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Nexstar 3 Drive Enclosure How-to and Mac Warning

September 20th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

External hard drives have been the most helpful item that I have purchased. I admit that I buy many of them and particularly now with high definition video where files sizes are large and a 30 Gig camera drive can uncompress to 10x in size depending on the final file type.

This post will serve two purposes:

1. How to install a hard drive in an external enclosure

2. Give a Warning on a problem that I had trying to use a Nexstar 3 enclosure with Mac OSX.

[I am trying out the anchor function with a new plug-in and it only works after you open the “more” tag — working on it.]

How to install a hard drive in to an external enclosure

The idea of installing a hard drive in an external enclosure is to get the exact drive and features that you need.

My first piece of advice is to buy the highest quality hard drive you can afford. Remember that loosing your data is expensive and data recovery services never offer guarantees, although they are also pricey when compared to the relative cost of  purchasing a more expensive drive in the first place.  Hard drives are so inexpensive now that this terrabyte Western Digital black caviar was less than $100. Canadian.

My second piece of advice is to go for the most connectivity you can get. This enclosure featured eSATA, firewire 800 x2 (with an adapter cable to 400) and USB2. This gives the maximum potential to be able to connect with any computer that you may wish to transfer files to. The 800 firewire connection is very fast and the Mac I was planning on installing this drive on does not have a SATA card, but it does have firewire 800.  I will do another post sometime on installing a SATA card in a Windows machine as I have had some trials and triumphs in that area. On a MAC, I will have to do more research, but there are some interesting developments that are happening to speed up data transfer in older G4 and G5 models.

I have taken some photos to show the process more clearly.

After I took all the photos I realized I should have shown the connection of the power to the light and the sliding of the sled, with the drive attached, back into the case. This How To series is a work in progress and I will be happy to answer questions.

Warning to MAC OSX users

After I had carefully installed the drive, I then took it to the studio that I work in and formatted the drive with three partitions. I used a G4 notebook computer to achieve the task. I then copied the contents of a second hard drive on to one of the partitions, so there was not only three partitions OSX journalled, but one had several gigabytes of data.

The enclosure seemed to be working fine, but after I answered a couple of e-mails I noticed it had disapeared from the Finder and the drives did not show on the desktop. Somewhat odd. I have three NexStar external enclosures and I have never had a problem, so I thought maybe there was a power interruption or something.

Then I tried the enclosure on my Ubuntu Linux notebook. The first time I attached the drive it was fully visible, then it would no longer mount. The quad core G5 at the studio could not mount it either. This was a very strange development, so I returned the defective enclosure to NCIX and they gave me a full refund. I bought another enclosure, but I was in such a hurry to get it to the client by that time, that I did not have time to take photos. I will report that the alternative enclosure is working well and firewire 800 is supported.

I am sure the NexStar enclosure will work on a Windows machine, but when formatted in OSX, I had real problems. I would not advise that you buy this enclosure for a MAC.

Categories: How-To, VIX at Work
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