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External Hard drive questions

Posted on 2013-10-24
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Last Modified: 2013-10-28
1)When you get an external HD, is it specific to apple and PC.. or will a external HD work with both platforms (apple/windows)?

2)like USB2.0, USB3.0 - is there any standards in external HD that makes one faster than the other (Especially for huge copy/pastes- in GBs)

3)I am thinking of something like 2TB (or more if available in market)- mainly will carry 100s of 30 minutes of video segments - media content used as backup for an online streaming website. What brands maybe good for durability as this HD will be carried far and wide on road/air/ship etc passing through many human hands
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Question by:25112
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by:rindi
rindi earned 236 total points
ID: 39598445
Most USB disks you buy use the FAT32 file-system. That file-system can be read and written to by MAC OSX, M$ Windows, and also Linux and BSD OS's. The problem with FAT32 is that it offers no security, and your file-sizes are limited to 4GB Max.The NTFS file-system used by windows does away with those limits, as does the HFS+ file-system used by MAC OS's. The problem with those file-systems is that if you want to read and / or write to it from the not supported OS, you will need a 3rd party utility which won't be free. So the normal procedure is to make sure your files stay smaller than 4GB and stay with FAT32...

USB 3 is a lot faster than USB 2, but to be able to use that speed advantage your PC will need a USB port, and of course also the external drive will have to support USB 3. If either your PC or external device only supports USB 2, you'll be left with that speed.

Normally I prefer using an external Dock into which I can put any retail disk. That is the cheapest and most reliable, and it makes you more flexible, as you can just get an additional disk. Something like the product below:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817392022
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by:noxcho
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1)as rindi mentioned the drive is normally formatted in FAT file system for compatibility. But today with different crossplatform compatibility drivers such as NTFS for MacOSX or HFS for Windows this problem is no more acute.

2)USB3.0 for sure.

3) I had good experience with WD MyBook drives.
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by:Alan Henderson
Alan Henderson earned 80 total points
ID: 39599085
A dock as recommended by rindi is the smart choice and they're very flexible. They're particularly useful if you need to check drives other than your normal data drives. they also make it easy for you to be able to backup to more than one drive, easily swap them in seconds, and store them offsite for safety.

However, if you do buy a normal external USB 3 drive bear in mind that you can easily remove a few screws from most, if not all of them and do a drive swap.
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by:Alan Henderson
Alan Henderson earned 80 total points
ID: 39599104
It's also worth noting that you can partition the drive so that you can have 2 or more different file systems. FAT32, NTFS, and if required, Mac or Linux file systems.

Here's a very good free for home use Partition Manager:
http://www.partitionwizard.com/free-partition-manager.html

Windows' own Disk Management utility is also very useful.

There are any number of good commercial programs. I've used Acronis Disk Director in the past and found it excellent.
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by:rindi
rindi earned 236 total points
ID: 39599195
The problem with external drives which you buy finished with the disks already builtin in is that if you remove screws to swap their drives usually voids their warranty. You don't get into that problem with a dock, as you have the dock's warranty, and the drive's warranty is separate.
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by:nobus
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ID: 39599710
note also that when you're using drives above 2 TB they will often be in GPT format
here an USB speed comparison :
usb 1 = 12 mbs;   x40 --->    USB 2  = 480Mbs x10 --->   USB 3  = 4.8 GBs

and i suggest you choose an external drive with it's own Power supply - to avoid overpowering probles on the USB (or use  a POWERED USB hub like this : http://usb-hub-review.toptenreviews.com/ )
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by:25112
ID: 39600575
The imac is on the road(air, actually), right now.. so I am not able to check..

Below is the spec of the imac... does it tell/show that it has usb3?
~~~
PROCESSOR 065-0628 3.1GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
MEMORY 065-0635 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM-2X4GB
HARD DRIVE 065-C13V 1TB Fusion Drive (Upgrade)
GRAPHICS 065-0652 NVIDIAGeFrc GT 650M 512M GDDR5  
~~~

thanks for all the input.

*Is WD the best (or top x)brand for most Durable External HD.? If yes, I will stick to that brand only.
*The files that will be copied over will be between 5-6GB.
*Are some External drives compatabile with both HFS & NTFS without any need of 3rd party tools, or is it not possible?
*the external drive is mainly needed for imac; very rarely (maybe) for windows.
*is external Dock recommended when you have more than one external drives to deal with everyday?
*GPT format - does that slow down the drive speed? (because it is too big >2TB). Will it still maintain 4.8 GBs(USB 3)
*What is the max size (>2TB) for external drive that is recommended? (not too big that it had poor performance)
*external drive with it's own Power supply vs POWERED USB: Which is better for usage in asia (220v) but buy in usa?

