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What is hard disk shucking and which ones are used for it

The hard drive market has many ups and downs when it comes to capacities and prices, and it is generally cheaper to buy an external hard drive with a USB connection than an internal hard drive of the same capacity. Shucking serves precisely to avoid this “setback.”

What is hard drive shucking and why it matters

Most external hard drives contain an internal hard drive with an adapter to connect it to a USB interface. The original meaning of “shucking” comes from the word “shuck” (to peel) from English, and is that it literally consists of taking an external hard disk and removing the external casing to use the internal disk as an internal one.

Why does this technique exist? Why lose the external functionality of a hard disk that had a USB connection to use it as an internal disk? Basically for the price. It is easy to find offers of large capacity external drives (such as 12 TB) much cheaper than if we bought the exact same individual hard drive. It seems absurd, but that is the reality.

Historically, there was no point in worrying about doing this because manufacturers typically put their lower quality units in external housings to keep costs low and increase profits. All you got for the effort of breaking the outer casing was a cheap, slow drive.

Today, however, there is a significantly greater emphasis on the reliability and longevity of external drives, as many of the products on the market are designed to be left on 24 × 7, come with backup software, and are widely used. than external hard drives of yesteryear. To fulfill this promise of reliability and performance in such conditions, many manufacturers have started using premium quality hard drives in their external drives in order to avoid premature failure.

And here’s the weird part: those external drives are many times cheaper than the basic version of the same drive. That means if you keep an eye out for deals, you can easily get a batch of high-end, high-capacity hard drives for 50% off the retail price, as long as you’re willing to spend a little time getting the job done. shucking process.

To give an example for the sake of argument, let’s say you want four 8TB drives for a home server. You can buy 4 Western Digital Red 8 TB hard drives at 290 euros each disk (1,160 euros in total), or you can buy four external EasyStore 8 TB drives at 170 euros per unit (680 euros in total), shucking them, and you will have exactly the same discs having saved almost half the money.

How to know which external drives will work

You may legitimately suspect that there is more to this task than unmounting an external drive and simply turning it internal. It is necessary to do a little preliminary research because not all disks incorporate a disk with a SATA interface inside, some come with special connectors that only work in the external casing in which they come so, precisely, that the process cannot be done. of shucking.

Shucking hard drives

Therefore, you must be careful because not all external hard drives are suitable for shucking, and the recommendation is that if your initial intention is to do so before buying the external drive you inform yourself on the Internet if it is valid or not.

For example (which is subject to change by the manufacturer, since they can change the internal drive without warning and with all the right) the 12 TB WD Elements external drives contain datacenter quality hard drives inside (Specifically, The Ultrastar DC HC520) that can be used perfectly for whatever you need, and that external drive was not long ago on sale with a 60% discount on its base price, so you could buy 12 TB hard drives for just 130 euros per unit.

WD 12 TB

Western Digital Easystore 8 TB external drives are also usually valid for shucking, but the best thing you can do as we said is to consult the Internet and more specifically in this Reddit thread, where users have made a kind of compendium gathering the hard drives to which this technique can be done. In any case, the key when investigating is to be as specific as you can to be sure whether a particular model of external drive allows the drive to be removed for internal use. To do this, try to always use the model number and SKU when searching.

The bad part of shucking

For the most part, there are no significant downsides to this technique, although it does have some obvious ones, such as that you’ll be voiding the device’s warranty, without going any further. Another disadvantage is that you will be losing (many times forever because shucking forces in some cases to break the outer casing of the disk) the possibility of using these disks as external once you have removed the internal drives from inside.

The other big drawback is the simple bet that is made when “playing” with the unlocking of units. Unlike buying a ready-to-go internal hard drive, there is no guarantee that you will get a functional drive when you take it out of its outer casing, and even if you read a dozen or so internet posts, complete with image evidence. , you can never be entirely sure because it is possible that the external unit you buy is not from the same production batch, or simply as we have said before, the company may have decided to change the internal units at some point. Until you open the case and see the internal disk, you will not be able to know unfortunately.

These caveats aside, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to mount a home server or drives for a NAS, shucking is a potentially huge money-saving technique, so it’s definitely worth your research and research.