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#160101 - 02/27/07 09:15 PM external hard drive
Zarak Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1849
Loc: PA
I'm looking for an external hard drive to store pictures, movies, music, and just do general backup to. I'm looking for a USB 2.0 drive that is at least 7200 RPM. 16MB buffer would be nice. I'm not as concerned about size, since I only have 40GB now. 250-300 sounds like more then enough (although we all know how that changes once you have the space to use) The Seagate ST3300601CB-RK External 300GB Hard Drive is in the lead currently.

However, I am A) looking for other suggestions, and B) looking for a site that has quiet ratings on the drives. I could see this drive being connected to a HTPC someday, so I would like it to be quiet. Small and nice looking wouldn't hurt either, although I can probably hide it behind other equipment.

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#160102 - 02/27/07 09:53 PM Re: external hard drive [Re: Zarak]
spish Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 32
hey Zarak,

I have two 500GB Western Digital "MyBook" Premium Edition drives connected via FireWire on my Mac and I love em! fast, good looking and great bang for the buck. Costco has been carrying them of late at really good prices. it doesn't have a fan, and it sleeps automatically when it's not been accessed in a while so the volume is pretty low. however i've found it to be slightly louder than the Seagate OneTouch units (I have one at work and love it) but the OneTouch case is a little bigger and less attractive (if that matters).

If you are going to use this with an HTPC I'd suggest building a machine with eSATA capability and purchasing a an enclosure that supports it. your data throughput will be much much higher than either FireWire or USB2.0 -- useful for video and pretty much required if you go HD.

i'd also suggest you get a unit from a drive manufacturer like Seagate or WD as oppposed to getting a drive and throwing it in a cheap 3rd party enclosure. peace of mind if you run into warranty issues...

hope this helps. good luck!

-s

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#160103 - 02/27/07 10:16 PM Re: external hard drive [Re: spish]
Zarak Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1849
Loc: PA
Thanks for the info. I have been focused on a name brand. There are a couple out there I haven't heard of, so I am staying away unless I hear some really good things about them. I used to keep up with this stuff, but I guess because the need to upgrade computers is less then it used to be with the faster processors and everything else that's around now, I just don't seem to need to pay as much attention anymore, so I'm starting fresh when I do want to get something.

I did look at SATA briefly, but I don't have an external SATA connector in my machine now. I also considered getting a network attached drive as well (won't call it a NAS, since most of them don't seem to be that truly). With that option it could sit anywhere and still serve data to the HTPC someday. Speed could be a concern there as well though. RAID1 is a consideration as well, but I'll probably stay away from that to keep the price down. I want to get something soon. My drive makes strange noises and locks the computer for a couple seconds every once in a while, so I want to get a backup.

I also checked and saw the computer show is in town this weekend, so if I can do my research and narrow down what I want I might head over there to pick it up. Haven't been to one in years.

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#160104 - 02/27/07 10:45 PM Re: external hard drive [Re: Zarak]
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
Lacie makes nice looking drives. We've used them numerous times at work with no issues.

We recently bought two 1TB Western Digital "my books". They seem to work alright, but my goodness they're LOUD. They start off with tolerable noise levels, but once they've been running for awhile the fans kick into high gear and they are obscenely loud.
_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#160105 - 02/27/07 11:56 PM Re: external hard drive [Re: Zarak]
LightninJoe Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 558
Loc: Portland, OR
Any external drive you buy will include a HDD from one of the major manufacturers. Lacie does indeed have a good rep, mostly from the Mac zealots, but they are simply "just another reseller." Most external HDDs use the same USB and SATA/IDE chips as well. My suggestion is to check out a few head-to-head reviews and pick a solid performer at a good price. I personally just by bare hard drives and external drive enclosures. 5 minutes of assembly will give you 500GB of external drive for well under $200.

BTW, to clear something up: You can buy/build a USB or Firewire drive that has an internal SATA connector to the hard drive that is then converted to USB/Firewire (being that all of these are serial connections the conversion is simple and results in relatively low lag. This is a benefit over external drives that are IDE (parallel) native and must be converted from a parallel connection to serial). An external SATA drive is known as E-SATA, and the connection is pass-through with no conversion.
_________________________
"That's some catch, that Catch-22." "It's the best there is." M22ti VP150 EP350 QS8 M3Ti

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#160106 - 02/28/07 12:00 AM Re: external hard drive [Re: LightninJoe]
Randy_Perkins Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/31/06
Posts: 193
Loc: Franklin Indiana
my advice would be:
once you have decided on the manufacturer of your hard drive.
compare the length of warranty on an internal drive vs. the external drive. My experience was the external drive was in a sealed box, with a 1 year warranty, while the same drive , sold bare, had a 3 yr warranty. might tilt you towards a bare drive with an enclosure.

I believe firewire is faster than usb 2.0, theoretically and real world throughput.

hth
_________________________
Axiom M22,Ep500,Qs8,VP150, Denon 2807,1940, Sangean HDT-1X

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#160107 - 02/28/07 12:11 AM Re: external hard drive [Re: Randy_Perkins]
LightninJoe Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 558
Loc: Portland, OR
Firewire 800 has a theoretical and practical throughput higher than USB 2.0. E-SATA is much, much faster, especially E-SATA 300 (the 300 stands for megaBYTES, not megaBITS per second like USB and Firewire).
_________________________
"That's some catch, that Catch-22." "It's the best there is." M22ti VP150 EP350 QS8 M3Ti

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#160108 - 02/28/07 01:29 AM Re: external hard drive [Re: Zarak]
grunt Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 3569
Loc: Nirvana
Quote:


However, I am A) looking for other suggestions, and B) looking for a site that has quiet ratings on the drives. I could see this drive being connected to a HTPC someday, so I would like it to be quiet. Small and nice looking wouldn't hurt either, although I can probably hide it behind other equipment.





