Your View On Backup With External Hard Drive Vs. Internal HDD In An Enclosure?

Discussion in 'hardware' started by conceptualclarity, Sep 26, 2013.

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  1. conceptualclarity

    conceptualclarity Registered Member

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    I have been looking for a 2TB portable external hard drive with USB 3.0 or equivalent. I'm now thinking seriously about getting a WD My Passport. (The model is shown at http://www.tigerdire...023&CatId=4227.)

    I'm hearing on other threads that external drives are not built for continuous use (cooling has been mentioned as an issue) and that one needs to go the more expensive route of an internal hard drive in a separately purchased enclosure.

    I would prefer having a secondary hard drive running concurrently with my computer. (I turn it off when I retire for the day.) I know cooling devices are available for the internal HDD + enclosure combinations. Are they available for external hard drives?

    I intend to have online backup to supplement hardware backup.

    Comments on this dispute?



    Present :Windows XP
    Home Edition
    Version 2002
    32-bit
    Service Pack 3

    Dell DIMENSION DIM2400
    Intel®
    Pentium® 4 CPU 2.66GHz
    x86 Family 15 Model 2 Stepping 9
    2.05 GB of RAM
    Graphics Card: Intel® 82845G/GL/GE/PE/GV
    Graphics Controller, 64 Mb
    Hard Drive Size 114.4GB
    Free Space 37.2 GB
    Motherboard: Dell Computer Corp., 0G1548
    Antivirus : avast!

    Intending to move as soon as I find one to a new laptop with state of the art home user processing, at least 1 TB hard drive, and at least 8 GB RAM.
     
  2. conceptualclarity

    conceptualclarity Registered Member

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    Can I really get portability with the internal hard drive + separately bought enclosure option?
     
  3. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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  4. Sadeghi85

    Sadeghi85 Registered Member

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    I was in similar situation a few months ago and ended up buying a Seagate backup plus instead of WD. Why? Because unlike WD, it's a regular 2.5" drive(sata) in a nice enclosure and comes with a USB 3.0 extension.

    So I removed the extension and put it inside my case like an internal drive. It's always connected and is as cool as the other internal drive. Obviously, if I want to bring it somewhere, I just pull it from the case and put the extension back.
     

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  5. conceptualclarity

    conceptualclarity Registered Member

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    Thank you for your posts. In both of these cases it reads like you are adding a hard disk to your system rather than having it independent of the system, able to back up the system, and not susceptible to failing because the system fails. Please explain to me further.

    A techie on another site said this to me :

    Your thoughts on this?
     
  6. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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  7. Aryeh Goretsky

    Aryeh Goretsky Security Expert

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    Hello,

    Your TigerDirect link did not work for me. Are you referring to the 2.0TB Western Digital Corp. My Passport with USB 3.0 external hard disk drive? This is the HDD I have been using for almost a year for backups/syncs. No problems noted during that period.

    I would have preferred buying something like this 2.0TB model from Oyen Digital, because it has both USB 3.0 and eSATAp connectors, but it was not available when I was looking to buy a new external 2.5" hard disk drive for backups.

    Regards,

    Aryeh Goretsky
     
  8. conceptualclarity

    conceptualclarity Registered Member

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    Actually, I can find a few 2TB 3.0 USB externals in the $95-99 with S+H range.

    Since I'm now leaning to the internal + enclosure option, I thank you for encouraging me by showing me those prices. Are those portable in your use?

    Yes, WDBY8L0020BBK-NESN.

    Anybody have comments on the view expressed :

     
  9. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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  10. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    conceptualclarity,

    I don't know how experienced you are with imaging software. I'd buy a laptop with a big HD and also buy a 128 GB SSD. Clone the OS to the SSD and use the SSD as the primary drive and put the original HD in the internal enclosure. The HD would be used for OS backups and data.
     
  11. tgell

    tgell Registered Member

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  12. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    The issue was about using this device in a continuous-use situation where heat build up is a concern. And I used $130 based on YOUR suggested WD My Passport 2Tb - which does NOT use "active" (fan) cooling.

