Better safe than sorry
December 30, 2008 7:37 AM   Subscribe

My four year old desktop has started crashing on a semi regular basis and now I belatedly want to start backing up the things I have on it... help me choose an external hard drive

This is mostly four years' worth of pix and music... I would like to spend less than $100... any and all suggestions welcome, someone told me to find one below 500 GB but a rudimentary internet search didn't show me many smaller ones.
posted by chickaboo to Technology (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
External drives usually run at least $10-20 more than equivalent internal drives. This kind of makes sense, as the enclosure has to cost something.

A Pricewatch search yields a number of drives in the 500GB/$100 range for external storage. Same for 320GB. But as both tend to rise fairly rapidly towards the $150 range, this suggests to me that the actual going rate is closer to $150 than $100; you can always find crap for sale for less than the good stuff.

It's kind of a pain in the neck, but you can get 200 blank DVDs for $50. That's almost 1TB of storage.

I don't know anything about your system, but you might consider reformatting your system partition and starting again. Yeah, that does mean you need to back everything up, but a quick reformat might get your old compy working like new again. On the other hand, you could have an electronic component slowly failing that no amount of software refreshing will fix. Worth a shot though.
posted by valkyryn at 7:54 AM on December 30, 2008

I don't know exactly how much space you need, but here are a couple external drives less than $100 (and less than 500GB)

Western Digital My Passport Essential WDMER1600TN 160GB - $72
Transcend StoreJet TS160GSJ25B-S 160GB - $62

They're both 5400RPM hard drives, so they'll be a bit slow, but as long as you're not in a rush, either one will work fine.
posted by DanW at 7:55 AM on December 30, 2008

I bought this hard drive for eighty bucks in September. Maybe it's crappy. I don't know. I do know that it's worked perfectly for transferring the data from my mother's computer, to my old one, and from my computer, to a new one. It was relatively fast at transferring a twenty gig music collection, and has happily cooperated between windows and linux.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:07 AM on December 30, 2008

If you are willing to order online and wait a few days for it to show up, you should be able to get a name brand (western digital, seagate, maxtor) drive in the 500-750GB range for under $100.

I wouldn't try to go much smaller than 500 or so, because the cost of the parts starts becoming a dominant part of the price. Besides, you'll find a way to use it in the future (like keeping multiple backups, for example).
posted by Good Brain at 12:49 PM on December 30, 2008

Not the prettiest thing in the world, but this: WD Elements 640GB External for $90 and free shipping
posted by deezil at 7:14 PM on December 30, 2008

Holy cats. I am, right now, using the same Iomega drive that PhoBWanKenobi links to take all of my music and photos off my old laptop. It seems great to me so far...but, admittedly I just opened it and plugged it in--which has been completely without issues. It got good customer reviews on Amazon, I believe.
posted by fieldtrip at 10:07 PM on December 30, 2008

I agree with the person who said getting a Western Digital Passport. I recently got a 320gb version just for essential backups (photos and music) and it is especially useful since I have a notebook since the hard drive itself is in 2.5" form factor.

I particularly like it because it does not require a power brick, so it's very portable (which I don't really take advantage of), but I highlight this feature because it is a low-power-consuming option as the disk spins at 5400 rpm and can be powered solely by the USB drive. You can get my model drive and a neoprene or hard protective case for just under $100 at Amazon.
posted by steampowered at 6:05 PM on January 14, 2009

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