should I buy or build my next external drive?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kyrian, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. kyrian macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    #1
    I've been using a WD 500 GB and a WD Passport 160 GB to back up individual files and Time Machine on my MBA and my sister's MBA and MBP (not the unibody). However, my dad is about to start using his MBP (not the unibody either). And I need more storage since we work with music and video files alot. Keep in mind that the family computer is still a 2 years old PC from Bestbuy running XP.

    Now, people on the forum keep talking about the fact that it's better to build your own external drive rather than buying a ready-made drive. I have not have any problem with the WD drives yet (knock on wood) and the local MicroCenter is having a sell on them (640 GB for $99+tax) or I can pick one out from Amazon.

    I toy with the idea of building my own external for a while now and I came up with this bare drive
    http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Caviar-Black-WD1001FALS/dp/B001C271MA/ref=pd_bxgy_e_text_b
    but I don't know what enclosure and any needed additional things to buy with it.

    Please give me some advice, I can follow instructions pretty well so as long as I can find a decent guide for installing the drive into the enclosure and correctly formatting it for the computers, I'll be fine. I also want to keep the budget around $150 or so, not to exceed $175, since I can probably get the regular WD 1TB external for around $160 on sale somewhere within the next few months. Oh, and anyone have any ideas about network attached storage, including a decent router (of course, the budget would be increased accordingly) I'd appreciate it.

    Edit: I just found this on Amazon. Looks very tempting...
    http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digit...000VZCEUI/ref=pd_ts_e_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics

    should I?
     
  2. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68020

    Mr_Brightside_@

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    The 6ix
    #2
    I would say build one. It's cheaper and gives you more options, both in terms of what HD (its size, speed, etc) you want and, possibly more importantly, what ports are available (USB2.0,FW400/800, even eSATA, though you'll need adaptors in that case).
    My external hard drive was bought for me, but as a straight up bare hard drive and enclosure with USB2.0 only, which I would much prefer to be FW400, but you can't have everything. I've only ever had one issue with it, where it refused to erase some files and eject properly, so I copied off everything that wasn't already on my computer (iMovie/Final Cut projects, RAW files) onto a friend's external HD, reformatted via Disk Utility, and now it works perfectly again. Also, I had little to no experience assembling electronics at that point, but literally all you do is unscrew the case, shove the hard drive into the connector (think CF card into a camera/card reader), screw the case back together, power up, plug in, format, done. As for format, use FAT (MS-DOS File System) in order for it to work with both your Macs and your PC, though I believe FAT only supports single files up to 4GB. (Can someone back me up?)
    As for network, I'm not sure. AirPort Extreme base station would do the trick.
    Good luck.
    EDIT- as for the drive you posted, search for reviews, though I personally use Western Digital as well. Not sure about the enclosure size as I'm not 100% clear the size of the drive, however, the enclosure will have to be for a SATA drive. The size is 3.5 inch as far as I can tell ATMO.
     
  3. econoline06 macrumors 6502

    econoline06

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    #3
    ...just buy one. Any manufacturer has anything you could want these days. Spend a bit more and get a damn good drive from Fantom. Aluminum enclosure that dissipates heat better than plastic, FireWire 800, etc. Its really not worth the time to "build your own".

    Get a separate drive for your Windows computers. I don't know of anyone that uses the craptastic FAT file system anymore. Why in the world would you want to deal with the 4GB per file limit??
     
  4. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68020

    Mr_Brightside_@

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    The 6ix
    #4
    Thank you for completely eradicating my post. It took me five minutes to "build my own". And my case is aluminum.
     
  5. kyrian thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    #5
    at this point, after poking around on the wild wild web, I'm leaning toward something that can be attached to the router so it looks like I might need to go home and look at mine, see what type of router I have, if so, Airport Extreme might look good even though it's really expensive. Since the WD My Book Essential Edition 1 TB USB 2.0 non-alum. drive is ~$120 on the web right now and I like how it look, I'm very tempted, BUT the bigger WD drives tend have bad reputation. I'm thinking with the 1TB drive from WD, maybe I could spend quite a bit more for the mirror edition but question would Mirror Edition make a difference in case of drive failure?

    I also found this "green" alum. Fantom 1TB for ~$130 on Buy.com
    http://www.buy.com/prod/fantom-gree...al-hard-drive-2-year/q/loc/101/208503758.html

    About connection, Firewire or not to me doesn't really matter since my primary machine is the MBA, the other machines will be backup every other month or so. I think my dad has 1 or 2 Hitachi IDE 2.5" drives around the house so I could experiment with them first. Question: In this case, does it matter which 2.5 IDE enclosure to buy aside from being alum. is preferred?
    in which case, I think this might just do the trick
    http://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-SBT-E...4?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1233258858&sr=1-4
    or this
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817155704

    Thanks for your responses, I just look for opinions and options though I'm sure I'll try to build an ext. for fun in the near future, so if you guys have a combo of drive and enclosure that works great together, please tell me.
     
  6. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #6
    It does matter what enclosure you buy. There are bus powered, outlet powered, SATA, IDE, USB, F400, F800, and eSATA enclosures. OWC has really good enclosures and you can choose what cable interface you want to use:

    2.5"
    3.5"
     
  7. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #7
    Check with the manufacturer about their policy for ready-made external drives.

    If it fails, they might tell you you have these two options:
    - Send the drive to a data recovery company and lose your warranty.
    - Send the drive to the vendor for warranty and lose your data.
     
  8. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #8
    Can't really imagine why anyone in this situation would buy a ready-made external drive these days. Buying a cheap enclosure and a Seagate drive with 5-year warranty is the only way to go.

    Just be sure to match IDE drives with IDE enclosures and SATA drives with SATA enclosures.
     
  9. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #9
    Seagate slashes warranty from 5 years to 3 on selected bare drives.
     

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