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04-22-2010, 04:05 PM   #1
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external hard drives

Hi guys. Me again.

So I'm in the market for an external hard drive to back everything up. Do you have any suggestions as to what make/size I should look for? I primarily want something to back up my PC and my photos for 'safe' keeping.

04-22-2010, 04:22 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I'd recommend a powered external hard drive- Seagate's tend to be pretty good for that!

I picked up on from eCost earlier this year, as they have great prices. See here: eCOST.com - Search Results

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04-22-2010, 04:23 PM   #3
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You should specify if you are looking for a desktop or portable hard drive. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

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04-22-2010, 04:24 PM   #4
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I went the external enclosure with a fan with a WD hard drive inside. More economical than a standalone external unit, and the WD drive had a 5 year warranty versus 1-2 year for the external units. Ended building up a 1T HD for about the same price of a 640GB.

User rating are available on newegg.com regarding external enclosures, internal HDs and external HDs. You can always look check those units on other sites and reviews. I was considering a Lacie unit at one time but ultimately decided to go the external way. I tend to use the reviews as a starting point and take it from there.

If you are going to back up your PC, you want a HD that is at least that size, if not larger.

04-22-2010, 04:32 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lab Quote
I went the external enclosure with a fan with a WD hard drive inside. More economical than a standalone external unit, and the WD drive had a 5 year warranty versus 1-2 year for the external units. Ended building up a 1T HD for about the same price of a 640GB.

User rating are available on newegg.com regarding external enclosures, internal HDs and external HDs. You can always look check those units on other sites and reviews. I was considering a Lacie unit at one time but ultimately decided to go the external way. I tend to use the reviews as a starting point and take it from there.

If you are going to back up your PC, you want a HD that is at least that size, if not larger.
To everyone: I have an HP laptop with a 320gb hard drive. Does that help?
04-22-2010, 04:54 PM   #6
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If all you need is 320GB, any 2.5" portable 320-500GB hard drives will do. The only thing to watch is that some portable hard drives came with preloaded softwares which cannot be removed. They will appear as CD when hooked until you get pass the startup softwares. The problem is that you might not be able to restore the mirror image of your notebook if your PC crashed because you will not be able to get pass the portable hard drive startup software. For this reason, I personally prefer plain ext hard drives w/o preloaded sw.
04-22-2010, 05:45 PM   #7
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Western Digital Elements drives often go on sale. I'd wait for that and go for a 500GB or 1TB, depending on how much space you think you'll need in the future.

I got a 1TB WD Elements for $60
A 1.5TB Elements for $90
and a 640GB Elements Portable for $85
04-22-2010, 05:47 PM   #8
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You can get a 1tb desktop model for $100 or less. A portable one runs $25-$50 more. Western Digital, Seagate and Iomega are brands that I use and I've never had a problem. Supposedly LaCie is the one to go with for media folk but I like my WD just fine.

Target had a sale and I got my 1tb 3.5" desktop drive for $56. That was cheaper than anywhere else at the time.

Buy the most storage that you can afford. You'll fill it, trust me.

Also, consider a cloud service like Carbonite as secondary backup incase the the unthinkable happens and you lose your computer and hard drive at the same time (theft, fire, flood etc.).

When I buy my hard drives the first thing I do is format them to get any of the manufacturers stuff OFF. All it is is bloat-ware and there are better solutions out there for little or no money at all.

04-22-2010, 06:16 PM   #9
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Thermaltake BlacX

Compact docking station design maximizes heat dissipation & exhaust. I had two sata drives from old decktop I use in it.. Works great.
04-22-2010, 06:29 PM   #10
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I'm also in the market for one of these and thinking about the WD My Passport. I'm a little concerned about the failure rate though.

If these things die/crash, is there any way to recover the backed up data?
04-22-2010, 07:31 PM   #11
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I use three (3) Seagate 320GB drives in generic enclosures. One for mirroring my laptop and the other two for keeping copies of my documents and photos. The photos stay on my SD card until I have three copies of everything. I then clean off the cards for re-use.
04-22-2010, 08:20 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by fractal Quote
I'm also in the market for one of these and thinking about the WD My Passport. I'm a little concerned about the failure rate though.

If these things die/crash, is there any way to recover the backed up data?
There are services that will recover data from a failed hard drive, but sit down. The charges range from $300 to over $3000!

Hard Drive & RAID Data Recovery Services & Software by Disk Doctors is one with many local offices across the US (if you happen to be in the USA).

Sometimes, it is simply a software fix that allows them to recover the data. Sometimes, they have to take the disk drive into a clean room, remove the old platter(s) and place them into an identical enclosure with operating heads. And even then, depending on the damage done when heads physically hit the disk, some of the data may not be fully recoverable.

Our company found out about all this when Windows XP Service Pack 2 crashed hundreds of hard drives - dead.

So, don't skip on backup. 1TB drives are commonly available for around $100. Get two or three - it's the minimum it would cost to even attempt to recover data from a dead hard drive. Do your back-ups and you won't have to sweat the loss of data later.

By the way, does anyone have any favorite mirroring programs they want to share?
04-22-2010, 08:34 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Naturenut Quote
To everyone: I have an HP laptop with a 320gb hard drive. Does that help?
I would recommend a much larger external HDD with external power supply: e.g., 1.5Tb or 2 Tb, as your primary backup.

Practically I recommend to use a combination of a large (2Tb) externally-powered HDD together with a smaller USB-powered HDD (600 Gb to 1 Tb). The larger externally-powered HDD could stay at home and the portable USB-powered HDD can travel with the notebook.

I have used several Maxtor HDDs before and I have now 3 WD external HDDs. The Maxtors were outstanding, and the WD are good.

Hope that the advice will assist...
04-22-2010, 09:06 PM   #14
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The nice thing about those really large external drives is when they fail, and they will fail you can lose a really large amount of your stuff in one fell swoop.

I go to an external drive myself. I also go to another computer with mirrored sata drives. My next step is online. Even if none of my HDs ever fail again, (but they will) I want an offsite in case of a hurricane or other disaster.

I use Maxtor drives. I also use WD drives. Both have one commonality. They all will eventually fail. I've had as many Maxtors fail as WD.
04-22-2010, 10:05 PM   #15
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Can I suggest a Windows Home Server? It costs more than an external drive but it will automatically backup multiple computers on a schedule that you set, stream music, act as a file server, etc.

I've been very happy with mine and it worked like a charm when I had to move move my data to a new hard drive.
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