External USB/Firewire drives that work

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Hoopster, Mar 10, 2005.

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  1. Hoopster

    Hoopster Registered Member

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    After reading a lot of posts in this forum regarding problems creating good backup images on external USB 2.0/Firewire drives, I thought it might be helpful if those who have drives that work well with very large files would post the specifications here. Some have mentioned the specs of their working drives, others have not. Rather than hunting all over, it would be nice to have them listed in one thread. Since the chipset seems to make a big difference in some cases, we need information such as the make/model of the external drive enclosure, the USB 2.0/Firewire chipset it uses, the chipset of your motherboard if using motherboard USB 2.0/Firewire ports or the chipset of your USB 2.0/firewire PCI or laptop PC Card if you are connecting the drive to one of those.

    My interest is in finding a good external USB 2.0 or Firewire enclosure for my WD 250 GB IDE drive that works well with the nVidia nForce2 chipset on my motherboard. Of course, by "works well" I mean can read/write large (>10GB) Acronis images and other files without corruption. If nothing works well with nForce2, I'll have to go with a PCI card. Others will have different configurations for which they need a working solution.

    Thanks in advance for any useful responses in this thread. I am sure there are many who can benefit from this information.
     
  2. iflyprivate

    iflyprivate Registered Member

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    For 2.5" USB 2.0 external hard drives, I use the $19.95 CompUSA enclosure kit which works fine from my Dell laptop and my Dell desktops. The actual hard drives are 5400 RPM 2.5" drives manufactured by Toshiba, Hitachi and Fujitsu.

    I have no problem imaging but when I clone, the recognition of my external USB drives is sketchy with the message "Error: Disk Not Found" frequently appearing after the TrueImage-initiated reboot under cloning. I sometimes have to retry the cloning operation several times before it works successfully.
     
  3. KCXLT

    KCXLT Registered Member

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    I've got a Western Digital 250gig Media Center drive. Hooked up via firewire to my Soundblaster Audigy 2. I left it formated with FAT32, so the files are broken into 4gig chunks. I've been backing up my laptop wirelessly to the PC with this drive hooked up to and it's been working fine. :D
     
  4. ctal

    ctal Registered Member

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    Hoopster -- my compliments on starting an excellent thread.

    Work well:

    Fantom Drive external firewire hard drives (I believe they use Oxford firewire chips) -- I have used several successfully; I don't think they are available just as enclosures, only as complete assemblies.

    FirewireDirect.com PCI firewire card (uses Texas Instruments firewire controller chip); if you get this or any other 800 mbps firewire device and have Windows XP Service Pack 2, be sure to download a patch Microsoft released a couple of months ago (kb885222), or the bus will run at 100 mbps.

    ATI (the video card maker, not Acronis True Image) PCI firewire card (no longer available).

    Most Definitely Do Not Work Well:

    VIA firewire controller chip (at least on Asus P4C800 Deluxe motherboard).

    Dell/Dazzle PCI firewire card (part of Dell Movie Studio package as of a couple of years ago).

    -- Al
     
  5. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    I used a Sabrent USB 2.0 PCI card, and a Pocketec Datastor USB drive. TI imaged fine to that.
     
  6. Hoopster

    Hoopster Registered Member

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    Have we run out of working solutions already? Bump
     
  7. simon_warner

    simon_warner Guest

    Well I have no problems making images. It takes me 35 minutes to create an image of the drive of my laptop (50Gig). However it took more than 4 hours to restore this image file a few weeks ago. According to the helpdesk and some help here online this has to do with the not 100% support of the rescue disk for USB 2.0 and Linux (when you restore with the rescue disk you work under Linux). So that's why the speed was so slow. However the restored image was OK.

    I have a external hard disk, 250 GB capacity, External HDD USB2.0 connection, downwards compatible to USB 1.1,
    Western Digital® WD2500JB HDD, 3.5“ format, 7200 RPM, 8 MB cache, formated for Windows XP, Windows 2000 (NTFS)

    Motherboard Chipset:
    VIA VT8377A Apollo KT400A

    USB:
    VIA VT83C572 PCI-USB Controller
    VIA USB 2.0 Enhanced Host Controller
     
  8. gkweb

    gkweb Expert Firewall Tester

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    works well for me :

    External USB2 box "Connectland mobile disk", HDD Maxtor 200Go 7200 tpm & 8MB buffer.

