External hard drives

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Peter Jenkins, Jan 28, 2008.

  1. Am thinking of getting one as an additional backup system and to
    supplement the storage on my home PC.

    Have looked at one based on a laptop size hard drive, plus some based
    on standard hard drives - the laptop drive based one has size and
    weight advantages, are they any less reliable?

    Any recommendations or horror stories - brands to avoid etc etc,
    thought I'd check here before purchase and ask for peoples opinions
    from experience

    Regards
    Peter Jenkins
    see http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz
     
    Peter Jenkins, Jan 28, 2008
    #1
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  2. In article
    <>, Peter
    Jenkins did write:

    > Have looked at one based on a laptop size hard drive, plus some based
    > on standard hard drives - the laptop drive based one has size and
    > weight advantages, are they any less reliable?


    My suspicion is, in real laptops, they tend not to last long enough for you
    to find out. :)
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jan 28, 2008
    #2
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  3. Peter Jenkins

    JohnO Guest

    On Jan 28, 4:47 pm, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <l...@geek-
    central.gen.new_zealand> wrote:
    > In article
    > <>, Peter
    > Jenkins did write:
    >
    > > Have looked at one based on a laptop size hard drive, plus some based
    > > on standard hard drives - the laptop drive based one has size and
    > > weight advantages, are they any less reliable?

    >
    > My suspicion is, in real laptops, they tend not to last long enough for you
    > to find out. :)


    I think that may be due to poor cooling in many laptops. A drive in an
    enclosure without a hot PSU, CPU and RAM nearby may last longer.
     
    JohnO, Jan 28, 2008
    #3
  4. Peter Jenkins

    RL Guest

    Peter Jenkins wrote:
    > Am thinking of getting one as an additional backup system and to
    > supplement the storage on my home PC.
    >
    > Have looked at one based on a laptop size hard drive, plus some based
    > on standard hard drives - the laptop drive based one has size and
    > weight advantages, are they any less reliable?
    >
    > Any recommendations or horror stories - brands to avoid etc etc,
    > thought I'd check here before purchase and ask for peoples opinions
    > from experience


    I've been using one for about four years now. I paid $16.50 for the
    aluminium enclosure, and aside from having a proprietary cable and a
    dodgy connection for the second USB connector, it works wonderfully.

    The only thing you really need to note with the 2.5" drives is that USB
    ports are only required to provide a certain amount of power, and
    delivering the higher current that is required for a hard drive is
    optional. For this reason you will find most of these devices come with
    a power/data connector, and a power-only connector, so two USB ports can
    be used at the same time. Some, like mine, do not have any external
    power supply connector, but if you're using it on the road anyway, you
    need to ensure your laptop alone will power it.

    The enclosures are all pretty much the same, if you pay a little or a lot.

    RL
     
    RL, Jan 28, 2008
    #4
  5. Peter Jenkins

    EMB Guest

    RL wrote:
    > The only thing you really need to note with the 2.5" drives is that USB
    > ports are only required to provide a certain amount of power, and
    > delivering the higher current that is required for a hard drive is
    > optional. For this reason you will find most of these devices come with
    > a power/data connector, and a power-only connector, so two USB ports can
    > be used at the same time. Some, like mine, do not have any external
    > power supply connector, but if you're using it on the road anyway, you
    > need to ensure your laptop alone will power it.


    IME a lot of Acer laptops struggle to provide enough power to run an
    external hard drive - they run semi-reliably if connected after startup,
    but if you connect them before turning the laptop on it will refuse to boot.
     
    EMB, Jan 28, 2008
    #5
  6. Peter Jenkins

    Guest

    On Sun, 27 Jan 2008 19:14:06 -0800 (PST), Peter Jenkins <> wrote:

    >Am thinking of getting one as an additional backup system and to
    >supplement the storage on my home PC.
    >
    >Have looked at one based on a laptop size hard drive, plus some based
    >on standard hard drives - the laptop drive based one has size and
    >weight advantages, are they any less reliable?




    Yes they run a Lot slower..



    I think the best buy are the Seagate FreeAgent drives.

