Do you have a good external hard drive ?

exakta

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Another long time WD user. Both desktop and portable varieties. When I need a new drive I just buy whatever WD is selling for $100 (currently 4TB).
 

ac12

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I was going to pull the trigger on a WD but while searching came across this which is STILL owned by seagate which leaves me squeamish but the warranty seems to really be good and its $15 to go from 4 to 6 tb's. Any thoughts?
https://www.amazon.com/LaCie-Professional-USB-C-External-STHA4000800/dp/B07GHMTK9Q

Enterprise drive, not bad. That is the kind of drive that I use inside my computer.
5 years data recovery. Sounds like someone is standing behind their product. As long as they are still in business in 5 years.
I would buy it.
 

exakta

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I had LaCie drives in the past, when 80GB and 160GB were considered "big" ;) Never had any issues, but that was before Seagate took them over.
 
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I use several WD external drives. My son advised me to avoid USB-powered ones, so all the ones I have use a mains power adapter. Never had any problem, but I use them only for backing up so they are not turned on all the time.
 

PakkyT

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My son advised me to avoid USB-powered ones,
Did that advice come based on any real world issues he knew of? Or just his opinion? Because I have been running a number of USB powered drives and have never had issues with any of them. In fact of the external hard drives I have had fail on me (maybe 3 of them) were all full sized AC adapter powered drives.
 

exakta

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I also have not had failures with USB powered drives (mostly WD) for backups but I don't use them as true portables, i.e. tossing it into a backpack or briefcase and carrying it around. If you google about reliability of 2.5" (USB powered) vs. 3.5" (AC powered), the general consensus is they are about the same. As a retired EE I'm not sure it's that cut and dried. Certainly the USB powered drives run hotter....small enclosures, no fans, no cooling vents.

A bigger difference is you can get much larger capacity 3.5" drives than 2.5" drives. Currently the largest 2.5" drive WD sells is 5TB, while the largest 3.5" drive is 18TB. I own some WD Passport USB powered portable drives, two 2TB and one 4TB. The 4TB drive is twice as thick, which came as a surprise when I pulled it out of the box.
 
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Did that advice come based on any real world issues he knew of? Or just his opinion? Because I have been running a number of USB powered drives and have never had issues with any of them. In fact of the external hard drives I have had fail on me (maybe 3 of them) were all full sized AC adapter powered drives.
I really don't know. I'll ask him and will report back.

Edit: He said that now he has no problems with them, but years ago he thought that the USB connector sometimes did not supply enough current which is why he advised me to use AC-mains powered ones. I apologize for not checking with him before I posted my incorrect comment :(
 
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Michael Meissner

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I really don't know. I'll ask him and will report back.

Edit: He said that now he has no problems with them, but years ago he thought that the USB connector sometimes did not supply enough current which is why he advised me to use AC-mains powered ones. I apologize for not checking with him before I posted my incorrect comment :(
One way to solve this is to use a USB hub that is externally powered. That way you aren't depending on the actual power from the computer.

That being said, I doubt it is an issue with any modern computer.
 

doady

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3.5-inch hard disk drives are designed for the inside of desktop computers, so I wouldn't use them as a portable drive without the protection and cooling of desktop case, but maybe that's just me.

The fact that 3.5-inch drive consumes too much power for a USB connection and requires a separate AC connection is a red flag right there. Even with larger enclosures with fans and cooling vents, don't assume that a 3.5-inch drive will run cooler than a 2.5-inch drive when it consumes such power.

2.5-inch HDDs are designed for laptops, so perhaps they are a better fit for a portable environment.
 

PakkyT

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3.5-inch hard disk drives are designed for the inside of desktop computers, so I wouldn't use them as a portable drive without the protection and cooling of desktop case, but maybe that's just me.
* iMac has just entered the chat.
 

Armoured

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And that's the way it should be, right? Two drives working in tandem is faster than one alone. SSD for OS and programs, HDD for temp and cache file's and storage. If the files and folders that are constantly rewritten are located on the HDD instead of SSD, it will also help reduce wear on the SSD.
I am confused by this claim - and I don't think it's true, or at least not in a way that matters. Two drives working in tandem can be better and faster, but might not be - if one drive is a LOT faster (the SSD) and you get the placement of the data wrong (read or write from the slow drive too often), it will definitely be slower.

Temp/cache files are a good example: assuming that temp/cache files are read/written fairly often, putting them on the slow drive WILL make it slower overall, possibly much slower. (There are ways to do this that might improve the 'hit rate' - roughly using the SSD as a cache drive + frequently accessed/critical files - but it's still going to be slower than 'just SSDs' unless the algorithm is perfect. Two SSDs should be faster than one larger one but quite possibly not meaningful enough for most users.)

