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Old May 21, 2007, 7:56 PM   #1
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Hi All,

I've been through the the external USB 2.0 Hard Drive thing a couple of ways -- buy an external enclosure and install an !DE HD in it, plug in the external power supply for the external HD -- find that your external HD gets too hot, get another enclosure that has a fan -- find that the fan is terribly noisy. . . then the thing just stops working. . . arggggggh

I just picked up a SimpleTech external 160GBUSB 2.0 hard drive in a sleek red case (designed by Pininfarina -- but it doesn't really look like a Ferrari :-)) that's a bit smaller than a 3.5" HD by itself, weighs @ 6 oz, is dead quiet, fast, is powered through the USB connection (no separate plugs or wires, other than the USB cord), hardly gets warm to the touch, and has a 3 yr warrantee according to the paperwork included. It's dimensions are 4 1/8 x 3 1/8 x 3/4. This one works fine powered through the USB port, but there is a second USB "A" plug built into the cord, and the instructions say that it can be used in a second port in the computer if the HD isn't receiving enough power.

It also has two tiny LEDs, a red one for power and a blue one for when the drive is reading or writing -- bright enough to see, but not intrusive like some of the enclosures I've had. It is plug and play with my Win XP SP2, waiting only a few seconds for Windoze to load the drivers, and it's hot-swappable -- just plug it in the USB 2.0 port after booting the computer. It's already formatted for NTSF, but can be reformatted for FAT or MACs.

So far I've filled half of the drive, and my impression is that it's about as fast transferring files as between two of my internals, and ACDSee opens thumbs and files about as fast as from an internal HD. I'm sure it's a bit slower, but nothing like twiddling your thumbs waiting for a program to read an image from a DVD.

I paid $109, on sale at Best Buy -- it was an impulse buy -- went back home and found bigger capacity ones cheaper at NewEgg, of course, but they look to come with and require external power supplies, and I don't particularly like that. Maybe I should go pick up a couple more. . .

Scott


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Old May 22, 2007, 5:13 AM   #2
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Sounds like you've got a 2.5" laptop harddrive in there.

I have one of these, which is only a few mm bigger than the HDD inside:


Not only are they smaller, but they require less power to run which allows them to be powered by USB only. Not as reliable as the 3.5" hdds though.
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Old May 22, 2007, 6:02 AM   #3
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Most not as fast but where is your doccumentation for not as reliable.... except as portable they might encounter more abuse.

Having operated EXCLUSIVE off laptops for a decade now.... have YET to have a 2.5 die.... though one external 3.5 has. (And it was never transported) And PC 3.5's before that... if anything I'd say they are built to be more rugged and reliable.
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Old May 22, 2007, 9:15 AM   #4
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The Firewire drives are faster than the USB2 drives since the USB 2 drives are processor dependent, while the Firewire drives are not. On paper the USB 2 is rated at higher speeds, but in the real world that is not the case.

I have two 2.5" Firewire drives for my laptop and they are amazingly fast and portable.

Tom
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Old May 22, 2007, 10:04 AM   #5
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One thing to note that running off USB is ONLY for machines with USB2.

Usb1.1 does not deliver enough current to run the drive.

Firewire is nice but USB is universal



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Old May 22, 2007, 10:43 AM   #6
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Gazander wrote:
Quote:
One thing to note that running off USB is ONLY for machines with USB2.

Usb1.1 does not deliver enough current to run the drive.

Firewire is nice but USB is universal
Firewire is universal on all Macs, and is much faster than USB 2, so it is worth the small investment with a PC to put in a new card.

USB 1 runs my external USB drives just fine on my Macs, although it is agonizingly slow, so USB 1 drives run just fine power wise at least on my Macs.

Tom
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Old May 22, 2007, 1:55 PM   #7
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I stuck an old 80Gb drive in a case labeled Thermaltake, it has the usual USB 2.2 and external power supply but the entire case is one big aluminum heat sink which they guarantee will keep the drive cool. So far it works fine, it is quite small with the brandname on the case acting as the power/in-use light (switches from blue to red).

So far it has been a great addition to my system.

Ira
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