    >Any recommendations or horror stories - brands to avoid etc etc,
    >thought I'd check here before purchase and ask for peoples opinions
    >from experience
    >
    >Regards
    >Peter Jenkins
    >see http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz
     
    , Jan 28, 2008
    #6
  7. Peter Jenkins

    ofn01 Guest

    "Peter Jenkins" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Am thinking of getting one as an additional backup system and to
    > supplement the storage on my home PC.
    >
    > Have looked at one based on a laptop size hard drive, plus some based
    > on standard hard drives - the laptop drive based one has size and
    > weight advantages, are they any less reliable?
    >
    > Any recommendations or horror stories - brands to avoid etc etc,
    > thought I'd check here before purchase and ask for peoples opinions
    > from experience
    >
    > Regards
    > Peter Jenkins
    > see http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz


    I have a Nexstar 3 and a Nexstar original

    The Nexstar original is USB2 with a laptop drive, I've had it 3.5 years and
    use it occasionally. I put a seagate drive in it and its always been good.
    Recently I've repurposed it away from being a backup drive as 40gb just
    wasn't enough. It now runs with my main computer all the time (Rather than
    its previous duty of coming out once a week and then being put back for safe
    keeping). The annoying thing I have found though is that my motherboard's
    usb ports always supply power, even when the PC has been shut down, and
    because this little enclosure doesn't have its own on/off switch it stays
    running after the PC has shut down unless you unplug the usb cable.

    The Nexstar 3 I have for my new main backup drive (3.5" and its about 3
    times as high, almost twice as wide and about half again as long as the 2.5"
    nexstar enclosure - so way bigger). It has a 500gb sata drive in there and
    is connected via e-sata to my system. It is really fast and shows up in the
    "safely remove" hardware list when windows detects it. I like everything
    about it except the power supply looks cheap (see another thread I recently
    made about this). However I only power it on once or twice a week to run
    Vista's complete PC backup so thats ok. It has its own on/off switch which
    is good as it doesn't spin down when you power the machine off.

    I investigated the freeagent and mybook line of USB 2 and esata drives but
    read consistent good and bad reviews rather than the almost consistently
    good ones of the Nexstar 3. Mainly with the freeagent ones the issue is
    cooling - they're in a plastic enclosure with vents on the bottom (the
    nexstar is aluminium and using everest i've seen the drive temp never go
    above 42 degrees on a hot day (my internal drives are around 30-35 and the
    max temp for seagates is 60). The Mybook ones got panned for reliability in
    general.

    I looked at other aluminium enclosures including the coolermaster one and
    some of the welland ones (which I believe are very similar if not the same
    as the nexstar ones in many respects).

    One other one I quite liked the look of but couldn't find many reviews on is
    the MacPower Super Pleiades SD combo (3.5" drive size), but it is three
    times the price of the nexstar and the nexstar got loads of good reviews.

    http://www.macpower.com.tw/products/hdd3/pleiades/pd_scombo

    Those are my experiences.

    P.S. I always run the manufacturers low level testing on a new drive when I
    get it (in the case of seagate I used SeaTools for DOS which saw my internal
    sata drives and the esata drive)
     
    ofn01, Jan 28, 2008
    #7
  8. Peter Jenkins

    Ross Guest

    On Sun, 27 Jan 2008 19:14:06 -0800 (PST), Peter Jenkins
    <> wrote:

    >Am thinking of getting one as an additional backup system and to
    >supplement the storage on my home PC.
    >
    >Have looked at one based on a laptop size hard drive, plus some based
    >on standard hard drives - the laptop drive based one has size and
    >weight advantages, are they any less reliable?
    >
    >Any recommendations or horror stories - brands to avoid etc etc,
    >thought I'd check here before purchase and ask for peoples opinions
    >from experience
    >
    >Regards
    >Peter Jenkins
    >see http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz


    Have been using a 2.5" 80GB drive for 6 months.
    It's 5400rpm on USB, so it's slow for large backups.

    Try for a 7200rpm one (may need ext power supply)
    and eSATA would be even faster.
     
    Ross, Jan 28, 2008
    #8
  9. Peter Jenkins

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Somewhere on teh intarweb "ofn01" typed:


    [.......]

    > The annoying
    > thing I have found though is that my motherboard's usb ports always
    > supply power, even when the PC has been shut down, and because this
    > little enclosure doesn't have its own on/off switch it stays running
    > after the PC has shut down unless you unplug the usb cable.


