continued from email + phone...
EDIT/UPDATE: This post was updated in
January March 2011, for newer deals and info.
Hey Chief-- Well, my WD external hard drive bit the dust last night! So, am in the market for a replacement. Is WD still a good choice or do you have some other suggestions? Will probably do 1TB and like the FW 400/800 option. Will also get a portable 500GB to use as a second backup...May eventually try to recover the bad drive but I think there's only a few files that might not have been copied to the second WD external. --DD
Added by phone:
I think I want to go with a new 1TB drive. I'm looking for a Mac formatted solution, preferably Firewire 800, though Firewire 400 would be acceptable. I'd like to avoid USB2 drives if possible. Unfortunately, there's no eSATA port on this iMac computer. I want the fastest and safest option. I'd like to keep total cost in the $275 range, though I'd go as high as $300 if I absolutely have to. What's the verdict? I had thought about buying two 1TB drives, and then just backing the first drive up to the second one each weekend.
An ideal solution for photographers is to use an external RAID-1 setup, so you can use the drive on any computer (take on location to shoots), as well as creates an instant backup. Nothing hurts worse than losing all your photos from a hard drive crash, so opt for a solution that both saves photos and creates a mirrored backup at the same time!*
Even if you manually back up once per week, it would totally suck to lose a week of photo shooting and/or processing! That could ruin a photographers bottom line quite a bit.
RAID drives have the added benefit of reading from both drives to read (it writes in parallel to create the instant mirrored hard drive backup), so it will read files much faster. Compare a folder of 500+ raw NEF or CR2 files read in Bridge on a RAID drive, versus a plain non-RAID drive. You'll find the non-RAID drive to be much slower! So it's not only instant hard drive backups, but faster read access too! Double benefits to RAID-1 for you.
Not having eSATA really limits the options a bit, but finding a Firewire 800 setup (the next best option) is possible.
You have two options:
- Buy a ready-to-use 1TB+1TB RAID-1 setup for
- Go with a
slightly lower same-cost but larger 2TB+2TB DIY setup for ~10% less, at $305 total final cost
1. OWC (a known brand of IT products sold by macsales.com) has a 1TB+1TB mirrored setup for $299, Firewire 400+800 (and USB2 and eSATA!) and free shipping:
1. Update (March 2011)
: The above drive is now out of stock.
Now look at the Newer Technology NewTech Guardian MAXimus 1TB+1TB for $249 at http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer.../GM8Q7S10TB64/
There are also larger drives available, at higher costs: 1.5TB+1.5TB, 2TB+2TB, etc. The enclosure supports max 3TB+3TB RAID-1 mirror.
Or better yet....
2. Just buy the OWC enclosure
for $99 (+ about $6 shipping, so total cost ~$105) from http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer...y/GM8Q7S10TB64
-- and then buy two separate
hard drives. The best places to find hard drives "on the cheap" is Amazon.com
-- right now (this very minute), Newegg has "open box Western Digital hard drives" for ~$72 each, plus about $7.50 shipping
. Total approximate cost for a do-it-yourself kit is about $105 for the RAID hard drive enclosure, and then $75-80 each for both hard drives, at a total price of about $260-270.
2. Update (March 2011)
: The above items are no longer in stock.
Now look at using
the NewTech Guardian MAXimus enclosure from OWC/macsales: http://eshop.macsales.com/search/
(search for them)
Like-new refurbished for $99 (+~$10 shipping UPS): http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer.../GM8QKIT0GBRF/ -I just bought one! -Sold Out!
New for $129 (+~$10 shipping UPS Ground): http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer...gy/GM8QKIT0GB/
And then get yourself a pair of Western Digital 2TB WD20EARS drives from Amazon
(currently $79.99 each)
*NOTE: RAID-1 is a "backup" in terms of hard drive hardware, if a drive dies. If the data is corrupted in some way, then the corruption will spread to both drives on the mirror. It's a good idea to still create yet another backup (at least once per month), on another drive (it can be non-RAID), and then store it off-site for the best archival/backup policy. If one drive in a RAID-1 setup crashes, you simply swap out the bad drive, and the RAID array rebuilds itself! And yes, you can still use it while it's rebuilding! (Or at least, that's how it's supposed to work.
Hope that helps. Thanks.