August 30, 2006

The quest for a SATA enclosure...

What started out as a simple task has snowballed into a major endeavor. The job was simple, buy an external enclosure that I could put a spare Serial ATA drive into, and plug it into my Mac via Firewire or USB. Unfortunately, Serial ATA has a hidden gotcha called Spread Spectrum Clocking that a lot of SATA gear just doesn't support.

A number of SATA drives on the market don't even have this feature available, it's primary purpose is to reduce EMI emissions in multi-drive systems (RAIDs and such), so typically only higher end drives would feature this. Of the drives that do have this feature, a select few apparently have a jumper setting to enable/disable the function, but most drives don't have a way for the user to change this preset setting. And of course, as it happens, the drive I had intended to use had SSC enabled, as it was from an Xserve G5.

One of the main goals in purchasing the enclosure was so that I could perform data recovery, backup, etc, on a separate system that didn't have SATA built in, I could just move the drive to my enclosure, do my work, and get the drive back where it needed to go. So because I don't know what type of drives I'd be working with, and because it's likely I'll be needing to work with Xserve drives, I obviously NEED to have SSC support.

I've already spoken with several enclosure manufacturers, so far, none have had a model that supported SSC. The search continues...

Posted by Jim at August 30, 2006 10:03 AM | TrackBack