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Author Topic: Looking for a tough portable HD  (Read 5944 times)
macgyver
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« on: July 26, 2008, 11:15:47 AM »
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I'm looking to buy a tough ("rugged" in marketing speak) portable external HD and wanted to hear what people thought.

My leading candidate would be the La Cie Rugged HD series, although I've also looked at Western Digital portables as well as Firelites.  I want something bus-powered for sure.

My specific question would be this: would a LaCie Rugged (or whatever) be able to stand up to being thrown, unceremoniously, in a computer bag or backpack and trucked around say 3 or 4 days a week and still be reliable? I'd use this drive mainly as: A. A primary storage spot when out shooting, as to not fill up my laptop's boot disk; and B. to shuttle files back and forth between work and home.  I'm not saying I'll treat the thing badly, just use it and move it lots.

So, that being said, any thoughts or recommendations?

Thanks in advance,

Mac
« Last Edit: July 26, 2008, 11:25:38 AM by macgyver » Logged
andyptak
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2008, 05:30:32 PM »
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I have both of the units you are considering and they have both served me well for over a year.I  actually prefer the WD Passport because it's so much smaller and I can put it in my shirt pocket rather than in my bag, like the Lacie.
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David Sutton
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2008, 09:15:45 PM »
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I've used several brands that are in and out of my laptop bag all day, and they all are rugged enough and continue to work. I now stick to WD passport. They have a good reputation and as the previous post said, will go in a shirt pocket.
Cheers, David
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mbalensiefer
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« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2008, 04:22:54 AM »
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If you are trying to backup smaller files from your portable notebook computer to another drive, then you may want to look at getting a 2.5" SSD drive (mounted in a WD Passport case or the like, powered via USB). 32 or 64 Gigs is getting cheaper every day.
"Tough" is more an issue of the actual drive itself than is it an issue of the drive's bay.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2008, 04:29:00 AM by mbalensiefer » Logged
BJNY
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« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2008, 09:56:53 AM »
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SSD is ideal except for cost & capacity.

Otherwise, these LaCie units couldn't look tougher [to me]:
http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?pid=11038
Bulkier, however.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2008, 10:14:31 AM by BJNY » Logged

Guillermo
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« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2008, 10:27:24 AM »
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LaCie's are, for lack of a better term, shit. They are not the least bit "rugged" and are way overpriced. However for the same price you could get a wiebetech "toughtech-mini" that would be much more dependable than a LaCie Drive any day. You could also just buy and enclosure and put your favorite brand of 2.5" drive in it. I'd avoid the SSD's. The capacity is just not there yet. And after a while the price will go down anyway.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2008, 10:28:55 AM by ericisaac » Logged

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nemophoto
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« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2008, 10:37:27 AM »
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Honestly, "tough" and "HDD" are a bit of an oximoron. Anything with moveable parts is subject to problems with excessive rough treatment. That said, I have about ten assorted portable (pocket) hard drives, and all have stood up without problem on various location shoots, lugged around in a computer backpack bag. One of my favorites from both a cost and reliability standppoint is Pexagon. They make all their drives using Hitachi drives. I have everything from 60GB to 250GB. The only drives I've used where I experienced problems were Iomega and LaCie hard drives (newer versions, not the older ones). What i like about the Pexagon Tech drives is that they are aluminum cases, not plastic, which is what some of my WD drives are, was well as the LaCIE and Iomega.
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DavidB
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« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2008, 04:16:19 PM »
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The Lacie Ruggeds have always seemed impressive in terms of physical construction, but I haven't yet invested in those.  I have a large collection of drives in various 3rd-party cases: some USB-only, some USB+FW400 (with dual FW ports for daisychaining).
For most of last year I had one or two drives rocking around in my satchel, and they were fine.  I did put them in the zip-up neoprene sleeves that are around for such things (the WD Passports seem to come with reasonably thick versions, but they don't fit some of the beefier combo-interface units: I got some other sleeves from somewhere).

I have had one failure, which was a few months ago as I was getting out of my car on a dark night with my satchel in hand.  I heard a nasty "crunch": the drive in its sleeve had fallen less than a metre onto the road, and it didn't bounce in a good way...  The drive was in an aluminium case, and the plastic mounts at the end of case were cracked (I had to tape it together) but when I got inside I hurriedly tested it and managed to copy the entire contents to another drive.  It was a good thing, as I had ~20GB of new files on there...
The drive started failing two days later, but I was expecting that so didn't lose anything.  It was a reminder that I need to backup each drive before travelling!  Of course the backup drives are carried separately...

