How to build your own external hard drive Featured

External hard drive is a great way to store your photos, videos and other media files or backups, even software and games! Want to get one? If so, check out our External hard drive buying guide. However, if you have an old internal hard drive laying around and you want to put it to good use stay tuned.

You can build your own external hard drive only for as little as 15$. All you need is an internal hard drive and external hard drive enclosure. Building your own external hard drive is a great way how to use your old internal hard drive to use, not just throw it away or put it on a dusty shelf. In this article, we have made a guide on how to make your own external hard drive and the things you have to keep in mind while choosing the right enclosure.

How to choose internal hard drive?

When considering what internal hard drive to put in your enclosure, you have to consider few things:

  1. Rotation Speed
    Most common internal hard drives come with 7200rpm and 5400rpm rotation speed. Usually, more rpm mean better performance, but everything has their drawbacks. Yes, internal hard drive with 7200rpm will typically be faster than one with 5400rpm, but it will also use more power, and more power means more heat. You have to make sure that your enclosure will be able to keep your drive cool.
  2. Form factor
    As you probably already know, hard drives have two form factors, or there are two sizes for your internal hard drive: 3.5 inch and 2.5 inch. First ones or 3.5 inch hard drives are used in desktop computers, they tend to have larger capacities. 2.5-inch hard drive is used in laptops, they are much slimmer but also offers lower capacities. When choosing an internal hard drive, you have to know it’s form factor so you can get a dedicated enclosure. If you want to carry your external hard drive around, more suitable would be the 2.5-inch internal hard drive.
  3. Internal interface
    Nearly all internal hard drives today has SATA interfaces. You can identify one by looking at pins. There are 7 of them. If you are buying a new internal hard drive, it will have SATA interface. However, if you have a really old internal hard drive, it may use a PATA (IDE) drive that has 40 pins. You have to know your interface when choosing the right enclosure.

 

How to choose enclosure?hard drive Aluminum enclosure

When you have done with choosing your internal hard drive, it’s time to choose the right enclosure. First of all, you should consider external interface of your enclosure. We recommend you getting an enclosure with USB interface. Most of the enclosures come with USB 2.0, these enclosure are usually quite cheap and will be perfect for not too dedicated tasks. If you do need higher performance, you can choose enclosure with USB 3.0.

There are two type enclosures – the ones made from plastic and ones made from Aluminum. Aluminum enclosures may cost a bit more, but they are also more superior in every aspect compared to plastic ones. They deal with heat much better and are more durable. If you want to use your external hard drive for 24/7, you should choose aluminum enclosure otherwise plastic one is just fine. For the best enclosures out there see our Hard Disk Drive (HDD) Enclosures buying guide article.

Inserting the internal hard drive into the enclosure

It’s pretty easy to put your internal hard drive into enclosure if it has the right form factor and interface. All you have to do is screw few screws and that’s it. If done, just plug your new external hard drive into computer and format it to what ever file system you need.

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