Upgrading External HDD to USB 3.0

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by afrocleland, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. afrocleland macrumors member

    Sep 24, 2012

    I've got an old 5200rpm 500GB laptop HD I stuck an enclosure on that I use as an external disk. It's only USB 2.0 just now, but was going to buy a cheap USB 3.0 enclosure from ebay/amazon and see if it speeds things up. Is that realistic?

  2. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    That shouldn't be a problem, but...

    .... you didn't say _how old_ the HDD is. If it's _really_ old, it may still have an "ATA type" interface (40 pins), rather than SATA. You need to know this _before_ you buy a new enclosure for it.

    Having said that, if it has the standard SATA interface, you might also consider a USB3/SATA "docking station". These typically cost about $25 (US). To see what's avaialble, go to amazon.com and enter "usb3 sata dock" in the search box -- you should get many hits.

    The advantage of the docking station is that you can swap drives as needed. I've been using these gadgets for a while now, and if you don't absolutely have to have a small external enclosure for portability, they beat a "closed-in enclosure" hands down.
  3. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    And you will likely not see any performance gains as the old drive is likely the throughput bottleneck, not USB 2.0 . You won't see data rate improvements unless you throw an SSD or new 7200 rpm drive in there.
  4. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    It will almost be the same cost to buy a new external USB 3.0 complete drive. 500gb USB 3.0 drives are almost being given away.
  5. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012

    Amen. Use older, slower, smaller drives as paperweights or doorstops. I would not bother with less than 1TB 7200 drives.
  6. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2013
    I have several laptop drives I use in a USB3 drive dock. All 5200 rpm. They perform quite well, but as others note, a large 7200 RPM drive will be much faster. If the external case has a UASP chip, even better.

    Best single HD performance I know of personally is a 4TB HGST Deskstar (5 platters) in a UASP enabled case.
  7. afrocleland thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 24, 2012
    To be honest, its not that old. It's just an external one that i bought about 3 years ago. It's a SATA. I had to replace its enclosure after I broker the usb port on the original. So we thinking at 5400rpm will bottleneck with a USB 3.0?
  8. fredr500 macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2007
    But so are USB 3.0 enclosures:


    $1.75 each, but shipping is a bit hefty, so buy a few to bring average cost down. Includes AC adapter and a USB3 cable.
  9. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    This note:
    Makes the enclosure a bad idea. I want enclosures where I can move drives freely to a different brand enclosure without losing data.
  10. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    5400rpm drives are faster than USB2, so you will see a speed increase.

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