External Hard Drive

vbimport

#1

I’m wanting a 3TB, USB 3.0, external drive with a 3 year warranty for backing up images of my computer and I was wondering what you guys thought of these drives like which was better or suggest something else for around $120-$140… I wouldn’t be running it all the time maybe once a month for an image. I do already own a Fandom 1TB and I’ve had no problems with it and while the Toshiba below is the cheapest I’ve read their support isn’t very good. In no particular order:

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Toshiba+-+Canvio+3TB+External+USB+3.0+Hard+Drive+-+Black/6914041.p?id=1218813788932&skuId=6914041


#2

A lot of those Fantoms were using refurbed drives, so I would not tend to get those. I have read a lot of horror stories about people with Fantom drives having no problems and then 6months-year later, poof, no more HD.

I’ve used the USB 3.0 3Tb WDigital externals and had no problems. But others have. Similarly there’s the pro- and anti- Seagate contigent that will tell you that the 3Tb Seagate is great or a worthless piece of junk. In years past Toshiba HD’s were pretty unreliable, but I have heard pretty good things from one board member about their recent crop of drives. Also, I wouldn’t trust the majority of the opinions on Best Buy, since they are usually from the LCD. Newegg can be somewhat biased as well, though usually if something sucks it will get a bad review in Newegg and Amazon.

Depending on how you think its probably best to buy either 2 of the same drive and back up to both or get different drives from different companies and back up to both. Also, do the long format and use SMART scanning to make sure there aren’t a lot of crappy sectors.


#3

A lot of the problems from the external drives have been reported to be with the external case. So you’re best bet if you have the time and the equipment laying around, would be to buy two enclosures and two internal drives and make your own external. That way you know its using a quality enclosure that has good hard drive cooling. Those pseudo plastic looking book like covers on the WD drives don’t allow for that effective cooling. Neither does the Seagate external enclosure. And if you crack them open, the enclosures are pretty shabbily made.


#4

Nah I’m not really interested in buying enclosures and drives just want to buy a regular external drive.


#5

[QUOTE=mccoady;2685785]Nah I’m not really interested in buying enclosures and drives just want to buy a regular external drive.[/QUOTE]
Consider bare drives and a docking station. Your total cost could be similar. I have a couple Thermaltake 2-bay docks that have been very reliable and also support 3TB drives. This allows you to continue adding more drives at a much lower cost.


#6

I’ve got the SeaGate 3TB drive and it is a docking station with a plastic encased drive. I used the drive to increase my GoFlex network drive to 3TB. Right now I’ve got an SSD plugged into the base. Got mine at Costco for, I believe, $110 or so. Costco also doubles the warranty I hear.


#7

And remember that not every computer will recognize Externals larger than 2Tb - UEFIs and 64-OS’s do that, so when I get larger-than-2Tb externals, I know I’ve limited myself to only the newest computers’ uses.

I’ll also argue that “everything’s a crap-shoot - you lays yer money down, ya takes yer chances” on any purchase. If you can buy locally, you’ll pay sales tax but many local stores now match e-tailer prices, like NewEgg’s. PLUS, if the unit dies (and IF I’ve taped the receipt to the bottom!), then a return is VERY easy, no RMA, no spending money on return shipment. Sales tax suddenly becomes the bargain.

For me, I try to buy the Same External Unit as others only because of the Power Connector. This way, I can leave power connectors in-place (deep dark recesses, canyons full of monstrous dustballs and spiders, ewwww, probably all with names like Yojimbo or Kerry, Wombler or EmarLOYDs) and carry my External around from desk to desk, knowing the same power connector is available too.


#8

Thanks for all the replies I’m now more confused than ever.:smiley:

I have a ASRock Pro3 Gen3 board using with 64 bit Windows 7 so I think it’s compatible with 3TB drives.

Don’t know about a docking station since I tend to move my current smaller drive around the house to different desktop computers but will consider one.

Didn’t realize the covers/cases used now by external drives were plastic I haven’t bought one for awhile maybe since the Fandom 1TB drive I got 2 years ago which has a metal case.


