ultraHD.jpg
I’ve written a review on Street Tech of the Ultra 3.5″ hard drive enclosure that TigerDirect is selling for under $20. I knew rolling your own external HD was easy, but it’s mindlessly simple, and you can save some money. For instance, TigerDirect sells an 80GB Ultra drive (a WD HD in an Ultra case) for $90. You can buy the same drive for $45 and the case for $20, saving yourself $25 for less than five minutes work. Or you most likely have an HD in an old computer you can yank, re-case, and use as an external backup drive. That’s what I’m doing.

Ultra 3.5″ Hard Drive Enclosure – Link

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor for Boing Boing and WINK Books. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.


  • [email protected]

    from the Better Business Bureau: “Based on BBB files, this company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau due to a pattern of routinely responding slowly to complaints.”
    http://www.bbbsoutheastflorida.org/nis/newsearch2.asp?ID=1&strBCode=06330000&ComID=0633000027000500&ComName=TigerDirect.com

    more:
    http://digg.com/hardware/Tiger_Direct_Complaints_Adding_Up

    I’ve had good luck with http://geeks.com

  • sstrain

    I use these a lot, you may need to get an enclosure with a fan if you put in a large capacity hard drive since they can get hot with high activity. They’re good for upgrading your computer’s hard drive or pulling data from an old one.

  • garethb2

    Interesting. I’ve heard grumblings over TD over the years, but I’ve ordered tons of stuff and never had a problem (but then, I’ve never had a problem — it sounds like it’s the CS on complaints where they stumble). So, I guess: At your own risk, your mileage may vary, etc, etc.

    Looks like geeks.com has a bunch of enclosures in this price range. They have the USB2-only version of this same enclosure (under a different brand) for only sixteen bones. Don’t see the 1394 version, tho.

  • adcurtin

    Don’t get the enclosure pictured here on this page. It is horrible. Stripped screws, broken plastic, and a broken fan all on one enclosure. I have an adapter one and a generic one that are both much better. I also have two more (from eagle/eaglebit) on the way.

  • adcurtin

    Also, $45 for an 80gb is a horrible price. Just lst week I saw a 250GB for $46.

  • garethb2

    Well, I got two of them and had none of these problems.

  • samurai1200

    Um… duh?

  • garethb2

    >Also, $45 for an 80gb is a horrible price.
    >Just lst week I saw a 250GB for $46.

    Well then, you’d save even more money, wouldn’t you? I just grabbed the first comparison on TigerDirect of a commercially-cased version vs. buying the case and the HD and combining them yourself.

    Those Eaglebit.com enclosures do look nice, and they’re cheap, and aluminum. Don’t have fans in ‘em, but honestly, I’m not sure how much of a difference that makes. I have a fanless ext. HD now and it doesn’t run very hot.

  • garethb2

    Oh, and adcurtin, do you know where you saw that 250GB drive for $46? I’m in the market.

  • rich.thomas

    I just bought a “Mad Dog” ext case at Ratshack for $20, gonna go try to get another one tomorrow. It seems like a pretty solid unit, looks nice too. You can harvest old hard drives all over if you just want some backup space or something.

  • jbond

    All my old 2.5″ drives end up in external enclosures. The nice thing about those is no power supply and no fan.

    One little gotcha. Drive enclosures really should have support for spinning down the drives when they’re not active. Almost none of them do. In the interests of saving power, money and general green-ness, it would be good if somebody could do some research into this area.

  • BdgBill

    This may be a good idea if you have some old hard drives laying around but in the last few months the market has been flooded with very cheap WD and Seagate external hard drives.

    I just picked up a Seagate “FreeAgent” 320GB external drive for about $120.00.

    Picking this up in the store was much more preferable than taking the risk of dealing with TigerDirect (been there done that).

  • Pekar

    I recommend dumping traditional enclosures and getting a cable like this.- http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/review/brando_usb_2_0_to_sata_ide_cable
    They can be found for about $10.
    This $9.99 enclosure works well in combination with the above cable –
    http://www.cyberguys.com/templates/searchdetail.asp?productID=13132
    or roll your own!
    Connecting a power supply to a 3.5 drive is a nuisance. I’m sticking with 2.5″ drives that can be USB powered. Unless you need the greater capacity or speed of a 3.5, a 2.5 is much less hassle.

  • onebitpixel

    not much luck with tigerdirect, rmas were a hassle. we have much better service from newegg. newegg.com carries several dual hd enclosures, they carry the OKGEAR OK350AU2D-K Dual 3.5″ USB 2.0 External for $24.99. not best for sustained throughput but great for mass storage needs and backups.

  • http://www.learnhowtodomagictricks.org Doris E Hernandez

    Don’t get the enclosure pictured here on this page. It is horrible. Stripped screws, broken plastic, and a broken fan all on one enclosure. I have an adapter one and a generic one that are both much better. I also have two more (from eagle/eaglebit) on the way.

  • http://www.learnhowtodomagictricks.org Doris E Hernandez

    Well, I got two of them and had none of these problems.

  • http://www.facebook.com/indefini Tee Koo

    You’re so great! I haven’t produced anything, not to mention the money. In fact, through their own things to earn money is very meaningful.

  • http://www.pinchednerve-inneck.com Pinched Nerve

    Very happy to see your website with a lot of useful knowledge, success always!