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Hard drive enclosures question

3676 Views 21 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  harzack86
I'm moving away from my aging yet convenient G4 MDD to use the new 24' iMac.

One question I have is what to do with the 3 additional internal hard drives (200, 300 and 320 Gb ATA drives) I have in the G4, and what is the best solution to "externalize" them.
  • On the new iMac, there is a FW800 which I didn't have before. Is it worth spending 3x more on an enclosure to have one of the drive using this port? Also, where could I find such enclosure, as it seems hard to find.
  • I already have a NAS enclosure, which is nice for some stuff (like my movies) but not fast enough to be used as a "working" hard drive.
  • Are there any ATA enclosure that would take more than one drive, not too pricey, in order to reduce the clutter on ,my desk (I also already have 2 other enclosures plugged with firewire, mainly for backups)...

Any comments or ideas are welcome :)
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Since I do High Def video editing, this is also an issue for me (and one I'm all too familiar with by now).

The jump to FW800 is noticeable, but it depends what you're using it for. If you're constantly copying 10GB files back and forth (like me) then yes, I'd suggest FW800. If it's just daily use, like storing your music, pictures, documents, and iMovie stuff, then FW400 should be just fine.

There are a few FW800 enclosures out there, but the main catch is that there are NO FW800 enclosures for SATA (I found one or two, but special order from the states, and info is lacking). I've only found FW800 for standard ATA drives.

There are multi-drive enclosures you can find, but they don't reduce clutter very much. The cheaper ones are usually 2-drive setups, for using Raid. The better ones (likely out of your price range, but something I'm looking at getting) are 4-6 disk mini-towers that usually have hot-swap bays.

Hope all this info helps. Good luck with the decision.
MacAlly makes a nice IDE Firewire 800 case

Wiebetech has a single bay (ToughTech XE ) and a dual bay FW800 SATA case (SilverSATA II FH) and a modular IDE / SATA FW800 system (TrayDock), any dealer in Canada can order it through Synnex.

Coolmax has a FW400 / USB2 / eSATA SATA/IDE case: CD311
2 Bay FW800 Enclosures

Hi There,

If you aren't adverse to buying from the States as I know some people around here are, there is a product at OWC (aka that may be just what you are looking for. It is the OWC Mercury Elite Pro -AL RAID FW800 Drive Enclosure for 2 IDE Drives. Supports RAID mirror, span and JBOD which is what you need because you don't have matching drives. (It also has a FW400 port for versatility.) It is really very nice physically (looks like a minature MacPro or G5) and is $99.95US and with where the exchange is at that is roughly $107CDN. Shipping is cheap and fast! I have bought from OWC several times and they have been flawless with their service and support. You can check it out at: OWC Mercury Elite-AL 800 Pro RAID FireWi... (OWCMEFW912AL2) at OWC

The big problem here is availability, 56 day wait for shipping. Don't ask me why I have no idea. If you were to order it they don't actually charge your card until it ships so it isn't like you have paid for something and then have to wait for two months to get it.

They also have basically the same product for SATA drives but a little more expensive at $119.99, it also has a FW400 and USB2.0 port in addition to the two FW800 ports. You can see it at:
OWC Mercury Elite-AL 800+USB2 Pro RAID Rea... (MEFW924AL2K) at OWC

Shipping on this one is same day.

Good luck in finding what you are looking for.
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Thanks screature,

I think you pointed me indeed to a very nice solution: FW800, 2 drives, ATA, not too expensive, and that's quite exactly what I was looking for.
I'm going to give this enclosure a try!

Thanks :D
Let me know how it goes harzack86.

For the record, I don't consider a minimum $29 shipping (via USPS ground) for an enclosure to be "cheap", but since no one in Canada carries it, it's not like we have a choice.

