External Hard Drive

Discussion in 'hardware' started by xMarkx, Aug 11, 2009.

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  1. xMarkx

    xMarkx Registered Member

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    Hello,

    I need an external hard drive for backing up my pictures and videos from my digital camera. I may also use it to store some music and documents. I've been using USB Flash Drives in the past but with my new camera I would need too many USB Flash drives to store all the videos and pictures and getting just one bigger external hard drive is cheaper and (hopefully) easier. I don't need the drive to be really big. My hard drive is only 320GB so I definately don't need anything bigger than that.

    Does anyone have any recommendations on a good, low cost external hard drive? I would like to just be able to plug it in, copy my files on to it, and unplug it and basically use it like a regular USB Flash Drive. Is this possible or do external hard drives work differently than USB Flash Drives? Is there any software involved?

    Regards,

    Mark.
     
  2. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    I suggest you head over to Costco and pick up a Western Digital portable drive or if portability is not an issue then one of the Western Digital external drives. The portable ones can have as much as 500 gigs of space, for under $100 you can get a 250 gig drive. These portable drives work just like a Flash drive. If portability is not an issue then you can get up to a Terabyte for under $300. The portable drives do not require that you plug them into a wall socket (same as a flash) the external ones do.
     
  3. xMarkx

    xMarkx Registered Member

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    Hello,

    Thanks for the great info! I don't really want to spend $300, plug it into a wall, or have 1000GB of space so I think the portable would be better over the external.

    $100 for a 250 gig drive sounds like the price and space I want and to be able to handle like a plug and play USB Flash Drive would be good.

    Is there any software involved in the portable drives? Or is it just as simple as a USB (plug it in and the drivers install right away in the background). How will I be able to tell the external and portable drives apart in the store?

    Thanks,

    Mark.
     
  4. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    xMarkx, agree with bgoodman4. I also use Western Digital (have two My Book 250GB & one My Book 500GB) and they came with backup software already in the drive.

    Here's lots more info and prices so you can compare them when you go shopping: Newegg.com.
     
  5. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    The portables are a lot smaller and you can see from the pics on the box that they are (and I think it says "portable" on the box as well). They also work like a flash drive.......plug it in and Windows will do the rest.

    PS: its been a while since I bought my drives at Costco so prices may have come down since then. The prices at NewEgg are excellent so if you do go to Costco be sure to look at the NewEgg site first. ------ Thanks for the link JRViejo
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2009
  6. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    bgoodman4, you're welcome! Take care.
     
  7. xMarkx

    xMarkx Registered Member

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    Hello,

    Thanks for your help. I went to Costco and I found the following portable hard drive for $89.99:

    Western Digital
    My Passport Essential
    250GB Hard Drive


    I'm pretty sure this is around the same price as the Canadian NewEgg prices. I think I might go with this one. The reviews that I have read have been good. Do you guys think it's okay (quality, price etc)? Are there any problems with this model that you're aware of?

    Regards,

    Mark.
     
  8. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    xMarkx, if this is the same Western Digital My Passport Essential 250 GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive WDME2500TN that you saw at Costco, there is a little cost savings for you! Read 1,000+ reviews there as well.

    The only thing to keep in mind is that the USB drive is being powered by your PC so I would disconnect it, when not in use, for longer life IMO.
     
  9. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    I buy from hardware and software from Costco whenever I can for two reasons:

    - Yu have 90 days to return any computer related product, no questions asked. So there is no bs about restocking fees or anything like that. (If you buy a computer, they extend the manufacturer warranty for one year at no cost.)

    - I have a Costco near me, so I can just return it to the store and not use return shipping.

    That having been said, I've never had to return anything - but it is nice to know you can.
     
  10. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    So you too are a Canuk (as am I),,,,,I went into both Costco and BestBuy today and BestBuy had a larger range of WD portable drives and their prices were actually better (on the 500 gig portable I think it was and maybe others as well). If you can you might want to check BB against Costco and take the better deal.

    I have been using WD for years and never had a problem so I don't think it matters where you get it (as long as its a reliable retailer,,,,,,a street corner,,,,,not recommended). I have used the 250 gig WD portable drives (had 2 which are still in use but not by me) and currently have 2 360 gig WD Passports,,,,,,good drives and the prices on the entire line are now better than I have seen.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
  11. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    WD Passports are excellent! :thumb:
     
  12. xMarkx

    xMarkx Registered Member

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    Hello,

    Thank you everyone for your help. I purchased it at Costco. The Amazon.ca didn't have the sale for it like Amazon.com did unfortunately.

    After I plug the portable hard drive into my computer, and the drivers automatically install it asks me if I want to run WDSync.exe which I believe is the software for the device. Is this necessary to install? What exactly is it? The user manual doesn't say anything about it. A couple reviewers at Amazon did not like the software. Thank you for the link JRViejo.

    I notice that there are several folders with files in them such as user manuals, drivers, etc. Should I just make a new folder and start dumping my stuff in that new folder?

    Thanks,

    Mark.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2009
  13. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    xMarkx, yes, the WDSync.exe is the backup software that comes with the drive. Up to you whether or not you want to use it.

    Also, you can either keep those other folders there or move them to My Documents, and of course, start making a new folder or folders to backup all your stuff. Enjoy your new WD Drive! :thumb: Take care.
     
