DIY External Hard Drives... Worth it? Performance? - Techist - Tech Forum

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Old 02-09-2005, 09:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default DIY External Hard Drives... Worth it? Performance?

I'm considering buying a case and a regular IDE hard drive and building my own external hard drive instead of a prebuilt (like Maxtor or Seagate).

I've read around and found that I want one with firewire and USB2 and a hard alluminum case (not plastic). I've seen tutorials and read that it is pretty straight forward... however, if any of you have built your own I would love your feedback on the following questions:

1 - Does it perform as well as an prebuilt external hard drive? I want to use it for editing video with Sony Vegas and audio with Cakewalk Sonar. It needs to be fast enough to meet those requirements.

2 - Does it get too hot? I would want to be able to leave this puppy running for a good eight hours or so at a time... I just want to make sure it isn't going to melt my computer/desk or burn my house down! :-)

3 - Do the DIY models have a power cord for the wall outlet (like the pre-builts) or are they powered in some other way (through firewire?)?

4 - Any recommendations on what cases and/or drives to use? I've had bad luck with Maxtor but have never had a problem with Seagate. I've heard good things about Western Digital as well.

5 - How should I format the drive? FAT32?

Thanks for all your help!


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Old 02-09-2005, 09:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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1 - seeing as you will have to go ide -> adapter -> usb/firewire you're almost certain to lose some performance over the pre-builts that don't suffer from that obstable

2 - depends how well you vent your case.

3 - It will probably come with the adapater you'd have to buy to make it IDE2USB... USB/Firewire will not power it on its own.

4 - no help here

5 - Depends on what you plan on using it on. If it's Win2k/XP exclusive use NTFS. If you might use it on ME/98 as well Fat32

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Old 02-09-2005, 11:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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4 -

u could probably find it cheaper tho..wat size hd u want btw?
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Old 02-09-2005, 02:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Question Internal or External?

I'm looking for anything between 160-300GB... probably at least 200GB.

So it sounds like building your own external hard drive compromises read/write speed... and since I'm looking for this drive to be a write/read device for my music recording and video editing I guess I had better go with a prebuilt.

However, I read that one person was able to switch out the hard drive from an external Seagate... it was just a regular Seagate hard drive inside. If this is true why are the prebuilts faster?

Thanks everyone!

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Old 02-09-2005, 03:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Your own hard drive will have the same read \ write speeds as a prebuilt. Your speeds are limited to 50MBPS max on USB but they wont likely reach those speeds.

Most hard drives today are limited at 100MBPS max and reach close to those speeds.
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