Are external hard drives just laptop hard drives with a fancy enclosure for USB connection or is my roommate retarded?
They're generally desktop class drives in 2.5" or 3.5" form factor in a USB case. In a lot of older USB enclosures you could pull out the disk. Now some manufacturer are making it one piece so you can't.
what would be the point of taking it out in the first place? Surely an external HDD would be more expensive than one packed and branded as an internal one since the enclosure adds to the cost
the small ones are laptop drives with a USB and power adapter. the bigger ones are the same thing but with desktop drives.
i actually bought some external 4TB drives, took the HDDs out and put them in my server. they were cheaper than internals. i think some manufacturers started soldering the connectors to prevent people from just taking out the drives.
pic related, one of the adapters. top left is SATA and SATA power. bottom right is USB and DC in.
they are, i broke out the 1tb laptop hard drive from the external i got for 25 bucks, and I'm using it on my thinkpad.
put in another hard drive in the package, and use that as an external one now.