Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Escorted from the White House
Joined
·
36,546 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
See subject. Now that I've made the decision to go back to grad school, I will be doing considerable fancy-pants computer work that will need backing up in a reliable way.

It should be both Mac- and PC-compatible, and portable. I'm mainly looking for something reliable that isn't a total hassle to set-up and deal with on the Mac side.

Not sure if it makes that huge a difference if it's bus-powered or has its own power supply, pls edumucate me on that part– bus-powered = even more portable, but do I take a big performance hit? :idea:

/ Brands I'm looking at: La Cie, Iomega, Western Digital, Toshiba, G-Technology (Hitachi, basically), and Verbatim.

.
 

·
Potatoes
Joined
·
1,402 Posts
Buy 2 HDD's.

You want your stuff in at least 3 places. On your computer and 2 external drives.

HDD No.1 should be your portable drive. Almost any of the known brands work well (I'm talking about USB powered drives). They're easy to carry around and easy to use. If it has to be used by Mac & PC, you can format it as a FAT 32 drive. The issue with this format though is that you may have to (depending on the size of the drive) end up partitioning it a few times - do this using Disk Utility. The speed of USB 2.0 drives is acceptable and completely fine IMO/E.

HDD No. 2 should be the hard drive that sits on your desk, at home and never gets moved. They're also a lot cheaper since they require a power pack. You can format this one just for mac if you want. Maybe partition one part for use with PC's & Mac's (i.e. FAT 32) and for other random things you want to put on it... and the other partition for OSX's Time Machine. Firewire 800 or USB 2.0 will work just fine.

The pain is to make sure you update and sync each drive at least once a week.
 

·
Milk was a bad choice.
Joined
·
1,338 Posts
I looked into backup solutions a while back, and from al the reviews I read, it seemed that a lot of the current USB-powered drives have a pretty high rate of just up and dying. I wasn't satisfied with that as a solution, so I bought a reliable hard drive (Western Digital Caviar) and mounted it myself in an external hard drive enclosure (Rosewill). This ended up costing me roughly the same as a pre-packaged one, but I believe it is much more reliable (although quite a bit more cumbersome as well).

Since doing all this, I discovered that there's a thing called a network drive, which is a hard drive enclosure with networking capability (i.e. you hook it up to your wireless router), which allows you to leave it on all the time and it will automatically back up all your computers wirelessly. This is the function I really wanted, but I didn't know that it actually existed until I had already bought my drive. I would suggest going this route for just a little bit more money and a lot more convenience.

As for compatibility, just read this, and it really isn't hard to back up your Mac (which is what I have). You will just want to create a different partition for each computer you are backing up there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
822 Posts
I've had good luck *knock on wood* with a few 1 TB lacie green drives. They've been going for a couple of years now. Format however you like (we use ours on mac's for general storage & timemachine backups). I keep 2 at home & a 3rd offsite. Kind of a hassle to rotate 'em, but I haven't pulled the trigger on going with online storage (ie carbonite). The 2 TB ones are now the price I paid for 1TB 2 yrs ago.
 

·
Master debator.
Joined
·
8,761 Posts
Generally I mount a spare hdd in my pc's itself, whether it's my laptop of desktop. That gives me a quick and easy backup/storage solution that I let the OS manage every so often. Then an external USB drive is used, which I keep in a small fireproof safe. Then, although not common, all of our computers are backed up to a Windows Home Server box that just sits in a corner silently running day and night which backs up all our pc's automatically also.
 

·
Gronk SMASH!
Joined
·
1,973 Posts
nOOky said:
Generally I mount a spare hdd in my pc's itself, whether it's my laptop of desktop. That gives me a quick and easy backup/storage solution that I let the OS manage every so often. Then an external USB drive is used, which I keep in a small fireproof safe. Then, although not common, all of our computers are backed up to a Windows Home Server box that just sits in a corner silently running day and night which backs up all our pc's automatically also.
While this seems sensible, wouldn't this drive be in play if a virus cannonballed your PC? One benefit of an external drive seems to be the ability to unplug it when you're not writing to it.

