Whenever I scrap an old PC, I always feel it’s a great shame that so much of it goes to waste. In particular, I like to re-use the hard discs, even if they’re old and of relatively small capacity because it just seems criminal to chuck them.
That’s where products like the enclosures from IT CEO come in handy. As the name implies, these are not complete hard discs in themselves but merely an empty box with a little electronics, into which you insert an old hard drive. Bingo! It’s transformed into an external, USB-connected drive instead. Superb.
The ones I was sent for review from IT CEO are not costly (you can buy the 2.5″ one from our Amazon link at: http://amzn.to/1qxwddI and the 3.5″ one at http://amzn.to/1mMei3g) and seem fairly basic but do the job acceptably with a couple of caveats.
Firstly, it’s quite tricky opening them up, odd though that sounds. You push a little button at the top of the enclosure but this doesn’t pop the side off, you have to dig a fingernail or two in and prise it away so that you have access to the box.
Then you need to slide your drive in and push it into the connector at the end of the enclosure. Unfortunately, due to the design of these units, you’re pushing the drive in at an angle thus potentially putting the connector and its associated circuit board under slight flexing and strain, which is not a good thing for electronics.
This problem is exacerbated if you try to take the drive out again – which we now don’t advise since we broke one when we tried. The drive connector’s quite stiff so you end up pulling quite strongly at the drive to remove it, and since you’ve had to push the drive sideways out of the casing in order to access it (twisting the connector as described earlier as you go) it’s very easy to break something, as we proved.
With drives installed, everything worked fine. They connected instantly to our Windows 7 PC which immediately allocated them a drive letter and permitted us to read and write from them with no problems.
The larger case does require that you feed it power from a supplied PSU; it also comes with USB and eSATA cables and a little stand to hold the drive in. The smaller case comes with a little pouch to pop the unit in, perhaps presuming you might take it away with you.
That brings us to our second caveat which is that we don’t think these are best suited for mobile use. Neither case has any kind of flexible shockmounting for the drive, either inside or out. Disc drives, being very delicate things, should really be babied and cosseted if you’re moving them around so as it stands, we recommend these units only for static use.
In other words, put in a drive, install the unit to a fixed location and leave it there.
With that said, both enclosures worked fine and neither got any hotter during extended use than any other enclosure we’ve used.
So for someone who wants a low cost enclosure to transform an old, spare hard drive into an external drive, the IT CEO enclosures will do the job. Just don’t plan on swapping out the drives and ideally, don’t transport the enclosures unless you wrap them in a padded bag or similar.