Hard Drive Enclosure Reviews
Think of your hard drive enclosure as the house under whose roof all your most precious data and memories will live. You want this house to be secure, efficient, and well-protected. Perhaps the disk inside the enclosure is what gets all the attention, because it has all the data saved on it, but the enclosure does a tremendous amount of work and finding the right one takes a little research. The enclosure is also the “brain” behind backup, because it has a built in mechanism that allows it to communicate between multiple computers. Most enclosures are pretty affordable, and they all have similar features, but dependent upon what kind of computer you have, it’s good to see what’s out there before you purchase, so you can find the right fit. Also, it should be noted that the appearance of your enclosure is something you should consider! After all, it will most likely sit on your desk, and you’ll spend countless hours staring at it.
Hard Drive Enclosure Buying Guide
A hard drive enclosure is a great idea if you have an internal hard drive that you wish to convert to an external hard drive. External hard drives provide the benefits of being both portable and a handy backup system for your data. External drives also allow you to free up memory on your primary drive. All of these are great reasons to invest in an inexpensive hard drive enclosure to convert your existing drive to an external one.
Benefits of Hard Drive Enclosures
Below, you’ll find some of the advantages of using a hard drive enclosure.
- Additional storage space for laptops, small form factor computers, and sealed embedded systems like digital video recorders.
- Having a backup source with its own power supply prevents data loss from computer crashes.
- Easier data transfer between non-networked computers.
- Faster recovery of data from a broken or damaged computer.
- Your sensitive data is protected from viruses that may attack your computer.
- The ability to add more drives to a server or workstation than the chassis can accommodate.
- The ability to reuse hardware designed for internal use, lowering the cost of removable storage.
Features of External Hard Drive Enclosures
When shopping for a hard drive enclosure, you’ll have a few features to consider. The most important things you’ll need to take into account are the materials the enclosure is made from, the size of the enclosure, the hard drive enclosure connection type, and the interface.
Hard drive enclosures are made from a variety of materials. They can be made from plastic, aluminum, metal, or a combination of all of these materials.
There are two different interfaces available with hard drive enclosures: IDE and SATA. SATA hard drives are more commonly used than IDE drives. SATA based drives offer better performance in terms of transfer rates, memory cache size, and RPMs (Rotations Per Minute). If you have a SATA based hard drive, you’ll need to use a SATA hard drive enclosure.
External hard drives generally connect to computers through either USB 2.0, USB 1.1, or FireWire. Before buying an external hard drive case, check the types of ports you have available and consider the system you’re using – Windows or Mac. If you have both types of ports available, you’ll have a choice of which connectivity to use. USB has a higher theoretical bandwidth than FireWire, but transfer speeds between the two are comparable. Some Mac Pro machines have a slightly faster FireWire interface. A few external hard drives offer this connector. USB is the most cost-efficient choice, as this type of connector is offered by most computer systems.
Number of Bays
When shopping for a hard drive enclosure, you’ll [find single and dual bay varieties. Dual layer enclosures can accommodate two internal hard drives instead of only one. This is a handy feature for people who use their computer heavily and require a lot of portable disk space. For most users, a dual layer enclosure isn’t necessary, as you can easily buy a second hard drive enclosure if you need more space in the future.
Hard Drive Enclosure Size
Computer hard drives come in two physical sizes: 3.5 inches, which are used in desktops, and 2.5 inch hard drives, which are used in laptop computers. Larger hard drives are faster and less expensive, than their smaller counterparts, but the small hard drives are necessary for notebooks. The size of your hard drive will determine what size hard drive enclosure you’ll need.
How to Use an External Hard Drive Enclosure
Once you’ve purchased the right hard drive enclosure for you based on the above information, it’ll be time to assemble your assemble your enclosure. Follow the basic steps below to assemble your drive and enclosure.
- If you have several connection types available to you – USB, FireWire, etc., decide which type of connection you’ll use.
- Open up the enclosure and place the internal hard drive inside it.
- Connect any necessary cables. Begin by connecting the hard drive enclosure to the hard drive. Next, connect the power source or cable for the enclosure. Finally, connect the enclosure to your computer.
That’s all there is to it! External hard drive enclosures are meant to transform your existing internal hard drive in to a plug-and-play external device. You can now use it whenever your system is running and enjoy the benefits of having a removable storage drive.
If you’ve been looking for a less expensive option to purchasing an additional external drive, consider converting your existing drive with the help of a hard drive enclosure. With the added portability and backup safety net they provide, hard drive cases are well worth the investment.