Today I tend to carry the drives in these:
Case Logic Compact Portable Hard Drive Case with Hard Exterior
Oops, Adorama's down: try the Case Logic page.
There's an elastic strap that holds the drive in one side, and a pocket on the other side for a small cable.  Unfortunately a drive as thin as a WD Passport won't be held very securely in the strap, but I put two thin drives in each case and it seems very robust so far.  I'm not planning to do any destructive testing though...
The cases are also a convenient size for carrying portable backup drives such as Nexto units.


No one's mentioned the Fortress drives.  Does no one use them?  Moose Petersen seems to love them, and the sales pitch certainly sounds impressive.  But the price premium (and the max 160GB) has kept me away for now.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2008, 04:25:46 PM by DavidB » Logged

DarkPenguin
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« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2008, 04:39:03 PM »
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Whatever you get just make sure it uses a laptop drive.  Desktop drives are not designed for the beating that laptop drives are designed for.
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terence_patrick
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« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2008, 04:57:38 PM »
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Quote
No one's mentioned the Fortress drives.  Does no one use them?  Moose Petersen seems to love them, and the sales pitch certainly sounds impressive.  But the price premium (and the max 160GB) has kept me away for now.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=211234\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The prices for the Fortress drives are outrageous. One would be better off buying a small Pelican case with four or five hard drives protected by anti-static foam cutouts for the same amount of money.
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feppe
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« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2008, 05:27:34 PM »
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Quote
Whatever you get just make sure it uses a laptop drive.  Desktop drives are not designed for the beating that laptop drives are designed for.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=211238\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That's pretty much all there is to it. All laptop drives from reputable manufacturers (ie. not Lacie) will work just fine in everyday use. The moving parts -argument is moot since the drives park themselves when not in use, making moving parts static. Some modern laptop drives even have a accelerometer so it parks itself when it's dropped.

So, it boils down to the enclosure. Simpler the better. I use HyperDrive SPACE and am getting a second one to have dual backups on the road. I'm sure there are other good ones.
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andyptak
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« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2008, 07:10:59 AM »
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I love my Hyperdrive, mine's 250gig. When I'm on the road, I copy to Hyperdrive first and then either WD Passport or Lacie Rugged for back-up. The Lacie really isn't "rugged", it has rubber around the rim but the face of the thing is still exposed to knocks and damage. The rubber makes the case bigger so it has to go in my bag. The Hyperdrive and Passport are small enough to fit in my pocket - where they are a lot safer than in my bag.

I've had the Lacie and the WD for a little over a year and they're fine, but in the last month I've had hard drive crashes from my 1TB WD and 2TB Lacie, both of which were less than a year old - I now use Seagate.
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stever
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« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2008, 09:53:40 AM »
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i've been using a hyperdive and Lacie, but the Lacie started getting flaky on my last trip (may be result of a fall) - replacing it with a WD passport
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macgyver
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« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2008, 02:54:17 PM »
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I think you all have talked me out of the lacie's, although they are still the only ones I've seen with FW 800 in a portable unit.

My leading contenders are the WD passports and the Seagate Free Agent Go. I've heard consistently good things about seagate drives.

One question for someone, on the passports if I use it on my laptop (older powerbook) will it take up one or two usb ports?
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macgyver
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« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2008, 02:55:26 PM »
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I think you all have talked me out of the lacie's, although they are still the only ones I've seen with FW 800 in a portable unit.

My leading contenders are the WD passports and the Seagate Free Agent Go. I've heard consistently good things about seagate drives.

One question for someone, on the passports if I use it on my laptop (older powerbook) will it take up one or two usb ports?
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2008, 03:50:13 PM »
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LaCie doesn't make the actual hard drives in their enclosures.  If you pop it open, who are they using?
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andyptak
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« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2008, 04:27:46 PM »
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My Passport only needs 1 USB port, but perhaps that more to do with the amount of juice the Laptop is providing to the port than anything else?
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ericisaac
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« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2008, 05:27:37 PM »
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I think you all have talked me out of the lacie's, although they are still the only ones I've seen with FW 800 in a portable unit.

[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Uh...wiebetech!

[a href=\"http://www.wiebetech.com/products/toughtech_mini.php#productspecs]http://www.wiebetech.com/products/toughtec...hp#productspecs[/url]
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eric isaac, tech blogger
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lbalbinot
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« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2008, 07:27:45 PM »
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Take a look at Iomega eGo Camo, it's light and has a decent protection. Very portable.
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Luis F Balbinot
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