  14. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    There is lots of very good sync software out there, I can recommend Synctoy or better yet Free Commander. Both are freeware. Synctoy is very easy to understand and use but is not as good at its job as Free Commander which is more complicated (it has many more options and tools so takes longer to figure out). Synctoy is excellent if you do not have large (very large that should read) sets of files to compare and sync. It has problems with large groups of files though. For example it does not do a very good job on my 105 gig music collection but Free Commander handles it very nicely.

    I have never bothered with any of the programs/apps that came with my WD drive, even the user manual......no need,,,,,,just begin copying data to the drive.
     
  15. xMarkx

    xMarkx Registered Member

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    Hello,

    Thank you JRViejo and bgoodman4 - the external hard drive appears to be working fine and I've put my data on it. I decided not to use the software. I'm just copying and pasting the folders of pictures and documents right onto the drive. Thanks again for your help.

    Regards,

    Mark.
     
  16. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Glad to be of assistance.

    Have a good one.
     
  17. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    xMarkx, you're welcome! Take care.
     
  18. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    Slightly off topic but I was wondering what is the transfer rate for this Western Digital My Passport Essential 250GB Hard Drive on usb 2.0. Also it would be nice to know what hard drive is inside the casing, do they mention it somewhere on the box?

    I am interested in the drive's rpm (5400 or 7200), cache size, transfer rate on USB 2.0 and warranty.

    Can someone enlighten me?

    Thanks...
     
  19. prius04

    prius04 Registered Member

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    Hey, Raza. Info I have on that drive is as follows:

    5400 RPM
    8 MB cache
    60 MB/s transfer rate (USB 2.0)
    3-yr warranty (for products purchased since March 1st, 2007)
     
  20. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    Thanks, so the drive is 5400 rpm one.

    What is the actual transfer rate when you transfer a file on USB 2.0 interface. 1 year ago these drives were giving max 15-16 MB/s transfer rate.
    As you know an external desktop 7200 drive can give you between 25-28 MB/s.

    are you sure about the cache, as 1 year ago it was just 2 mb on these WD drives.

    Also, last year these drives were actually all IDE interface ones. Have they changed it to SATA yet or not.

    Thanks...
     
  21. prius04

    prius04 Registered Member

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    You could download HD Tune and run a benchmark.....good way to figure your min/max/avg transfer rate --> http://www.hdtune.com

    Not 100% on cache size but a site mentioned that it had 8 MB. Oddly, WD offers very little in the way of specs.

    Finally, I believe the drives are SATA. I read an account where the controller failed, the owner opened up the case, took out the drive, and was using it as an additional drive in his computer (w/SATA cabling).
     
  22. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    If I had the drive I could have done all those tests myself but I am actually planning to buy a external 2.5 inch drive and was wondering about these specs. You are right WD deliberately has hidden these specs on its website, I dont know why. These specs are very important. I am assuming they have designed it for consumers who they think will not bother with such complicated parameters.

    I just came across this thread here where I found a lot of people recommending WD portables and I wanted to know what makes these WD passport drives better than if you buy a separate 2.5 inch internal WD drive and an external usb case.

    For example

    WD 250 GB 16 MB 2.5 inch drive here http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136279 is priced $69.99

    Vantec external enclosure here http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817392032 is priced $9.99

    Total $79.99 for the above combination

    The WD 250 GB passport essential at costco priced $89.99 as mentioned above by xMarkx

    What makes the WD passport better then the above combo?

    Keep in mind that the drive in the combo is 250 GB SATA-II 16 MB buffer 7200 RPM with 5 years warranty.

    Your thoughts....
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2009
  23. prius04

    prius04 Registered Member

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    Well, I own several devices that I have acquired over the last few years; 3 WD MyBook drives, a 2.5 inch (5400 RPM) HDD in a Vantec enclosure, and a couple of Antec enclosures housing 7200 RPM Seagates.

    I have had absolutely no issues with any of the aforementioned; they all work extremely well. I suppose the self-contained (e.g. My Passport, MyBook, FreeAgent) units are a bit more convenient as it's just a matter of taking them out of the box and plugging them in......no screwdrivers necessary. :D

    Frankly, if I were buying today, I'd go with your solution, but that's just me. I like the idea of being able to (easily) replace the HDD in the enclosure with another, different, HDD and to have the choice of which HDD I can put in the enclosure.

    Regardless, just be aware that the power requirements of that 7200 RPM drive might be higher than the 5400 RPM Passport which could necessitate the use of either a Y cable (using two USB ports) or an AC adapter.
     
  24. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    The question was not about reliability. I am sure WD passports are reliable drives. The issue was performance. I want a drive that will give me performance equal to a external desktop drive but with a smaller footprint. I guess the passport drives have not caught up yet.

    I agree they are convenient to use and setup but I just dont like the idea of WD not telling me the specs of the drive inside and the warranty is void if you open the enclosure so you can't for 3 years.

    Here is the review by someone from Amazon that says the drives max transfer rate is 14 MB/s
    I read a similar review about 1 year ago too.
    http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digit...tBy=bySubmissionDateDescending#R223P65L1F2AHC

    Can someone kindly run a test for me on their WD passport. All they have to do is to transfer a couple of files about 3 GB is size from computer to WD and then from WD back to the computer and note the average transfer rate. Disable the antivirus before doing the test. This will give fair idea of the drives transfer rate.

    According to the specs on WD website both 5400 RPM and 7200 RPM drives need 5V and 500 mA max current.

    http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=477

    http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=685
     
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