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Choice of portable 2.5" hard drive (without non-standard drive ins


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#1 Gigabyte

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 06:05 AM

I'm looking for a small, light and reliable portable 2.5" backup drive for my Apple MacBook Pro with USB-3 and 1TB capacity.

I was about to buy a Western Digital "My Passport Slim" or "My Passport Air" (both metal enclosures) but recently read that WD has the drive controller and USB interface in one board on the hard drive itself, and in addition if you remove the drive from its enclosure it can't be used anywhere else because of a firmware lock.

In other words: if the USB interface breaks you can't simply recover the data by moving the drive to another enclosure!

 

As most hard drive reviews only concentrate on design and performance and don't show what's inside, can anyone recommend me to external drives that don't have these limitations?


Edited by Gigabyte, 19 July 2014 - 06:07 AM.

#2 Brian

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 11:43 AM

Most have modified PCB's with the USB connection rather than standard SATA connection. If you're worried about that, I'd just buy a metal enclosure of your choice and a 2.5" drive of your choice then voila. 


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#3 Gigabyte

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 05:16 PM

Good suggestion even though a good looking (not a "Christmas tree" or a "geek toy") enclosure is hard to come by. I did find some interesting ones by Icy Box and Orico though. Do you have any brand recommendations for quality and good looking enclosures?

 

As for ready made drives I did find out that the LaCie 9220 uses a standard 2.5" drive and has a separate bridge board. I think the ones from Seagate might as well, but I should stay away from Western Digital even though their enclosures look better than most other brands IMHO.


#4 continuum

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 12:52 AM

Nope. We usually buy retail boxed 2.5" externals from Seagate or WD these days. Seagate's Backup Plus models are also a standard SATA drive.


#5 Gigabyte

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 03:58 PM

Yeah, the Backup Plus Slim models seem nice and appears to use standard 2.5" SATA drives as you say, but for better cooling I'd prefer an all-metal enclosure. I do in fact have a 160 GB 2.5" Glyph Portagig 800 drive which is very solidly built (all-metal, standard SATA drive and a well built USB/Firewire bridge board with sockets that don't fall off by looking at them) and I could replace the SATA drive inside with something bigger, but I'd still only get Firewire 800 and USB 2. USB-3 should be a lot faster than Firewire 800, or so I've been told.

 

I guess they just don't make any solid, lasting enclosures any more  :(  (I've heard people complain about very flimsy USB-3 sockets on many drives/enclosures among other things). Someone, please prove me wrong as I need something I can rely on while working on the go.


Edited by Gigabyte, 02 August 2014 - 03:59 PM.

#6 continuum

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 01:21 AM

2.5" drives run cool enough, I wouldn't worry about the enclosure-- 3.5" drives are a different story.

 

We have literally hundreds of Seagate Backup Plus (and the earlier Freeagent GoFlex) 2.5" and WD Passport and Passport Slim models here for internal use and the failure rate is more than acceptable. I've noticed a few cables getting kinked sooner than expected on both WD and Seagates, but really not that many-- and on quite a few of the Seagates, the cable is replaceable anyway...

 

To be fair many do sit on lab benches and desks much of their lives, so my data may not be all that useful to you, but I haven't noticed abnormally high failure rates on ones carried day to day. (my customer data may be different, but that is not for me to disclose...)


#7 Gigabyte

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 03:09 AM

I ended up buying a 1TB Seagate backup plus portable (I'm not sure if this is the same thing as the "slim" because they look the same, but it said "portable" on the box).

I've only used it a few weeks for the occasional backup but first impression is good, it seems to work well (and look good), and of course USB-3 is a lot faster than I'm used to. I got the brushed silver one which looks good but doesn't quite match my Macbook Pro. There's a "Mac version" of the same drive if you're prepared to pay $$$ extra as usual for anything specific for this platform.

 

When I get to replace the Macbook Pro internal drive with an SSD I'll put the old internal drive into that nice all-metal Glyph enclosure (Firewire 800). Should make for a nice portable additional backup drive.





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