Sounds somehow counterintuitive? Right. We show you, however, how this is sometimes true in the real world.
To cover the background of this situation: we think the hard drive manufacturers want to see their logos on the enclosures. Or external hard drives always go to consumers, where the price is more important. Interesting is that external models are sometimes a lot cheaper than internal ones. In addition, some variants are only available as external models.
Cheap 8 TB Western Digital 3,5″ hard drive with 5400 rpm: only available as My Book model.
This hard drive is specifically interesting model. Is has the name WD80EZZX and is a hard drive with PMR recording. This is an advantage because the write speed stays constant even with large data sets. Some of the newer high capacity drives use SMR, which leads to slow write speeds after some Gigabytes. Not with this drive.
Where is the advantage of this compared to the hard drive that gets sold as internal version? Well, the only internal 8 TB drive from Western Digital are the Red series (for NAS for example), an these drives are around $80 more expensive. More expensive are also the HGST He8, which rumors say is the basis for the Western Digital drive with more rpms. Also more expensive are both Seagate models that are comparable as there are the IronWolf 8 TB and Barracuda 8 TB.
As you can see, the drive in the Western Digital My Book enclosure is quite interesting. It is quite cheap, uses “normal” and fast PMD recording and is quite, as it only spins with 5400 rpms, so it doesn’t drive you crazy being in the same room.
Currently, the Western Digital WD80EZZX in the My Book enclosure costs around $190. If you like to use the hard drive in your computer or NAS, you have open the enclosure and harvest the internal hard disk. So this is only for the brave of you, because you will obviously lose the company’s guarantee. If you need five drives maybe for your NAS, this can make sense: if you save four times $80 you save even more than one potentially broken drive costs.
If you plan do to so, here is a tip: use the new drives in their enclosures for a few days If you have a faulty one, you should recognise it very soon.
My Book 8 TB: Amazon
DIY: Internal hard drives are cheaper when they come in external enclosures
If you are looking for the biggest available capacities in the small 2.5 inch format, you can save a bit of money if you don’t by the internal versions, but (again with losing the guarantee!) the external ones and then free the hard drives. Be aware that these drives have a hight of 15mm, which means they won’t fit in your MacBook or laptop, but rather in other enclosures or as quiet internal drive.
The external versions are around twenty to forty (when on sale) bucks cheaper. This comes in handy when you need a lot of these drives, for example for your NAS. As they are a nice replacement for 3.5″ drives when nearly silent operation is one of your goals.
If you are a Western Digital fan, please be aware: for 2.5″ drives, this tricks only works for Seagte (and Maxtor/Samsung) drives. Western Digital merges the hard drive controller board and the USB board together, so that you cannot fit the drive in another standard enclosure.
2.5″ drives with high capacities are SMR drives. That means that they will get slow if you write lots of data at once. These are not the drives you want when you write 100 GBs in a row. These are drives you buy when you fill them once and then read the data, e.g. if you have your music and film archive on them.
Enclosures that are made for removing the drives.
The first two tipps are for people who like to take apart things. But maybe you are not into that and would like to have a simpler solution and still save some money. Fair enough. Here is our tipp: You can buy a normal RAID enclosure that comes with two drives. As it is made for replacing them, you can just take the drives out and even keep the warranty!
The enclosure we speak about is the Western Digital My Book Duo RAID enclosure. As it is not a very good solution per se, it is good to deliver two Western Digital Red hard drives cheaper than bought separately and without enclosure.
You can use these excellent drives in your computer or Synology or any other NAS. If you buy the 12 TB or 16 TB version of the My Book Duo, you can save $40 or $60 compared to the internal drives, at points when the RAID enclosure is on sale even more! So if you need some good WD Red drives just buy the My Book Duo, take the drives out and keep the enclosure in some box.
General tips for saving on hard drives
We listed these tips in April 2017. The situation can change overnight, so please check the possible configurations to find the best deal for you. If you find another great deal, please share it in the comments with others! Thank you.