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Author Topic: Recommendations for a replacement external drive?  (Read 1172 times)
davidedric
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« on: November 11, 2013, 11:44:29 AM »
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Hi,

My eternal HD died.   Just like that.   One minute it was there, the next minute disappeared.   Neither my desk top, where it normally lives, or my laptop can see it.   (It was a WD "desk top" style device, and hadn't been moved at all for months)

Fortunately, it was a back-up drive, so I still have latest versions of the data, though I regret the loss of some incremental back-ups.   Even if I could somehow resurrect it, it has to be replaced, and there is nothing that I need that would cause me to spend spend an arm and a leg with a data recovery firm to get back.

So, any recommendations, please.   My in-box drives are a pair of 2Tb RAID 1 disks, and a 250Gb SSD.   Running Win 7 64bit.

Any suggestions gratefully received.   I haven't set a budget at the moment.    I feel suddenly nervous, so reliability is top of my criteria, since it's a back-up drive it doesn't need to be blazingly fast (it will be on a USB3 connection).

Thanks,

Dave
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DeanChriss
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2013, 12:12:03 PM »
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I've been using a pair of WD "My Book" external drives as backup media since they came out. These are available in sizes to 4TB. So far I've had no failures. Both are kept off site with backups made to each on an alternating basis. In other words, one drive contains the most recent backup and the other contains the one before that. Since these are connected to a computer and running only when a backup is being made, they should last a long time unless there's a defect or they get dropped. I have another backup drive that's always connected and online. It's mounted in a slide in/out rack and connected to the SATA bus like any internal drive. One can't be too safe.
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2013, 01:33:21 PM »
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First:  Chances are your issues are with the HD interface or the power supply.. which is good news.  If you disassemble the drive and remove the bare hard disk, you can probably drop it in a dock or an ESATA port and find your data is fine.

Second:  Consumer grade external drives are prone to failure.  Heat and unstable power are any electronic devices worst enemies.  Consumer grade externals have inexpensive marginal at best power supplies and they're more concerned with the smallest size or best design than about longevity.  I've owned a ton of them, had more than my fair share go bad, and the hard drive has always been okay when dropped in a dock with one exception.. that being my WD Live Media box.. the box is too small, it heats up higher than it should for longer than it should.  With that said I'd rate Western Digital as the best of the bunch with Lacie far far at the other end.

Suggestion:  Consider the future when thinking if storage and consider a more robust device designed for 24/7 operation with some useful features like FTP and cloud access.  Of these Synology is very hard to beat.  Keep a clear air channel around it on all sides and don't close it in a cabinet, and it will probably outlast your next 4-5 computers.  They come in all sizes and all RAID types (including their own which isn't the fastest, but it is very flexible and works with Mac's and PC together) from 2-18+ disks. 

You'll connect one of these directly to your router or router switch, a gigalan is highly recommended.  Every computer in the house can see and access the drive at speeds rivalling a fast internal HDD such as a Western Digital Black.  You'll be able to access it via wifi or a LAN cable, but the cable is faster (much).  You can also access away from your house via FTP or Cloud. 

These are remarkably easy to set-up and operate when you consider all they offer.  I've yet to crack the manual, everything is intuitive and easy.   

I have the 8 disk 1813+ model which is probably more than you want, but the same software runs all their units, even the 2 disk models.  You can populate them with every size HDD from 200gb (not sure why anyone would go that low) to 4tb drives.  I'd recommend the inexpensive but very appropriate and well warrantied Western Digital Red's..

Whatever you choose.   Good luck..
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tcphoto1
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2013, 03:37:31 PM »
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You have one external drive devoted to back up? My back up strategy consists of five G Technology drives with data copied in pairs, DVD's and another drive for Time Machine. I resisted the lower priced consumer drives and went with moderate priced pro products, imagine telling your clients that their images whether RAW files or edited images are no longer available. The best phrase I remember hearing was, it's not data unless it exists in multiple places.
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phcorrigan
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2013, 04:59:33 PM »
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There are currently only three hard disk manufacturers: Seagate, Western Digital and Toshiba, so no matter what brand name is on the case, one of those three brands of drives is inside. Nearly all, if not all, external drives use consumer-grade disks. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, since they are relatively inexpensive and, according to a study by Google, pretty much as reliable as enterprise-class disks.

Having said all that, external drives fail for many reasons, and all brands fail. I just had a Seagate portable drive fail at one and a half years. In this case the failure was the drive itself, but often it is the interface electronics in the case that fail.

If I were buying a new external drive, I would look at cost, capacity, interface, warranty, and the reputation of the vendor (if it is not one of the three disk manufacturers). Also, if the external unit is not branded by one of the three manufacturers you really don't know which company actually made the disk inside.

By the way, the warranty has nothing to do with the reliability of the drive, but it does allow you to get a replacement or your money back if the drive fails. This means you may want to look at the retailer's policy about warranty returns. I bought my drive from Costco and I was able to return it for a refund. Other retailers require you to deal directly with the manufacturer, which can often be a frustrating and time-consuming process.

I ended up replacing my failed Seagate portable with a Seagate 3 TB desktop unit. Interestingly, the warranty on the old drive was three years and the warranty on the new one is two years. As disk capacities increase the length of warranties seems to be decreasing.
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Patrick Corrigan
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2013, 06:21:48 PM »
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I have a two-bay drive dock from Startech.com. I plug hundred-dollar 2TB SATA drives in and out any time I want.  USB 3 is more than fast enough. 


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eskuvo
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« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2013, 09:34:50 PM »
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I have WDs. Keep in mind that all fail once.

Do you have PC or Mac? Try to mount on a mac if your pc doesn't recognize it. I have a 3TB drive which used to work on my pc. It disappeared the way you described. I was shocked. BUT it turns out that it runs on my mac. The windows machines still (I have two) can't recognize them.
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