the best 2.5 firewire enclosure?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mitchleeh, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. mitchleeh macrumors regular

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #1
    I just swapped out my 2.5 HD from my new MBP... and I would love to use it as an external. So quickly, what is your favorite firewire 800 (primarily) external enclosure? I'm no so interested in USB, but it would be an added bonus...

    So let me know...

    And don't get angry because I didn't use Mroogle - I did, but didn't find anything about firewire 800 enclosures specifically.
     
  2. spcedog macrumors newbie

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    Jun 7, 2010
    #2
    owc mercury on-the-go pro

    It's bus powered, it's got firewire 800...It's fun to see your drive inside. I like it a lot and have had no problems using it.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/on-the-go

    and people round these parts really like owc.
     
  3. MacInTO macrumors 65816

    MacInTO

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    #3
  4. Sensamic macrumors 68030

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    #4
    I have the OWC on-the-go since two weeks and it is amazing. The best enclosure I've seen ever. Really really like it.
     
  5. mitchleeh thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    I'm kind of confused on this one... does it require additional power?
     
  6. MacInTO macrumors 65816

    MacInTO

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    #6
    No it does not when you use it with FW. I think mine came with a USB power cord but I've since misplaced it and have never needed it. I think it is for when you use it with USB - but who uses USB??
     
  7. Vylen macrumors 65816

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    #7
    Those crazy Windows people do.
     
  8. MacInTO macrumors 65816

    MacInTO

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    #8
    Apparently, they've been told USB is faster than FW. But people that use Mac know better!
     
  9. 7thMac macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Right, and each group is monolithic and excludes the other. :rolleyes:
     
  10. ZhaoYun macrumors newbie

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  11. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #11
    I also have the MacAlly enclosure and think it's great. However, since it's only FW400, the OWC Mercury with FW800 is probably faster.
     
  12. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #12
    Yes, but no Macs have USB 3.0 yet.
     
  13. TheWatchfulOne macrumors 6502

    TheWatchfulOne

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    #13
    I also have the OWC On-The-Go Pro and I think it's an excellent product. It should be noted that On-The-Go is available in different versions that have different connectivity options. That is there is one with USB only; at least one with FW only; and at least one other with both USB and FW. You can get the enclosure with the drive or separately. They come with a nice carrying pouch and an assortment of cables. Somewhere on their site, OWC, has icons for all their external drive solutions available for download.:cool:

    OWC has another 2.5 enclosure that is all aluminum and it also looks really nice. If I got a second 2.5 enclosure that's the one I would go for.
     
  14. Goldenbear macrumors regular

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    #14
    I do, since I see no reason to spend more than $15 to buy an enclosure (including padded case and cable) for a 5400rpm 2.5" drive. I seriously doubt I'm going to see much of a speed difference, if any, between USB and FW800 with this drive.

    At the time there was nearly a $80 price difference. Call me silly, but I figured I could put that towards more useful things than just to be able to say "see, I only use FireWire".
     
  15. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #15
    Wrong. Very, very wrong.

    Whether or not Firewire is worth an additional $80 is another story, but, in terms of speed, there's a HUGE difference between USB 2.0 and Firewire 400/800.
     
  16. Goldenbear macrumors regular

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    #16
    Really? You don't say! The FW interface is faster than USB 2.0? OMFG, I never knew!:rolleyes:

    I never said anything about USB 2.0 vs FW interface speeds. I said "...between USB and FW800 with this drive". In other words, my pathetic 2.5" hard drive is probably the bottleneck and that I doubt I'd see much of a difference if I put it in a USB enclosure vs a FW800 enclosure.

    The drive is a Fujitsu MHZ2120BH, which came with my Mac Mini. It sucks as far as speed goes.

    I couldn't find throughput numbers for it, so I ran xbench and got these results (best of 3 runs). This is for the drive installed in the Mac Mini (I had to put the drive back in, after the POS Seagate Momentus died on me, so I don't have USB performance numbers).

