Choosing the right external hard drive

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Old 11-09-11, 02:21 PM
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Choosing the right external hard drive

Hi all,

I'm looking to purchase an external hard drive for my computer (PC). I work with large-volume photo and video files, and (not surprisingly) need more storage space! However, I'm not too clear on what I should be looking for in an ext. hard drive.

For example, I'd like to be able to look through and edit video files stored on the external. The editing software I use (Adobe Premier) is pretty demanding already. What type of interface would allow for the best transfer rates between my computer and the external? USB? Firewire? Other? Again, not too clear. . . I don't really know what all this eSATA, IEEE mumbojumbo means.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.
- j
 
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Old 11-09-11, 02:43 PM
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Desktop or laptop computer? If desktop, do you need an external or would a permanently mounted extra internal drive suffice?

I have four different computers so I use Seagate Go external USB drives, they're very easy to move among the different machines.
 
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Old 11-09-11, 03:05 PM
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It's a desktop machine but there's no free ports (?) to mount another internal.

What interface will give me the fastest transfer rate? I'm hoping to be able to work with files on the external without noticeable lag. Working with Premier is cumbersome enough as is.

Thanks for the reply!
- j
 
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Old 11-09-11, 07:30 PM
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Speed will depend on the type of interfaces or have available on your system. eSATA (e=external) Up to can have a max transfer rate of up to 6 Gb/s, nearly as fast as internal HD's but unless your system is quite new it will likely be 3 Gb/s. They are, in many cases, not hot swapable. You have shut your system down to connect and disconnect your drive if you want to take it some place.

USB 2.0 is up to 480 Mb/s and USB 3.0 is up to 4.8Gb/s but again, the newest interface is only found on newer systems. USB interfaces are hot swapable.

Of course, all the quoted speeds are the best case and will vary.

If your system does not have the latest interface you may be able to add an eSATA 6.0 or USB 3.0 controller card. (search newegg)
 
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Old 11-10-11, 09:10 AM
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Thanks Tolyn. This is really helpful.

My system is new as of six months ago. Where do I look to see what interfaces I have available?

Thanks again. It's really appreciated.
-j
 
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Old 11-10-11, 01:31 PM
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I would suggest you see if you have or could install a usb3 controller.
Your device manager in Control Panel should tell you which USB controller you have.
If your motherboard does not support USB3 you are able to get a USB3 PCI card.

There are quite a few USB3 external drives on the market now and they are reasonably priced.
 
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Old 11-10-11, 03:22 PM
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I've looked around at my system properties, device manager, driver details, etc. and don't see anything telling me what type of USB I have. . . It seems like I can assume I have usb2, but I'd hate to settle for a slow-running external if my computer can handle something faster.

Any ideas how to figure out whether I've got usb2 or 3?
 
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Old 11-10-11, 04:04 PM
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If you are running W7 it will be listed under Device Manager then under Universal Serial Bus Controllers.
If you click on Universal Serial Bus Controllers it should open up with a list of the controllers you have and it should say which series of USB you have.
Another way is to write down the model of your motherboard and look it up.

The simplest way is to purchase a USB3 external drive and it will tell you if you do not have USB3 when you plug it in.
It will still work but at USB2 speeds.
You could then take steps to get a card that can support it.
 
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Old 11-10-11, 11:10 PM
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Once you are sure of what usb controller you have consider Western Digital as an external hard drive I really think they make the best internal and external hard drives. Other brands are o.k. but it seems I have always done best with Western Digital. Buying online I think will get you your best deal. Good luck to you!
 
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Old 11-11-11, 05:32 AM
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For video editing you should go with eSATA in an external drive bay. If the machine is only six months old there may already be a spare SATA port in the machine.

It's also common in video applications to use a RAID array. A RAID array uses multiple drives to store data plus a parity drive. Rather than filling drives sequentially, files are "striped" across all of the drives. The parity drive provides data integrity: If one of the data drives fails, the files can be recovered using the remaining drives.
 
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Old 11-11-11, 07:36 AM
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Thanks guys. I was able to find the USB version I'm running by looking up the motherboard spec's (smart thinkin') aaaaand it's 2.0 as suspected.

. . . sigh. . .

HOWEVER I do have an eSATA port! The couple of buddies I asked about it also recommended WD drives, so I think I'm going with that. Booyah.

Thanks all for your help.
 
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