External Hard Drive or Enclosure?

I am interested in getting something to back up my files on my computer and maybe having some extra storage for some larger files that I have. I would like to get a 250GB drive. I’ve seen some external hard drives that look Ok, but I’ve also heard about enclosures because they are cheaper. You can buy one on Ebay for about $15.00 and get an internal hard drive which is cheaper. Also you can buy more than one hard drive.

Which is better? Does anyone have any brands of either that they recommend?

It is hard to say. Store bought external hard drives are just a case with an internal drive inside as well. The main advantage is that you save yourself a little hassle and you can read lots of reviews on Newegg.com or somewhere about how quiet it is, if it has any good bundled software, how it looks, and how much space it takes up.

In the end, it is the same thing. You really don’t need much software. The drives themselves just plug and go. Backup software is all over the web and some is free.

Personally I always buy an enclosure and a drive. I save money and know that I’m getting a name-brand drive.

I stuffed a spare Seagate into the little plastico box and was ready to go.

For years I’ve been putting hard drives in boxes, but Western Digital has some pretty good pricing on their My Book line of drives. They are a really nice box, good controllers, comes with everything you need, and the drive is solid. The prices is about the same as buying a drive and a box.

You might want to look for sales in your area.

Buying them seperate and assembling them yourself is usually cheaper. You may get a cd with the USB drivers, but that’s it.

Buying an external drive can be better in a couple ways. Some have a push button backup function. They supply some software beyond the USB drivers sometimes. The unit can be smaller and more stylish, with a carrying case that holds it all together when not in use.

I like enclosures because I can swap drives out. It’s particularly handy for working on other people’s systems - put their crap drive in your enclosure, copy its contents to another one of your working machines, put their crap drive back into their machine and format/reinstall (no data loss!)

I also like that if I fill up a 250GB hard drive I can buy another and still use the same enclosure.

But, if you’re not going to be doing any of the above and you like the features and price of the external drive, it’s really up to you.

I looked at the Western Digital My Book line and the prices seemed pretty good. What is the difference a 10.00 enclosure and a $30.00 enclosure. I’ve seen them vary in price but is the price difference because of quality or name brand?

Price difference?
It’s likely the extras like a venting fan. The cheap encloser I have had a little fan that drew little air and started squealing in 6 months. Stuff like that.

Nowadays, it is usually so easy to open the case & install something (not that it was THAT difficult back in the 286/386 days, but sometimes one ran into…problems) that it is no big deal at all.

Having said that, though, I also have a Western Digital My Book external 500 GB drive that I got for (I think) just over $200. Plugs into one of my USB 2.0 ports and basically installs itself. I am using it for digitizing old photos, storing new digital photos and saving digital video from my camcorder. Nice to know that when I fill it up, I can just unplug it and plug in a fresh one!

But, no big deal either way, go with what appeals to you most.

How much is your stored data worth to you if you by on the cheap and it fails?

I buy internal Seagate and Western Digital drives and install them into decent external enclosures.