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#49290 - 07/01/18 09:03 AM Tips, please, on buying an external SATA enclosure
Pendragon Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Georgetown, Texas, USA
While I have been buying external enclosures for about two years, I really don’t know what I’m doing; blithely bumbling along thinking (hoping) there isn’t much difference amongst enclosures- so any choice is okay.

But now, I note that some enclosures support both SSD and HDs, some have a ribbed aluminum heat sync, an on/off switch, the chip set can vary, and certainly other features of which my ignorance abounds…

FWIW: Presently, my old machines are maxed out at USB 2, but I suspect all future machines will be some variant of USB 3.

In selecting a new enclosure, should I choose one for SSDs, HDs, or a hybrid?

If I use an SSD, what chip set should I look for?

Have you a favorite model or manufacture?

And of course, any other pearls of wisdom you care to pass along….
_________________________
Harv
27" i7 iMac (10.13.6), iPhone Xs Max (12.1)

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#49292 - 07/01/18 09:59 AM Re: Tips, please, on buying an external SATA enclosure [Re: Pendragon]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
This is just the most recent thread discussing "external enclosures".
I have absolutely no idea of why such should be necessary. Every computer or back-up drive I have ever had is fully self-contained right out of the box. What is the point/purpose of an "external enclosure"?

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#49293 - 07/01/18 10:09 AM Re: Tips, please, on buying an external SATA enclosure [Re: grelber]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
I don't know what Harv's got in mind, but as has always been the case with me, many of us buy enclosures to use with HDDs/SSDs we already own.

We have leftovers from previously owned or upgraded machines, and, too, enclosures can't always be found with the particular drives we we prefer.

Leftovers, though, are a dying breed now that SSDs are soldered to logic boards and can't be removed.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#49295 - 07/01/18 01:36 PM Re: Tips, please, on buying an external SATA enclosure [Re: Pendragon]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
What do you want to do with your external drive? That will determine what the requirements are for both the drive and the enclosure.

IMHO at the current state of the art,

For BACKUPS HDDs have more than adequate speed, are significantly less expensive per TB of capacity, and are better suited for long term storage. USB 3 would be fast enough and has the advantage of being backward compatible to USB.

For ALTERNATE BOOT DRIVES an enclosure with a USB 3 interface the USB will be the limiting speed factor not the drive and a 7200 RPM HDD will work and a LOT cheaper than SSD. An enclosure with USB C / Thunderbolt 3 can take advantage of the significantly greater speed of an SSD. At that level the limiting factor becomes the SATA drive interface in the enclosure.

For AUDIO/VIDEO PRODUCTION where price is no object and high speed is the name of the game, USB C / Thunderbolt 3 interface with a really high speed PCie based drive or perhaps a RAID enclosure would be the choice.

Your future computer will most likely be USB C / Thunderbolt 3 and compatible with USB 3, Thunderbolt 2, etc with appropriate adaptor cables. SSDs come as a complete package not a chip set and which is best is more often based on "what I bought" rather than actual statistics — besides that if you don't like what is available today just try again next week and there will be other options available. (Personally I have had good results with OWC's offerings but have no experience with other brands.) I have no idea what a hybrid enclosure would be as all of the bare enclosures I am familiar with are standard SATA. The highest end external SSDs like the high end internal SSDs are soldered in place.

There are lots of opinions pro and con about cooling fins, or fans, or nothing but in the only extensive test of drive reliability (conducted by Google Labs) they found heat was not a significant factor in drive failure. That was conducted on HDDs and I don't know of similar study on SSDs. My personal preference is an enclosure with at least a semblance of a heat sink (ie. metal contacting the drive to help with heat dissipation. An on/off switch can occasionally be useful but as far as I am concerned while it can be nice to have, it is in no way essential.

As I sit here I see five external enclosures,
  1. a Thunderbolt 2 RAID 5 enclosure with four 1TB 2 ½" HDDs used for Time Machine backups,
  2. a USB 3 enclosure with a 4TB HDD and a Superdrive that is used as a second Time Machine backup ,
  3. a USB 3 bus powered enclosure containing an SSD recovered from a defunct Mac mini that I use for experimental purposes,
  4. a 120GB OWC Envoy Pro Mini setup as a TechTool ProToGo emergency boot and repair drive that is very convenient because of its compact form factor,
  5. a bus powered USB 3 enclosure with a 1TB HDD that I clone the last working configuration to before installing the next beta release. I tried to talk myself into getting an SSD instead of HDD for that last drive, but even I could not justify the 5X increase in price and the one I really wanted cost twice that amount!
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

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#49298 - 07/02/18 01:11 AM Re: Tips, please, on buying an external SATA enclosure [Re: artie505]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Originally Posted By: artie505
I don't know what Harv's got in mind, but as has always been the case with me, many of us buy enclosures to use with HDDs/SSDs we already own. ...

Many thanks for the brief but understandable info.
I still don't see a reason/need to keep "leftovers".
And joemikeb's exposition which follows yours is mind-blowing in that, although I recognize and can define the words therein, I understand none of what's being said or of what value setting up such configurations would be.
Clearly my simple demands — which is why the only personal computers I have ever had since 1984 have been Macs — require absolutely no more than superficial understanding of how things work.
{sigh}

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#49300 - 07/02/18 01:56 AM Re: Tips, please, on buying an external SATA enclosure [Re: grelber]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: grelber
I still don't see a reason/need to keep "leftovers".

You've probably never upgraded your iMacs' drives, but we laptop owners frequently bought the smallest drives available and swapped them out (when swapping-out was possible) for larger ones that were cheaper than those offered by Apple.

