External Hard Drives

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by memento, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. memento

    memento No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As with anything else, there's seven hundred million different types of external hard drives. I'm just looking for something to store photo's on. I "searched" for info on which one is better than the other and didn't come up with much. I was hoping to get some opinions on what brand, or model in particular, is best.
     
  2. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    +1 on Western Digital My Book drives. Mine are connected to a PC.
     
  4. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  5. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    There is no one "best choice". Everyone's situation is different.

    I currently manage two systems. My personal home system involves three primary computers (my one Windows box, my wife's Mac, and her MacBook which runs both MacOS and Windows), one NAS drive (Network Attached Storage, ours is small and "antique"), two natively networked printers, three network shared printers. My PC box has two external FireWire400 LaCie drives. The LaCies have worked flawlessly, though they have only be in service for about 2 1/2 years.

    The other system I manage is at the small sign shop where I work. Its a networked system with 3 PCs, 2 network printers, 2 network shared plotter/cutters, and a two drive NAS system. The primary NAS is a 1tb Western Digital MyBook World Edition, and the secondary is an older WD MyBook USB2.0 drive attached to the MyBook World Edition. The second drive is used to store a second copy of our job files, fonts, and other data files.

    NAS drives (Ethernet connection) aren't the fastest approach, but allow files to be seen by any PC on the network without having some host machine running. If you have more than one PC, an NAS makes a good choice for archiving large numbers of files. We rely on this at work since it allows any one machine to access the file archive even if another workstation is out of service.

    Drives directly contected to you computer, USB or Firewire, offer faster performance than an Ethernet connect NAS drive. USB 2.0 offers very good speed for either reading or writing files. Firewire 400 is about the same speed for simple reads or writes. When operations like copying to another folder on the same drive or second drive attached to the same host controller, Firewire 400 can be substantially faster than USB 2.0. Firewire 800 has the same simultaneous reand and write advantage of FW400 and has even greater speed, at least when the actual hard drive has the needed transfer rate.

    If you only have on PC and just want to store lots of files on the second drive, USB 2.0 is fine. LaCie and Western Digital have proven reliable for me over the years. If you are looking to use the second drive to store the swap file for Photoshop, something that can improve PS's performance, I recommend you go with Firewire or the newer eSATA drives. You may have to add an appropriate controller to your PC to add the necessary Firewire or eSATA port.
     
  6. CxThree

    CxThree TPF Noob!

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    Just do yourself a favor and get a good quality name brand drive. Look at warranties. Some are 1 year, some are 3, and some will be 5. Go with something the manufacturer is willing to stand behoind for a while. Personally, i only get Western Digital and Seagate. The cheaper brands scare me.
     
  7. astrostu

    astrostu I shoot for the stars

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    LaCie used to be my preferred. Western Digital "MyBook" models are now the standard.
     
  8. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    I use a Drobo. It makes life incredibly simple, in terms of having redundancy. Pretty darn fast too. :) (Given that I'm using IEEE 800 and the Drobo only uses eSATA drives.)
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I used to make my own with generic enclosures but I have found you do get what you pay for. I opened a WD 2.5" external HDD recently, it's larger than the one I made myself. Inside was fantastic rubber supports for the drive if it is dropped, and a direct USB interface. One less thing to go wrong which is good.

    As to the interface read below.

    Firewire 800 maybe faster but is depreciated. Ok not really but you need to actively search for devices which support it and it's getting worse. It's biggest backer (Apple) have stopped shipping new devices with firewire. Yes it is a bit faster, but it's not the fastest and I do think that this will be the next interface to suffer obsolescence.

    USB 2.0 Ok it's slower than firewire but it's staying. What may replace it (USB 3.0) is 100% backwards compatible with USB 2.0 so not only is it definitely here to stay now, but it looks like USB is going to become even more of the set standard for plugging anything at all into your computer. If you're worried about speed maybe you should consider looking at other software. If you're copying your entire library everytime you do a backup it'll be painfully slow. But if you use archiving software that just updates the new files without reading every single one then the difference may only be a few GB which gets transferred in the time it takes to make a proper cup of coffee.

    eSATA. This is an interesting one. My laptop supports eSATA, my desktop has a USB to eSATA converter and I have an eSATA HDD caddy. On my desktop the eSATA drive is no faster than my USB drive, but on my laptop it sustains 50MB/s which is essentially the limit of the connected drive. If you have a device which supports eSATA I highly suggest you look at an eSATA drive.

    NAS is another winner for me. There are a few devices now which come with Ethernet ports right out of the box. Plug it in to the network and not only your computer but any other computer can write to it. This makes it very convenient. Speeds will top 100Mb/s which equates roughly to 10-12MB/s depending on network overhead.
     
  10. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    My MBP is the newest 17" MBP on the market. If you check the Apple Store you will find that firewire 800 is very alive and well.

    Here are the ports for the new Mac Pro.

    • Four FireWire 800 ports (two on front panel, two on back panel)
    • Five USB 2.0 ports (two on front panel, three on back panel)
    • Two USB 2.0 ports on included keyboard
    • Front-panel headphone minijack and internal speaker
    • Optical digital audio input and output TOSLINK ports
    • Analog stereo line-level input and output minijacks
    The iMac has one FireWire 800

    Firewire 800 is far from dead in the Apple lineup.
     
  11. smyth

    smyth TPF Noob!

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  12. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    And then you drop it and all the data is lost :lmao:
     

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