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HDD Enclosures and USB speed

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:11 pm
by NuGuy
Is an HDD manufactured to be inherently either USB 2.0 or USB 3.0, i.e., is the USB rating established by the HDD manufacturer?

Or would/could the USB speed be established by the particular external enclosure and not influenced by the HDD? You go to an online computer store and see enclosures that are 2.0 as well as 3.0...

I'm not sure that a 3.0 enclosure would be backwards compatable with a 2.0 drive (assuming the drive dictates the speed).

The 2.0 enclosure would be the safest purchase, but it sure would be cool to speed up file transfers.

Re: HDD Enclosures and USB speed

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:05 pm
by Ian
The USB speed is established by the external enclosure. It really has nothing to do with the HDD inside it.

If your new computer supports USB 3.0, I'd definitely go that route. The performance difference is like night and day and USB 3.0 is backwards compatible so you can still use it on older computers.

Re: HDD Enclosures and USB speed

PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:50 pm
by NuGuy
Thanks. My computer does support USB 3.0, which was one of the main things I was looking for. I'll shop around. I'm also going to have to buy another enclosure for my CD drive. When I bought that enclosure a few years ago, Firewire was all the rage, receiving all the hype, and since my old computer had a Firewire connection on it, I bought a CD enclosure that had Firewire connections on it. (You'd think, as I did, that it would have both Firewire and USB connections, but it doesn't.) Well, you know how popular Firewire is today, at least with the PC faction. I researched adaptor cables (Firewire to USB) but these got really, really bad reviews Amazon; they don't work. I considered installing a Firewire card/rear computer ports, but decided it wouldn't cost much more to get a new USB CD enclosure. So I'll be buying two enclosures.

When I reviewed the features of my new computer before buying it, I thought it had plenty of USB connections. I was mildly surprised to find that the keyboard and mouse used up two of those two connections. (My old computer used dedicated connections.) I'm considering a small USB hub, although a USB card/rear ports might be more convenient as well as powered. Any opinion about best expanding USB connectivity? If USB 3.0 cards are available and the 3.0 capability of the card truly works in an unoccupied MB slot, this might be best. However, a couple of peripherals I use so infrequently, I probably would be just as well off simply plugging them in when I wanted to use them.

Re: HDD Enclosures and USB speed

PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:51 pm
by Ian
I bought a USB 3.0 card early on. It had an NEC chipset and it worked well. The only issue was that I needed to use a 4x or 16x PCIe slot. Despite the fact that the card fit, the 1x slots weren't fast enough.

I have only 2 USB 3.0 ports on my computers and I rarely use both of them. My keyboards and all that other junk are just plugged into the normal USB 2.0 ports.

Re: HDD Enclosures and USB speed

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 1:25 pm
by NuGuy
Last Saturday I decided to buy my external enclosures from an actual store rather than via the Internet. I wanted to be sure that I was buying the right thing. I took digital photos of my HDD and partially disassembled cd player enclosure, but also brought the cd player & enclosure with me. I went to Altex, as they seem to carry decent stuff and have great personalized customer service. After exploring options, the guy helping me told me that I do, indeed, have a USB connection on my cd enclosure! He pointed it out to me. I only plug in every three or four years, so I did not recognize the more squarish connector as being the "other" USB port. Once he pointed this out, I was hit simultaneously with startled recollection as well as a hot heatwave of embarrasment. I apologized profusely for having used up this guy's time needlessly. It wasn't a big deal to him. Man, I can be a dunce sometimes.

The purchase of the USB 3.0 HDD external enclosure was much more straight forward. I bought a BYTECC (same mfr. as my cd enclosure), "Super Speed USB 3.0 to SATA 3.5" Enclosure," Model ME360-SU3. The back of the box (packaging) noted: "USB 3.0 host driver is currently available for Windows 7, vista and XP" I thought that I could just plug in and Win7 would recognize it and it would be smooth sailing. So, I assembled my old original HDD (the one I wanted the Favorites folder from), and plugged into a USB 3.0 port. (The enclosure comes with a very nice USB 3.0 cable.) I heard the familiar hardware recognition "boing" and then the small window came up that said the driver was being installed. I was very surprised when the process reported that the installation of the HDD failed! I repeated this a few times, hoping in vain that somehow, with repeated attempts, that the correct driver would be installed. I assumed it would be a generic USB 3.0 driver already part of the OS. I was thinking that maybe I had a loose connection inside the enclosure, etc., but thought I plug into a USB 2.0 port to see if that worked. I did, and I was up & going in a few seconds! Win7 has this "Easy Transfer" feature, and I installed it, but decided to simply copy my old Favorites folder contents over to (what is now called) the "Favorites Bar" folder. No sweat, although I was sort of wishing that the transfer was going at "super speed." But I was relieved that the transfer was easy and successful.

So, I understand that the enclosure determines the USB speed, but I've been thinking why my HDD/3.0 enclosure did not work at 3.0. I re-read every word on the back of the HDD enclosure's box, and at the very bottom of listed info I read: "Note: For maximum data throughput, use a SATA 3Gb/s hard disk with the enclosure and connect to a USB 3.0 port." I noticed on the labeling on my Samsung HDD that it was made in 2001, and am thinking that maybe my HDD simply was not capable of that rate of transfer; maybe that's why installation failed...?

