Can you believe this?!

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by landrum_kelly, May 17, 2009.

  1. I know that many have remarked on the dropping price of storage, but this excerpt from an ad I just received in the mail just about blew my socks off:

    Iomega 1.5TB Prestige External Hard Drive

    Was $199.99
    This Weekend Only $149.99
    I won't show the retailer here directly, but I find this incredible. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
    Any thoughts? Anybody know anything about the reliability of this brand?

  2. I would not get this drive as the USB interface is extremely slow (data transfer rate) compared to the typical sata. Western Digital 1.5tb internal drives are $150 normal price at Best Buy. Then you get a $30 housing from newegg with an esata port, and you have a drive that's 3-5 times faster than this iomega, with a smaller footprint (this one is bulky relatively). My Western Digital 1.5 in its enclosure is the smallest external drive I've ever had, and is screaming fast compared to drives like this. Anyone who tells you "whatever, usb isn't much different" has no idea what they're talking about.
  3. USB(1) is slow, but USB2 is adequate for nearly everything. I use an external USB2 drive to collect up to 16 channels of 24/96 audio or streaming HD video.
  4. USB barely exists anymore. I'm talking about USB2. It's 3-5 times slower than sata/esata. So for a 30 minute copy operation in sata, you need two hours (give or take) in usb2. For me, usb2 is not adequte for photo or video work. It just a waste of time doing all your work at a much slower rate than you could be. If you have your lightroom catalog and/or photo files on a usb2 external vs. sata/esata for example, the performance difference is staggering. Getting an internal drive and putting in a housing is simple. You do have to have an esata port on your computer.
  5. Brett, I can see where someone with really high file volumes to back up might have a need for SATA drives rather than USB2. But, I suspect that most folks can do OK with USB external drives. Part of the problem is that most computers don't come with SATA/eSATA ports for external HD hookup, and you have to buy the card as will as the drive and enclosure.
    Otherwise, I agree completely about Western Digital drive quality vs. Iomega. Seagate is another good option.
  6. It does go beyond backup. If you're constantly retrieving files for any reason - for batch editing, renaming, copying, etc. you see a performance boost. Basically for anyone doing high volume work with data of any kind, it's worth trying to get set up with esata over usb2. It is a shame that esata hasn't been more widely implemented. For me, for photo processing, the difference when I switched was stunning. Night and day.

    Officially stated transfer rates (AFAIK, I could have made a mistake)

    USB 1.1 - 12MBps
    USB 2.0 - 400MBps
    Firewire 400 - 480MBps
    Firewire 800 - 800MBps
    eSATA - 1.5GBps
    eSATA II - 3GBps

