There is only one downside to digital photography. The reliance of the hard drive. If you lose all your data on the hard drive, there is not a negative or color print to salvage the lost photos on the drive. More megapixels mean more space required for the photos. Thus, its important to have a reliable drive that has lots of space.
I recently purchased the Antec MX-1 case to replace a broken 1 TB external drive. Luckily, the drive broke within the return policy of the store and while I was still verifying the integrity of the drive via a sector test. The problem with external drives theses days is that there are no fans to cool the cases down. This wasn’t so much of an issue with the 250 GB or the 500 GB we had. But with 1 TB drives, they run hot with 5+ platters spinning at 7200 RPM.
I decided to try out the Antec MX-1 due to its reasonable price ($30 when on sale at Frys or Buy.com) and eSATA capability. One of the nice features is that it comes a PCI slot cover that extends the internal eSATA jack to the back of the computer. The case is made of plastic, although in the photos it looks like brushed aluminum. As for the drive, I purchased a Western Digital 1 TB Green Power Drive . The benefit on the drive is that it runs cooler at 5400 RPM and has only 3 platters. I also lower my carbon footprint with its reasonable 6-10 watt usage. There is a slight performance hit at 5400 RPM, but on an external drive its fast enough.
Installation of the drive on the MX-1 was a bit of a hassle since you needed to take out 5 screws to get the hard drive bracket out. The mounts on the hard drive are made of rubber, so it definitely keeps the noise down on the case. The USB ports and eSATA ports had decent performance and having a power switch on the drive case is a nice touch. Fan noise is fairly quiet, although the one I got was more than 20 dB.
The Antec MX-1 External Hard Drive case is a good value if you want the flexibility of having an actively cooled hard drive with eSATA and USB ports. If you can pick this enclosure up for $30, its a great deal. At $60, it would be a hard decision to make since there are a lot of other alternatives.