The majority of external hard drives are nothing more than a case, a USB-SATA adapter, and a standard 3.5″ or 2.5″ hard drive. Despite having this extra hardware, they sometimes actually cost less than their bare counterparts. Why might this be? External drives usually only carry a 1 year warranty, while the average desktop drive today might get 2 years of coverage.
Above is a 3TB Seagate Expansion external hard drive. It has a USB 3.0 interface, and accepts 12VDC for power. I bought this a few years ago for $10 less than a bare 3TB SATA desktop drive.
Western Digital released a line of external hard drives where, when you take it apart, you don’t find a normal drive inside. Instead, the control board is actually a USB interface, not SATA.
Out of curiosity, and because I might put this drive inside my server in the future, I decided to tear it apart to see what I was working with.
It isn’t the first time, and it probably won’t be the last. Today I had a client e-mail me in some panic, as her USB memory drive had stopped working. It was plugged into the computer, and someone walked into it, bending the connector.
Breaking the 64MB, chinese-made promotional USB key was not the disaster – it was losing the files on it.
I’ve had luck before re-soldering damaged USB key connectors, so I got my tools together and gave it a shot.
Sorry to anyone who’s been trying to access the server the last 24 hours, I’ve had to take it down a couple times. I’ve just installed two new 1TB hard drives (RAID 1), and split the previous 750GB RAID 1 into two separate drives, giving me a total usable capacity of… 2.5TB! Seems like lots of storage now… but in a year I am quite certain it will be almost full, yet again.
I ordered the 750GB (x2) drives last November, and in a year I managed to almost fill them.
Of course, here is a lovely photo of the server, filled to the brim with hard drives! Beautiful, and awful at the same time.