If you have an old computer that is toast, an enclosure is a great way to use the HDD from that computer. I bought an enclosure for a 2.5" HDD for about $15 from eBay. Plugs into a USB just like any other. Also bought a 3.5" enclosure for a bigger drive, that enclosure was around $25 if memory serves but came with a wall wart power supply. It's what I use to back up my files.
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yes... you need to buy a hard drive and a hard drive enclosure. if you are starting from scratch, then might b easier to buy the external hard drive.