    Shopping around, I can find cheaper 2Tb drives and cheaper enclosures with "passive" (no fans) cooling too.

    But is "the cheapest" what you want for storing your data?

    Concerning XP, IMO, you should not be buying anything for XP. XP is nearly 13 years old. It has been superseded 3 times, and very soon (next April) will no longer receive any support (critical security updates) from Microsoft. It needs to be let go. Yes, it was a great OS - "was" being the operative word here.
     
  13. conceptualclarity

    conceptualclarity Registered Member

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    Thanks for all the advice and information, fellows.

    I know next to nothing about it.

    I know SSD is the wave of the future. But 128GB doesn't seem like much of a drive for a new computer.

    I don't know how many weeks or months away I am from having the time to devote myself intensively to finding a new computer and actually securing the right one. I'm on a tight budget, so I can't just throw money in the direction of computer-makers. I hate it, but I'm stuck with XP for a while.
     
  14. wtsinnc

    wtsinnc Registered Member

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    A few months ago I started a thread inquiring about the coolest running 1TB or 2TB hard drive for use in a stand-alone surveillance DVR. I got numerous helpful posts from that thread but absolutely nothing met my criteria for reliability because the DVR was vented but not fan cooled. Heat was a real issue and I found no good way to get around it. Perhaps if I had opted for a seven hundred dollar DVR I could have gotten better thermal properties, but my budget was $200.00 maximum.

    Whatever/whichever enclosure you get, make it one that is fan cooled.

    I like Sans Digital. Most of their enclosures are fan cooled and my personal experience is that Sans Digital is very reliable.
    Yes, they are relatively expensive but my data is worth it.

    ps: The only workable solution for the surveillance DVR was to return it and instead use an older desktop computer that had a decent hard drive fan.
    So far, so good.
     
  15. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    I hear you, but this has been a long time coming with years of warnings.

    The good news is you are looking for USB 3.0, which is the latest version and will carry you further into the future. I note W8 is the first Microsoft OS that has native USB 3.0 support (no 3rd party driver needed).

    And SSD is the way of the future, but not for the budget minded, and won't be until SSD sales exceed hard drive sales. And that won't happen until prices come down.
     
  16. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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    I'm not speaking for Bill_Bright, but keep in mind that a 3.5" drive will typically need to have a power source for the drive. A separate power connection is not necessary for smaller 2.5" drives however their capacity is also smaller. Western Digital does have 2TB drive in a 2.5" form factor but it is thicker than smaller sized drives and may not fit in a typical enclosure.
     
  17. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Remember, you will also have a 1 TB HD in the computer. The SSD only needs to contain the OS and installed apps. Data will be on the HD. A 40 GB SSD (if it was available) would be large enough for my Win8.
     
  18. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    Is there any statistically significant evidence fan's are needed or improve reliability of external USB enclosures ?
    The only mass study I know of (from Google http://static.googleusercontent.com...arch.google.com/en//archive/disk_failures.pdf) shows there is no correlation between temperature and HDD reliability, but that is for internal probably quite stably temperature controlled server drives.

    Cheers, Nick
     
  19. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    I doubt it. Who would fund such a study? And who would determine and set the test parameters?

    Note that study is NOT a study of USB enclosures, but of hard drives installed in PCs which at the very least typically allow for more space around the drive for confection and heat radiation to move heat away. And even PC cases with minimal fan support have at the very least, a fan in the PSU to provide some air movement.

    There have been many examples of enclosure failures where the user removed the drive, installed it in a computer or another enclosure and were able to use it successfully. We've done this in my shop on a few occasions too suggesting enclosures may be less robust than the drives within. And to me that makes sense. While mechanical parts are susceptible to friction, they tend to be more heat tolerant.

    The study is 6 years old. Does that matter? I don't know! But I do know drives commonly were warrantied for 3 or 5 years. Today, many are warrantied for just 2, often 1 year. And there are budget enclosures warrantied for just 30 days. That "suggests" to me, drive makers are using cheaper parts - at least in their entry-level lines.
    Oh? In the last full paragraph on page 5 it says,
     
  20. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    Ah, this is useful information. Did you notice any pattern to the failures (drive or enclosure) ?

