Okay so my external HD died (200GB of lost data, going to try and recover once I get new one) and I am in need of a replacement. Right now I'm trying to decide which route to take. I have 2 forks in the road.
1st - USB 3.0 or eSATA? My current machine has an eSATA connection. I was thinking of getting a USB 3.0 external and getting a card atapter, but will I see a big gain over eSATA as far as speed? Most of the files I will be backing up are music and pics, but I do have some movies and I read USB3.0 is bar none fastest at larger files.
Once that is settled, should I build one with a regular HDD and an enclosure or just go with a normal external? I've never done a DIY external, but I do build computers regularly, so I figure it's about the same as hooking a normal HDD to to a mobo.
Thoughts and recommendations on products are appreciated.
Stick with the eSATA. Both eSATA and USB3 actually are limited by the speed of the mechanical components of the HDD in the box, so the two interfaces will perform the same.
A DIY external drive IS as easy as you anticipate if you build computers. That way you can get exactly the components you want and save money. When choosing the enclosure, make sure the INTERNAL interface matches the HDD you buy - SATA 3.0 Gb/s recommended. The newest SATA 6.0 HDD's cannot perform any faster because they are mechanical, so don't pay extra for that feature. BUT if you do get a SATA 6.0 Gb/s unit, it should still work with a SATA 3.0 interface. The EXTERNAL interface should be eSATA for you, BUT you often find enclosures with two or three external interfaces built in, which can be an advantage on occasion. You only get to use one at a time. Mine, for example, has both eSATA and USB2 interfaces. I use eSATA, but the USB2 guarantees I could plug it into just about any machine I find.
Almost ALL enclosures made for 3½" desktop internal HDD's come with their own power supply in some form - wall wart, box in the middle of a cable, or maybe even inside the enclosure itself. I prefer NOT to have it inside, thus keeping that heat source out of the enclosure. An HDD of that size cannot get enough power from one USB2 port, so it needs its own power supply. And if you're using eSATA interface as I recommend, that system never had any power in its connectors, so the power supply is mandatory.