    Disk Test 47.37
    Sequential 61.22
    Uncached Write 80.91 49.68 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 73.56 41.62 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 34.82 10.19 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 93.83 47.16 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 38.63
    Uncached Write 14.75 1.56 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 89.05 28.51 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 67.59 0.48 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 102.77 19.07 MB/sec [256K blocks]

    Obviously, speed with be somewhat better with caching, but then again, benchmark speeds are typically better than what you'd see in real life. Sequential read/write goes from 10BM/sec up to 49MB/sec, but I've always felt random read/write is more indicative of real-world usage. That ranges from a blistering 0.48MB/sec to 28MB/sec.

    FW800 seems to get real-life speeds up to roughly 55MB/sec, and USB 2.0 seems to get around 30MB/sec. Given these numbers, I'd say for real-world usage, I most likely would not notice a difference.

    Of course, it's a moot point since I had to put the drive back into the Mini. Check out Newegg's reviews for the 2.5" 7200rpm Seagate and you'll see a whole slew of people with drive failures. But that's an entirely separate issue.
     
  17. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #17
    The closest thing I have around here is an old OEM PATA Seagate Momentus 2.5" 100GB 5400RPM drive. It's in an old FW400/USB2.0 enclosure. I copied a 756.8MB folder to it using USB2.0 and then FW400.

    USB2.0 took 1:00
    FW400 took 0:35

    The folder contained:

    2x 4K Files
    3x 8K Files
    1x 6.8MB File
    1x 14.8MB File
    8x 45MB Files
    1x 375.1MB File

    If I can notice the difference with an old PATA 5400RPM drive, I can't imagine you won't be able to notice a difference with your drive.
     
  18. Goldenbear macrumors regular

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    #18
    Interesting. You're getting roughly 12MB/sec from USB and 21MB/sec from FW400. I've read the speed difference typically isn't more than 70% at best (sometimes almost no difference), but you're getting close to 100%.

    So what computer was this, and did you have other stuff running at the time? USB is very much processor dependent, as you probably know.

    Regardless, your one data point does show that USB isn't as good as FW for drive access. Still, I wouldn't notice that small of a difference, although others may. Reason being, the way I was using the external drive, I would start copying files to it, then go do something else with the copying in the background. Since I'm not sitting there with a stopwatch timing the copy, I'm not going to notice a 30sec difference.

    So yes, there is an actual speed difference, based on what you posted. However, for my usage, the difference is definitely not something I'd notice.

    However, you did pique my curiosity about how fast my drive would run in a USB vs FW enclosure. One of these days, I may have to pick up a FW enclosure and test it out, as long as it isn't too expensive. Apple really screwed up by not deploying FW800 across all Macs back when it first came out. The future is looking to be USB 3.0, unfortunately, as Light Peak is MIA.
     
  19. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #19
    I did this test on my Mac Pro (see my signature below). I had a bunch of apps running at but CPU usage was probably no higher than 10%. When connected via FW400, I used the FW400 port in front of the Mac Pro. When connected via USB2.0, I used the USB ports on the side of my monitor (the USB ports in front of my Mac Pro was charging my iPhones, only charging, not syncing).
     
  20. bordenkecher macrumors member

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    Mar 24, 2006
    #20
    If you're throwing around small files, then of course you're not gonig to notice much of a difference. I'm also interested in grabbing a case for my 2.5 500gig 5400rpm drive that I'm salvaging from my rev A MBP that just died (logic board failure, RIP). I routinely move around 1-3gig files or chunks of data and there will certainly be a noticeable time difference b/w USB and FW800. Although, $59 for an enclosure is pushing it for me. I'm kinda strapped for cash now.
     
  21. durruti macrumors regular

    durruti

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    Jersey
    #21
    inexpensive USB 2.0 enclosure for SATA 2.5" HD

    I bought this Rosewill enclosure recently. Well built.

    $15 USD
    free shipping
     
  22. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #22
    I have several of the Macally PHRS-250CC enclosures, and they've worked very well.

    Note that Amazon.com has them for $27.99.
     
  23. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #23
    You forget that USB depends on the system processor for operation whereas Firewire has its own microprocessor. USB impacts slightly on system performance.

    It's not just transfer speed where you will see a difference.

     
  24. Darien Red Sox macrumors regular

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    Dec 13, 2010
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    CT, USA
    #24
    I have had nothing but bad luck Macally, at least for 3.5 enclosures. After a 2nd exchange that would hang after a few GBs on FW400, I bought a OWC one and have had no problems. Now I only buy OWC enclosures and have had good luck with them.
     

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