There is an argument to be made about wear on the SSD - but with newer SSDs for most users, I think trying really hard to game that is pointless - gives up too much speed for a marginal gain in SSD lifetime. You can make your own decisions on that, but it definitely won't be faster.
That's the setup I want anyways, but even super-expensive pre-built desktops are SSDs only. Something like 256GB SSD + 1GB HDD would be more cost effective and faster than 512GB SSD alone.
Let's be clear: the primary reason by far to use HDDs is cost per GB storage. It will not be faster (except in some really minor or specific edge cases or more exotic setups like mirroring with perfect algorithms - not for home use). Your 256GB + 1TB will be more cost effective for more storage; 1.25tb SSD will be more expensive. Whether it would be more 'cost effective' overall - depends on the value you attribute to speed.

I'm not trying to convince anyone to go all SSD - backups are a good use case for example for HDDs - not reading the data from them often and backup speed usually not critical. I use an HDD for most of my photos - because I don't read the data from my entire photo library often and the drives are a lot cheaper.

But it's definitely slower.
 
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Armoured

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The Western Digital Black in my desktop is still working okay after 12 years. The computer takes longer to boot up, and sometimes it requires a second or third attempt, but it is not an emergency yet. I still have time to shop around for a new computer.
You should definitely look at replacing the boot drive with an SSD. I was shocked to see how cheap small-ish SSDs are now. For a computer this old, a drop-in replacement (SATA and 2.5" drive format) will be MUCH faster. Possibly enough for you to squeeze some extra time out of that old computer. Common reaction is that it's 'like a new computer' (an exaggeration of course but emphasis on the 'like.') I've done this many times and the improvement is dramatic. I did this with an older computer and it's still serving well in daily use, I think the cost was ~$50 for a 256 or 512gb ssd, crucial branded.
 
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Armoured

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Keep in mind that all HDD are overpriced right now due to Chia cryprotcurrency mining and mostly out of stock.
I should probably have been more careful in referring to prices - I was using 'now' with no regard for this last price trend, or roughly to mean "the last time I had to buy one myself and compared to some previous mental state."
 

John M Flores

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From my viewpoint, backup drives are safety devices you hope to never have to use. And having redundant backups is even better. Therefore I am not concerned with the perceived reliability of the drive and won't spend extra for a claimed more reliable drive when I can buy two or three "consumer" drives for the same price. 2 or 3 copies of the same date is way more reliable than a single copy in my mind.

If you currently have no backups, I would invest in two drives. One for Time Machine and one to use with CCC. And since most external drives are plenty big (you won't save much buying a 2GB drive rather than a 4TB or 5TB version instead) the CCC one can back up probably all of your computer files, not just the photos. So then you have redundant backups. If either of the drives fails in the next few years, you will still have the original data on your computer and the other backup. Just buy a new drive to replace the failed one and start a new backup on the new one.
Yup. A dozen years ago I purchased a Drobo RAID as my backup and a traditional RAID as my data store. I've had a handful of drive failures but no loss of data. I now have two 8TB drives in my minitower that are mirrored via Windows.

It's the I in RAID that I'm after, Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks.
 

doady

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I am confused by this claim - and I don't think it's true, or at least not in a way that matters. Two drives working in tandem can be better and faster, but might not be - if one drive is a LOT faster (the SSD) and you get the placement of the data wrong (read or write from the slow drive too often), it will definitely be slower.

Temp/cache files are a good example: assuming that temp/cache files are read/written fairly often, putting them on the slow drive WILL make it slower overall, possibly much slower. (There are ways to do this that might improve the 'hit rate' - roughly using the SSD as a cache drive + frequently accessed/critical files - but it's still going to be slower than 'just SSDs' unless the algorithm is perfect. Two SSDs should be faster than one larger one but quite possibly not meaningful enough for most users.)

There is an argument to be made about wear on the SSD - but with newer SSDs for most users, I think trying really hard to game that is pointless - gives up too much speed for a marginal gain in SSD lifetime. You can make your own decisions on that, but it definitely won't be faster.

Let's be clear: the primary reason by far to use HDDs is cost per GB storage. It will not be faster (except in some really minor or specific edge cases or more exotic setups like mirroring with perfect algorithms - not for home use). Your 256GB + 1TB will be more cost effective for more storage; 1.25tb SSD will be more expensive. Whether it would be more 'cost effective' overall - depends on the value you attribute to speed.

I'm not trying to convince anyone to go all SSD - backups are a good use case for example for HDDs - not reading the data from them often and backup speed usually not critical. I use an HDD for most of my photos - because I don't read the data from my entire photo library often and the drives are a lot cheaper.

But it's definitely slower.
Modern HDD with read/write speed of 150 to 200MB/s is only 10% as fast as a NVMe SSD, but that still means up to 10% increase in total transfer speed by adding an HDD as a secondary drive. Worrying about an HDD with 150MB/s read/write speed not being able to keep up with read/write of temp/cache files and making the whole computer "much slower" when the OS and programs are offloaded onto the SSD is just worrying too much, IMO.

No matter if HDD or SSD, adding a second drive is going to improve performance. A computer should have either SSD + SSD, or SSD + HDD. A computer should have two drives, not one. I built my computer 12 years ago, so I'm not going to replace or add anything in it anymore, but if I could go back in time, I would have quickly installed a second HDD instead of just sticking with the one HDD it has now. Not only for more storage space, but two HDDs would have meant up to double the read/write speed, but I didn't do that and I have thought it was a fundamental mistake.

