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most reliable brand/model of external harddrive?


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9 replies to this topic

#1 parasiticmonstarr

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 10:43 PM

Hi all. I've been reading reviews on newegg and tigerdirect of various external hdds in the 2 and 3 tb range and all of the most popular models from WD, Iomega and Fantom all have like 2 reviews of drive failures for every positive review. Is there any one brand/model that won't fail in 2-3 months? It seems like they all do... Hope you can help.

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#2 dpunisher

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 10:59 PM

2 part answer.

For backup use, that won't be transported a lot, a WD black in a USB 2.0 or even better, a 3.0 docking station or enclosure.

For file transport between systems in different locations, a good quality USB thumb drive, or a portable SSD.

With most premade portable drives, you have no clue what hard drive is actually inside. Usually the cheapest.

Edited by dpunisher, 23 December 2011 - 11:06 PM.

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#3 Blaze413

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 12:13 AM

Just my 2cents but I have a WD 1tb my passport usb 3.0 version external harddrive and love it..no issues at all and the backup software that comes with it is very easy to use and nice...makes things quicker I have yet to be able to use the USB 3.0 cuz until I get my new laptop i only have 2.0 ports but it is still plenty fast and reliable ..again just my little rant

#4 jhayz

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 12:39 AM

Aside from the data transfer speed and USB support, warranties and knowing how to take care or DO's and DONT's when using the drive as reflected in many threads which users tend to forget.

Edited by jhayz, 24 December 2011 - 11:45 AM.

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#5 hamluis

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 09:41 AM

Just piling on here :).

An external hard drive is no more "reliable" than any internal hard drive...and it adds another complicating factor by virtue of the interface implemented by the external drive manufacturer.

Of the hardware components of a system which fail most frequently (IMO), the two I would expect to fail the most would be a hard drive or a PSU.

Putting a hard drive in an enclosure...does nothing to reduce what I see as normal risk...and, in fact, it introduces another point of failure by virtue of the enclosure and it's workings.

Louis

#6 rotor123

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 03:11 PM

Based on my own experience having several of each brand.
Maxtor, Western Digital, Hitachi, Seagate, Knock wood no problems yet.

3Tb drives do need Windows 7 as they will be GPT not Fat or NTFS based. How many buyers bought them for a XP system and it didn't work because GPT isn't supported by XP, They will report bad drive. I have used them with XP but first I had to remove the GPT partition and create two 1.5Gb partitions and then they were fine.

I also run Seagate & Western Digital NAS drives attached to my home network. They can be seen from every computer on the network and my media player and my BluRay player can play off of them too.

The low cost home NAS drives will be USB speed (Slow) however being able to access from every computer etc. outweighs that. If I wanted to set it up and pay the fee I could also access over the internet.

One point of failure I've seen reported on externals is the USB connector. A NAS drive uses Ethernet so a more robust connection than the mini USB port. I've also seen complaints that a running drive got knocked over and now it is dead, Gee what a surprise.

When you buy, future proof yourself and get USB3 if you go for a USB drive.

Edited by rotor123, 24 December 2011 - 03:16 PM.

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#7 rotor123

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 03:15 PM

Just my 2cents but I have a WD 1tb my passport usb 3.0 version external harddrive and love it..no issues at all and the backup software that comes with it is very easy to use and nice...makes things quicker I have yet to be able to use the USB 3.0 cuz until I get my new laptop i only have 2.0 ports but it is still plenty fast and reliable ..again just my little rant


When you see the difference in USB3 speed it'll knock your socks off and you'll wonder why you didn't get it before.

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#8 hamluis

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 04:39 PM

FWIW: Basic Info on GPT

I just really have to wonder...why any ordinary user/owner would want/trust that much data...on any partition larger than 2TB :). I tend to think that putting all that data on 1 partition...is risky business that doesn't have to be.

Louis

Edited by hamluis, 24 December 2011 - 04:41 PM.


#9 parasiticmonstarr

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 04:21 PM

Thanks for all the replies! Sorry I didn't check in sooner. Well I need a lot of drive space to run xbmc off my laptop and ideally a dedicated box in the future. I have a 2tb hdd that doesn't sound so good, so I want to salvage that data and have room to expand. The only brand recommendations here were from rotor I think, and they were for internals to put into an enclosure right? I don't trust myself to pick out both a harddrive and an enclosure. So I was hoping you guys could point me to the right external brands to buy. Although, I guess dpunisher is sort of indicating there's no real metric for quality.

Since this is for a media center type deal, I'm going to need a drive that is going to put in some serious work. Because I'm crazy about this stuff, I might have on backup drive for every "active" drive. So, yeah...before I take the plunge and buy a WD elements drive or a fantom g or something, I was hoping you guys could give me your .02 on which would last a decent amount.

As for maintenance, I always place drives on their side and place them in such a way that they never move. But as far as heat, there's really nothing I can do about that afaik.

#10 rotor123

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 04:48 PM

Actually those were all brands that I use as externals.

For Internals I use Intel SSDs, Samsung SSDs, Western digital & Seagate & Hitachi.

A fantom for example you never know what brand drive they are putting inside the enclosure that day. You'll need USB 3 or eSATA externals if you want speed.

The drives based on laptop drives will run cooler simple because they are designed to use less power and generally run at 5400RPM not 7200RPM. Laptop drives AFAIK are limited to 1Tb currently.

The NAS drives and and other externals are IMO designed to run standing up in many instances so that the airflow cools the drive.

FWIW: Basic Info on GPT

I just really have to wonder...why any ordinary user/owner would want/trust that much data...on any partition larger than 2TB :). I tend to think that putting all that data on 1 partition...is risky business that doesn't have to be.

Louis


Even with a 3tb drive partitioned into 3 1Tb partitions they all have one common hardware point of failure in that if the drive dies it takes all three drive letters with it.

I actually knew someone that used up all the drive letters in his SOHO network. I had to break the news to him that no you can't use Drive CC: Under XP Pro. AFAIK you still are limited to 26 drive letters. He would have been better of to use drive mappings such as \\WDTVLiveHub\2Tb_07-01-2011 or \\a or \\b

He was always stubborn and wanted drive letters.

Cheers

Edited by rotor123, 26 December 2011 - 10:21 AM.

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