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What size and make external hard drive is best?

chris.maddock 19 3.7k United Kingdom
21 Dec 2008 7:49AM

Quote:Ive recently bought a Maxtor 1.5 tb external drive,and a little dissapointed nil instructions,cept how to connect the 2 wires.

To be perfectly honest, what other instructions are needed. Anything else is dependent on your computer and operating system, if the drive was pre-formatted, which I think most are, then the OS dependent instructions aren't required anyway.

Quote:Have it sat on top of my pc tower,and noticed it gets a little warm, would this be ok?

Oh yes, hard drives do get quite hot, they are designed to work OK up to quite a high temperature. Being in a case supplied by the drive manufacturer, I would expect that the case is designed to keep the drive well below the maximum temperature that it can take.

Quote:Also have it permanantly on,and not sure if this is also correct, or should i only switch on when transferring data.

You'll probably get conflicting answers to this - however, having lost data when a PC crashed whilst an external drive was connected (although that was firewire, not USB) I always err on the side of caution and only use external drives for storage - I only connect one of my external drives when I want to put stuff on or take stuff off it. Luckily, my data loss was when loading the drive in the first place so I still had the data on the PC.

skidlid56 12 2
21 Dec 2008 8:05AM
Chris. Many thanks for your helpful reply.Have also noticed this morning,my pc freezing much more than the usual odd occasion,so think i may only turn the external on,when transferring data.

regards Howard
digicammad 17 22.0k 40 United Kingdom
21 Dec 2008 10:53AM
Of course, you shouldn't just rely on local backups for priceless data. I use the Carbonite online backup service for all my data including photos. So even if my computer and external backup go up in flames simultaneously all but my latest data would be off-site.

chris.maddock 19 3.7k United Kingdom
21 Dec 2008 10:59AM
I use duplicate backup drives - one stored at home and t'other elsewhere (currently in my desk drawer at work), that deals with offsite backups.
steveb 16 343 United Kingdom
21 Dec 2008 11:17AM
My Powermac G5 uses two one terrabyte Seagate disks, every now and then, usually monthly, I clone my working drive to the other. Whenever I download from a card I backup to one of two Lacie Porsche firewire drives, one 250 GB and a 320 GB. I then archive data to 2 Lacie Porsche style 500 GB USB2 drives, the same on each drive. I've had no problems with my Lacie drives, but would never trust any drive using 2 drives internally to make a higher capacity, I've seen failures at work that have complicated data recovery. Raids are OK. My 500 GB external drives are filling up, I'll probably get some one terrabyte USB2 drives for archiving and a faster Lacie Quadra for regular backups. I never use DVD's for backup, if I'm away and using the Powerbook I use a Firelite buss powered firewire drive.
rogerbryan 16 397 United Kingdom
21 Dec 2008 1:03PM
I tend to use smaller exteranl hard drives. The main reason, while I back up frequently, I had a problem with one drive and had to spend 300+ to recover the data stored on it as I had not backed it up as often as I should. Thats why I restrict my exteranl hard drives to either 250 or 320 GB. Once full and finished with its disconnected and stored safetly for future use if required.

agoreira 17 6.0k Wales
21 Dec 2008 2:48PM

Quote:Of course, you shouldn't just rely on local backups for priceless data. I use the Carbonite online backup service for all my data including photos. So even if my computer and external backup go up in flames simultaneously all but my latest data would be off-site.


