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Recommendation for external USB 2.0 or USB 2.0/FireWire case

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Postby NNH on Tue Nov 18, 2003 9:10 pm

unfortunately i purchased the coolmax cd-309 enclosure and it doesnt support my maxtor or western digital 200 gig drive. only occasionally it would work with firewire connection. email them for support and got no reply not recommended for anyone. i basically paid 70 bucks for just the usb connection. False advertising and no tech support to boot!
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Postby cfitz on Tue Nov 18, 2003 11:42 pm

NNH wrote:unfortunately i purchased the coolmax cd-309 enclosure and it doesnt support my maxtor or western digital 200 gig drive. only occasionally it would work with firewire connection. email them for support and got no reply not recommended for anyone. i basically paid 70 bucks for just the usb connection. False advertising and no tech support to boot!

I agree. I had a similar experience with the Firewire interface on the Coolmax CD-510B-U2F enclosure as I noted in an earlier post. It simply did not work with large hard drives. And Coolmax did not respond to any of my attempts to get technical support. Like you, I ended up with an expensive, slow, CPU hogging, USB-only box. Fortunately, DealSonic allowed me to exchange the enclosure for a EuroCom ME-350U2F and it has worked flawlessly for me.

In the hopes of helping others avoid the situation you and I found ourselves in, I will summarize here and edit the posts I made before I had a Coolmax unit in hand to test for myself:

Don't buy Coolmax enclosures. They don't work as advertised. Despite claims to the contrary, the enclosures don't support large hard disk drives on the Firewire interface. Additionally, Coolmax's customer and technical support is completely non-existent. They simply ignore all attempts to contact them.

On the other hand, Bytecc, EuroCom and Dealsonic.com are all reputable firms whose products work as advertised. In addition, Bytecc and Dealsonic have great customer service.

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Postby jbell on Thu Dec 04, 2003 12:29 pm

So... these external cases will work with the newer multi DVD writers, too?
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Postby MikeTR on Thu Dec 04, 2003 6:02 pm

jbell wrote:So... these external cases will work with the newer multi DVD writers, too?


Yep, the transfer rates of 400Mbits/sec (Firewire) and 480Mbits/sec (USB 2.0) will keep up for a while. The next generation of firewire (1394b) has a max rate of 800Mbits/sec. Not widely implemented yet though.
I'd stick to firewire for reliable high-speed transfers. All the tests I've seen show that USB can't quite keep up in speed and CPU-usage.
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Postby cfitz on Thu Dec 04, 2003 8:48 pm

I haven't personally tried a DVD writer in my enclosure, but I have no reason to believe it won't work fine. If you are worried about transfer speeds, don't. As MikeTR wrote, that isn't a problem. And I do agree with MikeTR that firewire easily beats USB 2.0 when it comes to real-world transfer speed and CPU usage.

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Postby jaymz668 on Thu Dec 04, 2003 8:58 pm

What I'm more worried about is just compatability. I vaguely remember something about some of these enclosures needing flash upgrades to use certain CDRs and was wondering...
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Postby David on Fri Dec 05, 2003 12:27 am

jaymz668 wrote:What I'm more worried about is just compatability. I vaguely remember something about some of these enclosures needing flash upgrades to use certain CDRs and was wondering...


I know what you are referring to some ODD's are not reconised by the oxford OXFW900/911 controllers where you need the frimware flasher/mod utility to enable Detect drives with non-std signacture which fixes the problem.

I have had to use it on my ME-320 the nice thig was my ADS enclosure came with the utility on CD.
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Postby hilander on Sat Dec 06, 2003 1:12 pm

Much thanks to the OP cfitz for his meticulous research on this and to the others who posted on this thread. While I wasn't looking at the Coolmax per se (too ugly IMO) I was looking at just an USB enclosure for my soon to be purchased DVD burner.(mainly cause I'm cheap) :roll:
After reading this, I have opted to puchase a USB/Firewire combo enclosure but a question for cfritz: Any reason for choosing the Eurocom over the Bytecc or Plumax? Specs look the same (to me) but maybe I'm missing something?
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Postby cfitz on Sat Dec 06, 2003 7:54 pm

hilander wrote:Much thanks to the OP cfitz for his meticulous research on this and to the others who posted on this thread.

You're welcome.

hilander wrote:After reading this, I have opted to puchase a USB/Firewire combo enclosure but a question for cfritz: Any reason for choosing the Eurocom over the Bytecc or Plumax? Specs look the same (to me) but maybe I'm missing something?

All three appear to originate from the same manufacturer, as you can tell by comparing specs and photos. MikeTR posted about the underlying source:

http://www.cdrlabs.com/phpBB/viewtopic. ... 8493#88493

Since they all come from the same original source, there is not a lot of difference between them. I believe that the older designs used an Ali chipset for USB and an Oxford chipset for Firewire, while newer ones use a Prolific chipset that does both USB and Firewire. The Eurocom I have uses the Prolific chipset.

I chose the Eurocom over the others for three reasons. First, at the time it was the only one that supported 300 GByte drives. I think that has since changed. Second, it was a little cheaper. Last, but not least, I liked the looks of the Eurocom unit better (cool blue light bar). I can't guarantee that you will get a blue colored light bar if you buy it, since it appears it may come in red or green as well. They call it a "rainbow" light bar, although I never did figure out why. Maybe because at one point they supplied it with multi-colored LEDs, or maybe because you never know which color you will get when you buy it. :wink:

Do be aware that the fan is a bit noisy. It doesn't bother me, but if it does bother you and you have cool-running drive, you could always disconnect it. Or, if you are handy with electronics, slow it down.

