Setting Up The Hard Drive And Testing It
The hard drive I was using had data on it already, but it showed up primarily as garbage leaving a large majority of it unusable. I've been told that this was a common problem with these units, and that the best medicine is to do an FDISK and Format with the disk INSIDE of the enclosure.
FDISK ran just as it would for any drive and format went along as typical as well. I named the drive "USB" and copied 5 GB of MP3s over to it.
The first thing I did was to run Sandra's drive benchmark on the unit and see what sort of score I got. Sandra never broke a drive index of 1000 on three different PCs with three different USB controllers and three different operating systems.
To give you an idea of how slow this is; a Fast ATA 4 GB drive indexes 3500 as a Sandra reference drive, but an Iomega Zip drive only benches a 580 drive index. On the other hand, the WD ATA66 20 GB that I had inside the enclosure yielded a drive index of 15000 when used outside of the enclosure as a regular IDE drive!
But in using this drive, this speed penalty is far overshadowed by how incredibly practical this enclosure can be. I wanted to put into perspective how slow this actually is. I chose 4 MP3 files of considerable size and decided to copy them over to another hard drive (installed normally, on an IDE cable, inside the PC) and see how long it took.
The four files were Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall Disc One and Two ripped at 128kbps. Total file size was 178 MB.
With the drive in the enclosure, this feat took 2 minutes and 55 seconds. Now for us to see how we will do with the same four files, on the same WD hard drive, but with the drive OUTSIDE of the enclosure and plugged directly into the motherboard via an IDE cable.
I grabbed the same four files and dragged them to the system drive, just as I did with the drive within the enclosure. How long did it take? 15 seconds. So this means that it takes the hard drive almost 12 times longer to move files over than when it's in the enclosure.
It looks like Sandra didn't give the USB enclosure much credit. It thought the USB enclosure was 1/15th the speed of the drive connected directly to the IDE.
>> In Conclusion