#9

I have docking stations at all the important places, so its easy to move a HDD from one to another. You also have the option of using network access if the computers are all on the network. Just share the drive and you can access it from anywhere.

There are some nice aluminum drive cases available, but cheaper external drives don’t come with them.

If you need to transfer large image files, you’ll greatly appreciate USB-3 or eSATA and a nice fast HDD. External drives tend to come with slower 5400-5900 RPM HDDs in them. A lot depends on how close to the bleeding edge you want to be.


#10

CDan while a docking station is probably the best way to go in the long run especially since it allows you to use a 7200 RPM drive (I use WD Blacks on my computers) I’m still not convinced the combo would be in my price range.

What specific docking station would you recommend that has USB 3.0?

What specific hard drive would you recommend?

I’ve never actually seen a docking station so I have no experience on how everything connects/hooks up.


#12

[QUOTE=mccoady;2685839]CDan while a docking station is probably the best way to go in the long run especially since it allows you to use a 7200 RPM drive (I use WD Blacks on my computers) I’m still not convinced the combo would be in my price range.

What specific docking station would you recommend that has USB 3.0?

What specific hard drive would you recommend?

I’ve never actually seen a docking station so I have no experience on how everything connects/hooks up.[/QUOTE]

USB-2 is your cheapest option:

USB-3 is still a bit pricy:

There are many brands available:

Get the cheapest HDD you want to start with, wait for a sale and your final cost might not be much different than an external drive. There’s still a slight premium to pay on 3TB drives, you might consider a 2TB for starters. $90 for a 2TB plus the cost of the dock.


#13

Whoa Christine what happened to your post I had some questions?

Is $50 the normal price for the Hornettek HT-3210U3 External HDD Enclosure, X2 USB 3.0 3.5" Dual Bay with Built in Cooling Fan? http://www.meritline.com/hornettek-ht-3210u3-x2-usb-3-0-3-5-inch-hdd-enclosure---p-73964.aspx?source=fghdac&gclid=CMerpsaR5LYCFccx4AodBjYA1w

It’s more than I wanted to pay but I guess I could consider buying it now and then waiting on a good price on a hard drive. It’s either that or maybe giving the Seagate Backup Plus 3 TB external drive a try.

Your posts have made me realize that even though a 3 TB will work with my main desktop computer with ASRock mobo I hadn’t thought about it not working with my other older computers. I would have to use my 1 TB Fandom external drive for the others.

Mike


#14

Dan is the Thermaltake supposed to be one of the better brands the USB 3.0 model you linked to doesn’t get very good reviews? In fact quite a few different brands only get so, so, reviews kind of like looking at hard drives no consensus which is better/best.


#15

MCC, you’d written “more confused than ever” and my “dupe” post was adding only MORE confusing issues to consider, so I wiped it out. The External Drive Issue started this - I should stick with that.

Like Dan said, “Get what you can afford” but I’d also have you look at the BARGAIN BASEMENT sub-forum and notice how often and how varied prices can be.

We have seen a LOAD of external 3Tb drives closer to $120 than more than $150, and those prices go up and down every few weeks. If there is no immediate need, then I’d counsel “wait”.

But I’d also counsel “USB 3 Only” - their prices should NOT be that much more. Look at that HornetTek External dual-drive case, for example.

The USB 2.0 version is $30. The USB 3 is $50. Sure, that seems like “almost double the price” but in reality, “it’s only $20.” And we’re seeing that $20 difference is fairly common - and even then it’s probably price-gouging because the electronics and plugs cannot be but pennies in difference.

MY EXTERNAL CASES…

I use external cases because I have spare hard-drives. Old ones, dust collectors. My choice for external cases is based on (1) commonality of the Electrical Plug (so I don’t have to lug power-bricks, etc) and (2) price.

I have a few ‘docks’ or ‘sleds’ and those are very handy BUT I find them to be flakier with shorter lifespans.

One of the problems is that, in a ‘dock’ like the well-regarded Thermaltake Duet, I can’t ‘see’ the connection being made. If I’m off a bit, I may not realize it until I’ve damaged the connectors.

Which connectors? Well, screwing up the dock’s isn’t a huge deal. Fine - I’ll waste money.