Swapping out HDDs for SSDs also left us with unused but functional drives.

The "leftovers" became spares to keep around in case of emergency or to put into empty enclosures for backup. (A couple of years ago my daughter's HDD crapped out on her, and after I saved whatever data I could, I replaced it with a 125 GB HDD that I'd saved for years against precisely that sort of situation.)
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#49303 - 07/02/18 05:56 AM Re: Tips, please, on buying an external SATA enclosure [Re: grelber]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: grelber
And joemikeb's exposition which follows yours is mind-blowing in that, although I recognize and can define the words therein, I understand none of what's being said or of what value setting up such configurations would be.

Grelber surely you know what a BACKUP configuration is! Please, please, please tell me you have one and use it regularly! shocked No sane computer user should be without one and you are demonstrably sane. If not then it is time for us to have a long conversation about why you have backups, what external drive configurations are appropriate, and what backup strategy you are going to start using.
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joemikeb • moderator

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#49304 - 07/02/18 07:00 AM Re: Tips, please, on buying an external SATA enclosure [Re: joemikeb]
Pendragon Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Georgetown, Texas, USA
Many thanks, kind folk. Your insight has helped a great deal.

No doubt, questions will arise, but now, I am not starting from total ignorance.
_________________________
Harv
27" i7 iMac (10.13.6), iPhone Xs Max (12.1)

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#49305 - 07/02/18 07:42 AM Re: Tips, please, on buying an external SATA enclosure [Re: joemikeb]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Grelber surely you know what a BACKUP configuration is! Please, please, please tell me you have one and use it regularly! ...

Not to panic. Apparently you don't recall the long-winded discussions on backups, etc in numerous threads. Be that as it may ...

For your sanity, as reported previously, I'm using a Western Digital My Passport 1TB USB Drive as my Time Machine backup and have been doing so ever since switching to Mac OS X (Lion, now El Capitan). (It is wholly self-contained.) I also use another such for Carbon Copy Cloner clones.

More to the point: The discussion in the current thread, re external enclosures, is so far beyond my ken that I felt frustrated enough to voice my ignorance by saying "I understand none of what's being said or of what value setting up such configurations would be."

But thanks for your concern.

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#49308 - 07/02/18 03:17 PM Re: Tips, please, on buying an external SATA enclosure [Re: grelber]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: grelber
More to the point: The discussion in the current thread, re external enclosures, is so far beyond my ken that I felt frustrated enough to voice my ignorance by saying "I understand none of what's being said or of what value setting up such configurations would be."

But thanks for your concern.

I am relieved you are backing up regularly and apologize for going so far beyond your ken. To do justice to the topic would require at least a few hundred words and probably some graphic charts and illustrations not to mention research on specific details, and I am not getting paid for the work. If I have some downtime, I might attempt it, but the half life of such a project is measured in months — if not weeks — so even then I would have to consider the cost/benefit to see if it would be worthwhile. But now my wife is interested so that may well tip the scale. I'll let you know if I ever get it finished. tongue
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joemikeb • moderator

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#49335 - 07/04/18 11:08 AM Re: Tips, please, on buying an external SATA enclosure [Re: Pendragon]
freelance Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: London, UK
This may not be appropriate for your rig, but I'll stick my oar in, anyway.

I've got a Mac Pro with four internal bays. As hard drives reached the end of their warranty period, I would take them out of service and stick them on the shelf. I use them for backups of backups.

So, I bought a USB3 hard drive caddy. It has a slot that accommodates 2 1/2" and 3 1/2" drives. Very useful. Quite cheap.

There must be a USB-C version out there. (I assume that's what your iMac has?)
_________________________
Mac Pro dual-2.4 GHz, 10.13.6, 24 Gb RAM, 250 Gb Samsung EVO SSD/Velocity Solo PCIe card, 2x3Tb Seagate HD, 1x3Tb Hitachi HD, Dell 2408WFP; Canon PIXMA iX6550; CanoScan 8800F; MacBook Air 1.8 Ghz, 8 Gb RAM, 10.14.6, 256 Gb SSD; Vodafone Home Hub/BT Wi-Fi Extender.

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#49336 - 07/04/18 02:17 PM Re: Tips, please, on buying an external SATA enclosure [Re: joemikeb]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
I am relieved you are backing up regularly and apologize for going so far beyond your ken. To do justice to the topic would require at least a few hundred words and probably some graphic charts and illustrations not to mention research on specific details, and I am not getting paid for the work. If I have some downtime, I might attempt it, but the half life of such a project is measured in months — if not weeks — so even then I would have to consider the cost/benefit to see if it would be worthwhile. But now my wife is interested so that may well tip the scale. I'll let you know if I ever get it finished. tongue

Not necessary on my behalf — because I'll never have use for anything that doesn't work "right out of the box" — but your wife's interest suggests a whole new "dialog". Many thanks for the thought.

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#49375 - 07/06/18 10:37 AM Re: Tips, please, on buying an external SATA enclosure [Re: grelber]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
I replaced the hard drive in my ten year old Dell laptop with an SSD. Wow, what a difference. But then I had a spare, naked drive. What to do? Buy an enclosure and use it as a backup drive?

I almost did until I saw that the price of hard drives was so low that it made more sense to get a new drive (mechanical) than to buy an enclosure.
_________________________
OS X 10.11.6
iMac 21.5", Mid 2011
2.8 GHz Intel Core i7, 24 GB
AMD Radeon HD 6770M
Using Apple computers since 1980

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