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Build Your Own Backup Drive
6/8/2011



Pictured above are the 2.5" and 3.5" Ultra Aluminus hard drive enclosures.

Building your own backup drive is easier than ever.  And the end result will cost you the same or less than a pre-built alternative.  Plus, the backup you build will probably be of better quality and have a better warranty than most pre-built solutions.

To start off you have to choose a case and size for your backup drive.  You have two choices: 2.5" and 3.5".

If you want an ultra-portable solution with up to 500GB of backup storage space then a 2.5" case is your best bet.  The Ultra Aluminus series from TigerDirect is an outstanding value.  An all-aluminum construction which dissipates heat and will protect your backup drive for years to come.  The one we recommend is:

Ultra Aluminus USB 2.0/eSATA 2.5" HD Enclosure
http://bit.ly/chBtiz
$24.99

We like the option of using USB 2.0 or eSATA with this drive.  USB 2.0 is ubiquitous and will only require one USB cable and no separate power supply when used with relatively new computers.  eSATA is now featured with many new desktops and laptops for even faster performance.  However, two cables will need to be used when using eSATA; one for eSATA data, and one for power from a USB port.  There is also a version of the 2.5" enclosure that has USB 3.0 if your computer supports it.

If you want to utilize a drive bigger than 500GB we recommend the larger:

Ultra Aluminus USB 2.0/eSATA 3.5" HD Enclosure
http://bit.ly/jqYcBO
$39.99

This 3.5" drive enclosure has USB 2.0 and eSATA also.  It includes a power adapter similar to a laptop power supply and an on/off switch on the unit which can be very handy to turn off the unit when not in use.  It includes a desk stand and all the tools and screws required to build it.  There is also a version of the 3.5" enclosure that has USB 3.0 if your computer supports it.

Now for the guts of the backup hard drive.  Listed below are our recommendations for hard drives suitable to use in the above units.  Remember to get the right size, 2.5" or 3.5", when ordering the drive.

2.5" Hard Drive

Western Digital Scorpio Blue 500GB WD5000BEVT (Non Advanced-Format Version)
http://bit.ly/ksJCL5
$89.99

3.5" Hard Drive

Western Digital AV-GP 1TB WD10EVDS (Non Advanced-Format Version)
http://amzn.to/MgJXXJ
$88.99

Other drives, even an old SATA drive you have sitting around, may work fine.  The drives above were chosen for reliability, very low heat and power consumption, and quiet operation.  Both have a 3-year warranty.

Total cost for 2.5" 500GB solution: $114.98
Total cost for 3.5" 1TB solution: $128.98

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