The economics of external hard drives

Davros

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Can someone explain why they are cheaper than internal hard drives
take pc world ( a large u.k retailer )
8TB external drive with usb 3.0 hub £120
8TB internal drive £299

thats nearly 3 times the price (granted it may be a faster drive) but you'd expect the external
to be more expensive why the massive price difference?
but is there any reason i shouldnt buy the external remove
the drive and put it in my p.c ?
 

BRiT

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Usually the warranty is less too. Could be lesser model drives that are lower quality than internal so they are sold for cheaper.

You need to look out for the 3V Reset pin on external drives when converting to internal. You just need to ground a pin, or something similar so the drive wont turn itself off every 10 seconds or something silly like that.
 

orangpelupa

Elite Bug Hunter
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Yeah external drive is cheaper than internal even for the exact same model.

You lost its warranty if you disassemble it for internal use tho.

Personally nowadays I prefer to simply buy used internal HDD for cheap. It's old, so it's already passed its bathub curve, supposedly
 

TheAlSpark

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Wiki: "laptop hard drive platters are made from glass while aluminum platters are often found in desktop computers."

So,
A) different cost to the substrate material.
B) the size differential (typically 2.5" vs 3.5") also has implications on the number that can be coated at a time (for a given chamber size). i.e. throughput + yield.
C) chassis

Not sure if they coat the platters differently, but the process itself can be pricey, so economy of scale/throughput would matter somewhat, and if it's a % difference, it is what it is on there.

Wouldn't know specifics though.

*shrug*
 

Davros

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I was looking at this one
https://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/computing-accessories/components-upgrades/internal-hard-drives/324_3086_30163_xx_xx/xx-criteria.html?ntid=B~d~Internal hard drives
and this:
https://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/compu...ernal-hard-drive-8-tb-black-10153359-pdt.html
the drive in scan is a black friday deal it was £176 while the external was £120 discounted from £150
still cheaper despite the additional cost of an enclosure and a usb hub and a power adapter, doesnt really make sense
(the toshiba internal is very overpriced though)
 
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BRiT

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One thing to pay attention to is if its Shingled or Normal storage. Shingled drives are completely fine but can hit slow downs if you write more data than they have in their write-cache zones (non shingled portion). They work awesome for media storage, write once read many, I use them in my mass storage media server. I wouldn't use one for workloads that have a lot of writes.
 
One thing to pay attention to is if its Shingled or Normal storage. Shingled drives are completely fine but can hit slow downs if you write more data than they have in their write-cache zones (non shingled portion). They work awesome for media storage, write once read many, I use them in my mass storage media server. I wouldn't use one for workloads that have a lot of writes.

Currently all of the WD external drives are still PMR as are external drives using Toshiba HDDs (Toshiba doesn't currently make SMR drives).

I think Seagate might be the only ones shipping SMR drives in external enclosures at the moment.

WD are using a mix of HGST Ultrastars and WD Reds in theirs.

I recently got 3x 12 TB externals from Best Buys BF sale for 179 USD each. And all 3 were helium while label drives. I believe they might be Ultrastars, but even if they are white label Reds, that'd be fine with me.

I just stuck them in an external NAS so didn't have to worry about the 3rd power pin as almost all external NAS enclosures ignore that new optional SATA spec. It's only a problem on newer PC power supplies that implement that specification. Easiest way to bypass it if you don't have an older PC power supply is to just use a Molex to SATA power plug converter. Covering the 3rd pin with non-conductive tape can be fiddly.

Regards,
SB
 

Davros

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Thanks for that, is this 3volt problem unique to drives that are in external enclosures
or in future will all drives have this problem?

ps: another quick question A nas drive eg: seagate ironwolf
can thay be used as a normal internal sata drive ?
 
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Thanks for that, is this 3volt problem unique to drives that are in external enclosures
or in future will all drives have this problem?

ps: another quick question A nas drive eg: seagate ironwolf
can thay be used as a normal internal sata drive ?

Sorry, I didn't get back to you earlier. Brit got that question, but for this one, it's generally just external drives and possibly drives meant for specific OEM server/enterprise sector machines.

IE - it's a relatively easy way to prevent their use either outside of an enclosure (where the driver is far cheaper than a retail internal drive) or potentially outside of a server/enterprise machine (OEM volume purchasing again far cheaper than retail internet drives).

Sun Micro used to have HDD makers do something in firmware to limit the capacity of certain drives to 10-20 MB if not used in a Sun Micro machine (these were anywhere from 100-500 GB drives at the time. I never did figure out what criteria they used as sometimes drives were firmware locked in that way and sometimes they weren't.

This relatively new SATA spec. is just a cheaper way to do something similar. But also a lot easier to get around if you know what to do.

Regards,
SB
 

Davros

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On a related note I just found someone local who has a
ton of used cctv 500gb sata drives for £5 each. I have a usb sata docking station
I could use them with more or less the same price as using blank dvd-r discs
for backups
Pre93ae.jpg
 
On a related note I just found someone local who has a
ton of used cctv 500gb sata drives for £5 each. I have a usb sata docking station
I could use them with more or less the same price as using blank dvd-r discs
for backups
Pre93ae.jpg

I did this for a while. I have connections in the recycling industry and still work there occasionally because it can be interesting even if it's really hard work. So I basically could get hundreds of drives for cheap.

There were a lot of benefits. Read/write speeds being a massive one. Cost being another.

The problem is that the drives (at the time [circa 2005-2008] I was using a mix of 250 GB and 500 GB drives) are very bulky and after you get a few tens of them, VERY heavy. :) Management and organization becomes a nightmare. Keeping redundant copies in case of a HDD failure also becomes a massive pain in the arse when you have 10's (not to mention hundreds) of loose drives lying around.

End result? After a few years of dealing with it, I went back to optical even if it was more expensive in terms of monetary cost. Now, I don't even deal with optical as I've had a few optical discs degrade on me which caused me to lose some invaluable data (don't duplicate data on optical discs created around the same time. :p Try to use discs separated by a few years).

Now, for convenience I just use dual NAS enclosures which are mirrors of each other. While still possible to have a catastrophic failure that causes me to lose data, the chance should be relatively miniscule.

Not cheap, but I'd rather not lose invaluable data again.

Regards,
SB
 
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