Yes, my brother uses it, and I decided to give it a go a while back. Downloaded it, installed it, and no idea what happened, but it completely knackered my computer! Wink Ended up taking it to my local computer guy to get me sorted. 20 they cost me! Carbonite's three word response when I was back online was "uninstal the programme!". Nice caring company! Wink
samfurlong 15 2.5k United Kingdom
21 Dec 2008 6:57PM
It depends on your budget and what you are going to keep on it but I use western digital 'mybook' drives. I have a couple of the 2TB 'Mybook Mirror edition' drives. They are USB2 and plenty fast enough in use.
The best thing its that while they are badged as 2TB they actually contain 2x 2TB drives (total 4TB) in a RAID 1 array so you have redundancy built in. You can also change this to RAID 0 so the drive is recognised as a single 4TB unit. I have set mine up this way so I effectively have 2x 4TB drives and then use one to back the other up. (Used In this way I can keep one offsite).
chrisco 15 59 3 United Kingdom
21 Dec 2008 8:16PM
Oh My God!!,precious things photos arent they??? Wink
scottishphototours 17 2.6k 2
22 Dec 2008 12:28AM
Have used Lacie (several) and have been 100% releable.

Also have Seagate drives on the advice of an IT friend who rates these as the best on the market.

Recently bought Buffalo drives (2x 1Tb) and have backed up to Carbonite.

Have read VERY bad things about Western Digital Mybooks (crashing when new - see Amazon cutomer reviews) and have avoided these completely.
mdpontin 16 6.0k Scotland
22 Dec 2008 1:41PM
Another vote for LaCie. I have a d2 (160GB - I know, tiny!), and a 1TB 2big (RAID). No problems with either, so far.
samfurlong 15 2.5k United Kingdom
22 Dec 2008 5:30PM
I have a 500 GB lacie toughdrive (the armoured ones) which lives in my tertiary camera bag containing stuff I'll only need very occasionally. Obviously everything on it is backed up but it's good to have for long assignements lasting more than a day or two where I am away from home so I can empty my cards onto it.
It doesn't receive quite the bashing about that a lot of my other gear does but Neverthless it's been around the world and spends a lot of time rolling around to boot of the car as I drive like a maniac to get to jobs on time. It sits in the boot in the extremes of hot and cold in the summer and winter and it keeps going.
It's perect for a laptop and is even powered by the USB port.

Quote:Have read VERY bad things about Western Digital Mybooks (crashing when new - see Amazon cutomer reviews) and have avoided these completely

Yes I read that too, although I think it is morerelevant to the cheaper single drive units rather than the raid ones. Generally anything mechanical / electrical will fail in the first month or two if it is going to (unless you drop it) so once it's a month or so old you can be confident in it. Plus anyone who trusts a load of percious data to a brand new hard drive and doesn't back it up deserves all they get. I always run my new HD's for at least a month before trusting them with anything irreplaceable that isn't backed up.
robertt Plus
15 142 United Kingdom
28 Dec 2008 2:34PM
I have just bought a 1tb Western Digital mybook home edition external hard drive which is eSATA, usb and firewire compatible. It works on usb but it is not recognised on eSATA at all. I then bought a trust IF-3600 eSATA II PCi card and it still does not recognise the drive. Do anybody know which eSATA cards will work with this drive. The cards on WD site seem to be in America. My motherboard is Asus A8N-SLI, OS is vista 32 home premium.
Photogeek 15 605 6 Wales
28 Dec 2008 5:44PM
I've got a Buffalo Linkstation Pro NAS Drive sat on the network here at home with 1Gb of space. The PC has 5 Samsung 500GB Drives in a RAID1+0 (+ Spare) Array for redundancy. The NAS Box gets a USB drive plugged into the back once a month for external backup storage

NAS Box was 170 from Scan

The Raid Array has been partitioned to keep System, Program , and User Data Separate. . . . . Acronis TrueImage Pro 2009 Handles my disk images and backups.

Gigabyte NAS Box over a Gigabyte Network Connection knocks spots off USB and Firewire speeds Grin
digicammad 17 22.0k 40 United Kingdom
28 Dec 2008 6:28PM
I know it's an obvious statement but it's well worth making anyway. If you are using a RAID array don't assume it is a perfect solution. RAID only protects against (some) hardware failures, if your problem is software related corruption then any fancy copies you may have will also be corrupted.

Regardless of how fancy your disk array, regular backups to independent devices are a must.


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