I don’t know if they will have anything you are looking for but this site might help:

http://www.silentpcreview.com/

Dean
_________________________
3M80 2M22 6QS8 2M2 1EP500 Sony BDP-S590 Panny-7000 Onkyo-3007 Carada-134 Xbox Buttkicker AS-EQ1

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#160109 - 02/28/07 05:11 AM Re: external hard drive [Re: Zarak]
real80sman Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/16/02
Posts: 1127
Loc: Ontario, Canada
You may want to check Tiger Direct. You have to keep your eyes peeled, but more than a few times I've hooked a great deal from them. Subcategories on the left.
_________________________
Shawn

Epic 80/600 + M3's + Custom Finish Algonquin V3's

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#160110 - 02/28/07 05:20 AM Re: external hard drive [Re: LightninJoe]
Randy_Perkins Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/31/06
Posts: 193
Loc: Franklin Indiana
sorry,
I had forgotten this one had been mentioned. I dont know much about it, but I expect you are correct. I have only heard this used on cable tv DVR's. Cant remember if it was the motorola or the scientific atlantic. thanks for the clarification.

Quote:

E-SATA is much, much faster, especially E-SATA 300



_________________________
Axiom M22,Ep500,Qs8,VP150, Denon 2807,1940, Sangean HDT-1X

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#160111 - 02/28/07 10:14 AM Re: external hard drive [Re: Randy_Perkins]
Zarak Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1849
Loc: PA
Thanks for the input. The silentpcreview site helped. Based on that, I'm looking at these two drives:

Samsung Spinpoint T Series HD400LJ 400GB, 7,200 RPM
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000KS 500GB, 7,200 RPM

Both are SATA, so I could do one of these and get an enclosure that has a SATA and USB connector. I'll use the USB for now, and switch to e-SATA later if I get a connector for that in a machine down the road. Both are supposed to be very quiet.

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#160112 - 02/28/07 02:56 PM Re: external hard drive [Re: Zarak]
Randy_Perkins Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/31/06
Posts: 193
Loc: Franklin Indiana
I used information on silentpcreview to help me purchase a quiet hard drive. It directed me to a Samsung product and I am happy with it. Recently I purchased a Samsunng DVD burner and so far it has held up also.
_________________________
Axiom M22,Ep500,Qs8,VP150, Denon 2807,1940, Sangean HDT-1X

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#160113 - 02/28/07 03:13 PM Re: external hard drive [Re: Randy_Perkins]
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
I'm extremely intersted in an eSATA external drive. I found this enclosure. What kind of card would I need to add to our pc's? Would this work?
_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#160114 - 02/28/07 03:18 PM Re: external hard drive [Re: Zarak]
oldskoolboarder Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/25/03
Posts: 2181
Loc: Menlo Park, CA
You can sometimes get lucky on the LaCie site. I got a 500 GB NAS for $299 a while back when they were going for much more. I got a refurb from the outlet section.

I have a bunch of external storage at home and I've found that most brands are fine, even the no names.

Also, you can provide yourself NAS in the future w/ a USB hard drive by buying one of the new Apple Airport Extreme Base Stations. It supports a USB hard drive connection. Then any computer connected to the network can see the drive. Pretty cool. It supports USB hubs so you could just keep adding drives whenever you need them. I have mine next to the router and DSL modem in the closet, so noise isn't a problem cause it's out of sight. Access times are pretty good too. I've archived videos, photos, and many large files w/ no issues. It works w/ the new 802.11n wireless standard and can conceivably go over 130 Mbps, faster then your normal wired connection. Though you need 802.11n on your PC side too.

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#160115 - 02/28/07 05:33 PM Re: external hard drive [Re: spiffnme]
Zarak Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1849
Loc: PA
Spiff, there are a bunch of enclosures that do ESata and USB here

They're in the $30-$50 range. I'm trying to figure out which one looks good, so I have the ability to do esata down the road. Only USB for now.

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#160116 - 02/28/07 05:48 PM Re: external hard drive [Re: Zarak]
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
I need eSATA and firewire. USB will be too slow.
_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#160117 - 02/28/07 06:19 PM Re: external hard drive [Re: spiffnme]
Zarak Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1849
Loc: PA
Correction to the drives I am looking at:

Samsung Spinpoint T Series HD401LJ 400GB, 7,200 RPM
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000KS 500GB, 7,200 RPM

Notice the Samsung is now a HD401LJ, not a 400. Difference is 16MB vs 8MB cache buffer. 401 just came out in November. I'm leaning towards that one at this point. Now I'm looking for a good enclosure for it that supports ESata and USB. Don't need firewire.

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#160118 - 02/28/07 08:04 PM Re: external hard drive [Re: Zarak]
Zarak Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1849
Loc: PA
Still looking. It appears that Samsung drives are quieter and run cooler then most, but give up a little speed to do that. WD seems to be quiet if you avoid the raptor line. Not finding much about Seagate and Hitatchi yet as far as quietness goes.

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