External drive enclosure reliability


Y

Yousuf Khan

I tend to think that it would be best that an external drive enclosure
would be best if it had active cooling built-in (i.e. a fan). However,
I've recently seen a drive fail inside an actively-cooled enclosure so
badly that Spinrite couldn't even recover it. So I'm not sure about the
value of active cooling anymore. I have seen an aluminum portable
enclosure with a lot of good features (USB2.0 & e-SATA) for a really
cheap price, but from what I see of it, it doesn't seem to have any fans
in it. Should I worry about it, or is aluminum a good enough conductor
of heat by itself?

Yousuf Khan
 
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R

Rod Speed

Yousuf Khan said:
I tend to think that it would be best that an external drive enclosure would be best if it had active cooling built-in
(i.e. a fan). However, I've recently seen a drive fail inside an actively-cooled enclosure so badly that Spinrite
couldn't even recover it. So I'm not sure about the value of active cooling anymore.

The technical term for that is 'pathetically inadequate sample'
I have seen an aluminum portable enclosure with a lot of good features (USB2.0 & e-SATA) for a really cheap price, but
from what I see of it, it doesn't seem to have any fans in it. Should I worry about it, or is aluminum a good enough
conductor of heat by itself?

Nope, some drives do get stinking hot in aluminium enclosures,
particularly the enclosures that dont have a good conductive
heat path from the drive to the enclosure.

Then again, some enclosures with fans dont move much air over the drive either.

At least with eSATA you can monitor the drive SMART temperature.
 
F

Folkert Rienstra

Rod Speed wrote in news:[email protected]
The technical term for that is 'pathetically inadequate sample'


Nope, some drives do get stinking hot in aluminium enclosures,
particularly the enclosures
that dont have a good conductive heat path from the drive to the enclosure.

Which is most all of them if they don't use heat conductive sheeting
between the drive sides and the mounting rails (and the mounting rails
and the rest of the enclosure if not an integral part of the shell).
Worse even for those that use the bottom mounting holes of the drive.
Also, blackened aluminum radiates heat better to the environment than
blank anodized aluminum.
Then again, some enclosures with fans dont move much air over the drive
either.
At least with eSATA you can monitor the drive SMART temperature.

Provided they don't use an eSATA conversion chip with a limited vocabulary.
 
F

Folkert Rienstra

Yousuf Khan wrote in news:[email protected]
I tend to think that it would be best that an external drive enclosure
would be best if it had active cooling built-in (i.e. a fan). However,
I've recently seen a drive fail inside an actively-cooled enclosure so
badly that Spinrite couldn't even recover it.

Wow, Spinrite couldn't even recover the drive. That's really bad.
Have you called Steve and complained about that?
Obviously recovering a cooled drive should be a doddle for SpinRite.
I would ask my money back if I were you.
So I'm not sure about the value of active cooling anymore.
I have seen an aluminum portable enclosure with a lot of good
features (USB2.0 & e-SATA)
for a really cheap price, but from what I see of it, it doesn't seem to
have any fans in it.

Yeah, maybe somebody even makes a profit on it. Figure that.
It should be forbidden.
 
A

Arno Wagner

Previously Yousuf Khan said:
I tend to think that it would be best that an external drive enclosure
would be best if it had active cooling built-in (i.e. a fan). However,
I've recently seen a drive fail inside an actively-cooled enclosure so
badly that Spinrite couldn't even recover it. So I'm not sure about the
value of active cooling anymore. I have seen an aluminum portable
enclosure with a lot of good features (USB2.0 & e-SATA) for a really
cheap price, but from what I see of it, it doesn't seem to have any fans
in it. Should I worry about it, or is aluminum a good enough conductor
of heat by itself?

Depends. You need to measure it. I have had good and bad experiences,
including one Maxtor that did heat up to 72C (and then failed) when
idle (!) in an aluminium enclosure.

A good idea is to go for a low power drive (e.g. Samsung).
(I cannot recommend WDs GP series, because while they
are low-poer, they are incompatible with at least one
current SATA/USB enclosure chipset, see my recent review
here)

As to the failure despite cooling: Cooling eleminates one
problem, but drives can fail from several ones. Cooling a
drive well will have no impact on the other sources of failure.
Cooling it badly will just add one problem that can kill a
drive by itself.

Arno
 
B

bbbl67

The technical term for that is 'pathetically inadequate sample'

Maybe, but it makes you wonder, considering the enclosure was from a
well-known brand (Everex), and the drive was only six-months old.

Spinrite 6.0 went through it and found hundreds of unreadable, only
partially recoverable, sectors just in the first few megabytes,
partition table was completely trashed along with just about
everything else.
Then again, some enclosures with fans dont move much air over the drive either.

That's what I figure happened to this guy whose drive got trashed.
At least with eSATA you can monitor the drive SMART temperature.

That is a good point.

Yousuf Khan
 
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R

Rod Speed

Folkert Rienstra said:
Rod Speed wrote
Which is most all of them if they don't use heat conductive sheeting
between the drive sides and the mounting rails (and the mounting
rails and the rest of the enclosure if not an integral part of the shell).
Worse even for those that use the bottom mounting holes of the drive.
Also, blackened aluminum radiates heat better to
the environment than blank anodized aluminum.

The main way they lose heat is by convection from the outside, not radiation.
 
R

Rod Speed


No maybe about it.
but it makes you wonder, considering the enclosure was from a
well-known brand (Everex), and the drive was only six-months old.

You dont know how the drive would have gone used internally.
Spinrite 6.0 went through it and found hundreds of unreadable,
only partially recoverable, sectors just in the first few megabytes,

Thats not unusual with a drive that got stinking hot.
partition table was completely trashed along with just about everything else.

Not surprising with that many errors in the first few MB.
That's what I figure happened to this guy whose drive got trashed.

Yeah, plenty of them just have a fan that doesnt do much at all.
 
Y

Yousuf Khan

Folkert said:
Provided they don't use an eSATA conversion chip with a limited vocabulary.

Isn't eSATA just simply SATA with a different connector?

Yousuf Khan
 
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F

Folkert Rienstra

Timothy Daniels wrote in news:[email protected]
eSATA specs include a connector that accommodates
a shielding connection to ground, a shielded cable,
and wider windows on the transceiver levels due to the longer
cable length allowed (up to 2 meters).

And if that part (eSATA-to-SATA) is done by a chip that is also
doing the USB to SATA conversion like this one:
http://www.oxsemi.com/products/storage/OXU921DS.html
then you don't know what may have been left out.
 

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