"Packaged" external drives vs. "roll-your-own" with enclosure

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by axial, Jun 27, 2007.

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  1. axial

    axial Registered Member

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    Would appreciate comments on differences to consider (if any) between external drives such as Seagate FreeAgent Pro 750 vs. using an enclosure with a similar size drive, on WinXP, for use with ShadowProtect for creating drive images, incremental backups.

    Background: Got FA 750 yesterday, installed with great difficulty [RANT: Seagate's marketing push to "make it seem incredibly simple" went entirely overboard when they buried the tidbit about only being able to install the FA utils when connected via USB or FireWire, not e-sata, and then switching to e-sata cable -- buried it in a FAQ on their website, there's no mention of it in the minimalist install directions. ]

    Anyhow, finally got the utils installed (I thought) although the drive letter only momentarily appeared once, tried several reboots, etc. Last reboot and intending to run the diagnostic util, the drive started repeatedly cycling off/on, the glowy case flickered, the drive heads clicked over and over, reminiscent of the old Iomega "click of death".

    Connected the drive to another XP system using e-sata cable. It was visible immediately, did tools install, copied a file to it, checked the diagnostic util and blammo, instant "drive has problems" and presented an ID# to use for an RMA.

    Don't want to RMA, I'll just return it, but want to consider alternatives before putting toe in water again.
     
  2. eniqmah

    eniqmah Registered Member

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    Hi,
    In my opinion, building your own is a little more expensive, but this is dependent on how you shop. The upshot of doing this is your ability to swap drives in and out when your storage needs change, or if you wanna troubleshoot other system drives. With factory built drives, it is much trickier and often not advisable.
     
  3. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Both my machines have 2nd internal drives as well as external USB drives. I use Shadowprotect, and while obviously the internal drives are faster, the external USB also are fairly fast. Easy to plug in and work fine.

    Pete
     
  4. axial

    axial Registered Member

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    Thank you, enigman, Peter.

    So the list of considerations so far are:

    1. ease of using multiple swap drives (especially significant in these days of never enough power outlets and incompatible power connectors!)
    2. Ability to troubleshoot other system drives with enclosures (which we had a recent experience with the fine folks at OnTrack who did a recovery on another system drive, and having a never-before-used enclosure available to mount the defective drive when we needed it was a godsend).
    3. in my single test of 500+MB file the speed of e-sata was significantly better (by about 5-6 times, I'd guess) compared to USB; we're fortunate that all our systems have e-sata connectors.

    ===
    As far as needing any specific utils, most/all drives come with diagnostics, so the only other question might be are there any differences in how a sleep times or other settings are set on bare drives vs. how the FA has their own "control panel" of utilities?
     
  5. pvsurfer

    pvsurfer Registered Member

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    Having and using both kinds, it's my opinion that an external USB2 drive is much more flexible, in that it can be readily swapped between PCs (and USB2 drives can be hot-swapped)! Of course you can also swap a removable ATA drive if the other PCs are equiped with a compatible rack/caddy (but that requires a shutdown-reboot).

    That said, if you plan to be moving/copying a lot of files, be aware that the ATA100 (not to mention SATA/SATA II) interface/drive transfer-rate is about twice as fast as the USB2 interface/drive transfer-rates (SATA II is about 5 times as fast)!
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2007
  6. EASTER.2010

    EASTER.2010 Guest

    While shopping of all places TARGET today i ran across a regular selection of externals plus to my surprise some compact versions that hold the same capacity at about the same cost.

    Interesting.
     
  7. axial

    axial Registered Member

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    Are there differences between enclosures on whether they have any power-mgmt smarts or just an on/off switch? Are there 3rd party apps that will do this, or is it only handled through XP's control panel?

    The Seagate FA Pro 750 had a utility where the sleep time could be adjusted, but I didn't see any external on/off switch (one document talked about a touch-sensitive switch but we never did find any indicatio of a switch on the box).
     
  8. axial

    axial Registered Member

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    Having the USB2 and e-sata seems to be good insurance, definitely. All of our systems have e-sata now, tho, and we're blown away by the speed compared to USB.
     
  9. lucas1985

    lucas1985 Retired Moderator

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    I always preferred "roll-your-own" external drives. I have great references of Glyph enclosures. I wish I had one.
     
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