Personal computing discussed

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ludi
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Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Sun Aug 20, 2017 1:40 am

I assume this is actually common now, but it was new to me. Tried plugging in the USB WD-Passport drive to backup some files, and after a few random USB disconnects, I heard the click of death. Oh well, I've got a couple spare SSDs lying around; maybe I could repurpose the USB-to-SATA converter. Or not:

Image

Image

Yup...they integrated the USB host right into the controller PCB. This entire device is junk.
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LostCat
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:15 am

Just going by my experiences, I expect larger externals to use a normal drive. I've taken apart a few, but I don't know that I ever got to doing a small drive.
And now I'm no longer primarily a PC gamer. *shrug*
 
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:43 am

I've seen this plenty of times, and yes it's annoying.

I guess they do it to reduce assembly costs, but it's infuriating when the USB port gets damaged by clumsy owners and you shuck the drive saying "no problem, we can just put it in this USB caddy and save your data for y....

"Or not. That'll be a costly board resolder, or data recovery lab job. You do have backups, right? RIGHT?"

The sad news is that a lot of people use this sort of drive specifically for backups. They're trying to access the damn thing because it has their backup data on it in the first place :\
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The Swamp
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:12 am

Yikes, that's the first time I've seen that. Seems it would be cheaper for the manufacturer to use a standard drive than to have one custom-made like that for the purpose of making sure you can't re-use the enclosure and USB interface.
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meerkt
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:01 am

Another reason for this integration might be to make 2.5" drives shorter in length.

And they probably do save costs this way. PCB manufacture isn't expensive. They save at least a chip and 2 connectors per unit, and they produce millions.
 
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:25 am

I have used a USB to SATA adapter that came with a Samsung ssd a few years back to hook an SSD into my PC in a similar setup.

It's not a full case for the SSD though so it doesn't really provide physical protection for what you would consider to be a portable SSD.
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blahsaysblah
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:19 am

It's been this way for long time for 2.5" drives.

Most WD portable drives are always with direct USB interface on the drive.
Most Seagate portable drives are always regular SATA interface drives inside.

Just read the comments to see which is which.
 
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:20 am

Given the volume of external drives sold, I was always surprised they didn't do this more (and sooner) to save a few cents on manufacturing costs. I've heard of it happening going back a few years, but I've never seen one personally since I generally buy bare drives and separate enclosures; and the times I've been asked to attempt data recovery for family/friends/co-workers it has always been a standard SATA (or PATA) drive.
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:45 am

Tried to rescue a dead USB drive of my brother in law a few years back. Opened the case to find it all integrated and no luck.
 
DrDominodog51
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:52 am

Eh. I try to avoid using hard drives of any sort with USB connector on the bottom for this very reason.

A couple years back, I bought some Seagate (?) external hard drives that have a SATA and SATA power connector on the bottom of plastic case.

The cable used is a USB to SATA cable. The cable works with regular low power hard drives quite well.

If I were to need anymore external drives, I would buy more of those.
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BIF
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:13 am

I didn't know the manufacturers were doing this, but I too am not surprised. It's funny too, because the cheaper manufacturing costs of doing it this way are not reflected in the price to the consumer. I've been shopping for drives this weekend, and I see that external drives with their included enclosures are often as much as $100 more than their bare counterparts.

Like others here, I only buy internal bare drives (probably for the last 8-10 years), and either install them internally (*) or I put them into a USB enclosure. About a year ago, I bought several enclosures of the "Inatek" brand (I think they might be Amazon's "house brand"), and they've been just fine. The small enclousures are tool-less for 2.5" drives, and the big enclosures require a screwdriver, but they're metal and can accept either a 3.5" or 2.5" drive.

(*) I'm not ready to go to "drive sticks", as I call them (the laptop is too old and on the new desktop motherboard, I didn't want to give up the PCI performance on those slots), but I have mostly transitioned to using 2.5" SSDs; even in my full tower, and will probably remove the last 3.5" data drive sometime in the next year. Once that happens, my use of 3.5" drives will be relegated to use for Macrium backups or my NAS cloud, and all my OS, application, and data on any of my machines will be served by laptop SSDs.

Another issue is that with the size of my audio VST sample files, and the quantity of data I back up, I don't accept HDDs with spindle speeds lower than 7200 RPM. And manufacturers are not making those as much anymore. So if I'm buying a 2.5" drive, it pretty much must be an SSD.
 
yeeeeman
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:44 am

Manufacturers do these cost saving measures not to lower final cost of the product, but to increase profits...
 
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:39 pm

yeeeeman wrote:
Manufacturers do these cost saving measures not to lower final cost of the product, but to increase profits...


