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magerette May 11th, 2009 19:09

Buying an External Hard Drive
 
I'm finally getting around to shopping for an external hard drive for backing up my PC, and the number of different brands is staggering. The only name I'm familiar with is Seagate.
Here are the three I'm looking at:
Seagate 500GB
Iomega 500
LaCie500

Can anyone tell me what I should be looking for?

My system specs
P4 670 w Hyper Threading(3.8 Ghz, 800 FSB)
2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM @ 533MHz
nVidia GeForce 7900GTX(512 MB)

Rithrandil May 11th, 2009 20:09

I've always been partial to Western Digital, myself. I have a 2 terabyte MyBook (but it's pretty expensive). I don't know what the "best"/most reliable hard drive company is anymore but I've never had any problems with Western Digital products myself.

Prime Junta May 11th, 2009 20:41

If all you're looking for is a basic external drive to back up (or store) your data, it honestly doesn't matter — just pick one that fits your budget and isn't so dog-ugly you can't stand to look at it. They're all relatively fast, relatively quiet, and highly reliable nowadays. Don't go for the cheapest, junkiest enclosure you can find, though — they can be a real PITA.

If you have specialized needs like streaming video or automated backup, there are differences, of course, but that's a whole another story.

magerette May 11th, 2009 22:45

Thanks, guys. No, I have no special needs—(at least that can be addressed through an extra hard drive)—it's just for basic back up. I'll be buying this online thanks to a dell giftcard, so I'm leaning toward the first one on my list above, the Seagate. AFA I can tell, the case looks generically okay.

HiddenX May 11th, 2009 23:33

Tom's hardware has some reviews:

Seagate 500

hishadow May 11th, 2009 23:54

I really like the Western Digital My Passport series. It's powered through the USB cabel and fits in your pocket.

Lucky Day May 12th, 2009 00:40

Seagate has gone back and forth over the decades from being the best to the worst to the best and back again. I'm not sure where they stand these days.

If you want compatibility you'll want a USB 2.0 but if you want speed and won't be moving it around a whole lot you can get external an SATA drive your machine has the port.

Are you going to use this as mainly a backup or are you lugging a lot of files around to different computers and swapping a lot - say trading movies and songs and such?

A lot of the guys at the University have taken to smaller USB HD's that don't require an external power source because they are a lot more portable and they don't necessarily need space in terms of terabytes.

I'd kind of wish I went that route but the gb's per $ always strike me when I go to buy and I'm not going to be hanging around the University's labs much longer.

magerette May 12th, 2009 05:19

It's just to back up my personal files at the house, Lucky. No music, no movies, no need for portability. There certainly is a vast array of these animals around in all shapes and sizes, which is why I asked for a little guidance. The Seagate above has some good reviews(thnx HiddenX), so hopefully they've moved back into the good column. There's also a Western Digital in my price range that's a possible.

Gorath May 13th, 2009 14:07

Generally speaking it doesn't matter which drive you choose. I would suggest to read a couple of reviews on Amazon for the exact drive you want to purchase though.

A couple of random thoughts:
- 2.5" drives have an internal power supply but are more expensive
- 3.5" … (small) external …. inexpensive
- interfaces: USB 2.0, e-SATA or firewire
+ every cheap drive has USB. Reliable, reasonably fast, nothing to complain. USB is a bottleneck, but the handling is foolproof.
+ e-SATA is the internal hard disk interface pushed through an external connector. Drives are more expensive but also faster.
+ firewire an older and fast standard. I know nothing about it.
- The differences are only interface and connector. The actual drives are the same.

A cheap USB drive should be enough. Maybe a 1 TB drive for ca. 80$. Smaller drives are probably relatively more expensive.

Pladio May 13th, 2009 17:31

Quote:

Originally Posted by magerette (Post 1060948214)
It's just to back up my personal files at the house, Lucky. No music, no movies, no need for portability. There certainly is a vast array of these animals around in all shapes and sizes, which is why I asked for a little guidance. The Seagate above has some good reviews(thnx HiddenX), so hopefully they've moved back into the good column. There's also a Western Digital in my price range that's a possible.

If it's just some files, then I'd even recommend a USB Flash drive if that can handle what you have. Since you say you have no music, videos et al… you shouldn't have too much need for capacity.

How much storage do you need?

shaf May 13th, 2009 17:35

I Don't use External HDD enclosures any longer unless I'm traveling with my Laptop, for my Desktop I use a NexStar Hard Drive Dock which allows me to plug in any 2.5" or 3.5" HDD up to 1GB Capacity. It can connect to the Computer via. either an External SATA or USB Cable.

It's a little more work but in the long run actially saves you money if you have multiple HDDs like I do.

Shaf

magerette May 13th, 2009 18:38

Thanks for all the insight, everyone, especially Gorath for the USB/eSATA comparison. I was wondering about that.
@Pladio: No music, but lots of save games ;) My computer techie guy recommended 500MB worth of storage.

Pladio May 13th, 2009 19:16

Oh, then listen to what the other people said :D


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