Decent external hard drive enclosure?

Discussion in 'SSDs & Data Storage' started by evilsofa, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. evilsofa

    evilsofa [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I don't need anything super fancy like a $600 Synology 4-bay NAS or a DIY PC running ZFS. I just want a decent USB 3.0 one- or two-bay external drive enclosure that won't kill the drive by not having a fan, purely for backup use. The external enclosures that come with external drives are scary and have no fans, no feet and just a few pinholes on the bottom for air circulation, and have already killed one drive in my experience.
     
  2. iroc409

    iroc409 [H]ard|Gawd

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    The only enclosures I'd really use much are Vantec, and I've had a BlackX eSATA dock that I've had for quite some time that has performed well under light use.

    Otherwise, really, I'd probably buy a factory external drive. Half the time if you're careful you can get them a lot cheaper than internals, and I've never really had noticeable temperature issues. Costco has a "good enough" selection in many cases, and has great customer service. I've bought several there with no issues (knock on wood).
     
  3. nightanole

    nightanole [H]ard|Gawd

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  4. evilsofa

    evilsofa [H]ardForum Junkie

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    That Thermaltake Max 5G seems interesting, but the price is a bit high at $48 and having 2 fans seems a bit overkill. One of its reviews points towards the Startech SAT3510BU3 being better, but that one apparently has serious issues with being extremely slow or not working at all with PCs that only have USB 2.0 and I do need to deal with those sometimes. Startech's newest case, the S3510BMU33T, looks more interesting but is expensive at $56 and too new to have reviews so I can't tell if they've solved their USB 2.0 problem.

    Looking into Vantec, their single-bay case with fan is the NST-330SU3-BK that happens to have eSATA too for $39. I don't see any major problems in its reviews on Amazon or Newegg.

    The other one that looked interesting to me is the Rosewill RX-358 U3C for $37. Reviews on Amazon were really good, but reviews on Newegg said get the Vantec instead.

    General things I learned in my research: For external cases, SATA III only matters if you're going to put an SSD in it; HDDs are slower than SATA II. eSATA is what you used if you wanted something faster than USB 2.0 - until USB 3.0 came out. eSATA and USB 3.0 are about even for HDDs in performance, and I saw a lot of complaints about eSATA being flaky where USB 3.0 wasn't on external cases that had both.

    I think I'll be buying several of the Vantec NST-330SU3-BK cases for some 3TB WD Reds.
     
  5. x509

    x509 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I have four of those Rosewill cases, some SATA 2 and some newer. They get the job done, but the fans are sometimes noisy.
     
  6. larrymoencurly

    larrymoencurly [H]ard|Gawd

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    Get something with a UL approved or CSA approved AC adapter because the nonapproved ones can be real junk with shoddy construction and no protection against overvoltage. I believe every Rosewill enclosure includes such an adapter, but many Vantecs and Byteccs do not. Be really careful about enclosures with internal power supplies that aren't safety approved because in addition to having no overvoltage protection, they often have high voltage components that are easy to come in contact with.
     
  7. Old Hippie

    Old Hippie [H]ardness Supreme

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    Strange, I've never heard that before and I've been using eSATA since it's inception @ 2004-2006 with many different external cases using many different connection options.

    While I've seen and read a vast amount of problems with eSATA, 98% were due to operator inexperience and/or operator error.