But what if I break off the drive’s connectors? Uh. Sometimes, NO MONEY replaces that drive’s contents, and suddenly, that’s what Me & My Dock have done!

So, I much prefer external enclosures where I can ‘see’ the connection being made, I can carefully align those and hopefully have a longer-lasting product.

If you don’t swap drives out of a dock very often, then this isn’t a concern. Of course, it only takes one broken connector off of the drive and suddenly it is The Only Important Drive you might have! Argh…

External enclosures, by the way, don’t need to be sealed up. I can leave them ‘open face’ easily. Of course, I can’t sling them around by their USB cable, but I seldom do that anyway.


#16

Oh, you’d noticed the poor reviews that the Thermaltake and others receive. There are products that seem to beget “only bad reviews” and I think these are low-priced products. In formal reviews, the Thermaltakes have been rated highly in data thru-put. I’ve never received one DOA unit but we’ve only purchased 4.

All of these remain “a crap-shoot” though - I can buy 50 of something, swear by their high quality and the next batch of 10 could be complete duds. No history, no swearings, no cusswords make these devices work when they want to die!

This is why I counsel that buying-locally reduces a less-expensive product’s RMA exasperation.


#17

Christine a couple of questions about the Hornettek HT-3210U3 External HDD Enclosure, X2 USB 3.0 3.5" Dual Bay with Built in Cooling Fan

The description says it supports Sata 1 and Sata 2 but doesn’t say anything about Sata 3?

It also says it only supports up to a 2 TB drive is that correct?


#18

Yes, apparently so. Here’s the HornetTek website’s version. I could probably excuse the lack of SATA3 support because USB 3 has more to do with transfer speeds than even SATA1. But not supporting larger-than-2Tb is a drawback I might seek to redress with another product.

That said, I don’t use External Enclosures for new hard-drives - I use them for dust collectors, old drives. IF I was thinking of doing that (buying new HDDs just for external drives), I’d be looking at 5900 or 5400rpms, and I’d definitely look at the SATA3 and USB3 as base minimums.


#19

All external enclosures tend to get more than their share of bad user reviews, as do HDDs in general. It says more about the users’ lack of understanding and PC gear than it does about the products. You need to read reviews carefully and weed out the ones left by clueless people.

You do need to watch out for enclosures that don’t support >2TB drives, and if you go with USB-3 you need to know if your system properly supports it. Many early USB-3 controllers are piss poor, both in PCs and in enclosures.


#20

[QUOTE=ChristineBCW;2685858]Yes, apparently so. Here’s the HornetTek website’s version. I could probably excuse the lack of SATA3 support because USB 3 has more to do with transfer speeds than even SATA1. But not supporting larger-than-2Tb is a drawback I might seek to redress with another product. [/QUOTE]

I just noticed at the bottom of the page http://www.hornettek.com/hdd-enclosure/3-5-dual-bay/hornettek-x2-u3.html it has a firmware to download to allow 3TB support would this solve the drawback of the unit or would not having SATA III support still be an issue or not ideal?

[QUOTE=ChristineBCW;2685858]That said, I don’t use External Enclosures for new hard-drives - I use them for dust collectors, old drives. IF I was thinking of doing that (buying new HDDs just for external drives), I’d be looking at 5900 or 5400rpms, and I’d definitely look at the SATA3 and USB3 as base minimums.[/QUOTE]

I would be buying a new hard drive to be used with an external enclosure are you saying you would be looking to use a 5900 or 5400RPM drive over a 7200RPM surely I must be misunderstanding?

I’m seeing external hard drives often being cheaper than internal drives and guys are simply taking the external drive and putting them into an enclosure or docking station any drawbacks of doing this?


#21

[QUOTE=mccoady;2685915]
I’m seeing external hard drives often being cheaper than internal drives and guys are simply taking the external drive and putting them into an enclosure or docking station any drawbacks of doing this?[/QUOTE]

I’ve done this a few times. What you get in the external models is the cheapest 5400-5900 RPM drives that they make. Once the plastic cases are opened, they are not really useable again.

Another nice thing about docking stations is that cooling is not a concern. For cases, I highly recommend all aluminum for that same reason - cooling.