Old 06-04-2007, 12:23 AM   #1
PLEzero
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Question External Hard Drives

I am interested to hear opinions on what everyone uses for mass digital storage. I am looking into purchasing an external hard drive in the near future to store all of my digital photos on. I am knowledgeable about all of the specifics on all of the products but do not have any experience with any of them.

After looking around I found some nice things at B&H and Best Buy. Some of the Western Digital products seemed to fit nicely into my specifications and price range, which is loosely about $100-$150 and 250GB depending on what opinions I get back in response.

Does anyone have any useful recommendations for products?

Thanks.
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Old 06-04-2007, 12:54 AM   #2
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First off, you're looking in the wrong place. Consider going to www.newegg.com . Really good prices and even better service.

2nd, off Newegg, consider buying an internal hard drive and putting it into an external enclosure. You end up saving money (about $20~30) or gain more space for you $150~200. Its very easy to do. If you choose this path, let me know via PM if you want and I'll give you some help.
http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCateg...nal-Enclosures
http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCateg...al-Hard-Drives

Third, be sure to back up your photos in 2 places. I personally don't use external hard drives because I have 3 physical hard drives inside my computer and all 3 back up my photos. Either way, it is a good idea to back up your digital photos in more than one location.

If I had to recommend an internal hard drive, my peers have had excellent luck with this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136059 Good price per GB ratio
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Old 06-04-2007, 01:06 AM   #3
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I like newegg also. I just bought
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136077
It seems to be a Western Digital drive. Based on some searching on the web for info, I am thinking it is a Europe-only product (IIRC, Amazon UK has it but not Amazon US) that newegg managed to get their hands on.

I'm happy with it except it sounds a bit noisy/scratchy. I wasn't sure so I checked with my neighbor IT-type and he said it was normal. Now, of course, I am more cognizant of similar noise/scratchiness coming out of my laptop. So I've stopped worrying about it.

Great for the price, 250GB for $80! I also make two DVD backups as well. stored off-site (desk at work).

I was tempted to spend just a bit more and get a network drive, 160GB, that I could attach to my base computer at home and access it from any networked computer (base, downstairs, laptop from work when I bring it home) but decided that was a bit fancy and all I really needed was storage.
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Old 06-04-2007, 01:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SD70MACMAN

I personally don't use external hard drives because I have 3 physical hard drives inside my computer and all 3 back up my photos. Either way, it is a good idea to back up your digital photos in more than one location.
I can't say that I think that is much better than just storing your pictures in one place (your computer hard drive). The advantages of a external drive is that the data is phyiscally deattached from your computer.

With your set up, sure the information is saved in three places, but if your computer is stolen, lost, damaged or infected with a virus all your photos are still gone. I can't really see the logic of having three internal hard drives but yet not one external hard drive, sounds like a waste of money to me. Maybe if you have a desktop computer it could make more sense, but for those with a notebook computer (like myself), in this sense extra internal hard drives sound like a waste.
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Old 06-04-2007, 01:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdirelan87
I can't say that I think that is much better than just storing your pictures in one place (your computer hard drive). The advantages of a external drive is that the data is phyiscally deattached from your computer.

With your set up, sure the information is saved in three places, but if your computer is stolen, lost, damaged or infected with a virus all your photos are still gone. I can't really see the logic of having three internal hard drives but yet not one external hard drive, sounds like a waste of money to me. Maybe if you have a desktop computer it could make more sense, but for those with a notebook computer (like myself), in this sense extra internal hard drives sound like a waste.
+1 I keep a copy on my computer, external hard drive, CD and another copy of on a CD stored at a different residence.
I use an external hard drive (Buffalo 250GB for $75) and haven't had any problems.
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:49 PM   #6
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I recommend external hard drives as well for two reasons:

1. If you upgrade your computer in the future, moving the drives is a simple plug-and-play move.

2. With external hard drives, you can move one off-site. If you really want true redundancy, one drive needs to be updated periodically and then stored somewhere else to protect against fire, theft, etc.

I have been using Maxtor drives with great success. I recommend getting the dual or triple interface drives. I had one older drive go bad (USB interface quit working). Luckily the drive also had a Firewire-400 Interface that worked so I could get my data off the drive. The new triple interface drives also have the Firewire-800 Interface which is nice if/when you have a computer that is compatible with it.
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Old 06-04-2007, 08:56 PM   #7
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I'm with the majority here. I got a 250GB Seagate EHD for $120 (with mail-in-rebate). I didn't have much time for research or to order online since I was down to 100MB on my regular harddrive. I currently store everything on the EHD and am attempting to get everything saved onto CD's. My ultimate goal is to have everything on an EHD, one set of CD's, and two sets of DVD's. I'm scaring myself right now by just relying on having everything in just one spot.
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Old 06-04-2007, 10:55 PM   #8
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An internal drive in an external case is a nice way to go - why toss your old drives - I had so many sitting around, they were getting to be like big flash cards. I back up my photos onto 2 seperate external drives and 2 seperate internal drives - I figured I'd put them all to work.

