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we3fan

Is it safe to use new 2TB HD externally on USB 2.0 port?

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Hi guys,


I have only USB 2.0 ports on my laptop - so I think that is 0.5 A power from every port.


I have this older Internal HD:

120 GB 2.5" WD Scorpio, 0.55 A is written on top of the disk - I guess that is the power it requires to function properly.


I bought this SATA to USB cable, and it arrived today:

StarTech USB 3.0 to 2.5" SATA III Hard Drive Adapter Cable w/ UASP.


I connected my old 120 GB HD to the StarTech 3.0 Cable and I put it in my laptop's USB 2.0 port.

I copied a few 700 MB video files to and from my old 120 GB WD Scorpio HD and everything was OK.


I guess sometimes 0.5 A can be enough for a HD that requires 0.55 A.



I also bought a new Internal 2TB 2.5" Samsung SpinPoint Momentus ST2000LM003, 0.85 A is written on top of the disk.


My questions:

1. Is it safe to connect the new 2TB HD, which requires 0.85 A, to the StarTech 3.0 Cable and I put it in my laptop's USB 2.0 port, which provides only 0.5 A?

2. Can I physically damage or scratch the platter inside the HD if it doesn't get the full 0.85 A power required?

3. Can I shorten the life of the StarTech cable if I don't provide the full power that the HD requires from the USB 2.0 port?


Thanks for your time.

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I do have some anecdotal experience with high-power USB devices being plugged into USB ports long term that were drawing more than spec. The result (Thinkpad at the time) was USB ports that no longer reliably worked. I think newer notebooks have gotten better about it and will just disable devices for trying to draw more power than the port allows.

What you should get is a USB adapter or enclosure that has the twin-plug connectors to leverage two USB ports for power.

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Quite a few USB ports can supply more than spec, but obviously it's not going to be guaranteed. If the port can't supply enough power the drive will simply disconnect. Any data currently in-flight to/from the drive may be corrupted (as is always the case in this situation unless the drive has power-loss protection).

And yeah, what Kevin said. You may even be able to buy a cable that does such separately.

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Thanks guys.

I decided not to use my 2TB HD (requiring 0.85 A) in the USB 2.0 port (providing 0.5 A), I don't want to damage the USB 2.0 port.

Do you think that there is a small risk to damage the USB 2.0 port if I keep using my 120GB HD (requiring 0.55 A)?

Edited by we3fan

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