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What portable external drive do you currently recommend?

Posted on 2011-02-22
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
HI Experts,

We are looking to replace some of our current external hard drives we use for backups.  They get taken in and out of the office on a regular basis.  Seagate currently has their GoFlex 500 GB hard drives on sale for $ 60 each which seems like a good deal.  However, with the addition of the new interchangeable interface the warranty seems to have dropped from 5 years to 3 years.  

Does anyone else recommend a different drive or is the GoFlex a good way to go?  We had Seagate Freeagent Go's and WD Elements in the past, but the Freeagent Go's seem to be hard to find anymore (even though a few still sell them).  They may be getting disocintuned.

Thanks!
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Question by:Jsmply
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KCarney81 earned 84 total points
ID: 34955229
Seagate makes solid products, so you're probably spot on with the GoFlex.  WD also has My Passport line of products which I haven't had any issues with.
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by:discgman
discgman earned 84 total points
ID: 34955259
Vote 2 for Seagate. Besides being a good drive, if your going to be doing backups with this drive, the software that comes with the Seagate is FREE and way better than anything from WD or other providers. WD now comes with tryware that is worthless.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34955269
Thanks.  Have you used the GoFlex drive yet?  We used lots of the Freeagent GO drives and were very happy with them.  However, the GoFlex drive seems to have gotten cheaper in price but the warranty has been cut down, not sure if that's a reflection of anything we should be concerned about.  

Also, not sure how well that interchangeable interface holds up over time since the drives get swapped regularly in most cases.  
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by:KCarney81
ID: 34955323
Most companies have reduced the warranty period for hard drive products.  WD is 3 years as well.

Are you referring to this model with the dock?
http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/external/external-hard-drive/portable-drive/

If so it might be a good idea to order some extra docks from seagate, that is if they will do that.  
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by:jamietoner
jamietoner earned 83 total points
ID: 34955907
I am currently using a 2Tb goflex drive with usb 3.0. When i was looking they had the longest warranty, and I've always had good luck with seagate drives.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34955945
We are looking at the version without the dock only because where they sit they would probably get knocked over on the dock. Unless you think the dock would help minimize wear and tear on connections.  Seems like with the goflex its less of a concern though.
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by:jamietoner
ID: 34955978
Mine is fairly hard to get out of the dock I doubt knocking it over would knock it off the dock, however knocking it over while its operating may damage the drive.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34956213
Iamietoner: You have a GoFlex Pro?  These drives would be changed on a regular basis (daily or weekly) so would the dock not be a good thing then (in your opinion)?  There is a safe spot for the drive to sit in most cases.  It almost seems like that (laying flat) would be safer, what do you think?

Besides that, how do you like the drive?  
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by:jamietoner
ID: 34956351
Mine's not the pro. I've been very happy with the drives performance. If the drives are going to be swapped constantly then yes I'd recommend using the dock, it's easier than swapping cables. There shouldn't be an issue running the drive on its side.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34957999
Thanks.  I see the pro version is the one that comes with the dock.  So did you just buy the regular drive(s) and buy a dock separately?  Right now they are used to using regular drives and unplugging the cable to switch out the drives (daily or weekly).  Is there anything different about the GoFlex drives that would make this harder if they did NOT have the dock?

Thx
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by:ocanada_techguy
ocanada_techguy earned 83 total points
ID: 34960016
I've preferred the FantomDrives G-Force MegaDisk for desktop applications, simply because they come with both eSATA and USB 2.0, and I make it a point of using a $8 SATA to eSATA cable or two off the motherboard's SATA, and voila my hard drive transfers way way faster than USB, typically 3.5x faster.  Admitedly they are larger fanless enclosure size.  Their green models are $12 more and have a longer warranty with them.  They also require their own AC power, avoiding the problems of trying to run a hard drive off USB power (which I wouldn't even dare try unless the external drive were 2.5 laptop optimized for low power consumption, for those rare instances an external drive is needed for a laptop on a train, plane or boat and no car lighter/DC socket adapter is available)  I always try to choose a laptop that has an eSATA port, but those that don't I can use the USB.

I expect the forthcoming USB 3 standard addresses the speed somewhat, and eventually it will be inexpensive to install a USB 3 card into a desktop.  Then again SATA 6Gbit is starting to show up on shelves too.  I think maybe even USB 3 specification is standardized on the SCSI command set, such that certain disk diagnostic or direct access to the disk are "lost in translation", another reason I prefer SATA/eSATA.  In theory there are extensions to the spec so that direct disk commands can be passed, but many USB enclosures fail to fully support that.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34960150
Thanks Ocanada, the computers in question don't have esata ports available.  That being so, would you concur with the GoFlex recommendation?
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by:jamietoner
ID: 34960386
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by:noxcho
ID: 34960657
Whatever drive you select make sure that it has additional power cable connector. Sometimes the drive is not detected or failing in work due to the lack of power. Or you will need to get the recommended drives + powered USB hub for better work of the USB drives.
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by:SelfGovern
SelfGovern earned 83 total points
ID: 34960937
I agree with Noxcho on the power connector.

If you are worried about wearing out the usb connector (which shouldn't be a problem), get a couple of the shortest possible USB extension cables, and put them in between the drive and your computer.   Now you'll be unplugging an extension from an extension (leave always an extension attached to the computer, and the other attached to the drive), so if something does wear out, you just need to buy a couple more extension cables.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34962336
The usb powered drives have worked without issue on these machines thus far. If that is so, is there any reason to change?
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by:noxcho
ID: 34964022
Drive differs from drive to drive. I know even cases where two identical Freeagent drives by Seagate behaved different. One worked without powered hub and another one not. System detected only USB device but not drive.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34964133
Thanks.  In this case though, the drives will be swapped regularly and carried out so the desk versions really arn't practical.  As long as it reads the USB version we are good correct?

Also, looking at it deeper, does anyone think the GoFlex is a "lesser" drive than the regular Freeagent Go?  The Freeagent Go is still on Seagate's website and some people still carry them but it seems they are a lot harder to find and all the local stores have the GoFlex now.  However, that being said, the GoFlex has a 2 year warranty and the Go had (and still has) a 5 year warranty.  I don't see anyplace local with the Go's now though, they are all online order and seem to be nearly twice the price.
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by:noxcho
ID: 34964311
I think GoFlex drives are ok. And IMHO this is just re-brending of the same drives under different name.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34964372
Thanks.  Wonder if the drives on the inside are the same.
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by:noxcho
ID: 34964419
You would never know before you open both =) But I would not be surprised if they are the same.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34964564
Thanks.  I guess we have to go with this then as our choice.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34964729
Okay well we got the answer.  Just went ahead and called Seagate.  According to their sales guy, the Seagate Freeagent GO is being discontinued, they are just selling off what's left.  The GoFlex is the new drive from here on out.  The warranty was just an internal decision but according to their sales guy it's the same drive in both.  
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by:noxcho
noxcho earned 83 total points
ID: 34965329
=) As I said. Rebrending. This is typical for all the companies all over the world.
It is like - HD ready TV that is sold as Full HD TV next year.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34974816
Thanks everyone.  All good advice and really no wrong answer so the points were passed around.  Thx
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