    Actual rates in practice are different, but esata is pretty consistently at least 3x faster than usb2, which is huge. For the OP, if you're getting a 1.5tb drive, you must have a lot of data to deal with, just saying if you can use one you'll be glad you got esata over usb
  7. Data transfer rates are indeed the bottleneck with huge storage and retrieval--all the more when one wants to do backups of backups (and I am compulsive on that issue). Thanks for the suggestions, all, but especially to you, Brett.
  8. Sure, even if you have to get a card, I think the $40 will be long forgotten while you enjoy the benefits of the increased performance
  9. Brett, USB 2 is 480 Mb/s and Firewire 400 is 400 Mb/s but USB has more overhead so in practice Firewire 400 is usually faster than USB 2. The standard convention is Mb = megabits and a capital B as in MB = megabytes.
    1.5TB drives have been $130 for months on newegg. You can buy an external enclosure that has BOTH USB 2 and eSATA for $20. If you also buy this $3 bracket/cable then you can convert an internal motherboard SATA port to an external eSATA port.
    The major problem I have with eSATA is that there are too many motherboard chipsets that don't support hot plug. There are also lots of external enclosures that don't support hotplug. Both have to have hotplug support in order for you to just connect an eSATA drive to an already running computer. Otherwise you have to reboot in order to detect the drive.
  10. Brett, one correction. FW is 400MBps and USB 2 is 480MBps. However, Firewire is a sustained 400MBps while USB is a burst-rate of 480MBps. Thus, in most real world tests, Firewire 400 will beat USB 2. Another advantage to FW is that it is peer-to-peer, less computer overhead. USB's transfer protocol must have a computer to "re-assemble" the bits into actual information. Also, watch out when getting your 3GBps SATA drives- more often than not the jumper is set to limit performance to 1.5GBps. I'm not sure, but I think even 1.5GBps is more bandwidth than a single (non-RAID) drive can do. Finally, the main reason is like eSata is that it eliminates the "bridge" or chipset employed by either USB or Firewire to communicate with your computer. That has given me problems in the past!
  11. If you're feeling adventurous, you can always crack an external drive open and retrieve the juicy, nutritious hard drive inside.
    Just a tip if you know the external's hiding a good drive and is on sale for cheaper than a bare drive. ;)
  12. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    What's the big deal about this? Office Depot has 1.5tb external drives cheaper than the one cited in the original post.
  13. Like Jeff says, deals like this or better are available all the time.
  14. i only use lacie drives :)
  15. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Seagate FreeAgent 1.5TB is at $140 this week at Office Depot. If you have an Office Depot rebate card (which costs nothing), it brings the price down to $126. Newegg is at $105 for the same drive. Others that are less than the price in the original post for the Seagate Drive include PC Connection and Amazon. FWIW, on the iOmega drive, which is in the original post, is cheaper from B&H than the link given due to the shipping cost differential.
    All of this is available on one click at google, you shouldn't need to ask here.
  16. More and more hard drives are falling into the same category: crap. Lately I've read enough stories of premature drive failures and DOA drives to curl my hair, what there is of it. I almost bought a Hitachi drive from Fry's a couple of weeks ago, but I backed off when I read about failure rates.
    I'm thinking that carefully chosen enterprise class drives may be the way to go until SSDs become mainstream.
  17. Iomega is known to be very good in quality. I would not use this as a main drive because of data transfer speed, but I would not hesitate to buy this one for use as an external backup, though as said before, better deals can be found online.
  18. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Iomega buys drives from other vendors, probably Seagate for this drive.
    The poster has already expressed a preference for a fast interface and not usb2, so the freeagent is not relevant​
    The Freeagent and the Iomega have the exact same speed and interface. You seem to want to argue rather than look at specs, especially since you said that you couldn't buy lower than $150 at that density. Interesting that you went back and deleted the content afterwards, isn't it?
  19. Jeff. I also asked, "Anybody know anything about the reliability of this brand?"
    As one who has had one "big drive" failure, I wanted the opinions of some of the members of the community on the issue of reliability, not just speed or cost.
    Thanks to all for the info. I had no idea prices were getting quite this low.
  20. When I was looking for an external hard drive I read the reviews on It seems that reliability is a big issue with these machines. I bought a highly rated Iomega which has worked perfectly since I bought it a year ago.
  21. USB 2 is quite adequate in terms of data transfer rates for data storage purposes. I have even run some 3d games from an external USB data source - admittedly not the latest ones. As to failure rates, although I know there is a potential problem, I personally (touch wood) have had far more problems with failure of the HDD storage cases rather than the drives inside them. The circuitry in some of these is crap as is the power supply and I have had several fail on me.
    Fortunately its easy to open the case retrieve the drive and then put it into a new case - or even connect it "naked" to your PC using appropriate cabling or a hot swappable dive bay.
    Also I have found that the ones that come complete with drive and case from a name brand tend to be more reliable.
  22. Speed on an external drive is not really an issue for me since I always use it for archival or backup storage. I start a transfer, then forget it.
