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USB Hard Drives


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#1 Cynthia Moore

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 10:09 AM

I have two old XP systems. Each has an Iomega MDHD500-U 465 GB external hard drive for mirror image backup. I'd like to replace them with something larger (1-2 TB) and faster. I have several questions I'd like help with.

 

  1. Does it make much difference which brand I choose (Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, ??? (Did Iomega get bought by Lenovo?))?
  2. How can I compare the data transfer rates. I have the user manual for my Iomega drives, but I can't find where it says how fast it is. Or is that a function of the USB port?
  3. I think I have USB 2.0 on these computers, but it might be 1.1. How can I tell for sure?
  4. If I buy a USB 3 drive, will I have any problems on these old computers?
  5. Is there any difference in reliability between say a 1TB drive, a 2TB drive, and a 5TB drive?

This one looks like a good choice for me: Western Digital My Passport Ultra 2 TB. It's $85 on Amazon:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Passport-Ultra-Portable/dp/B00E055H5O/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1432993509&sr=1-3&keywords=external+hard+drives+usb

 

There is a similar one from Seagate: Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Portable External Hard Drive with Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Backup-Portable-External-STDR2000101/dp/B00FRHTTIA/ref=sr_1_5?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1432993509&sr=1-5&keywords=external+hard+drives+usb

 

Any preferences between these two? Or any better choices?

 

Thanks so much. CM

 

 


Running Win 10 & Office 365.


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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 10:55 AM

Personally, I would not buy a portable drive today. Most integrate the USB bridge card with the drive's PCB. If the USB connector breaks then you are out of luck. I prefer to get a standard SATA 2.5 drive and an external enclosure. It may be a little more expensive but if the USB bridge card goes or the USB connector breaks you can simply connect the drive to another computer via a USB adapter or use another enclosure. See my post here.

 

People seem to prefer WD. I would not purchase a WD portable because of the reasons mentioned above. A SATA WD drive in an enclosure would be the best.

 

Your data transfer rates are limited to your USB 2.0 or USB 1.1 speed. ( USB 1.1 is terribly slow) I think if you have 1.1 you should at least add a PCI USB2.0 card if you can.

 

How to tell if you have USB 2.0 or 1.1

 

USB 3.0 is backward compatible to USB 2.0 but I am not sure about 1.1

 

I would stick with 1 or 2 TB drives.

 

 



#3 Cynthia Moore

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 08:27 AM

Thanks for the suggestions. I ended up buying the WD 2 TB solid state drive. It's tiny (about 3x4) and powered by the USB cable. The documentation is awful, and the drive is loaded with crapware, but it seems to be working well.

 

I've been using USB drives for years and never had a problem with the connector breaking or anything else. So the hassle and expense of a SATA drive isn't worth it for me.


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#4 brainout

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Posted 27 June 2015 - 10:36 AM

Thanks for the suggestions. I ended up buying the WD 2 TB solid state drive. It's tiny (about 3x4) and powered by the USB cable. The documentation is awful, and the drive is loaded with crapware, but it seems to be working well.

 

I've been using USB drives for years and never had a problem with the connector breaking or anything else. So the hassle and expense of a SATA drive isn't worth it for me.

For any WD drive 500GB or bigger, do NOT routinely run it with 1) the original cable, and 2) plugged directly into the computer port.  It will be glitchy under either or both circumstances.  Why?  A drive with that much storage needs more power than it stably gets from the machine.  It's fine sometimes and for short usage, but NOT fine for long-term usage.

 

To prevent that, I use Tripp Lite 3.0 cables (at Amazon) in as short a length as possible (shorter means fewer transmission messups), and 2) I use Anker 3.0 hub.  So for example, a 1 TB WD Ultra is my backup drive, constantly plugged into my monitor (not the computer, since the monitor is a separate powered hub), and uses the blue Tripp Lite.  It's been that way for over a year, constantly reliable.

 

This power issue, will be even more true for a 2 TB (which I just got at Amazon, but it's not arrived yet).  WD SES is the driver, make sure your Windows is using it.  If not, go into Device Manager and uninstall the driver, unplug the WD, turn off machine, wait a few minutes and turn it on again, then insert the WD after the boot completes.  It should then go online to look for the driver, and will find it.  Else,  you'll have to download it from WD (Google for that link, WD's search engine is terrible).

 

Even so, the suggestion to use SATA instead sounds better.  I wish I didn't have a dozen or more WD drives (though I adore them) before seeing this advice. Ebay sells  SATA drives in lots of 8 or 3 or 10.  They are in my wish list.  And now, thanks to John C_21, I'm gonna get me some.  Great idea.

 

The SATA drives can be easily deployed using Plugable, click here.  I bought it a year ago, wondered if it was a good idea.  Now I know it will be.  Yay.


Edited by brainout, 27 June 2015 - 10:42 AM.

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#5 DataMedic

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Posted 30 June 2015 - 12:31 PM

As for reliability, I actually prefer Toshiba externals.  They don't come with all the software extras like built in data encryption, but they are rock solid performers.  That having been said, to go back to some of the questions the OP asked:

 

If you only have USB 2.0 then any drive will perform about the same as you'll be limited by the port speed which is far below any modern hard drive.  Even USB 3.0 is often a bottleneck compared to what the drives are really capable of unless you have a USB card that supports UASP (a much faster protocol).  USB 3.0 devices are fully backward compatible with USB 2.0 ports, but may have some issues on USB 1.1.


Edited by DataMedic, 30 June 2015 - 12:32 PM.


#6 aperiquet12

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 04:40 PM

Hi Cynthia,

 

I know this post is a bit old, but I have an Iomega MDHD500-U that I dropped and need to fix. Would you be willing to sell me one of the ones you are upgrading. I would like to swap the PCB on my and see if I can recover my data.

 

Thanks,

Arnel



#7 DataMedic

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 05:34 PM

Hi Cynthia,

 

I know this post is a bit old, but I have an Iomega MDHD500-U that I dropped and need to fix. Would you be willing to sell me one of the ones you are upgrading. I would like to swap the PCB on my and see if I can recover my data.

 

Thanks,

Arnel

 

First off, if you dropped it then the problem is 100% certain to have nothing to do with the PCB.  It's either the read/write heads that have failed, or it's caused severe media damage.  In either event you'll need professional recovery to get the data back.

 

Secondly if you are for some reason trying to match a PCB, then buying the same external enclosure it the absolute wrong way to match it.  You can buy two externals of the same model right off the shelf together at the same time and you'll often find that the internal drives are completely different models.  Also pretty much all modern drives have an adaptive ROM code stored on the PCB that needs to be transferred or the PCB will almost certainly not work.



#8 aperiquet12

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 06:02 PM

Thanks for the response. I'll check into a local data recovery service then.



#9 DataMedic

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 06:06 PM

If you let me know where you're at I can probably recommend a good local company.



#10 aperiquet12

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 06:09 PM

I live in Plano, Texas. I appreciate your help!



#11 DataMedic

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 06:16 PM

I would probably go with one of these companies:

 

http://www.datarecovery.net/

http://www.24hourdata.com

 

Both have locations in your area.  I've never personally dealt with them, but I know of them from data recovery forums.  Just beware of the PC repair guys who also claim to offer "data recovery".  Most are just running some software utilities and are more likely to make the situation worse than better.



#12 aperiquet12

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 06:18 PM

thanks for the advice. sounds like I would have taken all the wrong roads so I really appreciate it.






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