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  1. #1
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    BYO External Hard Drive?

    Anyone here ever build their own external hard drive? I'm looking at prices and 3.5" 250 gig hard drives can be had for less than 50 cents per gig now. I looked at USB 2.0 hard drive enclosures today and can't think of any reason why I shouldn't just build my own. Any suggestions, pointers, concerns? My current external drive is almost full so I need to take care of a new one soon.

    Thanks in advance!
    Photo-John

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  2. #2
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    Re: BYO External Hard Drive?

    My suggestion is get an enclosure that gives you the opportunity to use either USB 2.0 and or Firewire 1394 as well. I would also look at maybe one that has it's own power supply and not rely on the computer to supply power as this might just stretch the power supply on some computers. I have had that happen to me with usb hubs that take their power from the computer. An enclosure that allows for more than one drive would be good as well as one that has fans as well to cool them. Metal enclosures are best I have read from several resources. You are paying about half what an equivalent drive costs here John.

  3. #3
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    What do you mean...

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    Anyone here ever build their own external hard drive?
    ...by build your own????

    As you said, exeternal HDs are DIRT CHEAP. I recently got a Maxtor 300G (USB 2.0) plug & play for about $150. How can you beat that?
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  4. #4
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: BYO External Hard Drive?

    As Peter knows, my wife recently got a new laptop (thanks for the help, new router going in this morning - hope that fixes it...).

    I also had her get an external HD for backups of documents. I noticed what John saw too and was surprised. She didn't need anywhere near that capacity, but I'll bet you can beat 300G for $150USD this way.

  5. #5
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: BYO External Hard Drive?

    So for those of us that know nothing about building stuff like this, where is a good place to buy an external HD in the 300gb range? Everything I have looked at online is in the $200 and up range. I'm burning lots of DVD's now as backups, and will continue to do so, but it's a real pain in the butt to dig thru them to find old images...
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  6. #6
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Where?

    Yeah - BYO = build your own.

    Where did you find a that drive. I'd buy that. I found a 250 gig external for $69, after rebate. That's hard to beat. But then again, I never send in for the rebates.
    Photo-John

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  7. #7
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Re: Where?

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    Where did you find a that drive.
    Think it was buy.com, and yeah, there was a rebate...
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

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  8. #8
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: BYO External Hard Drive?

    Yep I've built 4 now, all in a neat stack on my system case.
    The only problem is the 4 wall-warts each providing 12V 1.5A
    Oh and I've used all the USB slots up, so when I need more than the Terabyte I have - time to buy a hub.

    Seems we're overcharged the usual dollars-to-pounds over here, but £69 for 250GB isn't bad, plus another £30 for the box and power supply.

    I just took a few snapshots (nothign to be proud of!) while I was putting together the first one.

    Ridiculously simple.
    Open the case.
    Connect the drive to the electronics.
    Screw the drive into the case.
    Connect the mini cooling fan.
    Put the case back together.
    Plug and go !

    These cheap boxes are USB 2.0 and only take IDE drives.
    I'm sure in a few months I'll be able to by SATA boxes off the shelf to use the new drives like in my sstem box, but for archive these do just fine.

    I don't think the firewire drive boxes are any faster than USB 2, and they work out more expensive. Perhaps they have a more reliable transfer rate when you use more than one drive but the USB is fast enough for me.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails BYO External Hard Drive?-pict7935.jpg   BYO External Hard Drive?-pict7936.jpg   BYO External Hard Drive?-pict7938.jpg   BYO External Hard Drive?-pict7937.jpg  
    PAul

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  9. #9
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    Re: BYO External Hard Drive?

    Paul the idea of usb/firwire is for when maybe you needed to connect to something that might not have usb 2 but has firewire which is goof for speed.

    Also, don't forget to make not of the equipment and their serial numbers as these portable devices are just so easy for someone to pick up and carry away.

    You can get little converter cables to take the cable power from ide to sata and also sata to ide as well, but by the look of the board there isn't much room left in there. Is that a fan in the top left of the box as well.

  10. #10
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: BYO External Hard Drive?

    Yes Peter, there's a fan in the top of the case.
    It's small but I do get appreciable wam air movement from the case.
    Enough air leaks in the cracks (there are no inlet vents) and I think it helps.