Every system I have designed and built for family and relatives in the past 10 years have both SSD and HDD. And I always setup SSD for OS and programs, and move the temp/cache/document/media folders onto the HDD. Faster, more efficient, cheaper, less wear on the primary/boot SSD, better in so many ways. I assumed this was the standard practice, but based on my recent experiences shopping for a pre-built desktop machine, apparently it is not. So if you think it is better to have a single drive doing all of the reading and writing instead of multiple drives sharing the load, I can you are definitely not alone.
 

Armoured

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Modern HDD with read/write speed of 150 to 200MB/s is only 10% as fast as a NVMe SSD, but that still means up to 10% increase in total transfer speed by adding an HDD as a secondary drive. Worrying about an HDD with 150MB/s read/write speed not being able to keep up with read/write of temp/cache files and making the whole computer "much slower" when the OS and programs are offloaded onto the SSD is just worrying too much, IMO.
Sorry, you cannot just add the potential transfer speeds of different disks up and say "see, it's faster." It does not work like that, and transfer speeds are often not the relevant measure. (Note I'm referring here to a normal consumer machine, not some raid / mirroring configuration between the ssd and HDD).
First, it matters quite a lot what which files are where - if the files that are needed at any particular point for something important are on the slower drive, it simply WILL be slower - there's no 'additive' operation.
Second, the weak point of hard drives is not so much the transfer speeds, but the seek operation (physically moving the drive heads), which are quite a bit slower again than the transfer speed (compared to an SSD, where it's an electronic operation). Doesn't matter much for large files, but can matter a lot when reading and writing lots of small files (precisely those zillions of temp/cache files that are used a lot).
Now - mitigating on the other side is that for a lot of drive operations, it doesn't matter much - for one example, if you're playing a movie and it only needs 10mb/s and the drive can handle ten times that, mostly irrelevant. And of course, overall, if the computer's 'fast enough' and you don't notice any difference - that's also fine.
But it's pretty much unambiguous, SSD + HDD will usually not be faster (or only in very rare cases) than pure SSD or SSDX2 - and if files are poorly placed, could be worse (and potentially much worse). Putting files that are used a lot by the system (read and written) on the HDD instead of SSD is not the way to maximize speed (you woudln't want system swap on an HDD either).
Of course, if you do this and you're happy with it, fine - but it won't be faster.

I won't get into the 'ssd wear' issue - I think it's a false economy and mostly no longer relevant, but for those who want to believe it's worth giving up the speed for a few pennies of extra ssd longevity over years of use, by all means.
No matter if HDD or SSD, adding a second drive is going to improve performance. A computer should have either SSD + SSD, or SSD + HDD. A computer should have two drives, not one.
If by 'performance' you only mean speed, that first statement is not true (or not unambiguously true). Adding an HDD to an SSD system is mostly not going to increase speed.
BUT: that point does not contradict the second - there are lots of good reasons to have a system with a hard drive, LOTS of good reasons (more storage at less cost, backup, redundancy, and on and on. All of my systems except tiny laptop have ssd + hdd - and the tiny laptop uses network drives and an external for backups, too.
Again, I'm not advocating one should not use a hard drive. But if it's pure speed, SSDs only. Now personally I think pure speed only is a silly and not cost effective approach (hey, if that's what you want and you have too much money, put 1tb of RAM in your system for a ram drive and only use SSD/HDD for persistent data).
So if you think it is better to have a single drive doing all of the reading and writing instead of multiple drives sharing the load, I can you are definitely not alone.
I did not make this claim. I think it is 'better' to have multiple drives, and for normal cost/benefit calcs, HDDs are extremely useful. A backup drive should always be there and a separate device (and HDD best bang for buck for backup). But I wouldn't claim that adding an HDD makes it faster, because it won't be true most of the time.
 

Armoured

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There used to be iMacs that had a smallish SSD plus HDD that apple called a Fusion Drive. It most definitely was not faster than SSD alone.
Yep - that was an approach that was was (sort of) using the SSD as a cache/most frequently accessed, but the reason for it was absolutely driven by cost of SSDs. Then the prices of SSDs fell enough to make it mostly obsolete - and of course it did have overhead of its own and even when it worked well, the algorithm was never perfect.

That said - I'm going to moderate my comments above slightly - there surely are scenarios where SSD+HDD might be faster than a larger SSD (but still slower still than SSDX2). Just that I think those scenarios are pretty artificial or unusual edge cases - eg "main task" is maxing out the SSD bandwidth all the time and you have some secondary task (say, converting movies i.e. reading in large amounts of data and writing almost-simultaneously). And even then, it still might not be faster because the overall system speed constraint would likely still be memory and processor time and having system buses that are sufficiently separate (and what would constantly max out SSD bandwidth without using up large amounts of memory and CPU?). So I think those scenarios are mostly artificial and/or limited to server/dataroom type applications.

Anyone doing that kind of work is definitely not going to be worrying about SSD wear (which yes, was an issue in the past more than now).
 

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