Should a hard drive always be in a metal surrounding?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by poiihy, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. poiihy macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2014
    I notice that nearly all hard drive enclosures are made of metal; and I also noticed that nearly all PCs are sealed with metal sheets. What does this serve to the HDD?

    I got an enclosure and it is made out of plastic; there is no metal shielding (except the metal plate on top). Could this be bad?

    Well... the WD Elements drives don't have a metal casing so I suppose it is ok?
  2. Mikael H macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2014
    If you open up the enclosure, the drive (provided it's a mechanical drive rather than an SSD) will probably still be made from metal.

    The metal case for a spinning disk makes sense, since there are serious rotational forces in action - a fast consumer disk will rotate at 7200 rpm. You also really don't want the construction to flex, since the tolerances between the read/write-heads and the platters are pretty small. But the enclosure containing the disk and the controller board really doesn't have to be sturdier than that it doesn't break in normal usage.
  3. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    Metal hard drive enclosures tend to dissipate heat better than plastic ones, but plastic is cheaper so you'll see plastic cases on the cheap consumer drives.

    Personally, I prefer to buy bare drives and buy multi-bay enclosures that have fans to keep the drives operating at a cooler temperature.
  4. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    You'll see quality plastic enclosures on just about all portable 2.5 enclosures, some are not so cheap.


    The metal is used as an RFI shield, mostly to prevent the PC or Drive interfering with other nearby items, like a Radio. The thin metal does little for the magnetic shielding that may erase a rotational drive. Shielding material is added to some plastics, so even though it may not be metal it can act as a shield. I doubt if enclosures use that type of plastic.

    So keep the drives away from strong magnetic fields (like a big speaker) and if it interferes with something, move it farther away.
  5. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Heat is probably the biggest killer of hard drives in my opinion. A quality metal enclosure and/or active cooling will keep your drive running longest. Many consumer externals come in cheap plastic enclosures (WD and Seagate). Check out the warranty on those... 1 year. Where as their internal bare hard drives generally come with a 2+ year warranty.


    Seagate External 4TB drive w/ 1 Year Warranty

    Seagate Basic Bare Internal 4TB drive w/ 2 Year Warranty

    I wonder which one Seagate assumes will fail first......

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