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External Hard Drive Recommendations
August 12, 2004 1:31 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for an external hard drive that I will use to backup my personal computer. What should I buy? [more inside].

I've never purchased an external hard drive before, so I'm not entirely sure what to look for. Since it's for backup purposes, I assume that speed is not that much of a factor? On the other hand, I might be backing up a lot of information (~50 GB per backup, done once a month); as a practical matter, should I try to find a faster drive to reduce the backup time? Similarly, reliability is obviously pretty important; are some brands manufactured better than others?

Any other advice, including recommendations on specific models, would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
posted by gd779 to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
 
I did exactly what trharlan suggests here, and have thus far been quite pleased.
posted by mookieproof at 1:40 PM on August 12, 2004


You can do fairly well by purchasing an empty enclosure and a drive to put in it. You'll do reasonably well with just about any variety of drive, but I myself would steer quite clear of using Western Digital drives to store important information because of the high failure rate.

Storage Review tends to concentrate a little much on performance, but there's a wealth of excellent information about nearly every model of hard drive out there. PriceWatch will give you an idea of what you should expect to pay.
posted by majick at 1:47 PM on August 12, 2004 [1 favorite]


I just bought an ACOM 80gb USB2 external drive and I'm quite happy with it, so far. It was $139.99 USD at Fry's, before a $20 rebate. I've had it for about 2 weeks now.

I also looked at buying a USB2 drive enclosure and drive seperately, but it was about $20-40 dollars more expensive, and I couldn't be sure the enclosure and drive worked together anyway.

The drive is fast enough to stream super high bitrate movies, and even fast enough for me to stream multiple high-VBR mp3s to Traktor DJ Studio for real-time playback.

Though, 2 weeks is hardly a testament of reliability. However, I've seen this ACOM USB drives in service at at least one media company, and it's been going strong for a few years.

External drives kick butt. Just the thing for taking to a friend's house and grabbing a bunch of their media, or vice versa.
posted by loquacious at 2:02 PM on August 12, 2004


Compusa has a sale on LaCie external 160s with USB2. They're going for $130.
posted by bshort at 2:16 PM on August 12, 2004


I just got a 200gig firewire one for 200 bucks. I love it.
posted by amberglow at 3:10 PM on August 12, 2004


Are there any external harddrive enclosures on the market that aren't rediculously ugly? I went to Fry's recently and none of them looked good to me. I'm willing to pay a premium for something that would match my Mac, e.g. clean lines, and either aluminum or white plastic like the iPod. The one that Amberglow's linked to is the best I've seen so far but I'm looking for other possibilities.
posted by gyc at 4:08 PM on August 12, 2004


There are a ton of them at newegg.com. Just search for "enclosure". They all list the size of drive they take (standard PC drive is 3.5").
posted by Caviar at 5:28 PM on August 12, 2004


Oh, and then you'll probably want to narrow the search to "firewire".
posted by Caviar at 5:30 PM on August 12, 2004


Very nice, I was just looking into this myself, and it looks like this has been discussed before here, and here.
posted by apathy0o0 at 7:50 PM on August 12, 2004


LaCie has attractive enclosures, but they don't sell them separate from the drives.
posted by sad_otter at 7:53 AM on August 13, 2004


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