>>external USB 3 drive bear in mind that you can easily remove a few screws from most, if not all of them and do a drive swap.

please help me understand. Don't all external drives come with usb cable. So why would we need to do a drive swap? is it for existing local hard drives inside computer that dont have a cradle?
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by:rindi
rindi earned 236 total points
ID: 39600857
A dock is always preferable, not only if you have more than one disks. It makes you flexible, you can use whatever disk that fits in the dock, and if something breaks, you don't have to replace the whole thing, but only either the dock or the disk.

WD isn't the best, rather all manufacturers are more or less the same. You can get problems with all of them, and all of them will break sooner or later.

GPT has no impact on speed, but a large disk will of course take longer to read all data from (or copy it to the disk), and if there are problems with it, diagnostics, tests or file-system repairs will also take much longer. I prefer several smaller disks than one very large one.

I don't know enough of Mountain Lion, but I'm not aware of it having built-in writing capabilities for ntfs, and Windows certainly doesn't have any native support for HFS+. So as far as I know you will need 3rd party tools. But your MAC OS should at least be able to read from ntfs partitions, so using ntfs as the file-system would make more sense than HFS+. It's your decision what system you want to use on your drive. You can use Windows Diskmanagement to make it ntfs, or the MAC's disk utility to make it HFS+. You could also put 2 partitions on it and have one HFS+ and the other ntfs. But also in that scenario it would make more sense to have a separate disk for the MAC, and the other for the PC.

Judging from the specs of your iMAC, I'd say it is modern enough to have USB 3, but I'm not too current on MAC's. Also, MAC's usually have firewire, so you could also look for a dock with additional firewire port. Firewire would be faster than USB 2.

Another thing of course, if you are running Windows and not Mountain Lion on your iMAC, you'd only be needing ntfs...

The powersupply for such devices should work in any country, they usually run at 110 to 240 V without the need do anything, but you may need an adapter for the power socket.

The screw comment was for should the need to arise to replace a broken disk. But that normally voids the warranty, and some companies that sell pre-built USB disks use a non standard interface on the disks, so often they can't easily be connected internally to a PC. WD also makes such non-standard disks...
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by:nobus
nobus earned 130 total points
ID: 39600858
there is no best brand  - all do fail, sooner or later
you can check if it has usb by looking for the specs of your model on the net
GPT is the latest format - so it certainly won't be the bottleneck (in fact it has no bearing on the speed)
USB powered HUBS are presented in a top ten review : that's your answer

o,n some devices, drive swapping is easy; on others it destructs the case, or is even not possible (some WD models)
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by:25112
ID: 39603425
thanks a lot.. so would say a combo of the below would be good to take it to the asian trip..

if it works good, i will have to leave it there for a while and maybe bring it back to states after a few months, if needbe.. would you have any review/recommendation on the below product combo selection?

thanks
---------------------------------

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817392022
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817404046

and
2 of
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822178109

or 1 of
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822178111
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by:Alan Henderson
Alan Henderson earned 80 total points
ID: 39603444
The Vantec Nextar docks are excellent, I have one. go for it!

:)
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by:nobus
nobus earned 130 total points
ID: 39603528
nowadays - i would not buy an USB 2 hub - better to go for USB 3 (it is compatible with USB 2, and will support all newer technologies)
or just pick the 4 TB usb 3 drive
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by:rindi
rindi earned 236 total points
ID: 39603650
You don't need the last to products you linked to, those are already external disks. For your dock you need normal internal plain vanilla desktop or notebook disks:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007603%20600003269&IsNodeId=1&name=1.2TB%20-%202TB&Order=PRICE

You then just drop that disk into the dock. As the dock takes both, 3.5" and 2.5" disks you can use both, desktop and notebook drives (but the notebook drives are usually more expensive).
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by:nobus
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ID: 39603737
that is true - but the one posted was an USB 2 dock
i still suggest to move to USB 3 now
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by:rindi
rindi earned 236 total points
ID: 39603765
For backup purposes I think USB 2 would normally be fast enough, but here is also a USB 3.0 dock (it's even a little cheaper than the USB 2 version, but it doesn't have eSATA, although that really is seldom used):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817815024
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by:25112
ID: 39604113
yes, i see it is more forward looking getting 3.0 for both dock and hub.

before i present the selections, let me tell the scenario in which it might be used in asia.. so you can give you reco for the same:

30 minute video segments will be made, edited in imac.. then it be put in a drive (right now we have only one TB external drive for this purpose) and driven in bike to TV station, it is then copied over into the TV stations machine and then we drive back with the external drive. in internet infrastructure is not so roboust in asia that it has to be done this way.. how will the recommendations given suit the above situation? if the TV station has docks, then we can carry the internal disks and be brought back. If they dont have a dock, are we stumped? also which is more durable for on-road (often with high pollution) 2-wheeler (non-car) carrying purpose back and forth- internal or external drives?