    When internal case components were failing in our hot summer (lasted all of a week) the external drives kept on going. I just wish there was a temparature monitor application that would read across USB - the only one I can find handles IDE only - it warned me the internal drives were going critical about an hour before the video card packed up

    Serial numbers? If it's gone, it's gone - little point chasing it.
    No one would check drive serial numbers.
    Especially not at computer flea markets where stuff might end up

    Backup to DVD is my ultimate backup right now.
    I need to move to a bigger, better image store.
    And to get backups offsite.
    On the other hand, if there's an event severe enough to damage the house, my photos are not the main priority !
    PAul

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  11. #11
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    Re: BYO External Hard Drive?

    You need to get that hot air out of the computer case. If you have space for some fans in the rear of the case, put some there to get the hot air out. Fresh air will enter by itself from the bottom of the case (if it's well designed).

    Here i use the computer with 30 C degrees of ambient temperature, and it works ok, even 3d games works ok. It's an athlon xp 3200 with a 120gb western digital hdd.

  12. #12
    Jedi Master masdog's Avatar
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    Re: BYO External Hard Drive?

    30 degrees C? That's pretty good. My Athlon T-bird 800 was topping out at close to 50 degrees C two years ago when I ran the machine with the sides on. Now it has other problems, but it still runs decently some of the time.

    I don't know if I would want to build my own USB enclosures when I can buy a Network Attached Storage device that has 1 TB of storage for about $250, or my own fileserver for about the same price.
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  13. #13
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: BYO External Hard Drive?

    I have 3 fans waiting to be fitted next summer.
    One for the rear of the case.
    One for the hard drive bay
    One for the grahics card

    Cirrently my drives are running at 46C and 48C
    PAul

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  14. #14
    Erstwhile Vagabond armed with camera Lionheart's Avatar
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    Re: BYO External Hard Drive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    Anyone here ever build their own external hard drive? I'm looking at prices and 3.5" 250 gig hard drives can be had for less than 50 cents per gig now. I looked at USB 2.0 hard drive enclosures today and can't think of any reason why I shouldn't just build my own. Any suggestions, pointers, concerns? My current external drive is almost full so I need to take care of a new one soon.

    Thanks in advance!
    Sort of. We use the EZ-Gig enclosures (USB 2.0) and 400 GB drives. We use three of these on rotating servers for backing up the office database, each server on a different night. The oldest backup gets burned to DVD's before being rotated back into the lineup, all stored off site at one of the partners' homes. We use Syncback from 2BrightSparks to back the data up on these drives. This way, the oldest backup on HD is only 3 days old, with anything older on DVD's, and the current backup from the previous day is always available.
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  15. #15
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    Re: BYO External Hard Drive?

    Quote Originally Posted by masdog
    30 degrees C? That's pretty good. My Athlon T-bird 800 was topping out at close to 50 degrees C two years ago when I ran the machine with the sides on. Now it has other problems, but it still runs decently some of the time.

    I don't know if I would want to build my own USB enclosures when I can buy a Network Attached Storage device that has 1 TB of storage for about $250, or my own fileserver for about the same price.
    30 degrees on my room, the processor itself runs at about 57 degrees in that situations, but i have a Thermalright ALX-800 cooler on the processor, it's really good. Also have two goodd 80mm coolers on the back of the case.

  16. #16
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    Re: BYO External Hard Drive?

    I like the idea of attached network storage too. It's quick and easy to set up and It's not that expensive. The best thing about it is that you can store it in a ventilated closet or case out of the way. If there were to be a water related crisis or maybe fire in the room with your main computer your network storage would hopefully be alright in a different part of the house.

  17. #17
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Re: Where?

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    Yeah - BYO = build your own...
    Hmmm, to me that always meant bring your own. You can take the boy out of the party, but...
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

    -Steve
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  18. #18
    Junior Member DerekSom's Avatar
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    Re: BYO External Hard Drive?

    And if you suddenly need to clean up disk space, but you do not know what to delete, I suggest using the powerful disk space visualizer dissyapp.com a faithful assistant. With its help you can find out what files you do not need and what you can delete.

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