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Old 06-27-2010, 12:15 PM   #1
Andrew B.
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Default External Storage Choices

I'm well behind the times and I am trying to understand the state of the art for external storage. I'm also not in the know about which models to stay away from. And things like form factor, solid state, wireless.

Sooo, now that time has marched on and I'm a born again newbie, what would you suggest as the hot items for onsite external backup and archiving for a laptop computer.

Also, have any of you heard about Norton offsite backup solution?
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Old 06-27-2010, 12:23 PM   #2
Kayza
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A lot depends on what you want to do and what you already have. How old is your laptop? If it's relatively new, it may have an e-sata port. If you only want to attach something to this computer, then an e-sata drive is the fastest way to go. If it's for archiving only, then you don't care as much about form factor, since can have a somewhat bigger, less transportable drive sitting in one place and attach your computer each evening or whatever and do your backups. If you want to increase your available storage, on the other hand, you are really gong to want the mobile type units, as they are small enough to keep in a pocket of the laptop case, and are designed to be moved around.

If you want to share this hard drive, then you may want to put this on a switch. However, you will want to make sure that your laptop's connection (wireless, I assume) is as fast as possible, or you are going to see a performance hit.
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Old 06-27-2010, 02:37 PM   #3
Hugh Wyn Griffith
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I use Seagate/Maxtor and Western Digital sourced hard drives -- it's worth checking carefully the warranty terms since they vary immensely between manufacturers but also between the normal retail boxed drives, and OEM drives. Many retail drives only come with a 1 year warranty but some come with 3 years and some even with 5 years. OEM drives usually come with more than 1 year.

I recently put together a "pocket" drive for a family member to go with his laptop using an 80GB drive taken out of his brother's laptop when I put in a 250GB WD drive and a $12.99 case from NewEgg:

SABRENT SBT-ESU25 Aluminum 2.5" USB 2.0 External Enclosure

What users say about the rattle is correct and a bit of foam rubber stuck onto the end of the drive you insert first would be a good idea. You can't beat the price.

The cable looks weird because it has one USB plug that goes into the drive housing and two plugs that use the USB sockets on the PC so that on laptops that often are limited to 100mA per USB socket can provide enough power for the drive by using 2 sockets at once -- not necessary if you plug it into a desktop for any reason.

Of course you can pay more and get better but this was right for the cirucumsstances I was dealing with.

Both Seagate/Maxtor and WD allow you to download a free version of Acronis True Image software that does everything necessary for imaging but omits some frills.

Whether you do it yourself or buy a ready-made unit buy a larger hard drive than you think you will need!

If you don't need always to have the external drive with you but just to transfer to when you are at home base then you could save some money and get a larger drive by going to a 3.5in drive instead of the 2.5in laptop drive.

   
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Old 06-28-2010, 09:07 AM   #4
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Thanks for the comments. This helped me focus. I don't need a portable drive and I want one that is easy to connect to my computer and use. Also, I'm suffering from reverse sticker shock. The last external HD I bought was over $300 for less than 200 Gig. So just about everything looks cheap to me.

And with the above in mind and went and looked at the Best Buys web site again. Do you have any opinions of the Western Digital - My Book World Edition II 2TB External Network Dual-Drive Hard DriveI notice it has two drives in it, and I think I remember reading that they trick the OS into seeing it as one. I can't remember now. Any problems with this kind of setup?
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Old 06-28-2010, 10:40 AM   #5
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No opinions to offer and you wouldn't want 'em if I did. But a suggestion: go to newegg.com, see what they have and what the customer opinions of the various offerings are. They seem to attract a more techie crowd than the average retailer so (at least it seems to me) the opinions are generally better informed.

Standard "Broad brush, wide generalities, YMMV" disclaimer applies.

   
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Old 06-28-2010, 11:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew B. View Post
And with the above in mind and went and looked at the Best Buys web site again. Do you have any opinions of the Western Digital - My Book World Edition II 2TB External Network Dual-Drive Hard DriveI notice it has two drives in it, and I think I remember reading that they trick the OS into seeing it as one. I can't remember now. Any problems with this kind of setup?
I have the 1 TB version on a GB connection. It works fine. If I'm not mistaken, they use internal RAID, so the OS does not need to know about the multiple drives. I don't know it the 1TB version has multiple drives, but I know that both Windows XP and Linux see it just fine.
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Old 06-28-2010, 02:25 PM   #7
Hugh Wyn Griffith
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You saw it is a network drive -- via ethernet?

I have had very good experiences recently with buying hard drives at Best Buy locally including having them honor the lower website price than their shelf price.

They also exchanged the first drive I bought without batting an eyelid (even had a special counter for first-processing returns) when I had rashly assumed from the age of the laptop that it would have an IDE drive .... and the SATA equivalent was much cheaper than the otherwise identical IDE drive.

I often buy from Newegg but in this case the Best Buy price was substantially cheaper than equivalent drives at Newegg and other online sources.

Not being familiar with mirrored drive I was wondering whether this box gave you 2TB of storage or 1TB .... Review 3 provides this information:
<< The drive also comes pre-configured for RAID 1 (Mirroring) which is exactly what I wanted for secure data protection/back-up. However, if you prefer to establish RAID 0 (Striping), then it's very easy to configure (just make sure that you do this before transferring any data to the drive). RAID 1 provides a total of 1TB of effective storage and RAID 0 provides a total of 2TB of effective storage.

With regard to transfer speed, I was seeing on average transfer speeds of about 5 MB/sec(40 Mbps)! >>
Looks as if you should not take the 1000Mbps figure too literally .... although he doesn't say if his ethernet was 10/100 or went to the 1000 now available.

You pay a heavy premium for the Network mirrored arrangement:

Western Digital - WD Elements 2TB External USB 2.0 Hard Drive $150

which I think is one 2TB drive

   
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Old 06-29-2010, 08:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew B. View Post
I'm suffering from reverse sticker shock. The last external HD I bought was over $300 for less than 200 Gig. So just about everything looks cheap to me.
Nice problem to have, eh? Well, if you're feeling sentimental about the old sticker prices, maybe you should check out the new "Solid State Drives" (SSDs), which, I've heard, have breathtaking performance, and of course aren't subject to platter seize-ups, head crashes, etc., since they have no moving parts. Their price-to-storage ratios are more along the lines of those you remember for hard drives. Personally, the sooner we see the end of mechanical hard drives, the better I'll like it.

   
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Old 06-29-2010, 03:43 PM   #9
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But SSDs still have a finite life based on the number of read/write cycles of the eproms .... and the redundancy built in plus the alogarithms for spreading the load and .......

   
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Old 06-29-2010, 04:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
hugh: But SSDs still have a finite life based on the number of read/write cycles of the eproms .... and the redundancy built in plus the alogarithms for spreading the load and
Yes...and from what I understand getting a SSD with TRIM is essential...

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