Regarding RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive (or Indendent) Disks);
There are a few ways to set them up, the two most popular being a redundant array where each drive stores automatically the same info making parallel copies. That is nice if one goes down. The other, and I forget what the term is, is when you interleave the info between two drives making two drives act as one and theoretically speeding the system up considerably. The problem with that is if one drive goes you lose all the data. And from my experience, I can barely tell the difference in speed, though I have yet to edit a video with this set up.

A hard copy on a disk (DVD or CD) is a pain in the butt, yet also, a no brainer - gotta get to work on that! With a disk you have a hard copy rather then a magnetic copy.

Another suggestion is to store your photos on a web site - they are protected, there is a minimum investment, and the files are off site. You can use RP to do so but you will only be saving lower resolution files.

/Mitch
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Old 06-04-2007, 10:56 PM   #9
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After my photos are uploaded here, I delete the photos off my hard drive to free up space...















Just kidding. I have a 150GB external called My Book or something (got it from Best Buy)...I need another one for off-site safe-keeping...
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Old 06-04-2007, 11:11 PM   #10
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Thanks for the information but many of you are neglecting to pass along what products you have with prices, etc...

Thanks,
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Old 06-05-2007, 12:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PLEzero
Thanks for the information but many of you are neglecting to pass along what products you have with prices, etc...

Thanks,
I have two Maxtor 500 GB triple-interface EHDs (USB 2.0/FW400/FW800):

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...GB_Triple.html

Same drive with only two interfaces (USB 2.0/FW400):

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...eWire_400.html

Same drive with only one interface (USB 2.0):

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...500GB_USB.html

You may think that 500GB is overkill, but not when shooting RAW, utilizing TIFF and converting to JPEG. These days storage is cheap, so buy as big as you can afford! Maxtor has 750GB and 1 TB drives as well!
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Old 06-05-2007, 12:32 AM   #12
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Here's my collection:
Maxtor 80 gig - love it.
WD My Book 250 gig - hate it, will avoid buying another. Cost around $100, think they're down to $85 or so now.
LaCie 500 gig - just bought today, seems ok. My gripe is they only include a 2' USB cable, way too short for most circumstances. Paid $140 @ BB
Like others, I keep photos on 1 external drive, 1 internal drive and DVD backups that are kept in a fire proof gun safe.
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Old 06-05-2007, 03:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Save The Wave
...kept in a fire proof gun safe.
Note to Screeners.
; )

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Old 06-05-2007, 05:43 PM   #14
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I use my laptop for my main RR photo storage (family and vacation photos get dumped my home desktop). I have a wireless home network with my desktop, laptop, and printer, so I regularly dump my laptop's photos to my desktop, and then burn them to DVD. I also just happened to catch a 60GB Western Digital PassPort portable hard drive on the sale table at Staples for 39.95, so I have that in my laptop case to dump photos to as well (insurance in case of laptop drive failure).

If I ever see them on the sale table again, I'm going to get two more. It is really compact and it works great!
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Old 06-07-2007, 07:50 AM   #15
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Here's my recommendation:
Hard drive: 320 GB Seagate drive - best cost per GB ratio http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822148139
External Enclosure: I have one and so does a friend, takes 30 seconds to install hard drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817121185
Backup utility: Microsoft SyncToy - This thing is easy as cake to use.
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/d...displaylang=en

Every 2-3 times I dump photos on my computer I plug in the External drive and let SyncToy copy the newer pictures over, that way I don't have to transfer everything at each backup and it still mirrors my photo collection.

Hope this helps!
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Old 06-07-2007, 02:17 PM   #16
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After my dad yelled at me due to the fact that my photos were taking up 20 GB of space on our hard drive, I realized I too needed an external hard drive.

I was going to go the internal to external route, but discovered that it would actually cost more than my price range to do this.

I ended up with a 160 GB external hard drive from Simple Tech, for $50 after rebate from Office Depot, but I think that was a sale.
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Old 06-20-2007, 04:53 AM   #17
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Just to add more useless commentary to this topic...