  23. Anybody here use mirroring systems involving two external drives?
  24. I asked the question just above because I was not aware that the RAID 1 was available on external drive systems. The one I am looking at right now, after reading the above comments, is the Western Digital 2TB My Book Mirror Edition External Hard Drive--currently selling for $250 and free shipping from B&H.
    It ccmes with RAID 0 and RAID 1 options. With the latter setup, you only use 1 TB and the data is backed up (mirrored) as you go on the remaining 1 TB.
    Does anyone know of any better deals if one is going to use a mirroring system?
    Needless to say, things have changed a lots since I last worried about upgrading my storage capabilities.
  25. I just got a 1.5TB Seagate USB external at Costco with a coupon for $109. For backups, who's in a hurry, set it up, and go to bed, or make some coffee, or take a walk. I have a bunch of WD drives, that have run, for backup only, for years and even a couple of old LaCie's that had a terrible reputation for a while that are still running. I think luck has a lot to do with it, and running the drives only when doing a back up as well.
    When you see a good deal, why won't you share it? It's not a crime to mention the retailer, is it?
    Good luck.
  26. Eric, if you click on the brand name in the original posting, then you see the retailer.
  27. Well, you can't now, but you could when I first posted it. It was .
  28. For at least 90% of people, what they ought to get is a USB drive that comes in an enclosure. Something else might be faster, but USB-2 is plenty fast enough, and the beauty of such a drive is that it is plug-and-play compatible with almost any computer made in the last five-plus (ten?) years. Storage space is so cheap, you can go around and back up several computers.
    Sure, there are a few people who can truly make good use of speed that connections other than USB-2 offer, but realistically, they're in the minority, probably the small minority.
    Maybe a year ago I bought a Western Digital 500 GB external USB drive from NewEgg for about $100. It's been great. It's quickly been plug-any-playing with several different computers, transferring fairly big chunks of data, without a problem.
  29. Umm.
    As of today, there are two manufacturers that build 1.5TB drives: WD and Seagate. Although some people swear by one over the other, I myself cannot really say they differ much. In practice, the WD variants run cooler, but the 1.5Tb seagates I own seem run well, as well as the 3 GP WD's I have installed (yes, I have a lot of storage).
    Interface wise-- people seem to forget a few things. Although eSata is preferable, it is NOT 3x faster. For most operations, and unless you employ VERY fast drives, the actual world difference is negligible. Again: for 1-on-1 (one external drive) hookups, USB2 makes sense, as it allows you to move the drive anywhere. most pc's don't yet have eSata ports as standard, and since standard is still quite finicky, it will be some time before such a feature will be shipped on every box.
    USB2 (and eSata) are far from optimal when they need to share a channel (USB2) or drive a chain of drives. For this, I use Firewire. While USB2 may compare well with FW400 (for normal operations), adding a second USB2 driver to the same channel will introduce a performance hit-- that is not the case with the FireWire interface.
    All in all, 1.5Tb for $120 (they actually had the drive at fry's this weekend for $109) is a great deal. I'm eyeing WD's 2GB drive (currently $220).
  30. FWIW, since asking the original question on this thread (and reading the responses), I went ahead and ordered the Western Digital 2TB My Book Mirror Edition External Hard Drive from B&H. I will configure it with the RAID 1 option. The price was reasonable enough, the vendor was dependable, and--most of all for me--using the RAID 1 option is probably the only way that I will likely be sure to back things up on a regular basis. The internal drives on my old Dell Optiplex are both 250 GB--but that is not enough backup for me, and here is the reason:
    Perhaps a year ago I had an IOMEGA External 250 GB fail on me on this machine (with one 80 GB internal drive). Less than a week later, the unthinkable happened: the 80GB internal drive failed--and no backup was in place yet. The data on the 250 GB external drive was unrecoverable. I reformatted it and backed up everything from the Optiplex on it just to have another copy, but I do not and will not trust it again.
    So that is how I got so antsy about data storage--and above all about redundant backup. I do a little light processing on this machine, but I use it primarily for e-mail and work-related issues. My serious photography materials are all on the Dell Optiplex in my photography work room. That machine is not even connected to the internet, since it is a machine dedicated simply to processing and printing.
    Maybe that is all overkill, but I feel better having redundant backup along with no internet connection on the other machine, the Dell Optiplex (and thus almost no chance of virus contamination on the Optiplex). Data from this machine does not go into the Optiplex, but some materials are ported in the opposite direction physically to this machine from time to time.
    Is there any certain way to be safe from both machine/drive electrical failure as well as virus-related problems? No, but I have done what I can--or at least I will have after the mirror drive arrives and everything has been backed up to it.
    Now if the house doesn't burn down or get hit by a tornado, I (and my data) just might be alright.
  31. "Is there any certain way to be safe from both machine/drive electrical failure as well as virus-related problems? No, but I have done what I can--or at least I will have after the mirror drive arrives and everything has been backed up to it."