    Most modern motherboards give you the option of powering the USB either from
    the +5V rail or from the +5V/SB (Stand-By) rail. I'd say yours is powered
    from the SB rail as that's on all the time. (The +5V is switched). It may be
    possible for you to change it either with a jumper or by changing a BIOS
    setting. Consult your motherboard manual. :)

    Cheers,
    --
    Shaun.
     
    ~misfit~, Jan 28, 2008
    #9
  10. Peter Jenkins

    ofn01 Guest

    "~misfit~" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Somewhere on teh intarweb "ofn01" typed:
    >
    >
    > [.......]
    >
    >> The annoying
    >> thing I have found though is that my motherboard's usb ports always
    >> supply power, even when the PC has been shut down, and because this
    >> little enclosure doesn't have its own on/off switch it stays running
    >> after the PC has shut down unless you unplug the usb cable.

    >
    > Most modern motherboards give you the option of powering the USB either
    > from the +5V rail or from the +5V/SB (Stand-By) rail. I'd say yours is
    > powered from the SB rail as that's on all the time. (The +5V is switched).
    > It may be possible for you to change it either with a jumper or by
    > changing a BIOS setting. Consult your motherboard manual. :)


    Its a GA-X38-DQ6 - the motherboard manual doesn't mention any jumpers for
    this and I tried a couple of the power management options in the bios but
    they made no diffference (set them back afterwards).

    The strange thing is both the hard-wired ports at the back and the front
    ones which are linked to via a cable do the same thing!
     
    ofn01, Jan 28, 2008
    #10
  11. Peter Jenkins

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Somewhere on teh intarweb "ofn01" typed:
    > "~misfit~" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> Somewhere on teh intarweb "ofn01" typed:
    >>
    >>
    >> [.......]
    >>
    >>> The annoying
    >>> thing I have found though is that my motherboard's usb ports always
    >>> supply power, even when the PC has been shut down, and because this
    >>> little enclosure doesn't have its own on/off switch it stays running
    >>> after the PC has shut down unless you unplug the usb cable.

    >>
    >> Most modern motherboards give you the option of powering the USB
    >> either from the +5V rail or from the +5V/SB (Stand-By) rail. I'd say
    >> yours is powered from the SB rail as that's on all the time. (The
    >> +5V is switched). It may be possible for you to change it either
    >> with a jumper or by changing a BIOS setting. Consult your
    >> motherboard manual. :)

    >
    > Its a GA-X38-DQ6


    Hmmm, quite a nice mobo. Good to see folks buying stuff that's built to
    last. "Ultra Durable" in Gigabyte's words. I have an Asus but I'll always
    give Gigabyte credit as the only manufacturer that stood up and took
    responsibility over the bad capacitors debacle. They would reburbish any
    Gigabyte board with new caps that was sent back to them, regardless of
    whether it was in warranty or not. They were also the first to learn the
    lesson and use all solid caps. Asus does too now on their top range and I
    guess others might.

    What CPU have you got in that puppy? Are you an overclocker?

    > - the motherboard manual doesn't mention any jumpers
    > for this and I tried a couple of the power management options in the
    > bios but they made no diffference (set them back afterwards).
    >
    > The strange thing is both the hard-wired ports at the back and the
    > front ones which are linked to via a cable do the same thing!


    Oh well, sorry to put you crook. I just downloaded the GA-X38-DQ6 manual and
    read through it and it doesn't seem to have that option. I had a quick read
    through my P5K-E WiFi's manual and it doesn't seem to have the option
    either. Funny as I've read in more than one manual in the last year or two
    that it was possible to change whether the USB was powered from +5V or
    +5V/SB. It makes sense to have the option, to power down HDDs, mouse, cup
    warmers, Christmas trees, fans and whatever else you have attached to the
    USB. ;-)

    Apologies for that. At least I learned something. <g>

    Cheers,
    --
    Shaun.
     
    ~misfit~, Jan 28, 2008
    #11
  12. Peter Jenkins

    Rob Simpson Guest

    On Mon, 28 Jan 2008 20:27:11 +1300, noone propped his eyelids open with
    toothpicks and wrote:

    > On Sun, 27 Jan 2008 19:14:06 -0800 (PST), Peter Jenkins
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >>Am thinking of getting one as an additional backup system and to
    >>supplement the storage on my home PC.
    >>
    >>Have looked at one based on a laptop size hard drive, plus some based on
    >>standard hard drives - the laptop drive based one has size and weight
    >>advantages, are they any less reliable?

