Sunday, November 11, 2007

Using Hitachi 750 GB Internal HDD for External HDD

As you might have all heard about the 1 Terabyte barrier being broken. First by Hitachi and now Seagate and WD has followed with their own 1 TB hard-drives. This is mostly because to break the 500 GB barrier the head movement had to change to perpendicular which was extremely difficult to be plausible untill recently.






I was hunting around for a back up hard-drive since my 250 GB laptop was catching up with me. First I went for the 750 GB hard drive instead of the 1 TB ones because:-
it was cheaper
presumably more stable and reliable (my theory:- since the latest techs... need to be tried and tested and I was not going to be the guinea pig)
lesser platter numbers than the 1TB ones (though more than the 500GB)
made sense over the 500GB ones (why not get 750 GB when you can get them :-) )



So I went on web search for those external hardrives - I came across Lacie, Cavalry, WD - My Book, Seagate's Free Agent and HP's Personal Media Drive. I then shortened my shortlist to Seaget's Free Agent and HP's Personal Media because - they were well priced and more reliable.

But then I had a change of mind. I realized that these proprietary external hard drives were more expensive with lesser specification that those you can build yourself. So I decided to build myself.

I noticed that all these proprietary external hard drives had at least 7500 rpm with cache ranging from 8MB - 16 MB (one of the factors determining their price). Most of these reasonably priced ones did not even have fan and they outputs either had one of the following combinations :-
USB alone
USB with Firewire
USB, Firewire and eSata (the priciest of them all).




So I made a criteria for what my external hard drive would be before building it :-
at least 750 GB,
at least 16 MB cache,
at least 7200 RPM speed.

On searching the web with these criteria in mind I came to realize that most of the proprietary external hard drives with 750 GB and 16 MB cache was much more expensive than the individual hard drive built by the same manufacturer (eg, WD , seagate). And I came to realize I could get 32 MB cache which was being offered by Hitatchi and moreover it was well priced (obviously more expensive than the 16 MB one but in the same budget I was initially intending to spend on the the proprietary 750 GB with 16 MB cache).



So because of the reasons I have described and because of its reliability I decided to get the Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 (which is the same family that makes the 1TB). It had the following features:-
Size: 3.5 inches
Capacities: 750 GB
Cache: 32 MB
Speed: 7,200 RPM
Interfaces: SATA 3.0 GB/s
Seek Time: 8.5 ms read
9.2 ms write
Platters: 4
Heads: 8

DataSheet


Comparison between UltraStar, DeskStar and CinemaStar families of Hitachi 750 GB.


Now I was in search for a good sturdy 3.5' enclosures that had a fan to keep the hard drive cool hence helping it life span. I came across (depending upon their pricing) - Eagle Consus W-Series, iRock, iMicro, Vantec..............and so on but they were mostly USB with or without fans and did not seem to have very good reviews. I finally came across a very reliable enclose built by one of companies that build power supply for PC's, ANTEC. It's the veris model from antec which was not only well built but had USB with eSata outputs and with very silent fan. Best of all it did not have any of pesting CD's and installation issues for drivers.






Features / Specifications :-
Dual output interface - USB2.0 and eSATA (external Serial ATA) allows you to transfer data up to 480Mbps or 3Gbps respectively
The Body - Two layer (plastic with aluminum) structure upper and lower covers to absorb HDD and fan noise
Carbon-glass filled frame to reinforce the strength of the whole enclosure
Built-in silicone pad to absorb HDD noise
Included: USB cable, eSATA cable, and eSATA bracket to convert internal SATA to eSATA, Stand included
Noise Level: 20 dbA with the blower on inside the enclosure
Supports: up to 1TB SATA hard disk drive
Windows 2000 / XP / ME / VISTA
Dimensions: - 21.9cm(H) x 14.6cm(W) x 5.7cm(D)




Installation after I received my Hitachi 750 GB hard drive and the enclosure was pretty straight forward (it barely took 10 min) by just following the instruction that comes with the enclosure. There is also a video demonstration of the installation procedure at Antec Website



Post- Installation in my 12" laptop:- (click for enlarged picture)



You must have noticed that I have preferred using eSata instead of the slower USB (makes sense because I have 750 GB of external HDD). For that I had to get an extension card, in my laptop it's the new express card/54 (the old one would be express card/34). I got the one from SIIG but you can get cheaper ones as well an expensive one from Belkin. I must say however I have not had any problem with this one. You just had to plug it in install the driver that comes with it (Vista Compatible - drivers form the website). After that reboot and just plug the eSata from the external HDD and walah!! it's ready to take in your datas.


After all that, I partitioned my 750 GB HDD into 7. I must eSATA is fast unlike USB (without those memory and power consumtion from the motherboard) and the antec fan in the enclosure is very quiet you just don't hear it (I thought it might be a marketing gimick when the official site mentioned it produced sound < 22db). On conlcusion, you must have guessed what I am going to say. I LOVE IT.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Risa said...

Good for people to know.

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