I recently (within the last couple of weeks) picked up a 500 GB Seagate drive and an external enclosure from newegg, and it was something like $150 delivered. I can attest to their level of service, I've purchased about six computers worth of parts from them and haven't ever had any problems.
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Old 06-20-2007, 05:17 AM   #18
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Default Hard drives

I started out with a Maxtor 120 GB ext drive, then expanded to additional 300 GB Ext drive total cost from Costco $250 dollars. I back up my photos on to DVD's stored in a Fire proof safe bolted to the floor in my closet and spaced a 1/4 inch apart. I back up my photos using PSE 4.0 roughly every 4-6 weeks. That's it.
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:34 PM   #19
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Default Backup drives

I use a pair of LaCie 250G convertable external HD's, plus burn DVDs (2), one copy for my fireproof box here at home and another for my desk at work of the stuff I shoot digital, which is everything since 2005.

And, since I scan slides and that eats up bunches of space in the external drive, I back those on my #2 LaCie just in case #1 goes kaput. That slide scanning takes a lot of time (and space) and I don't want to replicate the work twice. And I don't want to burn the huge TIFF scans to DVD.

I also picked up another portable external drive yesterday, 100g IIRC, for taking with me on the road to dump the CF cards into instead of hauling one of my external drives with me--those RAWs fill up the space I have in my somewhat ancient laptop (2004/5).

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Old 06-20-2007, 09:55 PM   #20
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Is having more storage the only benefit of using DVDs over regular CDs?
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Old 06-21-2007, 12:41 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
Is having more storage the only benefit of using DVDs over regular CDs?
The major benefit of DVD storage over CD is space, especially when you are shooting RAWs. .8gig CD v. 4.5gig for DVD
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Old 06-21-2007, 12:49 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mgoldman
Another suggestion is to store your photos on a web site - they are protected, there is a minimum investment, and the files are off site. You can use RP to do so but you will only be saving lower resolution files.

/Mitch
Mitch,

You hit on something that will be more commonplace in the future, IMO, that is remote storage via internet to offsite, secure databanks, a digital storage locker if you will. I think that there are already sites you can purchase 'storage' from, but I haven't explored that option. I know others who have.

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Old 06-21-2007, 05:58 AM   #23
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I decided to get a Maxtor external HD. Right now my work flow is uploading files to my computer HD then making a copy of them onto the external HD. After I have enough material for a DVD I then make a copy of it and store all of the discs together. I think in the future after each year I will delete a years worth of material off of my computer to keep free space on the internal HD of my computer, then make another DVD copy of what is being deleted. Over time this process will give me three copies of all my files. One copy on the external HD and two hard copies on DVD's which can be easily stored at other locations in case of a total disaster. It takes a bit of thinking, planning, and money but I am sure that one day I will be thankful I did it.
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Old 06-21-2007, 01:28 PM   #24
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i purchased a second internal hard drive. 250GB for $79 at microcenter.

at the same time, i installed "norton ghost" and use it to make a mirror image of my entire "C" drive (200 GB). it copies all applications and files to create an identical copy. i can use this second hard drive to rebuild the main hard drive if/when it fails - which it already did once, prompting this purchase.

all 18k+ digital photos are also burned onto dvd's that are stored in the safe deposit box at our bank.

please don't ask about twenty plus years worth of hard copy photo albums and negatives.

that's another story.

all i can say is, go digital and don't look back.
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Old 06-28-2007, 04:12 PM   #25
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I am hardly an expert on EHD's, since I got my first one yesterday. But in researching the possibilities, one of the things that was worrisome are the horror stories posted by people that have used them. Apparently a lot of EHD's fail rather quickly. This is just a guess on my part, but the competitiveness of the market suggests manufacturers are under a lot of pressure to reduce costs, and one way to do that is to reduce quality.

If you're using EHD's for backup and/or archival storage, seems to me that one of the key considerations is reliability, even if you have to pay extra for it. A failed backup is no backup.

I asked a friend who works for Apple about this, and he suggested that the G-technology EHD's have a reputation for reliability. They are a bit more expensive (I paid $199 plus tax for 250 gigs), but hopefully the extra cost did in fact get me reliability. We'll see. My plan is to get two of the machines and do identical backups on each.

As somebody else mentioned, scanning old slides is a very tedious process and you really don't want to have to do it twice, so my scans get the added backup of being burned to gold CD's.

Of course, all this is on my desk, with the slides in a nearby closet, so if the house burns down I'll be out of luck.

John

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