    >
    >
    >
    > Yes they run a Lot slower..
    >
    >
    >
    > I think the best buy are the Seagate FreeAgent drives.
    >

    My son has one of the Freeagent drives and swears by it. They are also on
    special at Dick Smiths, but only till 31 Jan.



    --
    /home/rob/.signature
     
    Rob Simpson, Jan 28, 2008
    #12
  13. Peter Jenkins

    geoff Guest

    Ross wrote:

    >
    > Try for a 7200rpm one (may need ext power supply)
    > and eSATA would be even faster.


    The RPM is nothing to do with the interface.

    geoff
     
    geoff, Jan 28, 2008
    #13
  14. Peter Jenkins

    thingy Guest

    Peter Jenkins wrote:
    > Am thinking of getting one as an additional backup system and to
    > supplement the storage on my home PC.
    >
    > Have looked at one based on a laptop size hard drive, plus some based
    > on standard hard drives - the laptop drive based one has size and
    > weight advantages, are they any less reliable?
    >
    > Any recommendations or horror stories - brands to avoid etc etc,
    > thought I'd check here before purchase and ask for peoples opinions
    > from experience
    >
    > Regards
    > Peter Jenkins
    > see http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz


    I would consider the 2.5inch ones too slow....

    For me the perfect solution would be eSATA to an external pack (that
    also had fw and usb2) So I would use eSATA normally, usb2/fwire when i
    need to move about or restore to something else...

    regards

    Thing
     
    thingy, Jan 28, 2008
    #14
  15. Peter Jenkins

    Mark C Guest

    Peter Jenkins <> wrote in
    news:
    om:

    > Am thinking of getting one as an additional backup system and to
    > supplement the storage on my home PC.
    >
    > Any recommendations or horror stories - brands to avoid etc etc,
    > thought I'd check here before purchase and ask for peoples
    > opinions from experience


    I have a Western Digital My Book Express 250GB.
    It vibrates a LOT.
    When it was sitting directly on my desk, you could hear the buzzing
    in the room below.
    My elbows on the desk were tingling.
    Fitting the included little rubber feet helped a lot.
    It is now sitting on an empty half-height CD case and a foam coaster,
    which mostly stops the worst of the heard and felt vibration.

    Mark
     
    Mark C, Jan 28, 2008
    #15
  16. Peter Jenkins

    geoff Guest

    Mark C wrote:
    > Peter Jenkins <> wrote in
    > news:
    > om:
    >
    >> Am thinking of getting one as an additional backup system and to
    >> supplement the storage on my home PC.
    >>
    >> Any recommendations or horror stories - brands to avoid etc etc,
    >> thought I'd check here before purchase and ask for peoples
    >> opinions from experience

    >
    > I have a Western Digital My Book Express 250GB.
    > It vibrates a LOT.
    > When it was sitting directly on my desk, you could hear the buzzing
    > in the room below.
    > My elbows on the desk were tingling.
    > Fitting the included little rubber feet helped a lot.
    > It is now sitting on an empty half-height CD case and a foam coaster,
    > which mostly stops the worst of the heard and felt vibration.
    >


    Vibration !!! I suggest this is not normal and you should not trust it.


    geoff
     
    geoff, Jan 29, 2008
    #16
  17. Peter Jenkins

    J Brockley Guest

    "Peter Jenkins" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Am thinking of getting one as an additional backup system and to
    > supplement the storage on my home PC.
    >
    > Have looked at one based on a laptop size hard drive, plus some based
    > on standard hard drives - the laptop drive based one has size and
    > weight advantages, are they any less reliable?
    >
    > Any recommendations or horror stories - brands to avoid etc etc,
    > thought I'd check here before purchase and ask for peoples opinions
    > from experience
    >
    > Regards
    > Peter Jenkins
    > see http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz


    I've had a few problems with the laptop one especially when doing a bulk
    copy. Seem to be Ok for smaller copies but often fail part way thru large
    copies.
    Until you try them you can't tell whether you'll encounter the issue with
    them. Presumably if you can get one with the option to use a external power
    supply you'll avoid the issue.
     
    J Brockley, Jan 29, 2008
    #17
  18. Peter Jenkins

    RL Guest

    J Brockley wrote:
    > I've had a few problems with the laptop one especially when doing a bulk
    > copy. Seem to be Ok for smaller copies but often fail part way thru large
    > copies.
    > Until you try them you can't tell whether you'll encounter the issue with
    > them. Presumably if you can get one with the option to use a external power
    > supply you'll avoid the issue.


