I'm looking to buy a 640 GB - 1 TB external hard drive soon, which will be usually connected to my laptop as long as it's on (almost 24/7). It will be used mostly to store videos (and watch them) and to backup other files. I have a few questions:
Internal hard drive + enclosure vs. Ready-made external hard drive
I would like to ask if there are any significant differences (mainly in regards to power usage, transfer speed, risk of failure, performance when used for long hours, etc.) between, for example, an internal Western Digital 2.5" hard drive & just buying a separate enclosure for it, vs. a Western Digital My Passport ready-made external hard drive? Don't factor in the free backup or encryption software, as I don't need or use them anyway.
USB 3.0 and eSATA
Are USB 3.0/eSATA ports standard in current laptops (not netbooks)? What about desktop PC motherboards? Would you recommend that I get a drive/enclosure that supports USB 3.0? Is there a significant difference between USB 3.0 and 2.0 transfer speeds (copying from and to) of external hard drives? (My laptop only supports USB 2.0 [no eSATA] but I might get a new PC (non-netbook laptop or a desktop) in the near future with USB 3.0 support).
2.5" Hard Drive Heights (9 MM / 12 MM)
I've read that there are some 2.5" hard drives that have heights greater than the 9 MM standard (12.5 MM). If I buy a 12.5 MM-height hard drive, do I need to worry about it not fitting an enclosure? Or do most enclosures support the 12.5 MM heights? What 2.5" drive capacity usually has the 12.5 MM height? Do most 2.5" 1 TB drives have 12.5 MM heights? What about the 2.5" 640/750 GB drives?
Ok. There is no major difference between ready made drives and just popping a drive in an enclosure. In fact I believe that's all the my passport drive is.
USB 3.0 is a very recent happening in the computer market so not all if even most computers have it. eSATA has been around for longer but hasn't seen a very high adoption rate so again many desktops and laptops don't have it. I own a company called DolFin MicroDevices that makes laptop and desktop computers. Our latest generation of laptops all have eSATA but none of them have USB 3.0 yet. Some of our desktops have USB 3.0 and if they have USB 3 they don't have eSATA because USB is now faster than eSATA and more people are willing to use it. There are also tons more devices out there for USB.
Most modern 2.5'' drives are 9.5mm tall, therefore most enclosures are made for a 9.5mm drive. There are, however, 1Tb disks available in the 12.5mm form factor in which case you'll want to choose your enclosure carefully.
I recommend just buying a ready made external hard drive as it will usually save a little bit of money and some time. When you're looking at them though make sure you look at the length of time the company guarantees them not to fail. Most external drives die within a year because some companies use faulty hard drives in them. Seagate is one and I don't have much experience with Western Digital. My company makes two lines of external hard drive. one has USB 2 and eSATA connections and one just has USB 2. The eSATA one is not in stock right now but if you want one you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be sure to get you one right away. You can buy the USB 2 model online at dolfin.webs.com. I'm sorry for the cheap looking site. We're mainly a local business so we haven't until very recently had the need for a better site and our new one is under construction. If you have any further questions you can email me at the aforementioned address or call me at (402)469-9610. If I don't answer leave your name and number. Advice is free.