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Buliding my own External Hard Drive. Please lend assistance

by AHammer16 / June 1, 2008 6:30 AM PDT

I am looking to build my own external hard drive for back up purposes. I have been looking at pre-fab external drives and have been scared by reviews on some great brands that tell of drive failure out of the box or in 4-5 months.

Should I just get a Pre-fab drive or build my own? Does any one have any reccomendations for Pre-fab external hard drives? I am looking for 500-750GB capacity for a Windows Vista machine.

Or should I build my own? I dont even know where to begin. I assume the enclousures come with power supplys built in as well as the interface cable, usb or firewire. Can some one give me a reasonable primer on building you own external drive?

Thanks for your time and suggestions in advance.

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Re: building your own drive.

I would call it "assembling". It's an enclosure and a drive. Open the box, snap the disk in (like you do with an internal drive), fasten the disk and close the box again.

The most important point: the disk should match the enclosure. They come in 3 variants: SATA, 3.5" IDE and 2.5" IDE. The last is a laptop-size drive and the capacity will be too low for your requirements.

The points of interest for the case:
- USB-interface?
- Firewire-interface?
- Ethernet-interface (so you can connect it as a shared device directly to your router in stead of connecting it to a PC)?
- does it need an external power supply, a wall outlet or is it USB-powered?
- size and weight if you need to transport it
- do you like how it looks
- do you have a place to put it in the preferred position (horizontal or vertical)

Hope this helps.


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One advantage of building your own is you get to select the actual drive you want and you get the full warranty. You can buy the same drive in a ready-made external and end up with a 1 year package even if the drive alone gives 5 years of warranty. Now, if you want some sort of automatic backup software, these will come with many of the ready-mades. Hope that helps with your decision but putting one together isn't hard at all.

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I have it assembled now what?
by AHammer16 / June 10, 2008 6:13 AM PDT

With your advice I purchased a 3.5" 500 gb seagate sata drive and an appropriate enclousure. I have heard that i need to format or re format the drive to operate on my machine. How do i go about this?

I have a Windows Vista machine. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks again for the help


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The XP way. . .
by Coryphaeus / June 13, 2008 5:11 AM PDT

Vista should be close. In XP, with the new drive plugged in and powered up:

Control Panel.
Administrative Tools.
Computer Management.
On the left, Disk Management.
On the right, your new drive should be listed. Right click it and Activate, then format.


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Keep it cool!
by BassBinDevil / June 20, 2008 12:37 PM PDT

In my experience, the biggest killer of hard drives is heat. This means you'd better have fan cooling... a drive just sitting, powered-up, will get hot to the touch. You can use a program like HDtune to view the drive's internal temperature sensor, if you can't feel the drive directly.

The fan should be arranged to either blow or draw outside air over the drive, and exhaust it the other end of the case after flowing over and around the drive. With adequate cooling, the drive won't even be warm to the touch, and could last until it is obsolete.

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by AHammer16 / June 23, 2008 5:22 AM PDT
In reply to: Keep it cool!

Yeah i was aware of the heat issue. I got a case with out a fan though. I am using the drive once or twice a month to back-up my Music and photos. It is not powered up constantly. Thanks for the heads up.

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