External USB 3.0 HD Reliability Question

Discussion in 'hardware' started by The Shadow, Sep 8, 2012.

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  1. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

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    My current external USB 2.0 HD is several years old (and only 300 GB) so I'm looking to buy a new USB 3.0 HD (in the range of 1 - 2 TB). I like the idea of getting a portable (I'm not what you would call a 'road warrior', but small is always easier to handle than big)!

    However, I'm concerned about the reliability of portable USB 3.0 drives compared to desktop USB 3.0 drives. Is that concern valid, and are there any other important factors I should consider in choosing between the two types?

    TS
     
  2. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    Portable drives usually don´t have their own power supplies. So, the depend on the power supplied by the USB 3.0 port, that may be insufficient in certain cases.

    Two solutions: to connect the drive to two USB ports (using a Y cable), or to connect it to a powered USB hub.
     
  3. kdcdq

    kdcdq Registered Member

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    Hey Shadow,

    The "Portable" external drives use 2.5" laptop-size hard drives in them. These drives are designed to take more abuse than the 3.5" hard drives used in desktop machines. One thing to look for in the spec page is that many (ok most) of the less expensive portable drives use 5400 rpm hard drives in them, while the "desktop" backup units are most often 7200 rpm drives.

    Does my post describe the info that you are looking foro_O
     
  4. Noob

    Noob Registered Member

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    There are external backup drives and portable drives.
    As someone said above, external drives are usually HUGE, use a 3.5" HDD (Usually 7200RPM) and most of the times requires an external power source.
    Portable drives use a 2.5" HDD (Usually 5400RPM) are pretty small and do not require an external power source.

    I think (Not really sure) portable drives max out at around 1TB or 1.5TB, personally i purchased a WD MyPassport 1TB with USB 3.0 a few months ago and its working great, now i have so much space i don't even know how to fill it BWAHAHAHAHA. :D
     
  5. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

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    Well, I think that by saying the 2.5" drives are designed to take more abuse, you are implying that the portables should be the more reliable choice.

    If that's correct, can you suggest some 7200 rpm portables in the 1 - 2 TB range?

    TS
     
  6. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    What we are really talking about is two different types of external drive "enclosures".

    USB 3.0 has nothing to do with this. And since this drive will sit on a desk and not be tossed about in transport, I don't see where "ruggedness" of the drive has any bearing here either.

    No! I disagree with that completely! The "abuse" you refer to is being bounced off the floor - but ONLY when powered up! The drive (if powered up!) when it senses a quick change in "G's" (becomes weightless) will reposition the R/W head/arm over a safe spot on the drive so hopefully it will not destroy or be destroyed at the sudden stop, or reverse in direction. Is that likely to happen with this external drive you want? Note all drives move the R/W heads to a safe spot when powered down.

    If you want a reliable hard drive - a drive worthy of the responsibility of safeguarding your backups or other critical data, one that will likely give you many years of reliable service, you need to buy an empty, self powered, external enclosure and install your own "enterprise" class hard drive in it.

    Newegg - Enterprise class HDs
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
  7. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

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    Not to disregard your comment, but I really don't want to go that route - I'll settle for a 'self-contained' external hard drive (USB 3.0).

    But now that the drive's rpm has come up, I'd like to ask if 5400 rpm vs. 7200 rpm would result in a very noticeable difference when making image backups (with other factors being equal)? Most of the Seagate or WD portables that I've been checking-out are 5400 rpm.
     
  8. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Okay, but please understand that's what you create when you buy a separate enclosure and drive and assemble them yourself. The big difference is flexibility. You get to choose what drive. And you can replace it should it fail. Note the enclosures here to be sure we are on the same page. Also note the docking stations, which I prefer and use.

    With a factory assembled enclosed drive, you have no choice, but size. If the drive fails, you may not be able to replace it.

    Plus, enterprise class drives are typically warrantied for 5 years. Factory assembled? Often just 1 like this Seagate. You can find some for 3.

    Your call, but you said reliability was a concern.

    That would depend on the image. It might take several minutes longer, but for backup systems, speed is not priority. Also, it would be hard to make the other factors equal. The size of the buffer, for example can make a huge difference in drive performance (and why, besides costs, hybrid drives, with built in 8Gb SSDs caches are becoming so popular). Most 5400 notebook drives only have 8Mb buffers. A few have 16Mb, but many 7200 3.5" desktop drives have 32Mb, and more and more come with 64Mb.
     
