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Looking for a good, stable external hard drive

Posted on 2006-11-02
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
Usb is ucked up.
I hate usb drives.
Are fire-wire drives more stable?

I think I corrupted the drive by turning it off unsafely.

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Question by:kamleshmistry
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9 Comments
 
LVL 18

Assisted Solution

by:simsjrg
simsjrg earned 200 total points
ID: 17863958
eSATA
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822148154

You would need a controller for it though. Faster then USB2, Firewire 400 and Firewire 800

The link is just an example there are many on the market or get a drive and enclosure and make your own.
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LVL 70

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by:garycase
garycase earned 1000 total points
ID: 17864639
"... I think I corrupted the drive by turning it off unsafely." ==>  It's not that the USB drive is unstable;  it's simply that ANY removeable drive that is removed (turned off) without doing a "Safely Remove" has the potential to be corrupted.   This is true of USB drives; firewire drives; and e-SATA drives.   There's a reason XP has a "Safely Remove" feature ... USE IT !!!   OR mount the drive internally.
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LVL 15

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by:mcp_jon
mcp_jon earned 600 total points
ID: 17865682
FireWire is stable, and so is USB 1.0, USB 1.1 and USB 2.0. Removing the disk anyway, Like GARY said is most of the times the cause of such Data Disruption . . .

So . . . Buy a PCI Card with 4 USH 2.0 ports and stick with USB !

USB 2.0 can go up to 480 MBps, FireWire up to 400 Mbps. BUT ... FIREWIRE 2 going up to 800 Mbps . . .

It's your call, now !

Best Regards !
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Author Comment

by:kamleshmistry
ID: 17867599


If I shut down windows normally, do I have to shut down the drive first, or windows will do it for me?

If I "Mount the Drive" internally, what does that mean?  It will still feed off of the external power, and someone can still pull the plug, and it can still corrupt.  That doesn't make it any safer.   Why would I mount an external drive internally?  It makes more sense to buy IDE drive.




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LVL 15

Assisted Solution

by:mcp_jon
mcp_jon earned 600 total points
ID: 17867650
When you shutdown Windows, usually it shuts down himself and ALL running dependencies and services, as well as Hardware, notice your mouse, if it's Optical... the light goes away :)

The best is an External USB Disk with built-in power, via 2 USB, one for Data and one for Power, this way, when you Shut the drive, you also shut the Power !

Best Regards !
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LVL 70

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by:
garycase earned 1000 total points
ID: 17867691
If you shut Windows down normally, it will automatically take care of any pending operations on external drives before it shuts down [in other words, NO, you do not have to shut down the drive first].

... the external drives you buy are just standard IDE (or SATA) drives mounted in an external case (and with a built-in ATA to USB bridge).   You could remove the drive from that external case and mount it inside the PC.   There is no reason to do that as long as you ALWAYS do a Safely Remove before you power down the external unit.   ... and yes, you could simply buy a bare drive to mount internally if you want to.

The key thing here is to ALWAYS do a Safely Remove.   THAT is what caused the problem you had --> NOT the fact that it was a USB drive.   ... and you would have the SAME problem with ANY external drive if you did the same thing again :-)

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LVL 70

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by:garycase
garycase earned 1000 total points
ID: 17867870
"... The best is an External USB Disk with built-in power, via 2 USB, one for Data and one for Power ..." ==> OUCH!!  I strongly do NOT agree !!   I've seen far too many cases of USB controllers being destroyed by devices that draw too much power from the USB ports.   You do NOT want a self-powered external drive !!   Most 2.5" hard drives draw right at the USB maximum (500ma) of power => and when mounted in an external enclosure they will draw that much PLUS whatever the electronics in the enclosure require.   That's a very marginal device to power from a USB port (but a lot of folks do it ... and companies continue to sell self-powered units for notebooks) => and result in a lot of failed USB controllers on notebooks.   As for a 3.5" drive --> they draw WAY too much power for a USB port.

... a MUCH better idea is to get an external drive that senses the power on the USB ports and shuts itself off when you power down the computer.   This is a very nice unit that does that:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822136025

Note:  There IS a product called USB PlusPower that has a special connector designed to provide not only the USB interface, but also power for the external devices.   But of course you need both a USB PlusPower interface on the computer; AND a PlusPower-enabled device.   THIS would be fine for an external drive ... but I'm not aware of any external drives that use it (yet).   PlusPower is not a standard, but it was developed by some major players in the transaction terminal business (IBM, NCR, and FCI/Berg) so transaction devices (printers, scanners, terminals) could use it.   Just how far it may evolve is a guess at this point  (seems like a good idea ... it would be perfect for external hard drives).

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LVL 15

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by:mcp_jon
mcp_jon earned 600 total points
ID: 17867929
Hi, Gary,

I hadn´t that notion of Self Powered USB disks !

Thanks a lot for your Input !

Best Regards !
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LVL 6

Assisted Solution

by:manicsquirrel
manicsquirrel earned 200 total points
ID: 17875301
You can always try a NAS.  There are many, many SOHO models out there, for instance a Linksys EFG120 with two removable drive bays.
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