    Delayed write failure?

    Often a symptom of insufficient power being supplied to the drive if it
    is a 2.5" drive.

    RL
     
    RL, Jan 29, 2008
    #18
  19. Peter Jenkins

    ofn01 Guest

    "~misfit~" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Somewhere on teh intarweb "ofn01" typed:
    >> "~misfit~" <> wrote in message
    >> news:...
    >>> Somewhere on teh intarweb "ofn01" typed:
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> [.......]
    >>>
    >>>> The annoying
    >>>> thing I have found though is that my motherboard's usb ports always
    >>>> supply power, even when the PC has been shut down, and because this
    >>>> little enclosure doesn't have its own on/off switch it stays running
    >>>> after the PC has shut down unless you unplug the usb cable.
    >>>
    >>> Most modern motherboards give you the option of powering the USB
    >>> either from the +5V rail or from the +5V/SB (Stand-By) rail. I'd say
    >>> yours is powered from the SB rail as that's on all the time. (The
    >>> +5V is switched). It may be possible for you to change it either
    >>> with a jumper or by changing a BIOS setting. Consult your
    >>> motherboard manual. :)

    >>
    >> Its a GA-X38-DQ6

    >
    > Hmmm, quite a nice mobo. Good to see folks buying stuff that's built to
    > last. "Ultra Durable" in Gigabyte's words. I have an Asus but I'll always
    > give Gigabyte credit as the only manufacturer that stood up and took
    > responsibility over the bad capacitors debacle. They would reburbish any
    > Gigabyte board with new caps that was sent back to them, regardless of
    > whether it was in warranty or not. They were also the first to learn the
    > lesson and use all solid caps. Asus does too now on their top range and I
    > guess others might.
    >
    > What CPU have you got in that puppy? Are you an overclocker?


    No not an overclocker, I put a Q6600 in it as the 6700 was twice the price
    and the 6850 four times the price!

    I know the board supports the newer chips (possibly with a bios update
    though I've flashed to the latest available) so I'll see what happens with
    prices when they come out.



    >
    >> - the motherboard manual doesn't mention any jumpers
    >> for this and I tried a couple of the power management options in the
    >> bios but they made no diffference (set them back afterwards).
    >>
    >> The strange thing is both the hard-wired ports at the back and the
    >> front ones which are linked to via a cable do the same thing!

    >
    > Oh well, sorry to put you crook. I just downloaded the GA-X38-DQ6 manual
    > and read through it and it doesn't seem to have that option. I had a quick
    > read through my P5K-E WiFi's manual and it doesn't seem to have the option
    > either. Funny as I've read in more than one manual in the last year or two
    > that it was possible to change whether the USB was powered from +5V or
    > +5V/SB. It makes sense to have the option, to power down HDDs, mouse, cup
    > warmers, Christmas trees, fans and whatever else you have attached to the
    > USB. ;-)
    >
    > Apologies for that. At least I learned something. <g>


    It seems an odd state of affairs because looking around it does look like
    some mobos do have the jumper/bios option - just not the gigabyte.

    I have thought about playing around with the windows power settings, but for
    the timebeing its not a big hassle.

    >
    > Cheers,
    > --
    > Shaun.
    >
     
    ofn01, Jan 29, 2008
    #19
  20. Peter Jenkins

    Bobs Guest

    Peter Jenkins wrote:
    > Am thinking of getting one as an additional backup system and to
    > supplement the storage on my home PC.
    >
    > Have looked at one based on a laptop size hard drive, plus some based
    > on standard hard drives - the laptop drive based one has size and
    > weight advantages, are they any less reliable?
    >
    > Any recommendations or horror stories - brands to avoid etc etc,
    > thought I'd check here before purchase and ask for peoples opinions
    > from experience
    >
    > Regards
    > Peter Jenkins
    > see http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz



    The 3.5 inch drives are too bulky and need an external power source.
    Granted they have three times the capacity for the same price, but still
    not worth it IMO. Better off getting a 160gig 2.5 inch drive instead.
    That's ample room for most people.

    Btw, I got a 40 gig 2.5 inch drive with enclosure about 4 years
    back...still goes fine.
     
    Bobs, Jan 29, 2008
    #20
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