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Default Buying an External Hard Drive

May 11th, 2009, 19:09
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)

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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.
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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.
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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.

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May 11th, 2009, 23:33
Tom's hardware has some reviews:

Seagate 500

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.
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May 13th, 2009, 17:31
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
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?
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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.

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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.

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May 13th, 2009, 19:16
Oh, then listen to what the other people said
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