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need opinion on 1 TB external USB drives

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Reviews' started by bp936, Jan 3, 2011.

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  1. bp936

    bp936 Thread Starter

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    I just got a new 1 TB Iomega drive, unpacked it, plug it in, and realize, there is no on-off switch. Are they all like that now? :mad:
    Then I read all the problems people are having with the terrabyte drives.Does anyone had a good brand for more than a year and still working?
    Do you always have to unplug the powercord? :mad:

    And what is it with already 93 MB taken up by something invisible? Kaspersky can scan it but Explorer does not show anything. So how do I know, what is hidden, is it sending something out into the world when I AM NOT WATCHING?:mad:
    There is no instructions, np file or anything what it is?:mad:

    My review already is: not happy with product.
     
  2. Stoner

    Stoner Banned

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    You might consider getting a switch box.

    [​IMG]

    I use one for that purpose.
     
  3. bp936

    bp936 Thread Starter

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    sounds good, my wallplug is already full with stuff plugged in and cannot be switched off. But is an Iomega a good drive?
    As I see it, many big drives seem to have a lot of problems in a very short time. Might return it and get 2 x 500 GB drives. My good old Maxtor boxes still work after many years, but the new Maxtors seem to have a problem too. The problem is, my kids took my Maxtors.
     
  4. Stoner

    Stoner Banned

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    My new Seagate 1T external is junk now and I had it powered through a switch box to keep the time usage down and not over heat the drive.

    After partitioning, there is less than 1T available for data.

    Maxtor is now owed by Seagate.
    I am also using a 9 year old Maxtor that now lives in an enclosure.... that's still quiet and performs properly.
    Big difference in quality, apparently.

    I don't know what brand to recommend as an external now.
    I'm looking for recommendations, too.
    But I think I'll go for a 500 gb drive, this time also.
     
  5. calvin-c

    calvin-c Banned

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    I got a 1TB Toshiba external HD a little over a year ago & it's still working fine. It's got quirks, like a CD-ROM emulator that loads automatically so it takes 2 drive letters and I have absolutely no idea why they did that-it isn't necessary as the emulator (in firmware, as far as I can tell) only loads if 1) you connect it via USB and 2) the connected device will run it. I plugged mine in via eSata to reformat it into NTFS, then connected it to a router & have had no problems (except speed but I'm pretty sure that's a router issue-it seems to be fine on the occasions when I've connected it directly to my laptop). I did get a UPS for it though-it's got one of those damned 'soft' switches that stays off after the power shuts down. They were working on the streets near us last summer & I got tired of climbing into the wiring closet every couple of days to turn it back on. The router & modem came back on with the power (sometimes it was barely a blip, but enough to shut things down) but the HD wouldn't.

    As for the space, it would help to explain how you 'know' you're missing 93MB. There are so many possible explanations, ranging from misunderstanding how the space is calculated to misunderstanding that manufacturers round the actual capacity to something actually being hidden, like the CD emulator on the Toshiba. (Which doesn't seem to be hidden on the actual drive, but I could be wrong about that. Maybe I'm just not good enough to find it.)
     
  6. bp936

    bp936 Thread Starter

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    yes, quality on everything seems to go downhill.
    even so you say, Toshiba runs ok, calvin, why should it emulate a CD-Rom? This can only confuse, what is running really in the background when the harddrive flickers.
    I read that too many 1TB drives do that and have problems, every brand I looked up. I will get 500 MB drives, they seems to be better and one with an on-off switch.. And if a drive crashes, everything is gone, while on several smaller drives one still has files.

    My UPS also finally died, after 13 years, it really helped during brown outs. Need another one. And I like the idea with a switchbox, since I already have 3 other USB backup drives. Sometimes I forget to shut them down and I don't think that is good for the drive.

    As I said, the old Maxtor in a steel encasing is still running, the Comstar in a steelcase is still running, a newer Lacie in pianokey shine is too new to see how long it will last, I just wanted all smaller drives backed up on one big one, as per our friend's advice (JW), to have at least 2 backups if we care.

    Right-clicking on the Properties tab on the Iomega, it says, 93 MB used, the rest is free. And like I said, Kaspersky scanned files, without showing anything, weird or what? (William Shatner)
     
  7. jiml8

    jiml8 Guest

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    The answer about hard drive reliability isn't simple. To the best of my ability to tell, and I have researched it extensively and I continue to revisit the topic periodically, the right answer is that all manufacturers have at times put out series of drives that were prone to failure. All manufacturers have also put out series of drives that proved to be reliable over time.

