A good quality hard drive enclosure is going to have the ability to transfer data quickly and will have plenty of storage space to hold all the photos, music files and other important pieces of information you want saved. Our pick, Sabrent USB 3.0 External Hard Drive, has the ability to transfer data up to 10 times faster than other hard drive enclosures. It works with Desktop 2.5” and 3.5” hard drives of any capacity. We especially liked the LED indicator that shows activity as well as the fact that it is reverse compatible.
Introduction to the Hard Drive Enclosures
Unless you are really computer savvy, you may not understand the ins and outs of a hard drive enclosure. These devices are very beneficial for freeing up space on your existing computer system. They are also used to protect important files, programs and libraries of music, photos, movies, and other files to ensure that a system crash or other problem doesn’t wipe out your computer.
Even if you’ve had a crash, a hard drive enclosure will enable you put the affected hard drive into it then retrieve the lost data off it so you don’t end up with a lot of lost data. If you are not familiar with hard drive enclosures, we’ve got information that will help you decide which hard drive enclosure is right for your needs, and even how to use it.
Choosing the right hard drive enclosure may seem overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a lot of tech knowledge, but it is not difficult to learn what you need to know to make a good choice. High-quality hard drive enclosures can protect all your important information, files, music, photos, and much more so you don’t have to worry about a crash that could lose everything. This buyer’s guide will ensure that you choose the right hard drive enclosure for your needs.
Top Ranked Hard Drive Enclosures
Sabrent USB 3.0 Hard Drive Enclosure
The SATA Lay-Flat Docking Station by Sabrent allows users to insert Desktop 2.5” to 3.5” SATA hard drives.
Trading out hard drives has never been easier than with this device. It connects easily through SuperSpeed USB 3.0 which is up to 10x faster than 2.0.
It will support all 2.5” and 3.5” drives up to any capacity. It has an on/off power switch, an LED light that shows activity levels, and a power status light. This device supports hard drives up to 8 ATB.
The Serial ATA bus handles up to 6 Gbps Signal bandwidth which makes storage backups lightening fast. It is reverse compatible with both the 2.0 and 1.1 USBs. No drivers are needed thanks to the user-friendly, plug and play feature.
This useful device has transfer rates that include up to 5 Gbps with 3.0 USB and as much as 480 Mbps with 2.0 USB. It is compatible with many operating systems including Windows 2000, Vista, XP, Windows 7, Windows 8 (both the 32 bit and 64 bit) and MAC OS X. The hard drive enclosure comes with the lay down flat dock, power supply, USB 3.0 cable and a user manual.
Mediasonic ProBox 3.5″ SATA Hard Drive Enclosure
The Mediasonic Hard Drive Enclosure will convert users’ 3.5” SATA disk drives to the external drives instantly and provides PC and Mac users with an easy and user friendly solution to protect their important information.
This enclosure supports SATA III hard drives with a transfer rate of 6.0 Gbps and is optimized for UASP.
We had plenty of portable storage space for all our music, photos, videos, and data files as well. The hard driver enclosure operates from a power on/off switch.
The Max transfer rate is 5.0 Gbps from a USB 3.0 and a transfer rate of 480 Mbps from the 2.0 USB.
This device also supports several hard disk drives including all 3.5” SATA I, II, and III hard disk drives all the way up to 8TB.
It is designed to be used with UASP and SATA III at a transfer rate of 6.0 Gbps. The operating systems that this enclosure supports include Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and 8.1, and Windows 10. It also supports Mac OS X. It’s the perfect hard drive enclosure for your storage needs.
Sabrent USB 2.0 Aluminum Hard Drive Enclosure
You will be able to connect any type of IDE/PATA or ATA/SATA desktop hard drive that is 3.5” externally with the Sabrent USB 2.0 Aluminum Enclosure.
The ultra-light aluminum case is very convenient and durable. A major benefit of this construction and material that we really liked is that it ensures heat dissipation and protects the hard drive from overheating.
