I need an external HD for use with a Powerbook.
October 23, 2004 4:23 PM   Subscribe

External hard drives.... I have a 160gb Lacie, which works great. (I'm on a Powerbook, btw.) However, it's nearing full of MP3s and I'm not done archiving all my stuff. Should I a) buy another 160 or b) buy a 300gb and sell the 160? {more}


1. am I a fool to keep all my music on a single hard drive (which I never back up)?

2. is iTunes able to get music off of 2 diff drives simultaneously?

3. for the next drive: should I stay with Lacie or am I just paying for the name? Who makes the best external firewire drive for speed:price? I couldn't care less what it looks like.
posted by dobbs to Shopping (11 answers total)
I'll buy the 160 from you, dobbs.

I personally feel more comfortable with more than one external drive tho, just in case. As for Itunes, i thought it kept everything together on the harddrive in a library, no?
posted by amberglow at 4:49 PM on October 23, 2004

You can have your iTunes music in multiple places. If you turn off the 'Copy files when adding to library' (or however it's worded) option, then it leaves the songs wherever they were. If you move a song out once it's already imported, I think it will ask you if you want to locate it. But if you wanted to move lots of songs out conveniently you'd probably have to re-import.

I'm not too familiar with Lacie, but they must just have the usual Western Digital/Maxtor/Seagate/etc. hard drives inside their boxes. Probably the cheapest way to go is to buy an internal drive (find a good deal with a rebate, etc.), buy the Firewire (or USB 2.0 if you can use that) enclosure separately, and put it together yourself.

As far as the backup question: how bad would you feel if you lost everything on the drive? I might consider getting a 300 gig and keeping the 160 gig as backup.
posted by mcguirk at 5:06 PM on October 23, 2004

1. am I a fool to keep all my music on a single hard drive (which I never back up)?

It is foolish to keep one copy of any important data. What you have to do is decide if this qualifies, and if so, develop a backup strategy and the habits to follow it.
posted by namespan at 5:45 PM on October 23, 2004

I second the foolishness sentiment. I've lost two music libraries due to a) hard drive crash and b) forgetful drive management (formatted the drive in a moment of inattention).

I personally prefer to keep a backup on nonvolatile media, though; DVD-R or something. Someone recently recommended that I buy a big bare drive and swap the drives out as a means if handling these huge amounts of data we're trying to wrangle these days, but I just resist spending 250 to 300 on an archive. Still, burning upwards of 25-30 DVDs is obviously a giant PITA.


It's the black days of backup woes me boyo; no-one yet alive's seen the like and it's bound to get worserer afore t'e dawn, I tells yer.
posted by mwhybark at 6:31 PM on October 23, 2004

I'd prefer to keep everything on one volume. You might be able to get a 2nd identical drive and turn them into a RAID 0 to effectively create one big volume (you can do this in Disk Utility), but the cheapest route would probably be to buy a bare mechanism, crack open your enclosure, and install it in there (goodbye, warranty). Of course, you've got to get the existing stuff off the old mechanism, so you'd need to borrow a friend's HD (or buy and return one) as a waystation for that purpose.

If you let iTunes organize your music, I'm pretty sure you need to keep everything on one volume, although I've seen playlist-switching tricks (which sounds like a day-to-day PITA).

If you've got all the CDs, you've got a backup, just not a very accessible one. Burning DVD-Rs of everything is the route I'd go to create a better backup; in a year or two, we'll have blu-ray and be able to burn 23 GB discs, or something in that ballpark.
posted by adamrice at 8:37 PM on October 23, 2004

Buy a new drive & keep the old drive as backup. Skip DVDs and the like -- they're a giant pain in the ass (IMHO), and disproportionately expensive. It's easier to just buy more hard drives, copy stuff to 'em, unplug them & stick 'em on a shelf. Pretty painless.
posted by aramaic at 10:45 PM on October 23, 2004

"You might be able to get a 2nd identical drive and turn them into a RAID 0 to effectively create one big volume"

I would not suggest this. In the event of the death of one drive, you'll lose the data on both, and that's double the work to restore from backup -- assuming your backups are complete. Hard drives die, it's a fact of life. While I've got a couple that have been spinning continuously for six or seven years, I've had more than one croak well within the first. Plan appropriately for this.
posted by majick at 7:39 AM on October 24, 2004

I was in the same position and decided to keep the 160 as a backup and upgrade to 250 GB. I'd recommend getting an enclosure and internal drives rather than the much more expensive external ones. I paid about $80 for 250 GB.
posted by muckster at 9:33 AM on October 24, 2004

Thanks, all for the info.

Muckster, where'd you get that drive for so cheap?

I realize that I actually have a firewire enclosure (ide inside) that I'd forgotten about!
posted by dobbs at 3:35 PM on October 24, 2004

I subscribed to a deal alert for hard drives at dealnews.com and pounced when it showed that price for a Western Digital from outpost.com.
posted by muckster at 5:12 PM on October 24, 2004

Advertising you have 160 GB of MP3s is probably not a great idea unless you are a radio station (that's about 2,000 albums... LOL!)

Just saying... :-)
posted by shepd at 2:47 AM on October 25, 2004

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