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Looking for a inexpensive HDD enclosure (3.5"). I already have a Vantec enclosure for an old IDE drive, and it works well and seems well made. I just can't seem to justify to myself to pay $50 + for a new SATA Vantec enclosure when I only paid $105 for a 1TB drive... Any other brands that any of you have used that work well, reliable and that you would recommend? If it's possible, looking for something sub-$30.

Thx in advance.
 

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I wouldnt buy an enclosure that's over 20-25.. there's only so much a small PCB and some wires should cost :p

since you like the vantec name, this one's only $25:
Vantec NexStar CX NST-300S2-BK 3.5" SATA TO USB2.0 External HDD Enclosure

The only enclosure i own is a 2.5" nspire aluminum one (older, IDE)
It was like $16 at the time, a great deal.
 

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I really like the Adaptec ACS-100 Aluminum 3.5 drive enclosures, but unfortunately they only support E-IDE/ATA 3.5" drives....

They only cost me $20 each.... :)

Adaptec also made the ACS-300 for SATA drives, but I think it's been discontinued. If you can pick up one of those on sale, I would get it....
 

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Infonec sells a bare IDE to USB adapter complete with a brick power supply for around 15 bucks. The kit actually has 2 adapters, one for 3.5" IDE desktop drives and another for 2.5" notebook drives. The nice thing with this is that there is no enclosure/housing to fiddle with.
 

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Thermaltake N0028USU

I don't know if you plan to have more HDD later on, but if you think it might be a possibility then have a look at the Thermaltake N0028USU HDD dock.

You just dock the HDD either 3.5" or 2.5" SATA and connect via USB to you computer. I got tired of buying enclosures for my hard drives and find this to be a great solution since I just swap the drives on the fly (I have over 10 drives lying around).

*** has this on sale now for ***. I know this is a bit more than what you wanted to spend but it could work out for you in the long run. And I have used it with a 1.5TB HDD with no problem.
 

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Vantec has a USB only CX enclosure that runs about $25-$30. If you want extra interfaces, such as eSATA or NAS, that will almost always cost more. I picked up the Nexstar for $35 but that was on sale. They are a very well built enclosure and more reliable that the cheap generic brands.
 

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I picked up one of those USB/IDE adapters mentioned and it works great. If your intention is not to leave this thing connected but is simply for utility of being able to connect a HDD at will the adapter is wonderful. I used it to recover the data off our 2.5 IDE drive out of the laptop
 

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Thermaltake Vion 3.5" is my choice. Mainly because of a fan. Having read a few forums regarding HD enclosures heat seems to be an issue.... earlier HD retirement. The Vion has a fan and eSata/usb connection to the computer. I didn't like (personal) the open concept (dock) because exposure of the HD.
I have a 500gb WD Caviar Black inside with no issues to date. The enclosure and drive are on the floor to capture as much cool air as possible.
 

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I find that energy saving drives, such as the WD Green series, eliminate heat issues with external drives. Some Hitachi drives are also very energy efficient but do not perform as well as the WD Green. The WD Black is not too bad for energy consumption either. The worst drives I have seen for heat issues are Maxtor, either in a PC or an external case. Despite claims of energy efficiency, Seagate drives also tend to run hot in an external case.
 

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I have several enclosures, both 2.5" and 3.5", some of which I've been using for many years. None of them has a fan. If the enclosure is well designed and it's a good drive, no fan is needed.
 

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I'm sure there are many olde/newer hds that are fine in their enclosures. With the introduction of bigger drives, does heat increase? I agree that manufacturers have started to make drives more energy efficient resulting in less heat/more efficiency. Enclosures are also being designed for better heat dissipation.
Given the choice, I tend to err on the side of caution, that's why I bought an enclosure with a fan. My car has a trans cooler even tho I don't tow a trailer.
 

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The vast majority of enclosures now are fanless. If this were a problem with large drives, we'd hear of widespread failures. Clearly a well-designed enclosure can work reliably with large drives without a fan.
 

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I do agree...to a point Alan Toronto.
There are however too many examples of recent that would dispute the fact of "well designed". How many years did it take for markets to crash? HD enclosures mainstream in the last 2-3 years for the consumer?
Being an ex-farm boy the closer we could keep machinery operating at optimum the less extra maintenance we'd have to do. The closer I can keep a HD to room temp. the better I'll feel :). I've a (9.5yr)P3, 512 ram, 80gb(2nd)HD that's running XP. I've always tried to keep the computer as cool as possible.
I'm glad of the fan option, otherwise I'd buy the dock so my HD can breathe.
I'm also glad there is more than one choice available for all of us!
 

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Drives are designed to operate safely well above room temperature. So, while room temperature may be your goal, it's entirely unnecessary.

One of my enclosures is over 5 years old, one is 3 or 4 years old, a couple are over a year old. All get heavy use, some of them 24/7. All are fanless and have operated flawlessly. Fans aren't necessary if the enclosure is well designed, as millions of users can attest.

The fact that Seagate has recently had a string of drive failures is not the fault of the enclosures, and there have been Seagate failures even in enclosures with fans.
 

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With the introduction of bigger drives, does heat increase?
Heat generated by a drive depends on a number of factors. Those include number of platters, spindle speed and motor efficiency. Head movement and head actuator power consumption also generates heat. The electronics also plays a role but not just in the amount of heat it generates itself.

Increased capacity in itself does not generate more heat, unless it requires more platters. For example, an older generation 320GB drive may require 3 platters and a newer generation 500GB may require only two platters (due to increased data density.) The older 250GB drive would usually require more power and generate more heat. Withing a single generation of drives, extra capacity is usually obtained by adding more platters so the larger drive in that scenario would produce more heat. Faster spindle speeds also generate more heat. That is why new "green" drives have slower spindle speeds or variable spindle speeds.

Some newer drives have idle and sleep modes that stop the motor and/or put the electronics in standby (sleep) mode. Cache size and advanced caching algorithms also play a role in how much the read/write heads move and how much power the head actuator consumes. Almost all power consumed by a drive is converted into heat so a drive that consumes less power runs cooler. Some newer drives consume as little as 1/2 or 1/3 the power of previous models with almost as good performance. In an external case, the limiting factor in performance is usually the USB interface, so it is worthwhile to trade a little performance for power savings.
 

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Thanks Scary Bob. I looked on WDs' website and all the info I could get was on wattage used per function(read/write etc). Nothing about heat generated per function. I suppose there is a formula to figure that out using wattage.
I went for performance and bought a HD enclosure with a fan/sata connection. My desktop has a 300gb Velociraptor inside and that comes with its own special heatsink enclosure.
 
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