I need to buy a 1TB external drive for my media player. Instead of usb, are there any known disadvantages to using a normal SATA drive with USB-to-SATA adapter ? Thank you for any help
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External enclosures will likely be USB or eSATA. SATA is an internal connector, for external use, the eSATA connector was created. I've not seen any enclosures that use SATA.
Unless you are referring to using an adapter on a bare drive. Then yes, that will work. But if you want to use bare drives, simply get a dock such as the BlacX models.Google is your Friend
The best thing you can do is to get a drive with its own power supply. Lots of people have problems with external drives and the real problem is a lack of power. The issue is so common that I don't own any external disk drive enclosures that don't have their own power supplies.
USB power for external drives is only practical for small 2.5 inch laptop style drives. The regular 3.5 inch drives use too much power to run off USB.
USB normally supplies about 500 MA for connected devices.
USB 2.0 is fast enough for a media player. USB 1.1 is a bit too slow. But most devices now are USB 2.0 or 3.0.
eSATA will make it faster to load video onto a drive than USB 2.0, but doesn't make much difference for playback.
A regular internal style SATA drive in an enclosure will work OK over a USB link if the drive has external power.
But several HDD manufacturers also have packaged external drives that are often much cheaper than a separate internal SATA drive and enclosure and come with their own power supply.
Personally, I'd get a 2 TB drive (price per TB will be lower), or even bigger if the player will recognize a GPT partitioned drive. And a powered enclosure with USB3. USB2 will do for playback, but it will take a good while to transfer files to it over USB2.
Like redwudz said, you can buy a powered USB3 external from Seagate, WD, et. al., often for cheaper than a bare drive. Not great enclosures for heat dissipation, but probably (?) adequate for media playback. I have a few but use them for backups only, not playback. For playback, I have aftermarket enclosures.Pull! Bang! Darn!