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Multiple External HDDs


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#1 katariina

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Posted 08 August 2015 - 03:10 PM

Hi,

I have several external HDDs - 4 HP Personal HDs, and 1 Iomega.  I am trying to organize my huge video, music, picture, and e-book files on these HDs; as backup and also to help me organize and decide what to keep for easy access on my computer's HD.
Is it possible to use a USB switch box for one-button switching to these various HDs?  I have a power strip for the multiple power cords, and have a US switcher box (4), but can't get it to work.

I'd like to be able to easily switch from one HD to another as I move and re-organize files.  It would be so much easier than re-plugging in the USB cable for each HD - I'd like to just use a push-button switcher box and hide all the cables.

Thanks for any help!

 

-katariina

 

P.S. - I have an HP E-400f PC, running Windows 7, with 8GB RAM.


Edited by katariina, 08 August 2015 - 03:11 PM.


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#2 LFos42

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Posted 08 August 2015 - 03:26 PM

I can see where you'd have problems using a USB switch box for this.  Especially since your computer will want to install and uninstall each drive after use, so you could very easily corrupt the drives in they aren't uninstalled correctly after use before 'switching' to the next drive.

 

A simple USB hub would probably fail a since they don't usually handle that much power draw or large loads and data transfers.  A direct USB connection (if you are working via USB) is the best bet.

 

There are external mulitple drive controller boards that will let you plug in a bunch of drives and access them all  simultaneously.  You could also install an additional USB controller (PCI-e connector usually) inside your computer (if not a laptop) that will have multiple USB ports that you can just plug each drive into and they will all show up.

 

The switcher idea is tricky.  I would try a different track.  I get the idea that you don't need to see all the drives at once, but either plugging one or a few or all in and safely installing and uninstalling vs. using a switcher and corrupting them is a safer bet I think.



#3 Kilroy

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Posted 09 August 2015 - 10:37 AM

As LFos42 said there are external options.  I have two Mediasonic ProBox 4 Bay 3.5" Hard Drive Enclosures.  You would have to remove the drives from their current enclosures.  Or, you could go with an internal PCI card to give you more ports.



#4 OldPhil

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Posted 09 August 2015 - 10:54 AM

I added a PCI USB card to one machine which gives me 4 extra USB 2 ports, it has worked fine for quite some time it leaves me with one 2 and one 3 on the front panel for sticks.


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#5 canonsupport

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Posted 10 August 2015 - 11:23 AM

If you are using SATA then it is better for you to use "External Hard Drive SATA Enclosure Docking Station".



#6 LFos42

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Posted 15 August 2015 - 11:31 PM

OK, so from your motherboard specs you're running USB 2.0 and you've got 4 external USB ports, and if your mouse is on one and your keyboard another, then you probably have 2 left,unless you have a printer on one. So you do have an external USB 2.0 port to run the Mediasonic box Kilroy mentioned (it looks good) even though it will take USB 3, you don't have that, so your data will just move slower (according to user reviews it is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 - not all hardware is since USB 3 provides more power than USB2, but this is specified to work fine with USB 2.0).  But, you do have internal sata on your motherboard (4 sata ports in fact, though I don't know how many are still available, and you have pci-e slots as well.)

 

So basically the easiest way is to get the Mediasonic box, plug in your hard drives, and plug it into your available USB port.  You could move data slightly faster by using the esata option on the Mediasonic box, but that would mean you would need an esata connector to plug into your motherboard, unless your case has one on it (and it might).  If it does, then use that, it will transfer data a little faster.  (It looks like your motherboard supports SATA 1). Also the mediabox is built for 3.5" drives (standard desktop size drives), so if you have the smaller 2.5" (laptop sized) drives then you'll just need adapters to plug into them so they'll fit.

 

But.... if you wanted.... you should be able to also plug in a PCI-e board internally which will give you probably 4 USB adapters so you could do it that way as well.  (Your case specifies a mid-size tower so it should fit fine.)  If you aren't into opening the case on your computer, then the media box is the way to go, and actually is a good way anyway.

 

Good luck!



#7 The Man from Oahu

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 07:47 AM

Hi guys,

 

I have a similar situation: 5 external HDDs (3 x 3.5" (with their own power supply) + 2 x 2.5" (no power supply)).

I don't have enough ports on my MoBo (Gigabyte GA-H97-D3H) so I bought a USB 3.0 Hub (TP-Link UH700) but I haven't installed it yet.

Do you think I can use it? Or would an internal USB controller be a better solution? 



#8 LFos42

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 12:24 PM

I would go with the internal USB controller. That way you get more direct USB ports (not shared) and fewer HUB-type flakiness.



#9 The Man from Oahu

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 02:01 PM

What kind of flakiness?



#10 LFos42

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 02:44 PM

For me they sometimes don't find a drive, or will experience a conflict and will disable one or more ports on the hub.  I notice they're fine for flash drives and light weight use but for hard drives and large data transfers they're just less reliable.  They're much slower, more prone to errors/disconnects.  Even if only 1 port on the hub is in use.  But the internal USB controllers that feed to backplane USB ports (not hubs) have been rock solid with all ports in use transferring large amounts of data at high speed (they're sharing the pci slot bandwidth but not the bandwidth of a single USB port like hubs often do).  the internal USB controllers I've used were PCI board based so it makes sense to me they've got better power, greater bandwith and speed.  the hubs I've used were driven by the USB interfaces on the motherboard and even so weren't as good as the PCI based controllers.  just my experience.


Edited by LFos42, 16 August 2015 - 04:49 PM.


#11 The Man from Oahu

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 03:26 PM

Thanks for your reply.

I see that internal controllers are almost as much expensive (or even more) than the hub I bought so I think I'll have to use it.

I hope that the fact that it has its own power supply makes it more reliable.



#12 OldPhil

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 05:07 PM

I just poked around PCI USB cards are in the range of $12-17 for 2.0 and hovering around $20-30 for a 3.0 card. Half that of the wired dongles ten times more reliable.  Google them you will be surprised!


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#13 The Man from Oahu

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 07:33 AM

I was a little in a hurry, you are right about prices.

On the other hand, after some reading it seems to me that these internal cards can cause some troubles too (even damage the MoBo or the USB devices, if you are very unlucky).

Since I already have the hub I think I'll give it a try.






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