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How important is an on/off switch on an external hard drive?
Posted by: wurm
Date: September 28, 2008 03:17PM
Looking at a 640GB WD external for $80 and the only caveat I see noted is that there is no on/off switch. I will likely use it only for backup, so other than the inconvenience of plugging and unplugging, can you think of any other negatives?
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Re: How important is an on/off switch on an external hard drive?
Posted by: guitarist
Date: September 28, 2008 03:31PM
Include a link! That sounds like a great deal.

Is it one of those compact USB drives, no-frills, WD makes great externals, I have one. It's one of their pocket-sized 160 GB USB-powered drives I got for around $55 a few months ago. As long as you dismount before unplugging, it's good to go. Does it have a power supply? Or is it USB powered?
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Re: How important is an on/off switch on an external hard drive?
Posted by: wurm
Date: September 28, 2008 03:37PM
It has a power supply. Listed at regular price now, but supposedly the sale starts Monday 8am PST. Seems to have decent reviews. Here you go.
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Re: How important is an on/off switch on an external hard drive?
Posted by: ka jowct
Date: September 28, 2008 03:44PM
You could always throw away the case. $80 is what the bare drive tends to sell for.

I wouldn't want a case with no on/off switch.
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Depends.
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: September 28, 2008 04:29PM
A drive that's always on (especially with no fan) might get hot enough to cook the drive or the controller.

IF (NoteTheBigIF) the drive automatically spins down when idle, I don't think it's important to have an On/Off switch.

Not all externals spin down. I have a SimpleTech drive that does, and I seldom turn it off. It doesn't get very warm and isn't on for more than a couple of hours at a time.



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Re: Depends.
Posted by: DRR
Date: September 28, 2008 05:40PM
Quote
RAMd®d

Not all externals spin down. I have a SimpleTech drive that does, and I seldom turn it off. It doesn't get very warm and isn't on for more than a couple of hours at a time.

To clarify this point, whether or not it spins down is a function of the bridge (USB to SATA or whatever) than it is the actual drive.
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Re: How important is an on/off switch on an external hard drive?
Posted by: Ammo
Date: September 28, 2008 06:39PM
Quote
ka jowct
You could always throw away the case. $80 is what the bare drive tends to sell for.

I wouldn't want a case with no on/off switch.

Is it possible to identify the particular drive they use? I just bought a bare Western Digital 640GB from NewEgg last week and it cost $85.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/28/2008 06:41PM by Ammo.
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Re: How important is an on/off switch on an external hard drive?
Posted by: wurm
Date: September 28, 2008 07:15PM
Doing a little more research, I'm finding comments indicating that it spins down when not in use. No one seems to know for sure which drive is inside, but one comment says it'll probably be the Caviar Blue SATA, since WD doesn't make either a 640GB Caviar Blue or Caviar Green / Greenpower.

No reviews on Amazon for the 640GB, but reviews for the 500GB version have some saying theirs has an on/off switch, while others say theirs doesn't. No mention of that info on the WD website.
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Re: How important is an on/off switch on an external hard drive?
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: September 28, 2008 07:17PM
My three externals were making a bit more noise than I wanted, so I dismounted them using the 'eject' function. They remained on, however.

When I wanted them back, I couldn't figure how to mount them, since the Mac didn't see them. So I turned them off, then on with their power switches, and back they came.

So I vote for Off/On switches—faster than restarting the Mac.

/Mr Lynn



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Re: How important is an on/off switch on an external hard drive?
Posted by: space-time
Date: September 28, 2008 07:36PM
Quote
mrlynn
My three externals were making a bit more noise than I wanted, so I dismounted them using the 'eject' function. They remained on, however.

When I wanted them back, I couldn't figure how to mount them, since the Mac didn't see them. So I turned them off, then on with their power switches, and back they came.

So I vote for Off/On switches—faster than restarting the Mac.

/Mr Lynn

I think you can mount them again with Disk Utility without switching them OFF and back ON.
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Re: How important is an on/off switch on an external hard drive?
Posted by: BigGuynRusty
Date: September 28, 2008 07:50PM
Space-Time is correct, Disk Utility.

BGnR



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Re: How important is an on/off switch on an external hard drive?
Posted by: olnacl
Date: September 28, 2008 08:25PM
Or, since it's unmounted, just unplug the FW/USB cable and plug it back in again.



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Re: How important is an on/off switch on an external hard drive?
Posted by: Ammo
Date: September 28, 2008 09:22PM
Quote
wurm
Doing a little more research, I'm finding comments indicating that it spins down when not in use. No one seems to know for sure which drive is inside, but one comment says it'll probably be the Caviar Blue SATA, since WD doesn't make either a 640GB Caviar Blue or Caviar Green / Greenpower.

No reviews on Amazon for the 640GB, but reviews for the 500GB version have some saying theirs has an on/off switch, while others say theirs doesn't. No mention of that info on the WD website.

If it's this one, it is a nice deal, because users give the bare drive 5 eggs on NewEgg:
[www.newegg.com]
Manufacture's page:
[www.wdc.com]
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Re: How important is an on/off switch on an external hard drive?
Posted by: dotman
Date: September 28, 2008 09:37PM
I've always heard it's safest to turn the drive off when connecting via firewire. not sure if this is true, but it is a practice i follow.

dot.
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Re: How important is an on/off switch on an external hard drive?
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: September 28, 2008 10:21PM
Quote
space-time
I think you can mount them again with Disk Utility without switching them OFF and back ON.

Now you tell me!:-)

/Mr Lynn
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