Shucking HD's is over?

Discussion in 'Memory and Storage' started by Elixer, Jan 26, 2017.

  1. Elixer

    Elixer Diamond Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2002
    Messages:
    9,957
    Likes Received:
    630
    Looks like all new external WD drives have the controller board soldered onto the HD itself, and it is a USB connection, and there is no SATA port at all.
    Seagate is also doing this from what I have been seeing.

    That pretty much means there is no good way to recover data if the USB controller fails, they are basically throw away devices now. :(

    Thanks Backblaze and the rest of them that did this en masse.
     
    PliotronX and poofyhairguy like this.
  2. Loading...

    Similar Threads - Shucking HD's Forum Date
    SSD HD Tune Error Memory and Storage Sep 16, 2017
    Recommendations for an External HD Memory and Storage Aug 31, 2017
    G4600 w/HD 630 iGPU, snappier than Ryzen 5 1600 w/RX 470 4GB card? M.2 PCI-E? Memory and Storage Aug 16, 2017
    WS Red Pro NAS HD for offloading duty Memory and Storage Aug 4, 2017

  3. UsandThem

    UsandThem Diamond Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2000
    Messages:
    6,940
    Likes Received:
    345
    Up until another user pointed this out to me about a year ago (I can't remember who is was), I had no idea they were doing this.

    It's really a shame because these products are generally cheaper and convenient. However, it really defeats the purpose of having a backup that won't work if the integrated controller fails.

    I have been looking at getting a bigger backup setup for home, and I am going with a separate 3.5" hard drive / enclosure.
     
    PliotronX likes this.
  4. VirtualLarry

    VirtualLarry Lifer

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2001
    Messages:
    38,164
    Likes Received:
    1,905
    Does this apply to only their "portable" externals, or "desktop" externals too? I would think that due to economies of scale, the external drives based on desktop drives, would still have SATA on the drives, and an external USB3.0 controller chipset.

    At least, people were, as of up to a few months ago, "shucking" WD 8GB MyBook Desktop externals, to get their He8 drives out of them, and I myself shucked four Seagate Expansion Desktop External 5TB drives, to get the desktop 5TB "DM" drives out of them. They went into my NAS. (Then I found out that those drives came highly NON-recommended for NAS usage. Oh well. Until I can afford to replace them with HGST NAS, WD Red / Red Pro NAS, or Toshiba X300-series NAS drives, they're staying.)
     
  5. BarkingGhostar

    BarkingGhostar Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    Messages:
    4,531
    Likes Received:
    110
    That is most unfortunate considering I've had at least two controller board failures in the past year. Since I buy them in pairs I wound up tearing apart the sister drive to use its SATA-USB controller board to recover data before reformatting and using in an external docking station. Looks like I won't be buying anymore external drives moving forward.
     
  6. mxnerd

    mxnerd Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    168
    I would never buy external HD that's enclosed in a box.

    Only buy internal HD and put it in a USB or SATA docking station.
     
  7. Elixer

    Elixer Diamond Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2002
    Messages:
    9,957
    Likes Received:
    630
    Basically, they all look like this:
    [​IMG]

    Then you have the versions with hardware encryption, so, you can't just swap out the PCB.
    Sad days. :(

    If you don't have hardware encryption, and you are very good with working with small circuits, you can do this...
    [​IMG]
    http://www.jax184.com/projects/verbatim/verbatim.html
    Basically, they got a hold of the white paper for the chip, and soldered on the data lines from the SATA cable directly to the chip.
     
    #6 Elixer, Jan 26, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
    dlerious likes this.
  8. smitbret

    smitbret Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Messages:
    3,349
    Likes Received:
    6
    cbn likes this.
  9. Elixer

    Elixer Diamond Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2002
    Messages:
    9,957
    Likes Received:
    630
    Is there a date code on the HD?
     
  10. bigboxes

    bigboxes Lifer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2002
    Messages:
    21,854
    Likes Received:
    6,187
    I did not know they were doing that. I bought a couple last year. I think I'll go back to just buy my own enclosures and put your a HDD in it. Thanks for the PSA.
     
  11. cbn

    cbn Lifer

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2009
    Messages:
    11,636
    Likes Received:
    127
  12. MrXT

    MrXT Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2017
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    You can always buy a hdd and then put the hdd into an external hdd enclosure. When the sales of WD external hdds and other brands drop they may soon realise they redacted.






    No profanity in the tech forums.


    esquared
    Anandtech Forum Director
     
    #11 MrXT, Jan 27, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2017
  13. fleshconsumed

    fleshconsumed Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2002
    Messages:
    4,705
    Likes Received:
    225
    Are you talking about 2.5" externals or 3.5" externals?

    The 2.5" externals have been migrating to direct USB connection for a long long time. WD has been doing it for years, and Seagate started doing it now too (past year I think). I don't care about 2.5" drives though, I'd rather have a standard drive inside USB enclosure, but the 2.5" externals have always been backup/transfer drives for me, if one dies, sucks, but I don't care about data on that drive.

    3.5" drives are completely different matter. Being able to buy cheap 3.5" externals and shuck them is a major cost advantage to me. I can buy 8TB external for $230, the cheapest non-shingled internal is $100 more. That's major cost savings even if you figure in shorter warranty. Are you saying you have seen evidence of 3.5" externals migrating to direct USB connection?
     
  14. ronbo613

    ronbo613 Golden Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,216
    Likes Received:
    45
    The only external drives in enclosures I buy are WD 2.5" models that travel with my laptop. I have no intention of ever dismantling them. All my 3.5" enclosures have hard drives that come out of a desktop that has received a newer, usually larger, drive. The old drive is put in an enclosure for backup duty, but these days, I am bailing the enclosures and using a hard drive dock. I know the differences between bare drives and hard drives in enclosures has been discussed here, but when the same item is $100 more than another, I start to have questions.
     
