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This $12 accessory turned my extra SSDs into useful external storage

If you need to add more external storage to your PC or for backing up photos and videos, this $12 case makes it easy.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
The Sabrent 2.5" hard drive case.

It's as unassuming as it gets, but it works.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

My work means I'm of the opinion that you can never have enough external storage. Between writing and filming, I can't afford to run out of space. 

That high demand means both of my main desktop machines have at least three extra drives attached. In the case of my System76 Thelio, there are three internal drives and one external drive. As for my iMac, I have two SanDisk Extreme drives that house video libraries. And because those two drives house video libraries (which can take up massive amounts of space), I needed yet another external drive (before the SanDisks fill up).

Also: Store your SD cards in this case to avoid losing or damaging them

As I had a number of 3.5" SSD drives lying around, I thought the best way to use them would be to purchase cases and turn them into external drives. I found just what I was looking for on Amazon, in the form of the inexpensive Sabrent 2.5 Inch SATA to USB 3.0 enclosure.

View at Amazon

At just $11.99, this case isn't the fanciest, nor does it come with a lot of bells and whistles. Basically, it's a plastic case that allows you to insert a 2.5" SSD drive (without having to use tools), and it includes an on/off switch, an LED indicator light, and a USB cable.

Also: How to set up your own NAS for more reliable data backups

It's simple, but it works -- and it works well. As long as you don't expect this case to withstand drops or avoid getting crushed under the weight of whatever's in your bag, you'll be delighted with how easy the case is to use and how well it performs. 

The inside of the Sabrent 2.5" hard drive enclosure.

I've added a Kingston SSD to my Sabrent case.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Yes, it's just a plastic case with a minimum of technology involved to make it possible to convert internal drives into external drives. But what more could you ask for?

The specs

As you've probably already guessed, the Sabrent case won't amaze you with its specs, which are plain and simple:

  • Tool-free usage
  • Transfer rates up to 480Mbps when connected to a USB 2.0 port and up to 5Gbps when connected to a USB 3.0 port
  • Can be used with 2.5" SATA/SSD (including standard laptop 2.5″ SATA and SATA II drives)
  • Optimized for SSD
  • Supports UASP SATA III
  • Backwards-compatible with USB 2.0 or 1.1
  • Hot-swappable
  • No drivers needed (supports Linux, macOS, and Windows)
  • Dimensions: 5.31 x 2.91 x 0.59 inches
  • Weight: ‎2 ounces

One thing to keep in mind is that this plastic case is unlikely to be capable of withstanding much physical abuse. But if you're only planning on plugging it into a desktop computer or using it for a laptop backup, this enclosure will serve you well for a long time. In fact, I would venture to say this case will probably outlast the drive it houses because it's just sitting behind my iMac, housing an SSD used for a single video library.

Also: How to easily back up your Mac onto a USB drive

I realize this isn't the sexiest piece of technology you've ever seen, but it's one of those bits of kit you can keep in your junk drawer on the off-chance you need the extra storage that comes with external drives. And because this enclosure is as easy as it gets to use (and inexpensive), you'll be glad you purchased one or two when you find yourself in need of a backup drive.

In short, this is something you buy, install, and forget it's even there. So, unless you need a case that's sturdier to withstand constant travel or harsh conditions, this inexpensive Sabrent case is all you need.

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