Or is this a thing of the past, and I'm betraying my naivety? I don't do a lot at home that needs constant back-up. You could save my important files at home on a thumb drive.
 

·
Master debator.
Joined
·
8,761 Posts
It could indeed be subject to the same virus as the OS hdd. I am old school, I use a small fast hdd for my OS and use a separate larger storage dive for internal back ups. I think enthusiasts these days are going more and more with solid state drives as the OS drive which makes this scenario make sense also. If all you do is back up to an internal hdd and store photos etc. on it I think the risk of virus is small, and it just provides an easy solution if you do fresh OS installs every so often. At worst, it is the cost of an additional internal disk which is about $75 or so for a decent one, and it provides one more level of storage and redundancy.
I'm cute, I name my hard drives. All are W.D. black or blue drives... 640 gig.
 

·
Adorable Furry Hombre
Joined
·
30,792 Posts
Be cognizant of the fact that the universe will be moving on to USB3.0 in the near future.

You'll want a portable drive to have as many connectivity options as possible given new and legacy ports you'll be dealing with.

You'll want bus powered, which USB3 is far better at. Wall Warts are a PITA to setup and drag around.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,060 Posts
Hummmm
And if some one makes off with your computer with your back up drive in it, YOU'RE SCREWED. Or how about a fire.

Use online back ups, IDrive, or Mozy are good. $50 yr and you can download your docs from any pc with an internet connection. (Idrive is better at the access from anywhere thing)

Unless you have over 50gb to back up, it works pretty well. If you have 50+ gb, it still works, but it can only back up 10 gb a day or so. they do only do the changed files. So you dont need to do a full back up all the time.

If you only have a few mb files to back up, just email them as attachments to a gmail or yahoo mail account.
 

·
Good news everyone!
Joined
·
5,452 Posts
IMO the USB 2.5" drives fail more often simply because they are so portable and easily carried around. Vibration, dropping them, even minor things will eventually damage them over time. I like the route of having a second internal drive and an external as well for super important things. I recently got a FreeAgent 500GB 2.5" USB and like it but it takes forever to transfer large amounts of data.. several hours to fill it up completely.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
442 Posts
Well, how big of file sizes are we talking about here...??? Can a 8 or 16gb memory stick suffice? My first PC in the early '90s had a 120 mb hard drive...

I use an external drive at home to backup things, but flash memory is getting up there in size and unless you have a bunch of "movie" files, I would just be using flash memory nowadays since the prices are coming down.
 

·
Master debator.
Joined
·
8,761 Posts
ziscwg said:
Hummmm
And if some one makes off with your computer with your back up drive in it, YOU'RE SCREWED. Or how about a fire.

Use online back ups, IDrive, or Mozy are good. $50 yr and you can download your docs from any pc with an internet connection. (Idrive is better at the access from anywhere thing)

Unless you have over 50gb to back up, it works pretty well. If you have 50+ gb, it still works, but it can only back up 10 gb a day or so. they do only do the changed files. So you dont need to do a full back up all the time.

If you only have a few mb files to back up, just email them as attachments to a gmail or yahoo mail account.
That's why if you've ever been burned you before you resort to multiple redundant back up sources, not just an external drive etc.
The most common cause of loss of data is the main OS drive getting screwed up one way or another, virus or malware etc. or a simple failure. A second internal drive can help, an additional external drive is mandatory (in a fire proof enclosure), and other sources are recommended.
 

·
Registered
Escorted from the White House
Joined
·
36,546 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Great info from everybody, especially the warnings about fire/needing a fireproof safe (really didn't think much about that despite the pic I posted) and needing to put your data in at least 3 different places.

Not sure I can wait for USB 3. I won't have a comp that uses it for a few years anyway, as my MacBook Pro is of fairly recent vintage and won't be replaced soon. Firewire 400/800 on the drive would be nice though.

