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Thread: External Hard disk buying advice

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    External Hard disk buying advice

    I'm in the market for a external hard drive. I will be using it mainly for storing media files because running out of space on computer. Nothing more (not for OS). £50-£65 range.

    random thoughts: I haven't followed this area of computing but notice now we now have eSATA connections for ext hard drives too. My pc is old so no eSATA connections although sata speeds would be good. USB 2.0 i recall when these ext hard disks were new and people complaining about not enough power for the hard disks through usb interface which meant they would freeze or crash or something or other.

    questions:
    Should I go for a drive with 2 usb cables if it doesn't come with power adapter? if not,

    Should I opt for a 5400rpm (or 4400) unit as it's only for storing media files. (possibly playing) is that sufficient speed, would be less noisy too.

    =========

    Which external hard disk do you all own? any snags with them... in particular Lacie owners.. but all view welcomed.

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    Re: External Hard disk buying advice

    Please explain what type of size and capacity you would like....

    Large and bulky ish I would choose between the new Seagate freeagent (£74.99 - minus voucher @ maplin) or the WD 500GB £72 at amazon.

    Both are reported to be very quiet and good, otherwise if its a 2.5" you're after you would only get around 160GB for that price.
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    Re: External Hard disk buying advice

    I bought an Akasa external enclosure which has USB and eSata connections, a 400g WD Sata HD and put it together and job done. I also bought an eSata back plate for my pc which connects to a Sata connector on the mobo!!

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    Re: External Hard disk buying advice

    I'm with Koolpc, building your own to the spec you want is the best way to go, and it is what I will be doing soon enough.

    Slam a Samsung 501LJ 500gb in any exclosure you want with the ports you need and you have a silent and fast beast for a decent price!
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    Re: External Hard disk buying advice

    Like you, a few years ago, my PC was so old that it had USB1.1, so instead I brought an enclosure with both USB2.0 & Firewire capabailities, stuck in a Seagate drive. Used the Firewire port on my PC to transfer files as its alot quicker than USB1.1!

    As KoolPC stated, this way it met my needs of quietness, capacity required and cost.

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    Re: External Hard disk buying advice

    Check this one out at scan.co.uk seems like a bargain.

    500GB Seagate ST3500601XS-RK External eSATA 7200rpm 16MB Cache with 2 Port eSATA Controller PC/MAC £56.99 £66.96 incl vat
    Free delivery with HEXUS.community token, once the token is activated every time you use the account the carriage will be removed from all orders.

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    Re: External Hard disk buying advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

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    Re: External Hard disk buying advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Workaholic View Post
    Please explain what type of size and capacity you would like....

    Large and bulky ish I would choose between the new Seagate freeagent (£74.99 - minus voucher @ maplin) or the WD 500GB £72 at amazon.

    Both are reported to be very quiet and good, otherwise if its a 2.5" you're after you would only get around 160GB for that price.
    Mainly for divx files and photos, must have 10gig of digital photos right now. 160gb wouldn't be too bad. That would be plenty I think even though could get bigger. Have seen freeagent, looks ok. But I need to stick with my budget as i'm also hoping to get some quality seinheisser headphones.

    Quote Originally Posted by EON View Post
    Check this one out at scan.co.uk seems like a bargain.

    500GB Seagate ST3500601XS-RK External eSATA 7200rpm 16MB Cache with 2 Port eSATA Controller PC/MAC £56.99 £66.96 incl vat
    Free delivery with HEXUS.community token, once the token is activated every time you use the account the carriage will be removed from all orders.
    That is an excellent price. It's too tempting! But portability.. I'd have to give that up for meantime, until esata becomes mainstream on pc's. I will check to see if my pc has spare pci slot, as it's a mini dell tower.. :/.

    Thanks to others for tips. I have tried enclosing a hard disk before, the enclosure didn't work at the time so gave up on it opting for internal for 2nd pc.

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    Re: External Hard disk buying advice

    I'm with koolpc - that external Aska enclosure is very good - will take SATA or IDE hard drives, has usb and esata connectors (although the estata connector only works wif a SATA drive is installed. Drive installation takes 10 minutes - of which 5 is taken opening the outer packaging!

    Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK (Available in different colours!)

    If you want portability (ie - no external PSU) then you are pretty much limited to 2.5" enclosures such as this

    Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

    But I haven't used that particular product myself, so I don't know if they come with a dual connect USB cable. Whether you need one or not depends on the hard drive you install, the laptop and a bit of black magic . An old IBM travelstar need a double connector, a more recent Samsung doesn't - so just as well to have one 'just in case'.

    Alternatively, something like this

    Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

    might be of interest.
    Last edited by peterb; 21-12-2007 at 10:38 AM.
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    Cool Re: VOX 750GB eSATA/USB external hard disk

    I recently snagged this kille deal on Buy.com for a 750GB external drive for $229. It's manufactured by VOX. This drive has been a great solution for the massive amounts of media storage I have. It has both an eSATA and USB connection. It was straight plug & play. Always opt for a higher RPM. This drive runs at 7200 RPM, which seems to be the industry standard.