Finally I do encourage you to check out DealSonic. They have a good selection of enclosures at good prices with reasonable shipping, and their customer service is great. (Check that last link - you will be hard pressed to find ratings like that for other retailers, particularly the support and returns ratings. And if you scroll down to read the reviews you will see that the latest person to post a review is a happy Plumax enclosure buyer. And the person before that... well, he is probably just some yutz... :wink:)

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Postby MikeTR on Fri Dec 12, 2003 7:40 pm

Just a quick update.

The original ME-320 series had two separate chips to provide USB and Firewire support, while the newer ME-350 has only one single chip (as cfitz reported in the post above). I took another look at my ME-320U2F (USB and Firewire combo) and it turns out to be fitted with the same Prolific PL-3507 chip as the ME-350. So aparently there are different versions of the -320 outthere.
To spot the difference you have to take a look inside the case. Compare the insides of the ME-320 (Bytecc) and ME-350 (Eurocom) at http://www.dealsonic.com/3usb20fico.html. See the difference between the two circuitboards (one chip vs. two)?
I'm not sure, but it seems like the Prolific is better suited to big HDD's. Too bad the only way to find out which case works with large drives, is to try them out. Some boxes have stickers on them which seem to indicate they do support arge drives, but I've seen the exact same products with and without these stickers.

To finish up, here is a link to the previous thread on this subject http://www.cdrlabs.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=10551.
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Postby jbell on Tue Feb 17, 2004 10:19 pm

So...
I picked up one of the ME350u2Fs and it doesn't seem to work under firewire. It can't read the disk, and fails on the format.

Under USB it seems to work, but I can't tell if it's using USB1 or 2
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Postby Alejandra on Fri Feb 20, 2004 1:12 am

cfitz wrote:Since they all come from the same original source, there is not a lot of difference between them. I believe that the older designs used an Ali chipset for USB and an Oxford chipset for Firewire, while newer ones use a Prolific chipset that does both USB and Firewire. The Eurocom I have uses the Prolific chipset.


cfitz


I have two enclosures with those Prolific Chipsets, one for 3.5 HD and other for 5.25 (DVD Writer). The only thing I dont like is that none of these can boot with my Mac :( I tried to update the firmware but no success.
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Postby Kennyshin on Wed Apr 14, 2004 3:50 pm

http://shop.kbench.com/0909/?no=3679

Anybody knows this drive? It's compatible with 2.5-inch drives, has USB and IEEE 1394, can play MP3, and even features portable memory read/write for MemoryStick and other types.

A South Korean guy who lives in Germany told me the drive costs 100 Euro there. Kbench price is about US$150.
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Postby cfitz on Sun Apr 25, 2004 2:27 am

Kennyshin wrote:http://shop.kbench.com/0909/?no=3679

Anybody knows this drive? It's compatible with 2.5-inch drives, has USB and IEEE 1394, can play MP3, and even features portable memory read/write for MemoryStick and other types.

I just now saw this post, Kennyshin. I haven't seen the pictured drive (or is it just an enclosure?), but it does look interesting.

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Postby faithfoo on Tue Apr 27, 2004 1:39 pm

If I read ths thread correctly, since the enclosure I am thinking to buy is macpower.com.tw as below and not mapower nor cooldrive ...


** there should be no reliabliity issues with the enclosure below ?

http://www.macpower.com.tw/products/opt ... jb_400plus

the alt is
2) .EZSTORE speedzter enclosure . a proprietary assembled brand with Oxford ,
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Postby frank1 on Tue Feb 01, 2005 9:33 am

Is there any information available about external Firewire 1394 enclosures and their compatibilty witn the new Plextor PX-716A writer ?

I just know that it does not work writing with a Plextor PX-716A inside Bytecc ME-320 external enclosure
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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Feb 01, 2005 1:42 pm

frank1 wrote:Is there any information available about external Firewire 1394 enclosures and their compatibilty witn the new Plextor PX-716A writer ?

I just know that it does not work writing with a Plextor PX-716A inside Bytecc ME-320 external enclosure

???
how do you know?
and what version of the ME-320? the FireWire or USB or combo?
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Postby Justin42 on Tue Feb 01, 2005 5:49 pm

Are there any enclosures out there that still use the Oxford chipset for Firewire? Or is Oxford old news now? I've just heard too many horror stories about Prolific.... but it seems almost impossible to find listings for enclosures that say the chipset anymore.

Edit: Ok, I see Dealsonic has a special section for Oxford. Are they still considered the "gold standard" or is Prolific getting better??
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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Feb 01, 2005 9:13 pm

read this topic too:
http://www.cdrlabs.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=18850

i too had thought that Oxford 911 was the preferred chipset.
but according to one post in that topic, it appears as if the cdfreaks topic mentioned there says Prolific is better ?
got to read that cdfreaks topic...
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Postby frank1 on Wed Feb 02, 2005 4:05 am

dodecahedron wrote:got to read that cdfreaks topic...

Actually there are at least 2 interesting topics at cd.freaks:

" The big external enclosures thread "
http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php?t=119149

and a more specific one on the Plextor forum: (and a lot shorter ...)
" Plextor PX-716A inside Bytecc ME-320 external enclosure results in inability to write "
http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php ... =enclosure
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