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external hard drive recommendations

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Electromen, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. I was thinking about buying an external hard drive, 200gb or more, to copy files as a backup. I want to use it to copy files from my notebook, desktop, and mother-in-laws desktop (she never backs up her photos). The notebook does not not have firewire, so USB 2 is needed.

    Any recommendations on maufacturer or where to buy in US?
    I want something large, reliable and fast.
  2. general


    Apr 30, 2005

    I usually buy Maxtor external hard drives. They have software to automate the back up. I also have bought "raw" Western Digital drives and an external case and assembled them myself. Maxtor is easy.
  3. If you want reliability ............. go under 100 GB.

    YMMV with large drives!

  4. Fortress external hard drives are reliable, but a tad expensive. The drive itself is inside a casing that is protects the drive when dropped or bumped. According to Fortress ads, you can drop a Fortress from 6 feet above a cement driveway (for example), and it will not lose any data. I have one I use for travel since it won't hurt it to get a bit banged around in packs or luggage. I think you can get 80 or 100GB size. website: www.4tress.com
  5. Well, if I were you I would make backups of your backups.. i.e. burn a DVD of your images and have them on the external hard drive.

    What I would do to save a few dollars would be get a decent external drive case and then buy a drive itself and put together...
    The cases usually cost around $40 and the bare drive depending on size you require can be quite cheaper than the retail kits. Plus you can get a longer warranty period with the OEM drives...

    I bought a 320GB drive recently for $124 and the case was $40.

    I have a setup for this to keep the external drive cool by having a fan blowing on it while in the case... If you are interested I can dig it up somewhere...

  6. general


    Apr 30, 2005

    There are cases available that have a fan built in to keep the drive cool. They are made by Belkin.
  7. I use external drives for all my backups, one 250GB specifically for my pics. I use Karen's Replicator program for backing up in the middle of the night. There is confirmation of what has been backed up. I do not trust the software included with the external drive. DO NOT put the hard drives on their side, even though they supply some little stand for it. This will eventually burn your drive out (Compaq tech admitted this years ago). Drives are meant to spin flat - this is the best way they work.
    I love the fact that I can drag my external around when going away and shooting lots of pics. I also do a separate backup on DVD and store these offsite.
  8. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    You can buy an enclosure that accepts any regular hard drive and uses it to make an external USB 2.0 drive. I have the Cintre X II Gear, which goes up to 400GB.


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  9. Wow, Thanks for all the great info. I do copy files to DVD and store them at a friends house I didn't know about the cases and building one, I think I'll give that a try.
    Thanks greg
  10. I have built several of these myself, works great and the price is right.

    There are cases that will have both Firewire and USB 2.0 at the same time, some will even have Ethernet... I have felt no speed difference between the two USB 2 is fine.

    Minor point: Don't to forget to make sure jumper on the drive is set to Cable select (usually default) or Slave
  11. I just bought two external 3.5" Seagate push button backup 300GB drives, they are the best I've used and I buy a lot of external drives for different projects at work.

    The enclosure types mentioned above are good too, but I think they are a little flimsy - if you go this route make sure the enclosure has a built in fan.
  12. Tosh


    May 6, 2005
    I bought a La Cie 80gb external hard drive to duplicate most of my PC's hard drive. I liked it, so I bought a La Cie 250gb external hard drive for additional backup. I use Karen's Replicator as software for backing up. I leave the hard drives unplugged until they're needed. I'm very far behind on my CD backups, but hope to remedy that as the winter weather drives me indoors.

  13. I have two Seagate 300gb 9y7685-500 external drives. I can't find the "model name" but they are squarish, about two inches high and stackable. They take USB 2.0 and have two Firewire connections so you can piggyback them.

    Here's the link with prices.


    I like it particularly because it has the highly rated 300gb drive in it with 8mb cache. It runs very cool and has air vents all over it. I take it to work regularly in my briefcase and it has survived well.

    Whatever you don't scrimp on the drive. The Compusa/Best Buy/Circuit City leaders from Maxtor and Western Digital are poorly manufactured. Basically you get what you pay for.

    For backing up I use Acronis' backup software.

  14. Like Rich I have a 300gb Seagate and it works great.
  15. This is the type of setup that I currently use. I have tried many different
    types and this setup works the best for me. The cheaper cases and cheaper
    cooling systems just do not cut it, I want reliability.

    The drive enclosures I use are USB 2.0, they make the same thing in Firewire and they make a combo case that has both. The case will accept a normal hard drive or a 5.25 form factor drive like a cd drive or dvd drive, this is the reason I use this case. Here is a link to it:

    Now when I want to insert a drive, I buy one of the heat sink/fan kits
    shown in this picture below:

    The drive is mounted in the frame and the heat sink is held by spring
    pressure against the top of the drive, the fans are in front and they blow
    across the heat sink and it's tubes and across the drive and they are quite
    quiet. This turns the drive into the same size as a cd drive. You then
    insert this into the case, I leave the front panel off to let in more air.

    Using this system the drives will stay at the ambient room temperature, I
    have never had a drive overheat using this setup. There are some other
    coolers made by this same company but this one is the best, here is the
    cooler page:

    My current system that is running as I type has 1 internal hard drive, a
    dvd recorder, and also has a very good cooling system, the
    box is made by Antec, and it has temperature monitoring and fan speed
    controls, even in the middle of summer the cpu stays cool. The case has 7
    fans inside of it, 2 blowing on the drives to keep them cool. Externally I
    am running 2 drives in the cases mentioned above.

    The best thing you can do is to keep them cool, they will last much, much

    I buy the cases and fan setups at Fry's Electronics over here in California mostly, when they have sales, or
    whenever I can find a good deal on drives.

    If not there are places online that give GREAT deals as well!!

    Eric THe Desert Rat
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2006
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