Buying External Hard Drive Enclosure for Laptops

I'm looking at getting a External hard drive enclosure for laptops. I'm looking for a
Flexible (be able to work with most Laptop drives)
and fast.
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about buying external hard drive enclosure laptops
  1. Hello,

    There are many choices out there, depending on whether you want to purchase an external HDD product, or put it together yourself.

    You can get either a USB connection or SATA connection, or both on some of them, Even IEEE 1394.
    There are USB 3.0 units now which run at the 4800 Mb/s, haven't seen an external SATA 6 Gb/s unit to date.

    The commercial ones usually come with a software backup program to make it easy

    Here is a link to a great review in June 2011 called Best external storage drives and hard drives.

    You can even purchase a SATA HDD separately, then put it in an external HDD case, like products sold by Vantec. They also have USB 3 cases.
    The do it yourself cases don't have automatic backup software.

    Tell the group if you were thinking about a unit ready to go, or customize it, and if it makes any difference the size of HDD, or type of connector.
    You should get several recommendations, or favorites.
  2. ah I think I have been misunderstood.
    I am looking to buy a
    enclosure, only
    for laptop drives.
    I know that it needs to be a 2.5 inch on, (vs 3.5)
    I'm just not really sure which version of SATA to get, or to get SCSI.
    Thank you for responding!
  3. Hi again,

    OK, you want to purchase a USB removable backUp drive, that will work on several different laptops?

    The difference between 2.5" and 3.5" external drives, is the 2.5" are smaller, like the HDD's in a laptop, and that they get their power from the USB connector. The 3.5" drives for simplicity, require a power block that plugs into the back of the external drive, like the power cord on a laptop.

    The only potential problem I've seen with the USB power source on the smaller drives, is the power the USB cord can supply is 5v @ 500ma, (2.5 watts) can be marginal as the capacity gets larger.

    Get a conventional USB connected external drive (that have a SATA HDD inside). Don't get a SCSI drive.

    Couple choices are:

    Western Digital My Passport Essential SE 1 TB USB 3.0/2.0 Ultra Portable External Hard Drive (Black) - this one is USB 3
    Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1 TB USB 2.0 Ultra-Portable External Hard Drive STAA1000100 (Black) - can be used on Windows & Mac

    Come in different colors, and have automated backup software.
  4. Ubrales said:

    Thank you for this information, pretty much what I was looking for.
    I think I'm going to get a enclosure that has an external adapter, as I don't want to power a hard drive, via the USB cord. they have a habit of dying easily.
  5. StrongWinds said:
    Thank you for this information, pretty much what I was looking for.
    I think I'm going to get a enclosure that has an external adapter, as I don't want to power a hard drive, via the USB cord. they have a habit of dying easily.

    Correct! I do not like external enclosures that draw their power from the USB port.

    USB ports deliver about 500mA and at 5 volts, that equates to about 2.5 watts. Too low for a drive (even though the manufacturer may say otherwise).
  6. Best answer
    Depends what you want to use it for.

    If you want to put a particular laptop drive into a case (say, for example, a laptop drive which was displaced by an SSD), then there are lots of options, and few wrong choices. I would usually get one that was USB powered, because few modern laptop drives have any problems being powered over USB.

    If, on the other hand, you want to be able to plug in different laptop drives at will, then you might want to consider a different type of device - most commonly called a "drive dock" - it's a thing that sits on your desk, and you can plug naked drives (usually takes both laptop and desktop drives) into it. Can be attached to a PC by USB or eSATA (mine has both connections). This is very useful as a diagnostic device, and much easier than assembling and disassembling an external enclosure every time.

    There is another option. Seagate makes a range of 2.5" external drives called Go-Flex, which offer a variety of connections (I think it's USB2, USB3, FireWire, and eSATA) by way of optional cables. You can take a USB2 GoFlex drive and replace the cable with a FireWire cable, for example. Cute trick. I had a closer look at the cable, and the end that plugs into their drive enclosure looked familiar - it's a SATA connector (data + power). I had to try it, so I bought a naked laptop drive and plugged it in - it works. So if you want, for example, a USB3 cable for laptop drives, you can simply buy the USB3 cable for Go-Flex (they are available separately), and plug it into the drive. This works fine for diagnostic purposes, but you wouldn't want to use it for general carrying around, because the laptop drive is unprotected.

    So like I said, it depends on what you want to use it for.
  7. Best answer selected by StrongWinds.
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