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View Full Version : Western Digital External Drives waste of money?


Jon
07-19-07, 02:34 PM
I've just bought a 500gb western digital elements external usb hard disc. And its sloooooooooooooooow. I've used all my IDE/SATA ports so USB is the only option left for more storage currently. My question is, if I'd bought a standard WD 7200rpm sata drive and then put it in a Sata enclosure, still connected over usb, then would I get performance similar to an internal drive?

stncttr908
07-19-07, 03:34 PM
USB performance is going to top out around 30-35MB/sec no matter what enclosure you use. Theoretically you should get 60MB/sec since USB 2.0 spec states 480Mbps max transfer, but that's a pipe dream.

The only benefit to getting an enclosure is the internal WD drives generally have 5 year warranties whereas the externals (MyBook for example) are only one year, which is garbage.

ViN86
07-19-07, 05:07 PM
its only a rip off because you could save yourself money by buying an internal drive and your own enclosure.

Riptide
07-19-07, 05:47 PM
I like my AMS enclosure. Works great w/my WD SATA drives. I have a WD400 in there right now.

einstein_314
07-19-07, 07:47 PM
I've got a vantec Nexstar3 sata external enclosure. It uses eSATA so it's just as fast as an internal SATA drive. I love it. And it's definately a lot cheaper to just buy an enclosure and a hard drive separately than to buy one of the premade ones. My enclosure was only $40 and you can pick up a 320GB hard drive for what? $80? Definately teh way to go.

nekrosoft13
07-19-07, 07:52 PM
USB performance is going to top out around 30-35MB/sec no matter what enclosure you use. Theoretically you should get 60MB/sec since USB 2.0 spec states 480Mbps max transfer, but that's a pipe dream.


usually its less then that, usb is slow.

|MaguS|
07-19-07, 08:02 PM
It's good for backups or if you need to transfer alot of data at once. I think I would get one if I visited my parents more often but thats not gonna happen.

stncttr908
07-19-07, 08:27 PM
usually its less then that, usb is slow.
On my new board I get 30MB/sec+ generally. On my NF7-S it was around 20.

Jon
07-20-07, 03:59 AM
I've got a vantec Nexstar3 sata external enclosure. It uses eSATA so it's just as fast as an internal SATA drive. I love it. And it's definately a lot cheaper to just buy an enclosure and a hard drive separately than to buy one of the premade ones. My enclosure was only $40 and you can pick up a 320GB hard drive for what? $80? Definately teh way to go.

I like the sound of esata. I've got the wd drive packed up ready to go back to the shop. I think I'll pick up an esata card and drive instead. According to sandra, the elements drive average write is 11mb/s and read is 13mb/s.

KoRnfR3ak
07-20-07, 04:46 AM
I've used all my IDE/SATA ports so USB is the only option left for more storage currently.I like the sound of esata. I've got the wd drive packed up ready to go back to the shop. I think I'll pick up an esata card and drive instead. There are also these (http://computers.pricegrabber.com/hard-drives/wd/p/11/popup2%5B%5D=2:394/popup3%5B%5D=130:144/sortby=priceD) options.
Using Firewire 800 (1394b) you get 800Mb/s = 100MB/s, so those external drives could be as fast as internal drives. :)

Jon
07-20-07, 09:03 AM
Ok, so good news is, shop have agreed to take back the elements drive (even though I've opened/used it and its not faulty).

Bad news is, they will only exchange it and not refund (credit note). So... as they only have fairly limited stock... I've gone for a WD Mybook Premium (esata) 500gb and a pci-express 2 port esata card. Hopefully this will be much faster.

Monolyth
07-20-07, 09:26 AM
Unless you go to the higher-end eSATA or Firewire 800 solutions (talking >$1000) that use multiple drives in a RAID solution, I'm afraid a single drive will be unable to saturate the line no matter what (which those speeds are theoretical and rarely achieved even with the best cards).

Make sure you do some research before pulling the trigger, I was 30 minutes away from buying a Seagate FreeAgent w/eSATA, only to find some reviews that had tested the eSATA and showed it to be as slow as USB in some areas.

Jon
07-20-07, 04:18 PM
Ok, just ran HDTach to check I'm not going mad. WD Elements drive average read = 12.6 MB/s.

30-35 MB/s I probably would have lived with. But I feel this is exceptionally slow.

------

Edited:

What a nightmare... have a lacie esata pci-e controller card and WD mybook premium es. Works over usb, but the esata controller doesn't recognise the mybook at all. I might as well just stand in the garden and burn my money.