The large screws on the enclosure made it very easy to assemble. The built-in, 80mm cooling fan reduces heat. It is hot-swappable and supports wake up ability as well. It is easily accessible on PC or Notebook.
This USB 2.0 Aluminum Hard Drive Enclosure supports 480 Mbps of high speed data transfers, so saving your files and documents doesn’t take long at all. Operating system requirements are Windows 98SE, Windows 2000, ME, 2003, XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8; both 32 bit and 64 bit versions, and MAC OS X as well.
Hard Drive Enclosures Summary
Having plenty of storage space is important to many people and backing up files, photos, and documents is regular maintenance for most. All three of the hard drive enclosures reviewed provide plenty of storage space for all your needs with fast transfer rates, a wide range of OS compatibilities, and other features that make these enclosures even more appealing.
Many people that use computers forget that a sudden crash can cause them to lose everything. Having a hard drive enclosure with which you can transfer data and protect it can prevent information loss that can be fatal to a home or small business.
Continue reading our buyer’s guide below to learn even more about external hard drive enclosures. We will share information about the benefits of using a hard drive enclosure and inform you about the different types of external hard drive enclosures that are available.
Hard Drive Enclosure Comparison
|3.0 / 2.0 / 1.1||3.0 / 2.0 / 1.1||2.0 / 1.1||2.0 / 1.1||3.0 / 2.0 / 1.1||3.0 / 2.0 / 1.1||3.0 / 2.0 / 1.1||3.0 / 2.0 / 1.1||3.0 / 2.0 / 1.1||3.0 / 2.0 / 1.1|
|Capacity||8 TB||8 TB||2 TB||500 GB||1 TB||8 TB||8 TB||500 GB||8 TB||8 TB|
Hard Drive Enclosure Buyers Guide
About Hard Drive Enclosure
Individuals use an external hard drive enclosure to make internal hard drives portable. They help users transfer data to an external hard drive. They are a good safe guard against lost data or corruption of files. They are also used to back up data and archive it on the external hard drive so space is freed up on your primary hard drive.
Hard Drive Enclosure Benefits
There are many benefits to using a hard drive enclosure. These benefits include:
- Using a hard drive enclosure adds additional storage space and different media types to laptop computers as well as sealed embedded systems including digital video recorders.
- Adds more drives to a server or workstation
- Adds RAID capabilities to computers that lack space for additional drives or that lack RAID controllers.
- Transfers data between non-networked computers
- Adds a backup source that contains a separate power supply that is different from the connected computer system.
- Shares data on a network-aware enclosure
- Prevents the heat that a disk drive contains from increasing the heat inside an operating computer case.
- Provides an inexpensive approach to hot swapping
- Recovers the data from a damaged computer
- Lowers the cost of removable storage
- Protects data when viruses attack the computer
Hard Drive Enclosure Specification
- Materials used – There are many different materials that are used to construct hard drive enclosures. These include:
- Connection Types – Most of the external hard drives available connect to the existing computer through USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 or even FireWire. What determines the one you use are the type of ports that your system has available as well as the type of system you are running. (Either Windows or Mac) If both types of ports are available, the choice of connectivity to use is up to you.
- Interface – There are two interfaces that internal hard drives are available in: IDE and SATA. SATA is the more common of the two. They offer much better performance in regards to large memory cache, RPMs, and overall transfer rates. If your hard drive is SATA based, you can use a SATA hard drive enclosure. USB and FireWire are also able to use SATA.
- Size – This category refers to the actual size of the device rather than its capacity. There are two sizes available: 3.5” and 2.5”. The difference is the larger one is for a desktop and the smaller for notebooks. The 3.5” are faster and cheaper but if you are upgrading your laptop, you will need the 2.5”.
