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External HD vs Internal HD w/ Enclosure (making it external)

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March 18, 2007 9:25:36 PM

Does anyone know the benefits of one or the other? I've heard that external hd's are MORE RELIABLE, since it was manufactured for movement. However...I have not been able to verify this.

For speed, I've read that if the HD (either external or internal) is SATA, it will run at the same speed as if it were internally connected through SATA cable.
Otherwise, USB 2.0 limits the speed of HD.

I care more about reliability. Are external harddrives simply internal harddrives with enclosures? Or are they built differently?
Thanks
March 19, 2007 4:49:42 AM

truthfully, unless youve read specs and information on the specific hdd in question, theres really know way you can tell, i wouldnt think anyhow... hdds as they are, are fairly sensetive to being shaken around, dropped, overheating, or any other kinds of abuse like that, so durability/reliability is relative then

the main benefit of external over internal, is you can move the external from system to system, but, thats about it... youre right about USB 2.0 limiting the bandwidth... i put a 36GB 8MB raptor in a USB 2.0 enclosure last week, and its capped at ~25MB/s, thankfully the access times are still identical

but, if youre really wanting reliability though, just invest in a server grade hdd, and put it in an external enclosure, as thats what i did (preferrably esata though if you can)
March 19, 2007 5:31:24 AM

Basically, a drive is a drive... Look at the g specs of most models, they're pretty much the same. Some enclosures may cushion the drive better from shock, so it will be the enclosure that determines whether an external drive survives how much of a g shock.

Drives off of power are pretty much capable of surviving some pretty rough treatment. Running, that's a different story.

I've got an 80 GB 2.5 drive that I toss on the desk in its enclosure and storage wallet, its never failed in two years. And that's one of the cheapest enclosures that I could buy... And yes, usb is slow. Firewire is better, but probably will require external power, ethernet is even better, but WILL require external power, but is the most versatile. Esata would be even better, but would be the least versatile interface.
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March 19, 2007 5:37:20 AM

External case is very useful. Slip in any drive now and when you have a bigger one to put in / good sale comes up, you replace the drive in there instead of buying a new unit.

If you want to overwrite files that are in use, pull the HD out, put it into the external case, plug in usb to another pc, do the overwriting, swap the drive back in. Done.

Someone's comp is messed up & won't boot so your external can't pick off important files before formatting. With an external enclosure, no prob; just put their drive into the enclosure, plug that usb into another pc, dump the info, format & reinstall windows on the messed up machine & transfer the info back.

I'll say the enclosure beats the straight external one hands down. My enclosure has been very very useful in the last 2 years and has been my best computer purchase.

Jo

Edit: Watch out for the NAS / LAN-connected ones, most need FAT32 formatting so you won't be able to store much on there.
March 19, 2007 7:23:09 AM

Why would it be better to use firewire? It seems as both USB2.0 & Firewire have a limiting factor of 20MB/sec.

I've read about firewire 800 but I don't think any of my computers have this...

Thank you
March 20, 2007 8:04:00 AM

Also, if I were to use this purely as external...there'd be no reason to worry about RPM & connection (IDE or SATA) right? Because the bottleneck is still in USB/firewire.

Thanks!
March 20, 2007 8:10:42 AM

Firewire is judged by some to be faster... Personally I'm not one of the 'some'. I find USB to be the most versatile non powered interface available. Bear in mind that a 3.5 drive might need two usb slots one for power, one for connectivity, to run properly, but an externally powered device is also an option just a bit more cumbersome.
a c 361 G Storage
March 20, 2007 1:01:33 PM

On the comparison of resistance to bumping it around, I can't tell you anything. But I can comment on the speed of externals.

Not true that any SATA HDD will be as fast, internal or external. It IS important which interface is used because that's where the limit is.

In general, USB2 and Firewire 400 are similar speeds, USB2 a bit slower. eSATA is faster, and Firewire 800 is the fastest if you have it. Note that eSATA should really be a true eSATA controller to ensure ALL features are supported. An adapter that lets you connect an eSATA unit to a normal internal SATA connector may or may not give you all of the eSATA functions, although I think speed won't be affected.

So, it's not the SATA drive that is important, it is the use of a fast eSATA interface.

One comparison I saw compared an external Seagate drive (eSATA connection) to an internally-mounted Seagate SATA drive and found the actual data transfer rates (over long multi-file copies) were quite similar. Not sure if that will always happen, though.

I got an AZIO enclosure with both eSATA and USB2 interfaces, equipped to accept a SATA II HDD. Put a 500 GB Seagate in it and I'm using it as my backup device. Last night I finally tested it all out and it worked as I wanted. I cloned my C: boot drive to the first partition on the external drive and made it bootable. Using my motherboard's startup options, I now can boot and run from either the internal C: drive or the external E: drive. That's what I wanted in case the C: drive craps out and I have to repair.
March 20, 2007 2:15:45 PM

I recently bought an Icybox enclosure and a seagate 320gb 7200.10 sata II hdd. The enclosure has sataII and usb interfaces. I had no spare sata port so wanted to run on the usb interface until a future upgrade. Ran into "Delayed write failed" errors almost immediately when backing up large files. Googled around and this seems to be a common problem using usb and the end result is not much can be done about it. So I resorted to buying a sataII controller with two ports and used that via the external bracket/socket supplied with the enclosure. Have had no more problems so would recommend the sataII interface.
March 20, 2007 5:29:42 PM

After taking into consideration what everyone has said, I ended up buying this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It is $24 after rebate. It is able to accept IDE or SATA harddrives. It also has a USB 2.0 connector and eSATA. It is able to handle up to 1000GB and is externally powered.

Thanks for everyone's help! As of now I will be using the USB connection and later on I will be using eSATA
May 16, 2009 1:53:59 AM

Paperdoc- I have been trying to use my SATA iogear enclosure that uses a PCMCIA CardBus to connect to my laptop to create a bootable device. I cant get it to work as a bootable device. I am trying to instal Dreamlinux please help!

"I got an AZIO enclosure with both eSATA and USB2 interfaces, equipped to accept a SATA II HDD. Put a 500 GB Seagate in it and I'm using it as my backup device. Last night I finally tested it all out and it worked as I wanted. I cloned my C: boot drive to the first partition on the external drive and made it bootable. Using my motherboard's startup options, I now can boot and run from either the internal C: drive or the external E: drive. That's what I wanted in case the C: drive craps out and I have to repair.[/quotemsg]
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