Of course they do. Increasing efficiencies when all else stays the same; well that's the name of the game. But at times, they can lower prices somewhat. That can increase purchases. We see this happening all the time with hard drives, CPUs, monitors, food, cars, and even kewpie dolls.
 
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Sun Aug 20, 2017 1:17 pm

If you really cared in the first place you would have purchase both a 2.5" enclosure and standalone 2.5" HDD.
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:24 pm

End User wrote:
If you really cared in the first place you would have purchase both a 2.5" enclosure and standalone 2.5" HDD.

This is a dumb statement, and saying it makes you look dumb. These drives may be purchased and used as external drives, but when the USB crap hits the fan, it'd be nice to try to rescue some data if need be. Saying "if you really cared you'd do X" is cold, callous, and frankly not very End User-friendly.
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BIF
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:14 pm

Ooooh, burn! :) :P
 
jihadjoe
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:56 pm

The Swamp wrote:
Yikes, that's the first time I've seen that. Seems it would be cheaper for the manufacturer to use a standard drive than to have one custom-made like that for the purpose of making sure you can't re-use the enclosure and USB interface.


If they sell enough of those USB drives it should actually be saving them money to have the USB host controller directly on the drive PCB. Majority of regular non-techie folk I know don't even have a single SATA drive anymore, but have several USB HDDs.
 
Waco
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:57 am

I've only seen WD drives like this. I avoid them, now, purely because of this BS.
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:59 am

Go ahead and avoid more of those HGST factory helium 8TB reds inside a usb case for $160 just for the irrational reason of being covered by the label of 1 of 2 manufacturers left. I could use more. Right now ignoring that half of the market means you are more likely to get stuck with an abomination known as a shingled drive.

Meanwhile those who do their research know there are plenty of good usb externals sold right next to the steaming turds, you cannot buy blindly on brand or even price.
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:16 am

Bauxite wrote:
Right now ignoring that half of the market means you are more likely to get stuck with an abomination known as a shingled drive.

Yeah, tell me about it. :roll:

My current line of work means I've become intimately familiar with how those things operate. I am literally writing code to utilize "host managed SMR" drives (where the drive itself does not manage the SMR zones for you and explicitly exposes them to the host). Think "HDD with some of the drawbacks of tape".
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:50 am

derFunkenstein wrote:
End User wrote:
If you really cared in the first place you would have purchase both a 2.5" enclosure and standalone 2.5" HDD.

This is a dumb statement, and saying it makes you look dumb. These drives may be purchased and used as external drives, but when the USB crap hits the fan, it'd be nice to try to rescue some data if need be. Saying "if you really cared you'd do X" is cold, callous, and frankly not very End User-friendly.

I stand by my original post. If you buy crap then expect the worst and don't winge about it.
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Waco
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:03 pm

Bauxite wrote:
Go ahead and avoid more of those HGST factory helium 8TB reds inside a usb case for $160 just for the irrational reason of being covered by the label of 1 of 2 manufacturers left.

WD only does this on 2.5" drives, though. Call me irrational if you want. :lol:

Bauxite wrote:
Meanwhile those who do their research know there are plenty of good usb externals sold right next to the steaming turds, you cannot buy blindly on brand or even price.

I guess I don't know anything then. :) I disagree that SMR drives are junk, too.

just brew it! wrote:
Bauxite wrote:
Right now ignoring that half of the market means you are more likely to get stuck with an abomination known as a shingled drive.

Yeah, tell me about it. :roll:

My current line of work means I've become intimately familiar with how those things operate. I am literally writing code to utilize "host managed SMR" drives (where the drive itself does not manage the SMR zones for you and explicitly exposes them to the host). Think "HDD with some of the drawbacks of tape".

I love shingled drives for many uses. The newer host managed drives are interesting and I hope we can optimize our workloads to match them nicely. With any luck, filesystems will become SMR aware so we can stop playing tricks to store data quickly in large bursts.
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ludi
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:54 pm

End User wrote:
I stand by my original post. If you buy crap then expect the worst and don't winge about it.

Have you tried booze, or perhaps the love of a good woman?
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Re: Think you're going to repurpose that USB HDD? Think again

Mon Aug 21, 2017 5:50 pm

Yep, 3.5" drives are generally fine. WD USB drive I bought two years ago had a serious problem with the USB 3.0 ports on my Z97 motherboard, but USB 2.0 was fine. Using the 3.0 ports sporadically caused disconnection/reconnection events, but they'd happen so fast that file transfers would just corrupt files instead of erroring out. Shucked the drive and just installed it into the system and it's been fine since.

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