The files I'm doing are pretty big but not ginormous (that'll change later on as I bone-up on video production)... for now, I guess my thumb drive plus a good portable external HD may suffice. Also burning stuff to DVD occasionally (i.e. finished projects).

@erj: nice article

@n00ky: your C:\ drive has a very odd name, at first glance...


/ Anyone have any opinions on the brands I'm looking at? (i.e. a Cie, Iomega, Western Digital, Toshiba, G-Technology, Verbatim)
.
 

·
Adorable Furry Hombre
Joined
·
30,792 Posts
SystemShock said:
Great info from everybody, especially the warnings about fire/needing a fireproof safe (really didn't think much about that despite the pic I posted) and needing to put your data in at least 3 different places.

Not sure I can wait for USB 3. I won't have a comp that uses it for a few years anyway, as my MacBook Pro is of fairly recent vintage and won't be replaced soon. Firewire 400/800 on the drive would be nice though.

The files I'm doing are pretty big but not ginormous (that'll change later on as I bone-up on video production)... for now, I guess my thumb drive plus a good portable external HD may suffice. Also burning stuff to DVD occasionally (i.e. finished projects).

@erj: nice article

@n00ky: your C:\ drive has a very odd name, at first glance...


/ Anyone have any opinions on the brands I'm looking at? (i.e. a Cie, Iomega, Western Digital, Toshiba, G-Technology, Verbatim)
.
USB3 is already out in the wild. Any current generation mainboard you can buy is USB3-sometimes with a USB2 port for legacy gear.

The only real question is how long it takes USB3 to become common with IT at labs you frequent.
 

·
Jerkhard Sirdribbledick
Joined
·
27,035 Posts
If you're not generating gigs and gigs of data, backup to an online service. Mozy is $5/month for unlimited data.
 

·
Registered
Escorted from the White House
Joined
·
36,546 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Marc said:
USB3 is already out in the wild. Any current generation mainboard you can buy is USB3-sometimes with a USB2 port for legacy gear.

The only real question is how long it takes USB3 to become common with IT at labs you frequent.
Given the kind of budget cuts the state schools have experienced here in California... I'm not going to hold my breath. :(

I wound up getting a 500GB La Cie external HD, USB 2, bus-powered. La Cie's always had a good rep in Mac circles.

Was quite cheap at the school bookstore, like $85. Kinda cool-looking with the brushed aluminum casing too- always a nice bonus.

/ came with 10GB of free online storage as well

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
SystemShock said:
See subject. Now that I've made the decision to go back to grad school, I will be doing considerable fancy-pants computer work that will need backing up in a reliable way.

It should be both Mac- and PC-compatible, and portable. I'm mainly looking for something reliable that isn't a total hassle to set-up and deal with on the Mac side.

Not sure if it makes that huge a difference if it's bus-powered or has its own power supply, pls edumucate me on that part– bus-powered = even more portable, but do I take a big performance hit? :idea:

/ Brands I'm looking at: La Cie, Iomega, Western Digital, Toshiba, G-Technology, Verbatim.

.


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
420 Posts
My wife's 320gb western digital drive died after a years use... not going to buy one of those again. I've been using Segate USB drives for some time with no complaints, so I would say give them a look.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
935 Posts
I have a WD Passport that is over 2 years old and works great as a tertiary backup for all my files, folders and software. I also use a WD SATA internal HDD as my secondary backup and my "C" drive as the primary.
I do not trust the "cloud" for storage of my personal files, folders, etc...probably just old fashioned but I am ok with that.
 

·
Palm trees & sunshine!
Joined
·
24,200 Posts
DrRoebuck said:
If you're not generating gigs and gigs of data, backup to an online service. Mozy is $5/month for unlimited data.

I haven't gone through the whole thread yet but.... ^^^^this^^^^.

If you don't like Mozy, Carbonite is $50/year for unlimited storage. I use it.
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top