    This deal is also being offered over on Newegg

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    Re: External Hard disk buying advice

    The standard RPM for external hard disks not a dayz is 7200 RPM. You don't need 2 USB ports unless your planning to multi-task with the hard disk using two different computers. Look for one with USB and eSATA port. I don't believe the USB port can provide enough power to run an external hard disk.

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    Re: External Hard disk buying advice

    As previously mentioned, it comes down to the capacity required. If you want the largest capacity for the cost, then you'll have to settle for a 3.5" drive which will require a power adapter. I prefer a vertical standing one (e.g. Seagate FreeAgent) as it takes less table space. In terms of performance, the various USB drives should perform comparably - you really aren't going to get SATA performance without a SATA interface.

    I also have a 160GB 2.5" (they go up to 250GB if I am not mistaken - though would cost more than your budget) which is a lot more convenient as it does not require a power adapter. But considerably smaller than the 500+ GB 3.5" drives. With the lower spindle speed, they should be slower, but in practice, I don't think the difference is actually that big due to the interface bottleneck.

    I could be wrong, but I don't think there are any drives are are intentionally designed to require 2 USB ports. Usually it's there 'just in case' as some PCs, usually laptops have weaker than normal USB port.

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    Re: External Hard disk buying advice

    To correct some points that exel3d made.

    Most 2.5" harddrives run with just 3W of power which most USB ports can provide. For some that doesn't, there is an extra power cable that connect to a 2nd USB port for power. The only exception would be a Macbook which doesn't really power anything even with 2 ports.

    3.5" drives will indeed require a power supply to run.

    For external harddrive, low RPM is not really a problem. Most USB chipset max at about 34MB/s, which a high capacity 4200rpm 2.5" Drive will easily handle. Many people would rather want a 5400rpm external drive which generates less heat.

    eSATA is not really that "Plug&Play" with some rare occasion upon pulling the eSATA cable will result in a BSOD if you don't use the "Safely remove device".

    P.S. 750GB for $229 is NOT a good deal. I bought a FreeAgent Pro 750GB eSATA/USB for $176 back in April

    I have a Western Digital Passport 250GB which I bought for £70 last month, damn great for doing local transfer, although it transfer horribly slow when writing from network (USB+Network latency seems to be a major problem).

    You may also want to consider if the drive include some sort of spin-down support. Not all enclosures / external drives can spin-down when not used.
    My Akasa Integral, Seagate FreeAgent and Western Digital passport does, my Freecom (with a Samsung inside) does not.

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    Re: External Hard disk buying advice

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurleung View Post
    To correct some points that exel3d made.

    Most 2.5" harddrives run with just 3W of power which most USB ports can provide. For some that doesn't, there is an extra power cable that connect to a 2nd USB port for power. The only exception would be a Macbook which doesn't really power anything even with 2 ports.

    3.5" drives will indeed require a power supply to run.

    For external harddrive, low RPM is not really a problem. Most USB chipset max at about 34MB/s, which a high capacity 4200rpm 2.5" Drive will easily handle. Many people would rather want a 5400rpm external drive which generates less heat.

    eSATA is not really that "Plug&Play" with some rare occasion upon pulling the eSATA cable will result in a BSOD if you don't use the "Safely remove device".

    P.S. 750GB for $229 is NOT a good deal. I bought a FreeAgent Pro 750GB eSATA/USB for $176 back in April

    I have a Western Digital Passport 250GB which I bought for £70 last month, damn great for doing local transfer, although it transfer horribly slow when writing from network (USB+Network latency seems to be a major problem).

    You may also want to consider if the drive include some sort of spin-down support. Not all enclosures / external drives can spin-down when not used.
    My Akasa Integral, Seagate FreeAgent and Western Digital passport does, my Freecom (with a Samsung inside) does not.
    Just to add to that - the USB spec allows the maximum current from a USB connector to be 500mA (2.5W at 5V) which is just about on the limy for a 2.5" drive - hence the dual connector as Arthurleung syas, it is just to supply more power - no data transfer requirement). I have one 2.5" that doesn't need it - another one that does. I also have a lead that powers the drive off the external keyboard/mouse socket on a laptop which is useful.

    Good point about the spin down.

    The Akasa Integral is very quiet - no cooling fan - some enclosures do have one and are therefore a bit noisier. AFIK 2.5" enclosures do not.

    Almost anything priced in dollars is a good deal in the UK at the moment - especially if you happen to be visiting over there and don't need to worry about shipping and import duty!

    The Seagate units have a good reputation, but with careful shopping around buying a separate enclosure and drive may be cheaper.
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    Re: External Hard disk buying advice

    The Akasa unit does sound good bet in future and wil go down that route with bigger capacity drive for my own machine.

    But right now I would be equally happy with 2.5inch 160/200gb drive as I can pass this onto brother. Am not looking to use any software on the drives although freeagent comes with plenty, just need drag and drop. Both these fit bill freecom 4200rpm / freeagent 5400rpm. Latter comes with 5yr warranty. No mention of powered down.. is that very important? out of these two which is better choice.. both come under budget...

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    Re: External Hard disk

    I have got an Asus 160GB External HD,it comes with one usb port and one esata plus one mini usb cable with two usb plugs at other end.Why are there two usb plus at the one end.I also have the esata cable.I would also like to know how to use the esata.i plugged that cable in and there didn't seem to be any power to the device but usb does work

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