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I saw branded external hard drive case and unbranded.

Questions about unbranded:

  • Must i check first if case supports S.M.A.R.T.?
  • When it comes to S.M.A.R.T. should I consider branded rather than unbranded?
  • Do external cases have a limit of hard drive capacity, or does every case supports any capacity?

Are there other things I am missing?

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Make sure it's has a big fan (more than 6 cm.) in it. Some don't have fans, and the drive ends up overheating (don't believe the salesperson who tells you that this isn't a problem). Some have tiny fans (2-3 cm.) that just don't seem to last very long, and then the drive ends up overheating in these as well. With a big fan you usually get better airflow and a drive that lasts longer due to not running as hot. –  Randolf Richardson Aug 14 '11 at 7:28
    
Question updated –  Boris_yo Aug 15 '11 at 6:31
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2 Answers

Its not the branding that matters, it is the chip that is used to do the USB to Pata or Sata conversion, branding does not insure that they choose a better chip for the job, sometimes this is difficult to determine which chip is inside, but it is how I choose which enclosure to use.

The chip brand/model determines what hard drive support it has, most enclosures sold these days are very compatible with all hard drives up to 2TB. You might have to do more research when it comes to enclosures for over 2tb support.

I have always used unbranded, did the research to find which ones had the best chip at the time.

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How to you research unbranded chips? –  Boris_yo Aug 15 '11 at 6:30
    
I search for sites that sell enclosures and reveal this information, I have not done it in a few years, it takes time and search skills. Example...topmicrousa.com/bytecc-me-535ssu2fw.html –  Moab Aug 15 '11 at 15:19
    
Oxford chipset is well known and prized by MAC users and firewire. Example..mactalk.com.au/18/34587-external-drives-dummies.html –  Moab Aug 15 '11 at 15:22
    
Another site I used for research, IF they do not list the chipset then it is probably a poor website or it is a low end consumer chipset not worth mentioning. cooldrives.com/35usbfircas.html –  Moab Aug 15 '11 at 15:26
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I guess it depends on how you're planning to use it.

If you're going to leave it running all the time cooling is important. If you want the best future proofing then usb 3 might be worthwhile. If it's going to be portable then shock proofing. Sound proofing might also be useful.

I think external drives might struggle with 2 TB drives unless they specifically mention support.

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Question updated –  Boris_yo Aug 15 '11 at 6:32
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