SATA HDD x2 Caddy Confusion - Can I get 2 SATA in 1 box with USB connection to PC?

Hi. My NAS is full, and I cannot afford to upgrade all the drives right now (4x8TB Ironwolf).
So I’m going to buy a 16TB Ironwolf Pro for future NAS, but for now use that externally. In the past, I’ve done this with a single HDD Caddy, and its been good. On this occasion I might actually end up buying a second drive in coming months. I’d prefer to not have an entire separate caddy. Can I get a “caddy” for 2 or 4 SATA drives?

Summary. I want a box to hold at least 2 SATA drives, in an external case, with external power supply, and a USB 3.1 connection to a Latpop or NAS. Help me understand the technology and how it connects, how do the drives show up on Windows/Linux?

P.S. I have a plan for migration in the future, so even if I fill the new drives, I do have a temporary storage when the time comes to RAID them.

Standard naming convention for these things is “enclosure”.

There are several products out there for up to 4 drives, but you don’t really get much more than this. Also check the product for USB 3 standard.

USB 3.0 bandwidth, 5Gbps, will be a limiting factor with more than two drives.

USB 3.1 10Gbps will be fine in almost any case as long as you stick to HDDs for those SATA bays.

I’m talking bandwidth here, not implementation or general performance.

IF USB bandwidth and performance is too limiting, you can go the professional/enterprise way of doing this. Search for SAS enclosures. These need a HBA with external ports to connect to that enclosure, but you can scale it basically infinitely. But is probably overkill for 2 disks, but worth considering if you plan to have >4 external disks in the longer term.

Same as any other removable media (USB Flash drive or your single HDD caddy) you plug into your USB port. These are dumb devices and you don’t need to install anything, although there could be proprietary software provided by the manufacturer, which can be nice for Windows, but may also ask for trouble on Linux.

Better safe than sorry. Always good to be prepared :slight_smile:

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So I buy a 4 bay enclosure.
Does it have 1 USB cable, and that shows up (on Windows) G: H: I: J: ? or does it show up differently? G:\drive1\ G:\drive2\ …

All my current devices are USB3 5GBit, so I’m happy with USB3 @ 5GBit. So I am pretty easy to satisfy with that. I’ll try and get a 10Gbit one (future use) if it is just a small bump in price.

1 cable. Imagine you have a USB hub with 4 USB flash drives plugged into it and then connecting it with a USB cable to your PC/laptop.

Yes.

Windows should recognize all devices and you can assign drive letters (every drive should have their own letter by default) in “disk management” or however it is called nowadays (been Linux-only for too long).

I can recommend Silverstone products and I’ve seen they also offer enclosures for both USB and SAS, but I never used them myself. But better check out several products for price, features and looks. 4-bay enclosures aren’t really cheap territory compared to their rather basic functionality.

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Thanks so much. I have all the answer I need, thanks heaps Exard3k :+1:

I’ll look at Silverstone. Wendell recommended IcyDock. I’ll see what the products build quality looks like. Check warranty too. Thanks again. Problem solved.

IcyDock is really a good option if you want to maximize empty 5.25" and 3.5" external slots on your existing case. That’s probably the more efficient way IF your case has the slots. Ain’t cheap either, but direct SATA connection within the case is far superior to external USB solutions in bandwidth, space, power and without any external cables. I heard the stock Icydock fans are crap, so be prepared to spend another ~10$ on a proper silent fan.

Ah yeah you are right, The IcyDock I am thinking of was for a 5.25" internal case addon (in one of L1T recent videos). That is why I thought of IcyDock. I’m on a laptop dock, networked NAS and some SFF servers.
Yup I understand If I had a ATX case i’d connect via SATA not USB.

External enclosure is what I’m after for the new drives, SATA to USB. Cheers.