Reliable external drives?

Discussion in 'SSDs & Data Storage' started by chinesepiratefood, May 7, 2012.

  1. chinesepiratefood

    chinesepiratefood 2[H]4U

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    I want to pick up a 2TB external usb drive (usb 3 if possible) but pretty much every drive I come a cross has gotten really crappy reliability reviews from users. Surely someone makes a good drive.
     
  2. McTurkey

    McTurkey Limp Gawd

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    I can't say for sure, but I suspect that most of the poor reliability claims on external drives come from people moving them around while they are powered on. Most of the drives that go in external enclosures are standard 3.5" drives, so any movement can potentially hose them. A lot of folks expect them to act just like laptops, but those have free fall sensors that immediately park the heads when enough movement is detected.
     
  3. dustNbone

    dustNbone [H]ard|Gawd

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    I think heat and crappy power sometimes play a part also. In general desktop drives in enclosures have a substantially rougher life than those mounted internally. Best bet is to get drive and enclosure seperately, and buy a quality enclosure maybe with some kind of active cooling (fan).
     
  4. hotcrandel

    hotcrandel Gawd

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    I've had pretty good luck with Lacie and Gtech, they are a bit more robust than the run of the mill external, the power bricks look bigger and the cases are heavier duty.

    I would highly suggest you plug your drive into a voltage regulated UPS; I have a theory that the dips and spikes on average power can damage drives over time and eventually make them or the electronics fail.

    Last note, nothing will save you [except SSD] if you move the drive while its running.
     
  5. Old Hippie

    Old Hippie [H]ardness Supreme

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    The best external drive is the one you assemble yourself.

    To me it's pretty unbelieveable that someone on a tech site would buy those crappy prebuilts. :)
     
  6. Impulse

    Impulse [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Also, you can usually get a better warranty on the drive and the enclosure both by assembling it yourself, not to mention your choice of enclosure... Actively cooled, or metal so it conducts heat better, etc. Most pre-builts are cheap plastic with very bad ventilation.

    Pricing might be higher or lower depending on what drive you pick and whether you compare the self-built option to the cheapest pre-built you can find or something sturdier like a Lacie, but it's usually not too skewed either way.

    If it's gonna get jostled and handled a lot you might wanna consider a SSD... Drives fail tho, regardless of what you choose and how much you baby it. In the last ten years or so I had one pre built enclosure die on me (drive was fine but a royal PITA to remove) and one additional enclosure that I assembled die as well. I'm on my fourth but only because I switched from eSATA to USB 3.0.

    I've actually only had one drive die while in an enclosure, but I've had many die elsewhere so that's neither here nor there. You shouldn't trust any data to a single external drive.
     
  7. ATWindsor

    ATWindsor [H]Lite

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    The power-brick transforms it to DC-power, wouldn't spikes like this be handled by that?
     
  8. ATWindsor

    ATWindsor [H]Lite

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    I must admit, i have never even once had a problem with prebuilt external drives. They seem to work fine as far as I can tell, provided ou knwo you are handling a disk.