Like many people who own a MacBook, I upgraded the hard drive myself. It was cheaper to do it myself, and I could purchase my MacBook at an Apple Store instead of having to order a custom one online. Doing it this way also left me with the stock hard drive, which I figured I would drop in an enclosure and use for backup purposes. However, that wasn’t as easy as I thought. Since the MacBook uses a 2.5″ SATA drive, a fairly new drive format in the PC world, 2.5″ SATA enclosures are few and far between. That didn’t leave me with many options, but after searching long and hard I finally settled on Coolgear’s 2.5″ SATA to USB Mini Drive Enclosure.
Coolgear’s enclosure is about the cheapest you’ll find at the moment. However, that doesn’t mean it’s crappy. The enclosure comes with a carrying bag, a screw driver for installation, its special USB cable, and a driver disk for older Windows computers. The enclosure looks very sleek also. The combination of aluminum and plastic gives it style, and makes the enclosure feel very solid.
I know, I know. You don’t care about how it looks; you want to know how it works. Well, installation was fairly easy. You can probably figure it out without the instructions, but I read over them just to make sure I didn’t screw something up. To install a drive in the enclosure, you just slide the aluminum cover off, slide your drive in, flip it over and screw it down, cover it back up with the aluminum cover, and screw the cover down with a screw.
Alright, it wasn’t that easy. I did run into a few trouble spots. First of all, there is an inconsistency with the instructions. The instructions tell you that the cover screw should already be screwed in when you receive it. Instead it was in the bag with the rest of the screws. While that sounds like it’s no big deal, it does matter a little. The cover screw differs from other screws very slightly, so you won’t catch the difference until you’re trying to screw the drive down and the screw isn’t working. It’s a minor inconvenience, so be sure to look for the screw which is slightly different from the rest.
The other problem I encountered was getting the drive to fit. There are two small plastic pegs on the inside of the enclosure, which are meant to stop you from pushing the drive in too far. Well, I pushed the drive in as far as those plastic pegs would let me, and when I went to put the cover on, it wouldn’t close completely. It was close, but there was maybe a millimeter left before the cover would be completely shut.
Looking at my hard drive closer, it appeared that the pegs were meant to allow the drive to go a little further into the enclosure. Unfortunately the Seagate drive that ships with the MacBook has a small piece of plastic on the one side, thus preventing the drive from going all the way in. After trying to force it to go that little extra space, the one peg broke. It’s no big deal, since the peg really only serves as a guideline, but it’s something to keep in mind. I’m not sure if it’s the enclosure’s fault or my drive, but one of them definitely has a minor design flaw.
After dealing with the minor installation issues, I sealed the drive up. Once the assembly was complete, I just plugged the enclosure into my MacBook, and my drive was instantly recognized. Now there is something you should know about plugging it in. You’ll notice the included USB cable has two plugs on it. The extra plug (the red one) provides additional power to the drive if needed. If you’re using a 7200 RPM drive or a more power hungry 5400 RPM drive, you’ll want to plug in the additional USB cable. My 5400 RPM Seagate was able to work fine with one plug, but other drives may require more juice. If using an extra USB port is a problem, the enclosure does have a spot to plug in a 5V power plug, but you’ll need to find a suitable plug yourself.
Overall, I’m very satisfied with this enclosure. While there were some minor problems with the installation, the assembled unit performed as expected, and just looks great also. If you’re in the market for something to enclosure your MacBook or laptop SATA hard drive in, this is the enclosure to get.