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Internal HDD to External enclosure for Gaming Desktop

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November 24, 2012 6:01:00 PM

I have recently started wanting to mod my desktop more and more, and I would like to remove my 3.5 hdd from inside the case to free up more space for air flow. I have an SSD with the OS installed on it and only need the other hard drive for all my games and music.

Having the 3.5 drive is extremely necessary for this gaming desktop. I would like to know if putting this into a USB 3.0 enclosure would be fine for gaming. I have searched the net over and over but most discussions are out of date or lacking detail/overly simplified. I know that internal Sata speeds are superior, that eSata is faster than USB 3.0(I have no external Sata), and that bumps can disturb the drive.

I am seeing if there are any other gamers out there who truly use an external for gaming, what their performance is like, and does the load times increase dramatically? The drive is a 7200 rpm 500gb WD Blue. Any other questions about my setup will gladly be answered!
a b 4 Gaming
a b G Storage
November 24, 2012 6:16:18 PM

Well... There are some games you might run into stuttering with, and the load times would not be fun, but... If you keep it cool and use USB 3.0, you're probably going to be fine. Just get a performance oriented enclosure that doesn't make the drive spin up only when data is requested, and you'll be fine.
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November 24, 2012 6:19:23 PM

I figured the speed of usb 3.0 coupled with it loading everything into ram anyway would reduce stuttering to non-existence. I will only use usb 3.0 as 2.0 would be a joke/old tech and esata is not available. What is a performance oriented enclosure? I've been searching Amazon, Tigerdirect, and Newegg for a few days looking at all their options and reviews. Lots of variation in quality out there. Was hoping someone out there did this everyday for gaming.
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a b G Storage
November 24, 2012 6:36:26 PM

USB, even 3.0 is much much slower than SATA which is what your internal drive probably uses. If you want better air flow move it to the bottom of the case. I don't think you like it outside on USB.
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a b 4 Gaming
a b G Storage
November 24, 2012 6:38:11 PM

There are a lot of games that still rely on the physical media, not the ram. It's stupid, but it's there.

Basically what you're looking for is one that keeps the drive on while the computer is spinning... not really sure how you look for that though, sorry.

I'm going to be in your shoes pretty soon, I think. Upgrading to a smaller case, in which I'm going to have to remove the hard drive trays.
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November 24, 2012 7:14:03 PM

This is just the kind of info im looking for! Much appreciated everyone!

I own a Lian li pc-k9wx case and I have removed both hard drive cages to allow my two lower 140mm fans to have less obstruction. Helps keep my gpu cooler too. Both my ssd and had are fitted into my 5.25 bay which I've modified with a 120mm lian li fixture. I'd like to hide the ssd and remove the hdd internally to improve airflow, possibly remove the 5.25 bay, and put in another 140mm fan or look into water cooling with a 3x 140mm rad. A lot of work, I know!

Still interested in more info and responses to making this external and also help on anything I've mentioned so far. Thank you everyone so far for your contributions.
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a b G Storage
November 25, 2012 2:29:36 PM

Not very elegant but you could just route a SATA cable and power cable out the back of your case and attach the drive there. It woudn't look as good but you wouldn't lose any performance that way.

If you choose water cooling all this will be moot. You won't have to worry about airflow as much then.
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November 25, 2012 2:48:37 PM

I tried for about 3 hours of possibly mounting or hiding the 3.5 elsewhere in the case and pretty much gave up on the notion. I don't have any great places to screw it down other than the 5.25 bay. I would rather take it out to free up the space. It is not super crucial for air flow, I am just looking for a cleaner interior. After I took my dvd drive out, I became curious about removing the hdd to open the case up more.

I appreciate your returning the next day to respond again. Thought for sure my thread was going to die! I still can't find anyone who has truly attempted this and posted of any success or failure.
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