External hard drive enclosure

I’ve been thinking about getting a WD TV Live media player and hooking up an external drive to it for most of my playback. I have a couple of 1tb SATA drives I could choose from for this, but I don’t know a great deal about external hard drive enclosures.

I have heard that the Vantec enclosures tend to be fairly good, and the USB 2.0 versions from them are reasonably priced. But is that a good enough reason to buy a USB 2.0 enclosure? The WD TV Live only has USB 2, but I can transfer from my main computer at USB 3.0 speeds. And buying the older style locks me into the slower speeds for the foreseeable future.

The Vantec USB 3.0 enclosures are about half the cost of a 2tb external hard drive. If you catch a good sale you can get the Seagate 2tb, USB external drive for about $80. So, I’m not sure that paying more than $25 for an external case by itself makes much sense.

Any input welcome.

I use nothing but bare drives and USB-3 HDD docks. This adds layers of convenience and swap-ability. I have enclosures sitting on the shelf that never get used. A dock also doesn’t need cooling, the HDD stays nice and cool. Here’s one I’ve been using happily: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817576013.

You’ll find them in 1, 2 and 4 bay models. The only thing to watch out for is support for 3TB+ drives. If you don’t need higher transfer speeds, the USB-2 models are pretty cheap.

USB 3.0 enclosures are well worth the extra cost, IMO. I can get up to 90 Mbs transfer speeds which is far faster than USB 2.0. The docks are nice but doesn’t make the drive portable.

Thanks for the replies. I need a bit more mobility than the docks provide, and decided to go with a USB 3.0 Vantec external enclosure I found for just under $30. We’ll see how it goes, but I think this will work.

I use a dock at the PC and one at the HT, makes swapping drives very simple, no need to move anything. If you have to go further than that a portable bus-powered drive is the ticket. Plus if its connected to a media box you should have network access. The speed of the enclosure is not relevant if you’re just playing media files. USB-3 is nice for transferring files at the PC though.
Once you get to having 2 or more HDDs full of media, enclosures make less and less sense and docks make more sense.

I have 2 of these Rosewill RX-DU101:

I know they are USB 2.0 but they work well from my 46" Sharp Aquos . It has a USB port & I just plug the dock into it direct.
On DVD’s with multiple .VOBs there is a slight loading pause changing form one to another. No pause on a large single file.
I also looked at the Iomega & Argosy media players . The Iomegas’ seem to have increased in price & I didn’t find any current Argosy’s available.

Most media boxes, TVs, players and the like all use USB-2 ports, so a USB-2 dock or enclosure is fine for that purpose.

Here’s the fun post script for this thread. I got the Vantec enclosure, put one of my Hitachi 1tb drives in it and fired it up. No problems. I transferred about 200 gb of movies into it and set it aside until my WD TV Live showed up.

Tried to plug it in today, and nothing…nada…its dead Jim…
No power showing up, no lights, no action. So, I get to send it back to Newegg, and pay return shipping for the privilege. So happy.

I put the Hitachi in my backup computer, just to make sure it hadn’t died, and no, its purring away, happy as a pig in mud.

Edit: What do you know, Newegg comes through and gives me a UPS prepaid shipping label to get it back to them! So a bit of silver in this black cloud anyway.

I’ve used the Vantec enclosures before to test Hard drives and use my extra DVD burners externally and they worked fine, think I have a couple laying around here now but lately I just buy the big external USB hard drives on sale. Just picked up a USB 3.0 Seagate from BestBuy eBay for 90 with in store pickup and used my PayPal money I have saved up from doing online surveys.
Last one I got I ripped the drive out and it’s in here but now it’s full and I do have 3.0 ports so new ones staying in the enclosure, plus it was the slightly better version with a 2 year warranty. I have 2 externals hooked up to MY WDTV Live through it’s USB port and a 4 port USB powered switch that allows it to see more then 2 drives at once. That also feeds my newer Pivos Aios media player who’s USB ports are really badly slow over the network, the Live is actually faster and with the WDTVXL firmware the USB ports are always on so my PC here sees them all the time so I can add or edit stuff out there. The file transfers are still slow but files play fine on either player. One drive is a 1.5TB and the other is a 2TB, plus the 2TB in here that’s just for HDTV captures, and the new 2TB USB 3.0 I’ll soon start filling up, plus 4 500 gig drives in here just for system files and games and the boot drive.
Probably should have got the 4TB one that New Egg had for 129 shipped but would have had to wait for it, I picked up my Seagate about an hour after I made the purchase at my local store:clap:
Get a powered USB hub with a bunch of ports and you can add drives till you run out of spots, or share them over the network from your machine and I think it’ll see em that way too, or just your shared folders.
I LOVE my media players and wish I’d gotten one sooner.

My DVR is the Scientific-Atlanta box my cable provider supplies.

It has a 320gb HDD internal to it and I have an external drive attached, according to my provider (and Scientific-Atlanta) it only accepts a 750gb External attached via eSATA.

I have is that I used a cheap (Rosewill, on sale at Newegg) enclosure.

The issue is that these enclosures have their own internal “power saving” feature
that powers down the drive whan it isn’t being accessed. this frequently results
in recorded programs being “inaccessible”, or if the attempt to access the drive
"times out" programs not being recorded at all.

I’m pretty sure these issues will be resolved by using a different enclosure or
dock for my “extender” drive.

I’m not curious enough to attempt swapping out the drive INSIDE the Cablebox/DVR… yet…