    (Motherboard chipset Nforce4)
     
  9. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    I have two external USB 2.0 cases for 3.5 in. IDE drives that have worked well on a variety of systems.

    Media to Go 3.5' IDE drive enclosure Model LHD2-U2

    CompUSA 3.5' IDE drive enclosure Model HD338-U2C

    The CompUSA enclosure is plastic and has a fan. I've used it with a WD 40GB and a Maxtor 250GB drive. The fan keeps the Maxtor drive cool enough.

    The Media to Go enclosure is aluminum without a fan. I'm using it with the WD 40GB drive. It stays cool enough even though there's no fan. It's quieter.

    Both of these have worked with USB 1.1 ports as well as USB 2.0 ports. The NEC chipset seems to be the best and is used on Intel motherboards as well as add-on PCI cards from Adaptec and Belkin.
     
  10. ratcheer

    ratcheer Registered Member

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    I am interested in finding an external SATA (or, eSATA) drive. WD appears to make some, but I can only find them for sale in France and Germany. Seagate also appears to be developing them. Anyone have any idea when they should become available in the US? o_O

    Tim
     
  11. psteel

    psteel Registered Member

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    I have successfully used an ADStech Firewire/USB case with a Maxtor 250Gb drive, and restored Ok via Firewire and backed up over wireless network to a network drive.

    Only just tried a restore via the firewire, but oh so much easier than Ghost. :D
     
  12. odflet

    odflet Registered Member

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    VERY unsuccessful with Vantec NexStar 2.5" USB 2.0 enclosure. Spent hours thinking it was Acronis that was the problem. Returned it an picked up a Sanmax HD-227 2.5" External USB 2.0/Firewire 400 combo. Chipset in the Sanmax is a Prolific. Not sure what was in the Vantec USB 2.0 only.

    When I tried the Sanmax, it cloned my old drive to the new external in under 20 minutes, swapped the drives, and had my laptop up in running in under 30. I was amazed.
     
  13. seejayohh

    seejayohh Registered Member

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    I've used Vantec NexSTAR2 USB2 enclosures with Seagate 7200.7plus series drives with EXCELLENT results.

    Used VIA & Intel USB chipsets, and also NEC based USB2 PCI cards.
     
  14. earther

    earther Registered Member

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    Call it beginner's luck as I am a bit 'hardware challenged' . . . I know little about the finer points of chipsets etc. But I have had good luck with imaging to an external USB 2.0 drive.

    I sensed that my 4 year old HP was about to go south so I decided to get an external hard drive for TI images and files backups until I could have a new box put together. The 'Metal Gear Box Substance' was recommended so I got one for USB 2.0, popped in a Quantum 40 gig HD and no problems.

    On that old (and now decommissioned) HP Pavilion, I did backups directly to the external drive. It took a long time but the images always verified and once I had to restore, no problem.

    Now that I have a shiny new custom built PC, I am able to do the initial images to a second internal drive and then copy the images to the external drive. Again the images always verify and I have done a successful restore.

    I do the imaging from the boot CD.

    Here are my new system specs, if that might help:

    P4 2.8Ghz
    Asus P4800SE
    NVidia GeForce MX 4000
    ATX 300W power supply
    2 80GB SATA drives (RAID not activated)
    2 x 256 DDR RAM
    CD-RW and DVD/CD multiburner
    floppy
    XP Pro SP2
     
  15. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    I just installed an Adaptec AUA-1420A USB 2.0 cardbus PC card in my Dell Latitude C-600 notebook that has only a USB 1.1 port built in. Backups were pretty slow using USB 1.1, but they are fast now, and the backups verify without a problem, so add the Adaptec card to the list of good hardware. It uses the NEC chipset. Windows XP Service Pack 2 even has the drivers, so all that's needed is to just stick the card in and use it.

    I made an image of the C drive on the C-600 which has 4GB used to my external Maxtor 250GB drive in a CompUSA enclosure without splitting it. The image file was 2.1GB, so it should have displayed any large file errors. It verified correctly.

    I also noticed that with version 7 of True Image, the backup took 14 minutes, but after upgrading to True Image 8, Build 800, the backup took only 6 minutes. Both were made at Normal compression.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2005
  16. Hoopster

    Hoopster Registered Member

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    The posts above contain great info for those seeking solutions to the external drive corruption problems.

