pictures some of the connectors are male and some are female, so some are intended to plug into the IDE cable whereas others plug into the drive.

    It might be interesting seeing what kind of speed you get out of that. I would figure that with ATA running 133MB/sec it works out to slightly over 1Gb/s (serial) which is in the vicinity of early SATA 1 drives.
  7. MacRobert10 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 24, 2012
    It's ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D:D:D

    I got a SATA/IDE adapter from Tiger Direct and the things working great. The adapter only cost $14 and you can probably get them elsewhere. I didn't test the speed but it seems as fast as the previous drive was.

    Now I'm good to go for another few years and only just over 60 bucks spent on the whole thing and I've got something that I can still use as an emergency boot device for some of my older systems.

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