I went into the computer's/OS's control panel and tried to see if everything was working OK. It seemed to be. I don't know. Maybe I have to go to MS downloads and specifically retrieve the proper USB 3.0 driver. But you'd think that with Win7 installed on a computer manufactured with USB 3.0 ports that this would be taken care of. I assumed this, and is why I'm thinking my HDD is just not up to the task of operating as a 3.0 device.

Well, that's my most recent computing adventure. Any thoughts on why my old HDD did not operate at 3.0 are welcome. Thanks.

Re: HDD Enclosures and USB speed

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 2:49 pm
by Ian
BYTECC's website says that it works with SATA 3Gb/s and 1.5Gb/s hard drives.

Did you check the event log to see if there were any errors? Also, any unknown devices in the Device Manager?

Came across this too: ... 6817145085 (click feedback)

Re: HDD Enclosures and USB speed

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:39 pm
by NuGuy
I don't know where the event log is or how to access it.

I checked out the program one reviewer at NewEgg, "nusb3utl.exe" It's not on my computer. I searched for this and found that it belongs to Renesas Electronics Corp., which doesn't ring a bell. I opened up my "C" drive and found a system folder of utililties. I can not tell which, if any, might relate to USB 3.0.

When I plug the enclosed HDD now into a 3.0 port, absolutely nothing shows up on my screen (no message whatsoever, no icon to click and follow progress). The only hints I get are sounds: a double "boing" -- low note followed by high note (discovery & installation initiated I assume) --and then maybe 10 seconds or so later, a second double "boing" -- high note followed by low note (device being uninstalled/failure). The drive does not show up on "My computers" or as a connected device to a USB port in Device Manager, even during the computer's initial discovery/installation process.

Oh, yeah, from the device manager I got the Intel chipset info (C216) and searched for a driver. Intel site had it. I downloaded it and installed it. On the Device Manager page it is newly listed as: Intel USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller. (I made sure that this driver was compatable with Win7 and Intel 7 processor before downloading.)

Anyway, maybe my HDD enclosure is faulty. I don't have any other USB 3.0 device to plug in to test the USB 3.0 capability of the computer.

If you can tell me/show me the pathway to the event log, I'll take a peek. Thanks.

Re: HDD Enclosures and USB speed

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:50 pm
by NuGuy
Here's a shot of the USB portion of my Device Manager. See anything suspicious? I check all the "devices" and they are all working properly. I cannot tell which of those USB connections are actual USB 3.0 connections.


My external enclosure HDD was plugged in when I made the screen shot. It's as if it does not exist (and I guess it doesn't).

Re: HDD Enclosures and USB speed

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 8:35 pm
by NuGuy
Here's BYTECC's web site product information: ... 60-SU3.htm
Note that it says that no driver is needed. This enclosure is not listed on their driver download page:

Well, I've tried a few times further to get this to work. After I downloaded the Zipped file (I understood it to be zipped), I printed out & reviewed the Read Me notes which outlined the driver installation procedure. Somehow I got into the installation process, except that there was no "unzipping" apparently required (must have been done automatically by the computer OS). The installation went through typical installation steps, including having to re-start the computer. The "device" or whatever shows up on the device manager, has a 2012 date and reports that it is working.... So, I believe I have installed the proper 3.0 driver correctly.

Re: HDD Enclosures and USB speed

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:10 pm
by NuGuy
OK - no more need to think about this -- the BYTECC enclosure is defective. (No wonder NewEgg has "discontinued" selling this!) Thanks for your time! =D>

A few weeks ago I bought a relatively small external USB 3.0 HDD, a Toshiba 500MB. I had forgotten all about this. I intended to use it with my old computer for saving my photodocumented household items inventory to keep in a fireproof safe. Anyway, I connected it and all went well. I could see as well as hear the installation process. It was recognised as being a "USB Mass Storage Device." On the device manager it is listed under the "Disk Drives" section; there is nothing in the USB listed portion to indicate that any USB device is actually connected.

My BYTECC enclosure does not show up anywhere in device manager, including the disk drives listing.

Anyway, if BYTECC has a customer service email contact I'll ask about it, and suggest that I get a refund. USB 2.0 is no fun. :-?

Thanks again.

Re: HDD Enclosures and USB speed

PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:01 pm
by NuGuy
Welll, it's been a while since I've visited here. I wanted to update my experience with the BYTECC enclosure. I did, indeed, write BYTECC customer service (and included a link to this thread), and I quickly received the best of reply's. This company does stand firmly behind its products -- they sent me a new (an tested) enclosure. How's that? Pretty good, I'd say! =D>

Re: HDD Enclosures and USB speed

PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:16 pm
by Ian
That's awesome. It's good to see that there are still companies out there with a) good customer service and b) that stand behind the products they sell.

Re: HDD Enclosures and USB speed

PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:45 pm
by hoxlund
to make things even more confusing for you. most usb external enclosures don't work with hard drives bigger then 2.1TB

so if you have or plan on ever using that enclosure with a hard drive lets day 2.5TB or bigger you get the rewards of buying an updated enclosure that handles it

its a pretty big feature so most of the time the manufacturer will advertise it