    My old Iomega enclosure had no fan, but was on the large side (lots of room around the drive) and fully vented at either end, does make me wonder how well tested enclosures are for temperature control.

    Cheers, Nick
     
  21. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    We are only talking a handful I have seen personally so no - except they were all USB and no eSATA. Though that may not be fair since eSATA drives are relatively new and not supported by all motherboards (while virtually all mobos support USB) and many users are not familiar with eSATA either. In any case, it seems about equal, drive vs the enclosure itself.

    There are so many factors/variables involved - that's why I just don't see how anyone could come up with a reliable test that could be conclusive.

    For example, many enclosures use 5400RPM drives which generally run cooler compared to 7200RPM. Even ambient (room) temps may be a factor. If the external drive is not used as the boot drive, or for streaming, or other function that keeps it spinning as well as the R/W head constantly seeking new locations, temperatures may never be a problem.

    While Iomega don't make hard drives, they have a decent reputation for making reliable computer accessories. Can't say the same for brands I've never heard of. But an enclosure with lots of vents would surely help keep a drive cooler than one without lots of vents.

    I use a docking station so heat is not as issue. But I don't use the DS to permanently connect a drive either. I swap drives in and out as I need them.
     
  22. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Bill, that section also says...

    So we can take our pick about high or low temperatures.
     
  23. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    That was a surprise but I don't think we can take our pick at all. And I think the next sentence should not have been omitted in your quote which said there was a slight reversal of that trend at very high temps - which, IMO, is what can happen inside a closed enclosure with insufficient ventilation.

    But we much remember hard drives are "electro-mechanical" devices. They are not pure electronics. And mechanical devices must deal with friction. That means they also must be lubricated. And we all know lubrication thickens when cooled and the mechanics must work harder to push through hardened grease. The study does not differentiate between mechanical or electrical failures.

    It is also important to understand what heat does to electronics. Assuming we are not talking about "extreme" temperatures (high or low), high temperatures increases aging. And I think the increased failures shown in that report at the 3 - 4 year mark are a reflection of that as I note that same section of the study emphasizes that by saying (my bold added), "What stands out are the 3 and 4-year old drives, where the trend for higher failures with higher temperature is much more constant and also more pronounced."

    Another characteristic of electronics is they tend to fail early in their life, or they last nearly forever - unless influenced by abnormal conditions. The study uses the term, infant mortality rate. The increased failure of younger drives plays into that.

    And note another surprise found in the study is drives with low utilization rates failed at a greater rate than drives with higher utilization. And I think I have an explanation for that. Electronics are "happy" if you will, when maintained consistently within a "normal operating range". They don't like to be turned on (which is hard on all electronics) or submitted to frequent heat and cool cycles that forces "matter" to expand and contract. This is why many say leaving your computers, radios, TVs, etc. on 24/7 is better than turning it off several times a day - as it minimizes "fatigue" and the creation of micro-fractures in components.

    The study seems to confirm that by noting "temperature deltas as low as 15°C can nearly double disk drive failure rates".

    In the olden days, we used to see recommendations to leave electronics that were used frequently on so they would not go through all those heat/cool, expansion/contraction cycles to extend their lifespan. But economics got in the way in later years as the price of electricity went up while the cost of electronics went down. So today, it is more economical in the long run to replace the electronics every few years than to leave it powered on during that time.

    I note the Centennial Lightbulb that is over 100 years and still works. The bulb's long life has been attributed to among other things, its near continuous operation.

    Bottom line (in my book) is the same as the bottom line in my sig.
     
  24. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    You left out a few words. The actual quote was "Previous studies have indicated that temperature deltas as low as
    15C can nearly double disk drive failure rates [4]." The Google study did not examine this.
     
  25. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    You are right but it is a moot point as this topic is about enclosures and the study is about drives installed in PCs. Big difference.
     
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