- # Of Bays – Enclosures are available in both single and dual bays. The dual enclosure can hold two internal hard drives rather than just one. If you have a power computer that requires a large amount of portable hard drive space, a dual enclosure will be perfect for you. Most users will start with one and purchase another if more space is needed.
Using a Hard Drive Enclosure Properly
The steps for using a hard drive enclosure are easy. They work just like an external hard drive by taking an internal hard drive and enclosing it. We have outlined the steps below so you can use hard drive enclosures correctly.
- What kind of hard drive enclosure do you want? If you are looking for a safe bet, opt for the USB type since most computers offer USB interface capability. If you want other options, you can choose FireWire or SATA.
- Open the hard drive enclosure and place your internal hard drive inside it. Close the hard drive enclosure properly.
- Make sure all the necessary cables are connected. This will include connecting the hard drive enclosure to the hard drive, connecting the power cable for the enclosure and connecting the enclosure to the computer.
That’s it! The complete instructions for using your hard drive enclosure properly. The enclosure will transform the internal hard drive into what amounts to a plug-and-play device. You can use the internal hard drive anytime your system is running and it works just like a removable flash drive and is just as convenient.
Recovering Data with a Hard Drive Enclosure
If you have a dead computer or hard drive on your hands, you can use a hard drive enclosure to recover your data in most cases. Your enclosure will protect the hard drive inside. It is worth the cost of the enclosure to recover lost files, photos, music, and documents.
The size will depend on whether you are recovering data from a laptop or a desk top. In addition to holding the hard drive itself, the hard drive enclosure also holds electrical gear that will help connect the drive and the computer you are recovering the data from.
Other Things to Consider about Hard Drive Enclosures
- Security Benefits – One advantage that users will learn about when using a hard drive enclosure is the increased security it provides. Most people are aware of and cautious about viruses, Trojan horses, spyware, hackers, and malicious scripts. Sometimes these threats will take your important data and spread it to outside sources and other times, it will corrupt your system itself.
One of the ways to increase security is to leave the hard drive enclosure off when you are not accessing programs or data that it contains. You should also leave it off while you are online. This will keep everything safe and protected. If you are using a communal computer, remove the enclosure, and lock it somewhere for safe keeping.
- Back Up Capabilities – If you are looking for a way to free up space on your computer or laptop, an external hard drive is the way to go when it comes to backing up or ghosting the system. It’s always a good idea to have a couple of different backups in case one of them becomes corrupt or gets damaged.
- Portability – Users will also be able to move their data from one computer to another using a hard drive enclosure. It is the equivalent of having a very large memory stick, as the system will be able to read the drive and move any files over as long as there is a USB port or Firewire to read the drive and transfer those files.
- Library Storage – Nowadays people have extremely large libraries of movies, music, and graphics. Using a hard drive enclosure to store these large libraries makes more room on the system for burning and downloading while making sure that they are protected from online viruses, crashes and other problems that could affect them.
Another plus to moving these large libraries of files to the external drive via a hard drive enclosure is that it reduces the amount of time it takes for the system to defrag files and scan the system for spyware and viruses.
- Alternate Operating Systems – Having a second operating system on which to try new operating systems or to ensure that a new program has no compatibility issues is another reason to use a hard drive enclosure. By having another OS on the external hard drive, these issues can be tested without risking the main system and thanks to the Motherboard BIOS settings, users will be able to easily choose whether they want to boot from the external storage OS or the internal one.
Users want to be certain that the hard drive enclosure they purchase is made for the type of hard drive it is going to contain. There are older drives which are IDE or Integrated Drive Electronics or newer drives which are Serial-ATA or SATA drives.
You also want to consider noise levels. Two factors that contribute to noise are built-in power supplies and fans. If you want to keep your hard drive enclosure on most of the time your system is running, you will want to choose a quieter option.
Checking customer reviews is a good way to find out how noisy a hard drive enclosure is. You will be able to find out how the enclosure performs in real world applications and learn what customers are saying about it. This will help you to make an informed and educated choice.