    After researching several external drive enclosures, I think I am going to buy and try a Macally PHR-100AC. This is a dual interface USB 2.0/Firewire enclosure for Macs and PCs. It uses a NEC chipset for USB 2.0 and the Initio INIC-1430L chipset for Firewire. Macally has been very responsive to my inquiries concerning the enclosure. They used to use the Oxford 911 chipset for Firewire, but, they have found that the Initio is identical in all their tests with lots of hardware configurations and is less expensive. If I still have the same problem with my nForce2 integrated MB USB 2.0 and Firewire, I will purchase a PCI Firewire card based on the Oxford or TI Firewire chipsets. All the dual interface external enclosure reviews and tests I have read indicate that Firewire performs better than USB 2.0.

    Of course, good or bad, I'll post the results here.
     
  17. MiniMax

    MiniMax Guest

  18. Hoopster

    Hoopster Registered Member

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    I have read that appnote a couple of times. What I get from it is that certain USB 1.1 devices and chipsets had problems with nForce2 boards. Running them through a powered USB 2.0 hub seemed to resolve the issues. I do not think this is an issue with USB 2.0 devices; nevertheless, as you say, it is not entirely clear.
     
  19. tachyon42

    tachyon42 Registered Member

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    jmk94903 mentions imaging partitions of several GBs without problem.
    I have a problem imaging (although not to external USB/Firewire drives) several partitions, the smallest being 6.5GB. No problems with partitions of 2 or 3 GB.
    Perhaps someone having the USB/Firewire problems can test with different size partitions to see if there is a size below which imaging is consistently successful. Is there really a large partition size problem or is it just that the longer it takes to image the more likely a problem is to arise?
    Incidentally, I do have a Belkin USB 2 PCI card installed but not in use when imaging.
     
  20. Hoopster

    Hoopster Registered Member

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    I can successfully image my primary 120 GB disk to another internal (250 GB) disk but not to an external USB disk. I have three partitions on the 120 GB disk, they are 17 GB, 75 GB and 25 GB in size (I "lost" 3 GB to formatting/partitioning). Even to the external USB disk the image is created with no errors (I have used build 796 and 800); however, check image results in a "corrupted image" error. The size of the partitions does not seem to be a problem in my case.

    I have and Asus A7N8X Deluxe MB with an Athlon XP 2500+ (Barton) processor and the nForce2 chipset.
     
  21. ratcheer

    ratcheer Registered Member

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    I just ordered a Western Digital 250 gb "Media Center" external drive. It can be connected either by USB 2 or Firewire. Any advice on which to choose?

    Tim
     
  22. beenthereb4

    beenthereb4 Registered Member

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    Firewire, it's faster and more reliable!
     
  23. MiniMax

    MiniMax Guest

    The one that works the best? Or just works?

    I have a Maxtor OneTouch II USB/FireWire drive setting here. It works fine when connected to my desktop PC using the FireWire port, but since I also use it to backup two laptops with only USB ports, it is easier to keep the USB cable plugged into the drive.

    As to which is faster it depends on which version of USB and FireWire you are using. USB 1.0 < FireWire 400 < USB 2.0 < FireWire 800.
     
  24. ratcheer

    ratcheer Registered Member

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    Thanks. I received the drive today and hooked it up by Firewire.

    I reformatted it from Win32 to NTFS. I thought that was never going to finish. It took about 90 minutes, but it finally succeeded.

    Then I created a full disk image of my main system drive. It ran fine and verified as a good image.

    So, to be on topic, my new Western Digital Dual Option Media Center 250 GB external drive is working great with True Image 8. Connected by Firewire to my Shuttle XPC SB83G5 with 80 GB Western Digital SATA hard drive, Win XP SP2.

    The next task is to figure out the best way to copy images from the external drive to a DVD+R or DVD+RW.

    Thanks,
    Tim
     
  25. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    If you want to burn the image to DVD, it needs to be smaller than one disk (4.38GB) or you need to split the image when you create it into pieces that will fit on a DVD. Then you can write the pieces of the image to DVD disks using Roxio, or Nero or what ever DVD writing software you have.

    I like to split images into 2240MB pieces because two will just fit on one DVD. When True Image asks for the size, just type in 2240MB.
     
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