Swap disks in external USB drive

I had a 100GB external hard drive fail (SimpleTech Piniafarina), and since then I've been playing and cracking open cases of external USB drives. Two examples seem typical:

- the SimpleTech is straightforward (and flexibile?) with a 2.5" PATA drive with standard IDE cable.
- a 500GB WD Passport seems to be quite proprietary with connectors integrated onto board - flipping the drive into another computer or upgrading or some other solution doesn't seem easy / possible.

(Side Note: I'm hoping the SimpleTech case / board has died and the Samsung PATA drive inside will still work since it spins and makes no bad noises. Unforunately I'm mising a cable to connect it to 3.5" IDE to try this out, or the $15 cable to connect the drive directly to USB, which is what got me going down the path and...)

So two questions:

1. How flexible are cases in general external drives for swapping around disks? I would presume knowing "the industry" that they are actively discouraging this (e.g., the WD drive that has integrated and proprietary connectors?). (I'm also looking at buying an Iomega ix2 2TBx2 external drive and if I knew Buffalo or WD were more flexible / less proprietary, that would be a key selling point.)

2. I've got an older Iomega HDD080 external drive that has an 80GB 3.5" PATA IDE drive inside. It seems like I should be able to swap in any 3.5" PATA IDE (have several old drives... would be nice to have acess to them). But is the Iomega case with integrated PATA IDE-->USB adapter likely to be restricte to the drive it came with? Or with size of drive it will accept (given it was sold with an 80GB disk)? The board in the Iomega case says MT QB-10431, but I could't get any searches about this to yield info.

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More about swap disks external drive
  1. Only time I've ever had trouble doing this is when the external case uses an A/C power source and I don't have the cable.

    Other than that, I've never had trouble swapping out hard drives or burners in external cases.

    Be advised when you put an internal disk into an external drive, Windows is more than likely going to want you to reformat it.
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