Jon
07-21-07, 05:38 PM
Finally getting somewhere, although not exactly what I had hoped for. After reading how usb bandwith is shared among all devices on the hub. I removed the other devices from the hub (my keyboard and mouse!) and now I'm getting 34mb/s usb. Much better. But I still can't get the esata connector to work.

einstein_314
07-23-07, 12:55 AM
Unless you go to the higher-end eSATA or Firewire 800 solutions (talking >$1000) that use multiple drives in a RAID solution, I'm afraid a single drive will be unable to saturate the line no matter what (which those speeds are theoretical and rarely achieved even with the best cards).

Make sure you do some research before pulling the trigger, I was 30 minutes away from buying a Seagate FreeAgent w/eSATA, only to find some reviews that had tested the eSATA and showed it to be as slow as USB in some areas.
Really? Because when I bench my eSATA drive with HDTach it's speed is identical to my internal one. Unless I'm remembering completely wrong....I'll have to test it again. Now my eSATA "card" isn't so much a card as a bracket that plugs into a SATA port on my mobo and goes to a header on the back of the case with a eSATA plug. I'll give it a shot tomorrow.

CaptNKILL
07-23-07, 01:50 AM
I have an AZIO esata enclosure that I have connected to a sort of "fake" e-sata interface (it just connects to a normal SATA port on the motherboard, using a backplate) and the drive benches identically to my internal drive (same model and size).

Jon
07-26-07, 03:31 AM
My poor money tree... its bare. I finally got the esata controller card to work with my hard disc (turns out the esata cable doesn't work at all, used a different cable and everything is fine). I get 68mb/s (faster than my IDE drives, slightly slower than my Sata internal @ 73mb/s).

But still, it works now and its fast! To celebrate I ordered a pair of esata enclosures and seagate 500gb hard discs.

CaptNKILL
07-26-07, 06:52 AM
I just stopped using my e-sata enclosure today.

When I turn it on, I have to restart for Vista to detect the drive and I was having some problems with it shutting itself off when copying large amounts of data or doing a standard (non quick) format.

Now I have 800gigs of internal storage. :o

Jon
07-26-07, 08:47 AM
I just stopped using my e-sata enclosure today.

When I turn it on, I have to restart for Vista to detect the drive and I was having some problems with it shutting itself off when copying large amounts of data or doing a standard (non quick) format.

Now I have 800gigs of internal storage. :o

I realise it needs to be switched on at startup to be recognised in the bios/windows. But I'm more concerned about it shutting off when copying large amounts of data. I've had this happen to me once already, but just assumed that because the drive has a sleep mode, then it must have just gone to sleep, but I was far from impressed.

At least with a self-made enclosure the drives can always be moved to internal if it doesn't work out. Although I don't really see the difference as you are effectively just using a pass through cable. I'm going to give external one more go with 2x ac ryan esata enclosures and 2xseagate 500gb hard discs!

Jon
07-26-07, 09:18 AM
Just found this... summat to think about at least:

"The SATA II spec calls for some very fast transfer speeds which in turn require a very strong signal between the controller and the drive. However, many of the early SATA II compliant controllers don't produce a strong enough signal to overcome the loss that occurs when connecting to a drive through multiple SATA cables plus the SATA to eSATA bracket"

CaptNKILL
07-26-07, 01:28 PM
Just found this... summat to think about at least:

"The SATA II spec calls for some very fast transfer speeds which in turn require a very strong signal between the controller and the drive. However, many of the early SATA II compliant controllers don't produce a strong enough signal to overcome the loss that occurs when connecting to a drive through multiple SATA cables plus the SATA to eSATA bracket"
Hmm... interesting.

I wonder if there is any way around that.

BTW, its good to know someone else is having the shutting off issue. I thought maybe my enclosure was defective.

And having to restart to use the thing is really lame considering one of the big features of SATA is the ability to hot swap drives (although you could hot swap IDE drives in XP :p). It worked fine in XP, I wonder when MS will fix e-sata support for Vista x64. :(

Jon
07-26-07, 03:50 PM
Hmm... interesting.

I wonder if there is any way around that.

BTW, its good to know someone else is having the shutting off issue. I thought maybe my enclosure was defective.

And having to restart to use the thing is really lame considering one of the big features of SATA is the ability to hot swap drives (although you could hot swap IDE drives in XP :p). It worked fine in XP, I wonder when MS will fix e-sata support for Vista x64. :(

Ok, I have 2 esata enclosures and 2 seagate 7200.10s on the desk in front of me... one is set to 1.5 mode and one is set to 3.0 mode.

Using the internal sata to esata backplate, it won't even acknowledge the 3.0 mode drive. However the 1.5 mode drive works fine. The silicon image controller (pci-e to esata) recognises both drives. Performance with silicon image/jmicron sata is about the same (jmicron slightly faster). I'm getting around 63mb/s average with HDTach.

Just deciding which controller to use to raid them!