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Archive for April 20th, 2015

Which external 2.5 inch usb drives contain actual SATA drives? – Super User

Posted by jpluimers on 2015/04/20

Which external 2.5 inch usb drives contain actual SATA drives? – Super User.

Opening the M9T in USB enclosure and getting the ST2000LM003 out of it:

The same holds for opening the STDR2000100 and STEA2000400:

Opening the 15mm? high 4TB drive enclosure:

The drive is a STDA4000100

Before this gets It got deleted:


I know many of the modern external USB 2.5 inch drives do not contain a SATA drive inside, for instance see this YouTube video about disassembling a 2TB Western Digital My Passport drive.

However some drives still contain SATA drives, for instance this YouTube disassembly video of the 1.5TB SeaGate GoFlex drive which contains a 1.5TB SeaGate FreePlay drive that took very long to become available as SATA model.

So: which other (preferably as big as possible, and 12.5mm or less high) SATA drives can be disassembled from retail USB drives?


The background of my question is that often the official specs will not tell what kind of connector the drive inside the casing it has.

For example some specs for some 1.5TB and 2TB external 2.5inch USB drives in my answer below.

I have two reasons I want to know: often the internal drives are not sold separately at at first and when they are, they are still a lot cheaper. The first reason is most important to me:

I run several dual- and triple-drive machines of which the biggest one is the backup drive that I want to be as big as possible (especially since you now have 1TB SSDs that are 7 or 9mm high).

The OWC 960GB Mercury Electra was the first that was somewhat affordable almost 1TB SSD, but now theM500 and the 840 EVO have taken over.

Your question isn’t very clear… The product specification should say what interface the internal drive is… Almost all off-the-shelf USB hard disks nowadays are SATA… –  Big Chris May 25 at 17:00
I think most off-the-shelf USB hard disks are USB as it is cheaper to manufacture. But the product specifications are very unclear about it. –  Jeroen Wiert Pluimers May 25 at 19:13
That comment is very confusing, are you asking about the interface between the drive and controller or controller and PC? –  Dan Nixon May 25 at 19:22
up voted
Yes, I meant the disk inside the USB enclosure being SATA. –  Big Chris May 25 at 19:32
up voted
@DanNixon try using an @ symbol next time. it’s no use telling somebody their comment is confusing when you leave confusion as to who you are addressing. I think you were referring to Jeroen because he is asking a question, and you refer to somebody ‘asking’, though ‘chris’ replied. Nevertheless, it’s pretty obvious what Joroen meant and Chris meant the same. –  barlop May 25 at 19:50

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2 Answers

I don’t know where all the downvotes come from. The question is pretty clear and makes perfect sense. It is unclear though why would one want to know the answer. Still, from my experience, there is no exact way of telling until you have seen the drive disassembled – in real life or on video.

In most cases OEM will not provide the information that you want to get simply because it is out of scope of normal external HDD usage. By taking it apart you void the warranty and this is for the reason. The only thing that OEM is supposed to specify is the external interface on the casing. Which in our case is USB. Weather the actual disk inside the box is SATA or not is for you to find out if you are very curious, but you always pay the price by voiding the warranty.

In fact you have pretty much answered your own question. If one wants to know what is inside the box, one goes and watches youtube videos and hopes that someone else has disassembled it before. I know this is not very encouraging but this is the truth.

Thanks. The medium to bigger sized sites on StackExchange have turned to be pretty unforgiving. G+ communities have taken over the role of being welcoming. And after that other places will take that place. Anyway: thanks a lot for your answer. I was afraid it would come down to manual labor, and appreciate you confirm that. Thanks also for explaining the reasoning. –  Jeroen Wiert Pluimers May 25 at 19:36
Not entirely an “unknown” because when you plug the disk in it will install a bridge (the usb-to-SATA/IDE) and will then install disk drivers. Your system device manager will then say the disk make/model. You can then search for it and it’ll say whether the disk is SATA or IDE. –  Big Chris May 25 at 19:40
Just out of curiosity, why do you need an external HDD that contains a standard SATA drive? If you want to take it aparat, then this is not very cost effective. You could just buy actual SATA drive if you need one. And if you need to use it as external once in a while, buy an enclosure. Then you know for sure that your hdd is standard sized with valid SATA interface. And enclosures are damn cheap these days. –  smc May 25 at 19:41
up voted
Good comment, @BigChris, however your device manager will only tell you what the interface told it in the first place. And it depends on the firmware that OEM has put into it. Sometimes you can figure out SATA/IDE, sometimes not. I have a WD external HDD, and I have no way of telling what is inside it. And it is not like want to know (it just works) –  smc May 25 at 19:45
up voted
@sms I recall reading of a 1TB samsung external usb drive cheaper than the internal ones on the market, so that’d be one reason other than curiosity. And read his second paragraph about a usb drive where the sata version hadn’t yet come on the market –  barlop May 25 at 19:53

add / show 3 more comments

It comes down to manual tear down, or being lucky that somebody already did a tear down.

Here are some drives that I know the internals of some 1.5TB and 2TB external 2.5inch USB drives.

  • Iomega 35213: 1.5TB Iomega® Prestige™ SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive. Specs in PDF Document don’t tell about what the drive itself uses as an interface. Internal drive actually has a SATA connector (disassembled this myself).
  • WDBU6Y0020BBK-EESN: WD Elements Portable Storage 2TB Black. Specs in Word Document don’t tell about what the drive itself uses as an interface. Internal drive actually has an USB connector (disassembled this myself).
  • WDBMWV0020BBK-EESN: WD My Passport Ultra 2TB Black. Specs in Word Document don’t tell about what the drive itself uses as an interface. Internal drive actually has an USB connector (see first YouTube video).
  • HDTB120EK3BA or HDTB120EK3CA: Toshiba STOR.E Basics 2TB Black. Specs on web page (can’t find PDF or Word Document) do not tell what the internal drive uses as an interface, but there is actually a SATA drive inside which is an MQ01ABB200.
  • HX-M201TCB/G or STSHX-M201TCB: Samsung M3 Portable 2TB Black. Specs in PDF document do not tell what the internal drive uses as an interface. Could not find a tear down video or description.
  • STDR2000200: Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB black. Specs in PDF document do not tell what the internal drive uses as an interface. But it is in fact a Seagate M9T is normally only available to OEM, andseems 9.5 mm high.


Posted in Hardware, HP XW6600, Power User | Leave a Comment »

*n*x: capturing http traffic

Posted by jpluimers on 2015/04/20

Below some links to get me started on capturing http traffic.

Some tools mentioned in these links, with * marking the ones available on the distribution I use:

Here we go:     Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in *nix, *nix-tools, Linux, Power User, SuSE Linux | Leave a Comment »

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