  9. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

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    Thanks for that interesting info Bill. I'm not comfortable with the idea of building computers or even a simpler project such as constructing an external drive. I'd just rather buy it already built and ready to go. So as I tend to buy such items at Costco I'll see what they carry.

    Since I want to backup Windows and user-files a few times a week, based on your comments re 5400 vs 7200 rpm as well as buffer size, it sounds like I would save precious time with a 'desktop' external USB drive (7200 rpm and at least 32MB buffer) than with a 'portable version (typically, 5400 rpm and 8MB buffer).

    TS
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
  10. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    TS,

    I've built my own from spare HDs but I see little wrong with buying pre-assembled as you intend. Regarding a 5400 rpm drive. For backup purposes you wouldn't notice any difference in transfer speed. For imaging, the drive will be much faster than the imaging app can supply compressed data.
     
  11. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

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    Hi Brian,

    Thank you for that relevant input. That being the case, I'd really prefer going with a smaller and lighter portable, like the Seagate GoFlex USB 3.0 1.5TB.

    As you know I just 'resurrected' my old Maxtor USB 2.0 drive, so now I'll have two sources of backup - which is safer than just one!

    TS
     
  12. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Looks good. I doubt you could build one yourself for that price.

    Edit... did you ever work out what caused the RAW partition?
     
  13. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    I respect that and I am not trying to push you into this. But I don't think you understand how simple it is. You are not constructing anything. You simply mount the drive with 4 small screws and then close the case which might take a couple more screws. I have had a harder time changing batteries in some of my grandson's toys!

    Still, nothing wrong with buying a ready to use unit if that is your preference. From my standpoint, I am just glad to see someone concerned about a backup device. :)

    Seagate Free Agent GoFlex 1.5Tb USB 3.0 $140.

    Seagate 1.5Tb Drive $70.
    Rosewill USB Enclosure $30.
     
  14. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    Also depends on data density as well, more MB a platter = more data can be transferred per revolution.

    Cheers, Nick
     
  15. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Bill,

    The HD and enclosure you quoted are 3 1/2 inch. The enclosure is USB 2.0, not 3.0. The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex is 2 1/2 inch. TS wants a 2 1/2 inch drive.
     
  16. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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  17. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

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    Bought the Seagate GoFlex (USB 3.0) 1.5TB yesterday for $110 at Costco. It's really small and very light, but the included USB cable is only about 15" long! I haven't tried using the drive yet, maybe today...


    No clue as to what caused it, but (as reported in my thread on the subject) TestDisk resurrected it from the dead. :thumb:
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  18. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    TS,

    Great price. We don't get deals like that in Australia.

    When you get a chance can you copy a few GB single file, to and from the USB 3.0 HD and let us know the Transfer Rate in MB/sec?
     
  19. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

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    Do you have a Costco warehouse relatively close (are you a member)?


    Sure, but that will have to wait until I return home this eve.
     
  20. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Not near us. But they only sell food.
     
  21. jwcca

    jwcca Registered Member

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    I agree, I use two Siig dual docking stations with built-in fans so the drives can stay on all day and stay cool. One is USB 2.0, the other USB 3.0, both with their own 'power bricks', which isn't a problem.
    The PC case also has a Sata 3 hot swap bay.
    Total external, hot swappable drives = 14, in protective cases when not in use.
     
  22. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

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    Brian,

    I don't know how meaningful this test is because a) I have not installed the Seagate software and b) I copied a folder full of jpg's. But fwiw, here is what I did and the results:

    Size of folder (moved to and from) - 8460 MB

    Time to move folder from USB HD to Internal HD = 190 sec.
    Transfer rate = 44.5 MB/sec.

    Time to move folder from Internal HD to USB HD = 400 sec.
    Transfer rate = 21.1 MB/sec.

    TS
     
  23. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    No. That's not true at all. They are just like Sam's and sell everything - from food, to computers, TVs, kitchen counters and cabinets, eyeglasses (top rated by the way) and more.
     
  24. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    TS,

    Can you do the test with a single large file such as an image? Multiple small files give you low results.
     
  25. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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