    Not sure if this is the answer you are looking for, I have a Sony Vaio notebook and on my internal drives I have C: and D:. All photos and important docs are on the D: drive. The operating system is Windows XP Home on the C: therefore if anything screws up and I just reformat the C: drive and reload XP. Done it several times. Also run Mozilla which seems to be much less buggy than IE.
  32. Nothing wrong with having an external drive for images that have been finalized and won't be edited much. But the big TIFF's with 9 layers at 12MP and 16-bit, you want to edit those off an internal SATA drive.
  33. Is there any certain way to be safe from both machine/drive electrical failure as well as virus-related problems?​
    Run in Raid 1 (which it looks like you will be soon) and get some decent virus software. Also, not downloading pirated software helps as this is where most people end up with viruses (although not all). Its an unfortunate fact, but if you are going to play on the internet, you are at some point going to need the use of a virus scanner. I highly recommend any scanner who uses the Trend Micro engine. However, if you cannot afford a virus package right now, AVG free is pretty decent.

    As far as backing up on a regular basis goes....why bother? If you are running in Raid 1 you'll have two drives that are identical mirrors of each other. If one fails you simply replace it and copy the other drive over to it.

    I'd also like to note, I haven't had a problem with a Western Digital drive since about 1994, and it was DOA so no data loss. I have never had a problem with a Maxtor Drive. I have had 3/4 Samsung drives I have owned fail.
  34. As far as backing up on a regular basis goes....why bother? If you are running in Raid 1 you'll have two drives that are identical mirrors of each other. If one fails you simply replace it and copy the other drive over to it.​
    The purpose of RAID is to always have the data online even when a drive dies. RAID does not prevent accidental deletion. If you delete a file it immediately gets deleted in both copies on your RAID setup. A separate offline backup will allow you to retrieve that data. A power surge, flood, fire, etc. could destroy the entire RAID system. An offline backup at a remote location will still have your data.
  35. Thank you Walt! A Raid 1 is NOT a back up solution. The ONLY thing a Raid 1 protects you from is ONE hard drive failing. While it happens, it doesn't happen nearly as often as accidentally deleting a file, or a system error that messes up a directory or any number of other issues that you need to protect against. Since that's the case, this means you still need to back up your data on a regular basis. Now, since you have a regular back up schedule, a Raid 1 isn't a very good use of resources.
  36. You're right, Mike. I just canceled the order.
    My setup is complicated. I've got to think this through. . . .
  37. Regarding drive failures I have had drives from Seagate, Western Digital, IBM, Hitachi, Maxtor, Samsung, Micropolis, Connor, and more. Some of these companies don't exist anymore, some were bought by competitors. I've seen failures from all of them.
    If you just have 1 computer with 1 hard drive and keep it for 3-4 years it's possible that you've never had a drive die. If you've worked in an IT department even in a small company you may see a drive die once a month or in a large company every day.
    A few years ago IBM had a line of drives with glass platters that died very quickly. There was a class action lawsuit about those. Just a few months ago Seagate had buggy firmware that shipped with the drive that caused it to die. The updated firmware caused working drives to die. Finally they got working firmware out.
  38. MISTAKE: I said earlier that I had an Iomega 250 GB external drive that died. Actually, it was a Maxtor 250GB, and it died when I tried to do a defrag on it using Windows XP Professional.
    Storage is the ultimate bummer of digital photography, in my opinion. Everything else I can deal with in a simple and organized fashion--but not storage.
  39. I give a thumbs up for the recommendation for the Seagate Freeagent (Firewire) as a data file backup drive. You should have a couple backup drives; Firewire is the best interface mode currently for externals.
    I'll be buying another one very soon. FreeAgents have been my most reliable.
  40. Thanks for everyone's input. After canceling the order for the Western Digital 2TB My Book Mirror Edition External Hard Drive (USB 2 only) from B&H, I ordered the Western Digital 2TB My Book Studio Edition II Quad Interface External Hard Drive from Amazon for $259, $40 less than what B&H is asking--two day air, free shipping, to get here Wednesday.
    It is configured for Mac and requires reformatting for Windows.
    Time will tell if it was a good decision.
  41. Landrum.
    "...Micropolis, Connor, and more."
    Oh, Man did you just knock some rust off my memory ! I've been in IT for 20 years, and I had fogotten those names. Connor was more ofa Mac brand, from my perspective. We used to install their drives in Macs that didn't orgininally come with HDs. Whopping 20 or 40 MEGA byte drives !
  42. John, those were in Walt Flanagan's post above, not mine.
  43. Get backup software to do your backups, I use Ghost 14 and a 1TB Seagate barracuda 7200.11 Lucky for me it doesn't have the firmware problem.
    The nice thing that this software has, is the ability to verify the backup. I also have a bootable image of my OS on yet another small drive that I keep in my desk. This came handy when my C: drive went south on 1-1-09 I was up and running in 10 minuets.
    My data is currently backed up to 3 different drives with one kept off site, and my OS is backed up once a week, with eSATA it would take 22 minuets reload the OS to a new drive.
    With storage so cheap, how much is your data worth?
  44. very good post, Bill. I do the same. eStat, Ghost v14.
    I know that many have remarked on the dropping price of storage, but this excerpt from an ad I just received in the mail just about blew my socks off:
    It's so cheap to be safe these days. My first blank cd in the mid 90's cost $22 to do a back up. But I've stopped buying enclosures and now go with the eSata docking stations. Docking bare drives is heaven. Small footprint and easier to store a half dozen drives in their static bag and bubble bags. They go into a rubbermaid lined with camera foam.
    Mechanical drives will continue to drop in price as we move more towards solid state drives.

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