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External HDDs... What to look for?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by brans, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. brans New Member

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    I am looking to buy an external HDD in the 200-500GB range to store all my music and video files, to both help keep my internal HDDs uncluttered, and also to have all that information in one place. Just wondering what to look for, as well as possibly some recommendations. I also have a few questions:

    1. I know when shopping for the main HDD for a computer, criteria to look for include spindle speed, seek time, cache size, data transfer rate, etc. However, if this drive will only be used to stream music/video files off of it, not for loading OS and other programs, do any of these features become less crucial? Also, almost all of the external HDDs I've seen so far connect via USB 2.0. Does this put a cap on the transfer speed, or is it fast enough that the criteria mentioned above still apply?

    2. Relating to question 1, browsing around I've seen some HDD cases that effectively turn a regular HDD into a external one. Is there any downside to doing this? Is buying a regular HDD and sticking it in a case a better value than buying one designed to be external?

    3. Encryption. I'd also like to have one folder on the disk that contains sensitive personal information such as passwords, online banking stuff, etc. I'd also like to protect it with something a little beefier than a simple password. I know very little about encryption technology, but is there some way that I could put a PGP-type encryption on the whole disk, and that would have to be first bypassed before anything could be accessed?

    Thanks for your time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2008
  2. Namslas90 New Member

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    In the last two weeks I've had 3 diff freinds by LG external HD's and none of them worked.

    :toast:
     
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  3. brans New Member

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    Guess I'll take that one off the list then. :)

    Cheers.
     
  4. keakar

    keakar

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    external hdd are bottlenecked by the interface so even though you want the criteria that you look for in an internal hdd you wont get the benefit of it in most cases. they are now making cases with firewire ports and esata ports on the front panels by the usb ports but you can get this in a pci card as well or an add on drive bay mounted front interface panel for increasing your access and data transfer speeds.

    if i were buying one today i would only buy an external hdd that had the esata interface and if needed you can use an adapter when connecting to an older computer. the point is you want the latest interface technology so in 2 yrs you still have an up to date external hdd.
     
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  5. brans New Member

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    Yeah, looking around last night I saw some of the eSATA ports. I know that my computer doesn't have a SATA port outside the computer, so would I just open the case up and connect it to the secondary port on a regular motherboard? I take it that the eSATA would be beneficial for both increased speeds copying data onto and off of the disk, but would USB 2.0 still be fine for playback?

    At this point I'm thinking of buying a decent 3.5" HDD with a SATA interface, and then finding a case that has eSATA, USB and firewire ports. That way I'm covered for the near future. Sounds good?
     
  6. DanTheBanjoman Señor Moderator

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    Basically all you should care about is interface. Basically the choices are USB, Firewire, Ethernet or eSATA. If you want performance eSATA will be best, Firewire takes a second place here. If you want mobility USB is the best since every computer has USB ports. Ethernet would be a second choice here. If you want accessibility ethernet is the solution, it'll connect directly to your network and all computers can access it at once. Besides you can easily get RAID solutions in this case, which could safe you from a harddisk crash. They don't come cheap though.

    Performance for media playback is good on all solutions, so I guess you'd have to pick based on those features.
    Why do you want an external drive per se btw?
     
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  7. brans New Member

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    I just want all my media in one easily accesible place, that can be portable too. For example, to take it out of town with me so I can listen to my music or watch videos in a hotel, without having to take up valuable HDD space on my laptop. Or if I want to share some music with a friend, just simply take the drive over instead of worrying about e-mailing it or hosting it somewhere.
     
  8. brans New Member

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    So I'm thinking that this looks like a pretty good enclosure - favourable reviews, eSATA & USB 2.0, comes with the eSATA cable and connector. Anyone have any experience with the product or the brand in general?
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=18867

    Still looking for a HDD, need something that stays reasonably cool I think.
     
  9. keakar

    keakar

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    thats a nice one and i would put this hdd with it http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=16141&vpn=WD2500KS&manufacture=Western Digital
     

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