FW800 enclosure

Hi harzack86,

I just read you response so I went back to look at the product again thinking I might just pick one up for myself and I noticed this link on the product page:

RAID / JBOD Support:

* Hardware RAID 0 (As shipped from OWC)
* Mirror RAID 1
* Spanning
* Single Drive (2 drives installed / 2 separate drives mounted)

For detailed instructions see this page to configure your drive to your needs.
Tech Center at

and unfortunately if you go to that page you may have a delay with getting a Universal Binary update for the latest firmware for the product. Please follow the link, but the most important thing it says is:

"Mirroring/Striping/Spanning/Individual Drive Setup Instructions
For Mac OSX 10.3.X and 10.4.X
By Brian Bellman


This update does not work with Intel based Macs! Oxford is working on a universal binary update, but we do not have any ETA at this time. We're sorry for this inconvenience. "

But I don't know if that means that the current firmware that ships with the drive makes the product incompatable with MacIntels. I would give OWC a call before you order and talk to a tech rep. In my experience they were very knowledgable and friendly. My wait times to talk to somebody were always short.

Good luck!
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We carry the OWC dual drive cases and the built drives always.

$399 for a 1TB version just now. 3 year warranty - no waiting. ;D
And how about just the case Macdoc? Both the OP and I already have the drives. ATA in the case of the OP and SATA in my case. Anything you can offer?

screature, a7mc, I think you guys are right and make valid points,

I placed my order with OWC today, but with also the 55 days of wait to get the unit, I may just as well cancel it...
It also depens on what MacDoc answers about OWC FW800 double ATA disk enclosures (only) availability... :D

Now, reading the link about drive configuration, it seems that only the firmware updater doesn't run on intel macs, and it's used to change the configuration of the enclosure / drives, so I can either use my G4 to make that change and it doesn't seems to me that the final product wouldn't work on an intel Mac. Hopefully I read this right...
If i am reading this correctly. What about the ministack v3

It has Fw800, Fw400 and esata connection and can fit a sata drive in it i believe.

We have the cases available - email if you want.
We are pretty much shifting to SATA only for the dual cases.

We do not see much point in the single FW 800 cases tho the single Tornado 750s are certainly worthwhile.
No offense Macdoc, but I've emailed you on 3 separate occasions, and you failed to reply all 3 times. But hey, I'm a reasonable guy, and I'm all for giving people chances to redeem themselves. You seem to be on here more than on email, so feel free to email me directly at [email protected], or PM me, or post prices in here.

Thanks for the email Macdoc. Very reasonable price.
One question I have is what to do with the 3 additional internal hard drives (200, 300 and 320 Gb ATA drives) I have in the G4, and what is the best solution to "externalize" them.
If you are not selling your G4... Why not just upgrade the networking to gigabit ethernet and mount the drives as network drives?

Or perhaps put your two largest drives in an external FW800 cabinet, and buy a cheap USB enclosure and use the 200 GB for file storage? I made two of my older drives into external keychain style drives - the 10 GB to store software and updates that is USB (but fast enough to install software); and an 80 GB so I can back up my systems when I am fooling with them (and the Firewire connection is quick enough for almost any task, I can hardly tell the speed difference between the internal drive and the external FW drive in practical daily use)...

Just my 5 cents...
Actually the OWC case is similar looking but upright and less money.

We are working on getting a deal on these to go with the new iMac - they come in 320 and 750 gig sizes with 5 year Seagate warranty.

Very clean design
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I bought a similar one to the pic above; a Seagate FreeAgent Desktop 500GB for $160. It is USB 2.0 and very quiet. The only dumb thing about it is the power brick which doesn't plug into horizaontal power bars because of how it is designed. :confused:

They have a FW800 version but it was a $50 premium.
That's a nice one too, I agree, but here is what I found in their website:

  • APO/FPO (as we do not ship via USPS)
  • INTERNATIONALLY (at this time)
  • NON-Continental U.S States
I bought a Vantec GX today to house a 200 gig IDE drive. Its nice as it mirrors the look of the Mac Mini / Apple router etc and is pretty cheap ($70). It also has 3 USB ports on the back which is great for me since my MBP only has two and one isn't very usable if you're a right handed mouse user. - Mac Mini News - Vantec NexStar GX
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