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Archive 2013 · USB powered external hard drives
  
 
Eric Hoffman
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · USB powered external hard drives


Are they as reliable as an external hard drive that has a power cord to plug into a wall outlet? Or is there no difference?

I'm looking at getting a couple of external hard drives and have been checking out different offerings from on line retailers.

The specs I'm looking for are 2T, usb 3.0 backwards compatible to 2.0 (all I have are 2.0 devices).

It seems that the usb powered drives are slightly more expensive than the ones that plug into the wall for the same size capacity. Is this because of the convenience of not having to deal with a power plug?

In short, I guess I'm asking if there are any downsides to the usb powered drives?

Thanks,
Eric



Mar 02, 2013 at 06:02 PM
sjms
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · USB powered external hard drives


all usb 3 devices are backwards compatible to USB 1/2

are we talking portable or homebased?



Mar 02, 2013 at 06:26 PM
rockant
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · USB powered external hard drives


In my experience there is no significant difference in reliability or lifetime, but in terms of ease of use the USB powered drives make things simple.

Powered external drives are meant for desktop use and can be found with faster speeds, exspecialy those with firewire or e-sata. The USB powered drives are meant for portability and tend to run slower and are easier to carry offsite.

One thing to consider is application, extra storage (powered), backup (usb to take offsite), data transfer (usb).

For extra storage I have a NAS (Network Attached Storage) which allows both my Desktop and Laptop easy access. For my Desktop backup I use an on-line cloud service because it is a no brainer. For travel I use 2 usb drives to backup photos and keep them separated, 1 checked, 1 in carryon camera pack, and the laptop as personal item.

Good Luck,
Anthony
"Just because I'm paranoid, it does not mean someone is not out to get me."



Mar 02, 2013 at 06:31 PM
EB-1
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · USB powered external hard drives


The portable, USB-powered type use 2.5" internal drives which are rather more expensive per GB and have less capacity than the larger, power-adapter type that use 3.5" desktop drives. I'm not sure that there is much differnce in reliablity, but the portable types are designed to handle minor impacts better and have higher start/stop ratings.

The application generally depends on whether you will be using the drive primarily in one location or moving it from place to place frequently. If the latter, then a bus-powered device also has the benefit of not needing a UPS.

Overall no single drive should be considered reliable. Always have backups as they do fail, often without SMART warning.

EBH



Mar 02, 2013 at 06:35 PM
Eric Hoffman
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · USB powered external hard drives


Thank you sjms and rockant,

These will be used to back up my home desktop computer, and as such only connected and being used occasionally. I have three 1T ac powered externals but they are about full.

When shopping on line I came across the WD 2T Passport usb powered for $149.00 at Newegg which is a bit more expensive than an ac powered drive of the same size capacity. Is this because you pay a slight premium for the convenience of not having a power cord to deal with?

My main concern is build quality and reliability being equal to the larger, ac powered drives.

Eric



Mar 02, 2013 at 06:43 PM
Eric Hoffman
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · USB powered external hard drives


Thanks EBH,

They ( I am getting two of these for right now ) will be staying in my house as opposed to moving between locations for the most part.

Again, the same level of reliability as an ac powered unit is my main concern but I'm beginning to see that there should be no difference based only on the way they are powered.

Eric



Mar 02, 2013 at 06:49 PM
EB-1
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · USB powered external hard drives


I have a few of the WD 2TB passport, but they are for travel. Get a 3 or 4TB desktop USB 3.0 drive for the backups if you are not taking it offsite (that is another issue). The desktop drive will be faster than the portable drive, too.

EBH



Mar 02, 2013 at 06:49 PM
 

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sjms
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · USB powered external hard drives


Eric Hoffman wrote:
Thank you sjms and rockant,

These will be used to back up my home desktop computer, and as such only connected and being used occasionally. I have three 1T ac powered externals but they are about full.