  15. rchunter

    rchunter Senior member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2015
    Messages:
    594
    Likes Received:
    16
    Kind of sucks for those that do it but I've always just bitten the bullet and paid the price for brand new retail drives with full warranty. I can usually find pretty good deals if I look long enough. My latest I just bought the other day was a brand new hgst he8 for $350 -----5 year warranty. WD red 8tb drives I can usually buy under $300.
     
  16. michal1980

    michal1980 Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2003
    Messages:
    8,019
    Likes Received:
    40
    which drive is this? (the 8TB)
     
  17. fleshconsumed

    fleshconsumed Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2002
    Messages:
    4,705
    Likes Received:
    225
    I purchased 8TB MyBook. If I remember correctly it had WD80EZZX drive inside. By all indications it was Hitachi built He8 5400 RPM drive. I say Hitachi built because it would not respond to WD wddidle command tool. I've read reports that later MyBooks include variation of 8TB REDs but I don't have personal experience with that.

    Here's link to somebody else shucking and finding EZZX inside. Do note their shucking method breaks the tabs, if you just slowly pry from inside the spine you should be able to shuck without breaking tabs should you ever need warranty.
    https://www.servethehome.com/wd-book-8tb-5400rpm-wd80ezzx-benchmarks/
     
  18. Elixer

    Elixer Diamond Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2002
    Messages:
    9,957
    Likes Received:
    630
    Both.
    In this case, it was a 1TB 2.5", and a 3TB MyBook (I think that is what they call them).
    They just bought those ~2 weeks ago, and the date stamp on the HDs showed 12/2016 & 1/2017, so it was a fresh batch.
    Client (a Jeweler) wanted to copy over a ton of files, and they only had USB 2 and was way too slow for them, so I told them to open the case (they first watched the youtube vids on how to open them), and just hook it up to their desktop machine, when they informed me that the drives in question had no SATA port after they opened it.
    Ended up telling them to buy a USB 3 card to use.
    What I don't know is if the bigger capacity HDs (6/8TB+) are also going this route, I just assumed that they would.
    Here is a video of the 2.5" ones that I found. Notice, no screws, just soldered on.


    *edit, apparently, Jewelers have all the tools possible to open up anything, without damaging the tabs.
    I was rather impressed when he got those opened without breaking anything.
    I joked with him that he should offer his services to open cases for a fee.
     
    #17 Elixer, Jan 27, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017
  19. fleshconsumed

    fleshconsumed Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2002
    Messages:
    4,705
    Likes Received:
    225
    Hrm, the video is of 2.5" 15mm drive. It's 15mm, but it's still 2.5".

    I would love to see a photo of 3.5" direct USB connection drive. Can you ask the Jeweler guy for photos? It would be a sad day if I couldn't shuck external drives for internal use anymore.
     
    VirtualLarry likes this.
  20. Elixer

    Elixer Diamond Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2002
    Messages:
    9,957
    Likes Received:
    630
    Maybe @Captain_WD can chime in on what products are going this route, while we wait for pics.
    He is still the WD rep AFAIK, and they were real helpful telling us which WD devices had hardware encryption that couldn't be turned off.
     
  21. tamz_msc

    tamz_msc Golden Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Messages:
    1,532
    Likes Received:
    1,402
    Thanks for this heads-up. I have got a WD MyPassport Ultra 1TB - looks like only 3.5" drives from now on.
     
  22. bryanl

    bryanl Golden Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2006
    Messages:
    1,141
    Likes Received:
    4
    Is that with 3.5" desktop drives?
     
  23. twelfth

    twelfth Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2015
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    152
    You mention Backblaze but I get the feeling you're talking about laptop sized external drives. Backblaze only shucks 3.5" drives.

    Some select models do have the USB controller built into the drive controller instead of a SATA connection somewhere. But every time I saw one of these, they were also 2.5" drives too thick to even be included in any sort of laptop... upwards of 12 to 20mm thick.

    I just bought 5 WD My Book 8TB 3.5" externals. None of them were like this. They all had a SATA to USB bridge that could be removed from the drive.
     
    VirtualLarry likes this.
  24. Elixer

    Elixer Diamond Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2002
    Messages:
    9,957
    Likes Received:
    630
    Did you happen to look at the date code for these HDs?
    I am still trying to verify what subset of external HDs don't have the USB bridge.
     
  25. JimKiler

    JimKiler Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2002
    Messages:
    3,130
    Likes Received:
    39
    Why are external drives so much cheaper? They have more parts therefore they cost more to make. Is it simple supply versus demand to cause the external drives to be cheaper than internal ones?
     
  26. Elixer

    Elixer Diamond Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2002
    Messages:
    9,957
    Likes Received:
    630
    Yeah, seems to make no sense since the addition of the external PSU + case + controller bridge chip (if needed) + AC cord + USB cord would obviously add more cost to the bottom line, but, externals are anywhere from $40-200 cheaper than just the same bare drive.

    This isn't a simple supply vs demand issue either, since WD/Segate/others all control every part of this, all HDs come off the same lines, so allocating X units for externals use only (which should be more expensive to the bottom line) doesn't really work, since they are controlling how many units are being allocated. In other words, they are creating their own artificial shortage for the internal drives to jack up the price to make up for the bigger loss in materials that they occur in making externals.
    Of course, this slightly changes with the soldered on PCBs for the USB line that is USB powered.