Upgrading External HDD to USB 3.0

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

  1. afrocleland macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
    Location:
    Glasgow
    #1
    Hey,

    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?

    Cheers
     
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #2
    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

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #3
    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

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    #4
    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

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #5

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

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    #6
    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

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
    Location:
    Glasgow
    #7
    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

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    #8
    But so are USB 3.0 enclosures:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/HGST/0STOUROEXT3/

    $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

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #9
    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

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    #10
    5400rpm drives are faster than USB2, so you will see a speed increase.
     

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