Kindly comment on the below new selections:
-----------------------------------
USB Hub:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817395008
Dlink is a 4 port 3.0USB Hub with good/enough reviews on newegg..

Belkin also only has 4 ports:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817394218
but belkin does not have any reviews yet in newegg..

Cables to go (this was another top recommendation of nobus top 10 link) also - no reviews:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=17-196-087

I was looking for 7 port ones, if possible, but they do not have enough of reviews as the above dlink one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=0J2-0020-00008
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=0J2-0020-00005

I am open to buying outside of newegg, too, if needed, if it has good reviews and if you recommend it. kindly give your

feedback for this..

-----------------------------------
Internal drive:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822178338 (4TB)

or two of:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148834 (2TB)

-----------------------------------
Dock:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817815024
(latest reco by rindi)
or if you recommend me to stick to vantec, i see one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817392037
-----------------------------------
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by:rindi
rindi earned 236 total points
ID: 39604146
If the station has no dock, you could get an extra dock for them. Personally though I'd think that there are enough knowledgeable people there for them to know what to do, or what equipment to get. Docks and other PC hardware should be readily available in most Asian countries and towns there. Most of the hardware is manufactured there anyway. You can also count on the ability of improvisation of the locals.

When carrying the drives around make sure they are packed in boxes thickly line with soft packing foam. That should keep the disks intact even if they are dropped. And this situation makes it even more important to get several disks, not just one, and so a dock makes even more sense than a "finished" external drive.
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by:25112
ID: 39604172
rindi- thanks- that settled the dock issue.. yes, we will get one.. do you have a reco between http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817815024
&
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817392037

and your review of the other selections for the drive and hub?
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by:rindi
rindi earned 236 total points
ID: 39604192
Something else, if it is only 30min segments, those shouldn't take up a lot of space (it depends on the format used and the compression). For example yesterday evening I recorded an HDTV movie from television of two and a half hours and it's size was less than 3.3GB. That would fit fine on a 4GB USB stick, but you could also use larger sticks for that, 16GB or 32GB sticks aren't all that expensive. You probably don't have to transport all the 30minute segments to the station at once, and for every ride you could first delete what previously was on the stick.

Such a stick could easily be carried in a pocket, they don't break as easily if they fall, you don't have to take much care to transport them. You also don't loose as much if a stick is stolen, and a disk is more attractive to theft.
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by:rindi
rindi earned 236 total points
ID: 39604197
From experience, the manufacturer or make of the product doesn't really make much difference. I'd probably always get what is the least costly.
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by:25112
ID: 39604275
on the USB note, it is a great idea.. but sometimes, what we do is record 10 programs or so (10*30=5 hours of running video) and give it at one time to the TV channels.. so a bigger disk helps.. also for some reason 30 min program costs 5.5GB approx.. so maybe in high resolution mode?
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by:25112
ID: 39604279
>>the manufacturer or make of the product doesn't really make much difference

i see that consensus from all the experts here.. thanks.. on that note, just going by the products that have the most review, i have selected the below 3.. do you see any compatibility issues for all these 3 to work together, if at all?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817395008
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817815024
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148834 (2 of them)
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by:25112
ID: 39604282
rethinking the USB stick idea, maybe one of this won't hurt:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA1K60T68834
(it can still hold 10 messages with 64GB).. this will work with imac, right?
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by:rindi
rindi earned 236 total points
ID: 39604306
They should all work together, and imac.
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by:25112
ID: 39604358
thanks much..
now, on
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817815024
it says 'upto 3TB'... and in features, it says "Support HDD of 3TB and above."

is that a concern?
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by:nobus
nobus earned 130 total points
ID: 39604896
it just means you can even use a bigger disk in it.
since you are talking about several GB's to move - USB2 is out of the question for me
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noxcho earned 54 total points
ID: 39605174
now, on
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817815024
it says 'upto 3TB'... and in features, it says "Support HDD of 3TB and above."
It means that this box is capable for using special driver which emulates GPT partitioning style on hardware level so that drives bigger than MBR limit of 2048GB will be supported.
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by:25112
ID: 39605393
great help- many thanks...

hosannawebtv.org thanks for your suggestions which will practically help out in the coming days...
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