What's a good 3.5" SATA hard drive enclosure?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Wolfpup, Jun 17, 2007.

  1. Wolfpup macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    I've got a 160GB 3.5" (desktop) SATA drive that I'd like to throw into an enclosure.

    I placed an order from Amazon for Antec's new MX-1, which is pricey, but sounds well designed, has a cooling fan...and it's Antec.

    I was just thinking though, it's only USB 2.0 (and eSATA)-are there any good enclosures that support Firewire in addition to USB 2.0?

    I'm thinking if I get a Macbook/Pro as my main system, they only have 2 USB ports, and besides Firewire is faster anyway.

    Obviously I'd want something that's 100% reliable in terms of the interface, keeps the drive cool enough, etc.
  2. cardsdoc macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2007
    Shaker Hts, OH
    I'm in the market for one as well. It seems that firewire 800 or esata (with an express card) are the way to go for max transfer rates and minimal CPU overhead. Unfortunately firewire 800 seems to add a significant cost and there are not many enclosures that provide all interface options. However OWC seems to have a good rep and I will likely be purchasing this drive from them as it looks nice and has all available interface options. It is pricey though.
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Coolmax CD-311 is one that I know of. Seems reliable, but it's pig-dog ugly.
  4. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2006
    One of my enclosures is a Venus DS-3 and I love it. The cooling fan is is on the surface of the hard drive, much like a fan on a graphics card. Also, it "sleeps" when it is idle for a while. I do not know if this is OS-X doing it or if it is the enclosure itself. My other enclosures do not "sleep".

    Definitely buy an enclosure with a fan if you plan on using it for extended periods. Many non-fan enclosures will get quite hot after being on for a while.

    If you are considering FW800 on a Mac you may want to check it out a little closer. PowerMacs have a FW800 bottleneck somewhere and the performance is disappointing. I am not sure about MacPros but the FW800 performance issue may apply to them also.

    Personally for desktops I like the idea of using a SATA card to run multiple enclosures or use for a RAID setup.

    Have fun!
  5. Sbrocket macrumors 65816


    Jun 3, 2007
    I'm about to order that same enclosure for a 500GB Seagate 7200.10 drive. I wish they had a triple-interface SATA enclosure that was a bit cheaper since I'll never use the eSATA, but other than that I've heard its a good enclosure. Plus it has the nice hardware design to match the Mac Pro.
  6. Wolfpup thread starter macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    That's a neat design, but I have to confess I at least trust Antec. And since it's half the price, I guess I'll just plan on suffering with USB 2.0. I basically plan for it to be a backup drive, so hopefully it won't be TOO annoying.

    If I did find one with Firewire, Firewire 400 should be just fine for me, and it would let me connect my PC to it as well (should still be twice as fast as USB with less overhead).

    I've been disapointed in the lack of name brand enclosures. Everything I've found until that new Antec has been a generic type company, with lots of negative reviews :confused:

    EDIT: Actually I guess Coolmax is a real brand too, and they've got that one model at Newegg for $54, and what appears to be an equivalent (?) that looks better for $27. Must be some difference though. They've got an optical drive enclosure too for $21 that could come in handy, although it's limited to USB 1.1.

    So is Coolmax a good brand? Obviously we need the SATA to USB/Firewire stuff to be high quality so it doesn't corrupt data, and ditto for the cooling mechanism.

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