General Question

shared3's avatar

What's a good external 3.5-inch hard drive enclosure?

Asked by shared3 (921points) September 30th, 2007

I’m looking for a good drive enclosure for 3.5 inch hard disks. I’m looking for one that can support a large amount of capacity for future upgrades.

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7 Answers

bpeoples's avatar

Are you looking for an enclosure for one 3.5” HD or many 3.5” HD?

shared3's avatar

One or two.

bpeoples's avatar

Hm, haven’t been shopping for 2-drive enclosures, but for single drives, the best one I’ve found is this:

It’s for SATA drives internally, will do either USB or eSATA, comes with a breakout card so if you have a spare internal SATA port on your computer, you can plug the external drive into that.

Cheap one:

shared3's avatar

What is the max capacity that it will support?

shared3's avatar

And why do they even have a “max capacity” supported? Do they have some chip inside or something?

bpeoples's avatar

There isn’t a “max capacity” in the 3.5” disk range anymore. I currently have two of the AZiO drives with 750GB drives each. I would recommend buying one with a SATA connection rather than an IDE/PATA connection internally.

You can buy a just eSATA enclosure—there will be some power management, and but it’ll just power the drive and pass SATA back to your computer, so whatever maximum capacity your computer supports, the drive will support. However, that’s very limiting when you are away from your computer (or if you computer breaks and you just need some data).

That’s what I like about the AZiO enclosures—the eSATA can be used for really high speed data transfer (3Gbit/sec peak), the USB can be used for slower but more universally compatible connection. The internals have only a SATA connection, but that’s the current technology, so you’ll be seeing SATA drives for quite some time.

With the 2.5” enclosures, you sometimes run into a max capacity just because of drive thickness—bigger/older drives tend to be thicker, and sometimes won’t fit into newer enclosures.

shared3's avatar

Ok. Thanks!

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