I just put together an external USB drive and am so happy with it I’d thought I’d share my recipe. I have owned many external drives before, including LaCie external drives, and was always disappointed when I’d open them up. Cheap Maxtor drives, poor engineering, el cheapo parts, not to mention how noisy they’d get.
So I found the Antec MX-1 USB/e-SATA 3.5-Inch Hard Drive Enclosure at Amazon.com for ~$38.00 and found it to be super quiet, well built, and a great value. It features a super-quiet blower fan to keep your drive running cool, and allowing you to operate the enclosure continuously.
I bought a 500GB SATA Seagate hard drive for ~$80.00 at TigerDirect (Hitachi drives are great, too). The install was easy, and now Time Machine is doing its magic every hour.
So I’m very happy with a high-quality, half-terabyte drive for around $118.00!