Need help/info about External HDD enclosure?
Mar 20, 2006 at 5:26 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

dj_mocok

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I am thinking to make a poorman's external HDD, since the "real" external hard drive is still a bit expensive compared to regular internal ones and I honestly don't really know how to plug in another HDD into my PC (the slave-master thingy) and not sure whether my PSU still has enough power (or cable) to drive another hard drive.

I heard of this HDD enclosure, so it's just basically an external casing that enables you to house a normal internal hard drive in it right? So if I get the enclosure that supports either firewire or USB2, does it mean it pretty much operates the same as pure external drive then ? (complete with the plug and play as removable drive compatibility)

I need to hear a first hand experience so I know what it's all about here. I read some of the stuff and it sounded pretty good. Although my main concern is whether it will overheat...

Or maybe do you think it's better (and easy) to just pop in another IDE hard drive into my PC? Well, if it's easy and doesn't involve formatting, maybe I'd do just that.
But I still wonder, since my current PC is configured as:

C: D: E: ---> 120GB partiotioned into 3
F: G: ---> dvd drive and dvd burner
H: I: J: K: L: ---> multi card reader
M: N: ---> my USB sticks (read as removable when I plug them).

So if I whack in another IDE hard drive, what will it become? O: drive?? lol.
I'm not very informed when it comes to hard drive stuff. Someone care to give inputs? Thanks.

PS: This drive of course will stay as a data storage only, not for playing games or my windows or any complicated apps.

AND will this enclosure setup read and works just like a USB stick, only it is a hard drive?
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 5:35 AM Post #2 of 15

trains are bad

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If you get an enclosure and new HDD, you will have to format it. It's not hard. I have a penguin gear external HDD enclosure with seagate 250GB HDD, all one partition, NTFS. It works just like a USB stick, except it also needs power. Consider a laptop case and laptop drive, that can be powered from a USB port.
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 5:39 AM Post #3 of 15

K2Grey

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Isofar as I know an external hard drive is nothing more than a hard drive + an external enclosure. My experience is that you open the enclosure up, you push the hard drive in so that the pins go in the connectors, you close the enclosure, you plug the power supply in, you turn it on, you plug the usb cable in, you format or initialize it (consists of opening up a program and 5 or so clicks, IIRC), and that is it. The enclosure I have has a fan, but I have not heard reports of fanless enclosures overheating either.

If you added another internal hard drive I assume it would be F: and everything past it gets pushed one letter down.

The enclosure setup is similar to a USB stick, yes. I cannot think of any major difference other than that it is a hard drive, is bigger, needs to be initialized once, and needs a power supply.
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 5:48 AM Post #4 of 15

dj_mocok

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I have a free USB2 and firewire so I can use either.

This will be used purely as a storage for audio, video, and picture files. So maybe occassionally I will view the video using it. But it won't be like an all-day-long usage. Maybe 6 hours or so.

I just read from somewhere that some users had a nightmare and it totally confuses with the multi-card readers so sometimes it will read as removable, sometimes it won't. Will it be smart enough to show itself as another drive all the time (not with the letter that is being used by other device) and completely plug and play?

Pessimistically speaking, so if the enclosure + IDE hard drive will work just like an external HDD, then why people are still buying pure external hard drives (eg. Maxtor OneTouch) then?
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 5:50 AM Post #5 of 15

micaela

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Ditto to everyone else's posts. I also have a 300g internal drive housed in an external case w/a fan. The reason I chose to go this route rather than install it in my PC is b/c I do most of my listening from my laptop. I can simply move the HD from one PC to the other w/out having to use the wireless file sharing or having to use HD space on my laptop - which I was running out of. But if you decide to install the HD in your PC - it isn't really much harder than putting it in the external box. You just have to plug the power (there will be a cable inside your computer) cable to it & plug it into the bay. The set up is the same either way - as everyone already said - but that is no big deal. good luck!
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 5:56 AM Post #6 of 15

gshan

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dj_mocok, installation is indeed plug and play. The formatting part is really easy too, and companies like Maxtor or Seagate for example even have free programs you can download on their websites that will do the formatting of the drive for you. Just a few clicks, though I'm sure the Windows method is pretty simple too.
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 6:01 AM Post #7 of 15

dj_mocok

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Thanks for all the inputs.

Why I hesitate to install another HD in my pc is I'm not sure what drive it will read as (refer to my post at the top, I got drives til M: drive), and whether another internal hard drive will make my PC unstable (either too much heat or dodgy power; I only got 400W generic PSU that comes with the case).

So at least with external I don't have to worry about power and heat. Will it really work just like a USB stick? (as if it's a HUGE HUGE usb stick) Like this:

Plug in drive --> popup will appear saying a removable drive is found ---> use it to copy, view files, etc ---> when you finish, right click and eject drive ---> unplug drive. Voila?

Like now, everytime I plug my USB stick, it will appear as M: drive (removable), so say I got this enclosure, so everytime I plug it, it will still 100% show as M: drive (removable) as well?
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 12:30 PM Post #8 of 15

zachary80

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Yeah, that is basically how it works, once you have formatted it the first time. The lettering doesn't really matter and will depend on what all you have plugged in at that specific time.

I just ordered one of these. It should be here mid-week and I can let you know how it goes.
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 12:36 PM Post #9 of 15

dj_mocok

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Nice. So as long as my multi media card reader is constantly plugged and the drives are shown, the enclosure won't confuse or overlaps the other pre-existing drives will it?

So if I'm not using it (or finished using it), I just need to eject the drive, and then switch off the enclosure power ?

Do you have it on 24/7 by the way?
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 4:59 PM Post #10 of 15

K2Grey

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Generally, yes, an external hard drive will read like a USB flash drive. It is not exactly the same to the computer, it will recognize that it is a hard drive and not a flash drive, but by and by everything is the same. It should not interfere with anything else.

I leave mine plugged in and on all the time, both because I am lazy, and to a lesser degree to avoid thermal strain from constantly having it turn on and off.
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 10:49 PM Post #11 of 15

Stephonovich

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One thing to remember about [most] DIY external enclosures is that they have no drive managment software. So the drive will be spun up constantly. Consumer drives don't like that, and it lowers the lifespan to about 1-2 years. Just sayin'.
 
Mar 23, 2006 at 3:20 AM Post #12 of 15

zachary80

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Got and setup my enclosure today.

The hard drive had already been inside my computer (M: Music) and surprisingly when I got the enclosure set up it kept the same label and drive letter.

I had a little trouble hooking up the enclosure though. The first time I tried it, I got rapidly blinking LEDS and while windows recognized the drive was there, it wasn't functional. I tried many things and I never figured out exactly what fixed it (redid all cables, connections, jumper, drivers, ect).

So far it doesn't seem to be too hot, but it hasn't been active more than an hour or two so far. The aluminum frame dissipates heat pretty well and I am pretty sure the drive will never get too hot or need a fan with my uses
 
Mar 23, 2006 at 10:28 AM Post #13 of 15

dj_mocok

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So what made it works again then?
I was thinking whether to get the one with fan and requires power connection or get a good one with passive cooler (no powere required - if there is such product).

I think enclosure isn't so popular around here, we only got a few choices. Unless I go eBay.
 
Mar 23, 2006 at 12:27 PM Post #14 of 15

zachary80

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I am guessing it was just user error with a connection somewhere

Mine is passive and yet it still needs external power. I don't think usb provides enough power to run a modern hard drive
 

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