When shopping on line I came across the WD 2T Passport usb powered for $149.00 at Newegg which is a bit more expensive than an ac powered drive of the same size capacity. Is this because you pay a slight premium for the convenience of not having a power cord to deal with?

My main concern is build quality and reliability being equal to the
...Show more

then to maintain a level of control build your own.
there you have you choice of drive and case.

I recommend OWC housings as for me they have been the most reliable. I personally would use a separate power supply on them. and the need/option of said supply will depend on your MB's ability to supply enough juice to run the box.
www.macsales.com
http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/usb/eliteclassic
as far as drives go as of late, as for me again, I have found the WD black caviar line to be quite reliable. the blacks carry a 5 year warranty.



Mar 02, 2013 at 07:50 PM
Sunny Sra
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · USB powered external hard drives


Why not go for a nas instead of all these usb drives?


Mar 02, 2013 at 09:57 PM
Sunny Sra
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · USB powered external hard drives


Here is a post i made on the Post Processing forum the other day

You have several options here for the external drives:
1. buy seagate/wd or any other 2 drive HD enclosure set sold at bestbuy, newegg, amazon etc.
The advantage here is that the hard drives comes preloaded with software that facilitate automatic backups of your files.

Option 2
Buy the hd with large cache and 7200 rpm, buy a case that supports 2 Hard drives in RAID 1 or RAID 0 and put it together.

here are some options for you:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822108120

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822108095

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/WD+-+My+Book+Studio+II+2TB+External+eSATA/FireWire/USB+2.0+Dual-Drive+Hard+Drive+-+Silver/8806857.p?id=1206142173729&skuId=8806857



Mar 02, 2013 at 09:58 PM
binary visions
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · USB powered external hard drives


The USB powered units are 2.5" drives, so the difference of how they are powered isn't the important question - it's, "are 2.5" drives as good as 3.5" drives?"

They are not as robust. You should never treat a hard drive roughly, but you can bang around a 3.5" drive more than the little drives. Some companies build a very rugged enclosure for the 2.5" drive. That means you get almost the best of both worlds - no external power brick, but a more secure drive. Costs money for that, though.

If your drives aren't regularly banging around in your bag or car seat, or you make a conscious choice to treat them more gently, the 2.5" drives are fine. I use them at work a lot so I don't have to carry power bricks or find outlets.



Mar 03, 2013 at 01:50 PM
EB-1
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · USB powered external hard drives


binary visions wrote:
The USB powered units are 2.5" drives, so the difference of how they are powered isn't the important question - it's, "are 2.5" drives as good as 3.5" drives?"

They are not as robust. You should never treat a hard drive roughly, but you can bang around a 3.5" drive more than the little drives. Some companies build a very rugged enclosure for the 2.5" drive. That means you get almost the best of both worlds - no external power brick, but a more secure drive. Costs money for that, though.


Normally that is not the case, as mobile (2.5" FF) drives can typically withstand far more operating and non-operating shock than desktop (3.5" FF) drives. (Mobile drives can also handle reasonable movements off axis during operation, that are not advised for desktop drives at all.) Which model desktop and mobile drives are you comparing that show the reverse for shock?

EBH



Mar 03, 2013 at 04:41 PM
binary visions
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · USB powered external hard drives


Interesting to hear you say that. My experience is strictly anecdotal, in that I've been in IT in various capacities for 15+ years and my experience is that laptop drives are substantially more fragile than desktop drives when it comes to being dropped or handled roughly.

This is across all of the major brands. I guess I've never watched a 2.5" Hitachi Deskstar break.

The wider range of operating shock I would expect, but I sure have seen a lot of laptop drives quit functioning either immediately after or soon after dropping them. There's some variability in how they're mounted, of course, and some have been mounted in laptops so they've got some more momentum when the hit the floor... but I've seen a lot more desktop drives take a bounce and keep on functioning.

Of course, anecdotes being what they are, it's not 100%. I've just seen enough broken drives to feel like it's pretty representative.



Mar 04, 2013 at 11:54 AM





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