    The best way to approach it, therefore, is to do research on specific drives that you are considering purchasing. For instance, in the fairly recent past I was considering a particular Samsung SATA 2 TB drive because of price and availability. However, a bit of googling showed that there seemed to be a lot of failures of that drive. So I passed. I then investigated some Seagate drives and there were two series commonly seen in the field. One series seemed to be reliable, the other wasn't. I decided I couldn't easily tell which was which when I was in the store shopping, so I passed. I finally bought a WD green series drive because it apparently was reliable, based on my reading, although it wouldn't be acceptable for a system drive due to the way it continually loaded the heads in that role. Since I wanted it for a data drive, I didn't worry about that too much.

    Similarly, a year ago I had a SCSI drive fail. This was a system drive and rather critical to me. I replaced it with a Hitachi SCSI drive, which failed within 72 hours. The warranty replacement for that drive from the vendor was the same series. It failed after 92 days. I purchased a Fujitsu SCSI drive as a replacement this time, and it is still working. The 92-day old failed Hitachi was RMA'd to Hitachi, and their replacement was a different series. I installed it as a data drive and it is still working.

    The point is that you need to do your homework on a per-series basis. If you buy a brand new drive of a new series, you will be the one experimenting to find if it is reliable or not. Past performance by a manufacturer is no guarantee of future performance - for either good or ill.
     
  8. bp936

    bp936 Thread Starter

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    jim, very well described, what is happening with most everything.
    Why don't companies test their products, instead of letting customers find out if there is a problem. And yes, there are many different versions of the same company, some work, some won't in the long run.
     
  9. calvin-c

    calvin-c Banned

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    A problem with using Google to research drive failures is that non-failures are hardly ever mentioned. It's certainly better than nothing but you also need to keep that in mind while looking at the results. And you should also keep in mind that complainers aren't always reasonable. One that sticks in my mind, found when contemplating an Iomega before I bought the Toshiba, was somebody who rated them 1-star because when their drive failed (2 months before the end of warranty, IIRC) Iomega replaced it with a refurbished drive rather than a brand-new one.

    Another problem is that all you generally find in stores are the newer models. If they haven't been out long enough to establish a reliability record how can you research their reliability?

    It would be ideal if you could find independent statistics on how many drives (of a particular model) are in use vs. how many of them fail, but the closest I've come to those is from manufacturers who have a vested interest in skewing them. Whether or not they do, I don't know-but not knowing doesn't make me trust them.

    Personally I rely more on warranty than research. I do check the research but the reports I'm usually looking for are people who say they had 2 or 3 drives fail sequentially. (I.e. "this drive was replaced under warranty & the replacement also failed".) I'm assuming a reasonable user who, when the 1st drive fails checks for problems in the environment so the 2nd failure is more likely to be a problem with the drive model-although it can also be coincidence, but if it happens a 3rd time I'd be pretty definite about the problem being the drive. But that's just my opinion, YMMV.
     
  10. bp936

    bp936 Thread Starter

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    your reasoning, calvin, is exactly why I am asking here, what people think, what experiences anyone had,. that is the only way to find a reliable brand (mostly).

    Even with that study, there is a problem. my daughter just gave me her WD if I could fix it? I reformatted it, checked it, it didn't work when moved to another computer. I changed the cables, it worked, back to laptop, it didn't work and now I could here a scratching noise inside the box. And so many like WD.
    There seems to be no concrete way to come to a conclusion.
    I will have to see if a switchbox will take the bulky plug that came with the Iomega. Otherwise that is a good idea and I just have to wait, if the drive lasts.

    So why are we getting external USB backup drives? For sure not to have them not keeping our documents and pictures etc. Do we have to start putting thousands of files on a DVD again and use up so much time to burn them?
     
  11. calvin-c

    calvin-c Banned

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    Personally I use external hard drives for network storage-and I use multiple ones for backup. I know other people who use their internal drives for storage & external drives for backup. The important thing is having a backup of your data. If you use an external drive for primary storage, and don't have a second one for backup, then yes, I would recommend that you back up your documents, etc. on DVD. One drive can go bad at any time, regardless of the reputation. That's why I look for reports of multiple drives going bad in sequence. (Multiple drives that are purchased together might all come from the same bad batch.)

    Even in the TB range it's feasible to back your files up to DVD-but you'll want to understand the difference between full, differential, and incremental backups because I doubt if you want to make a weekly full backup of a TB drive to DVD. I certainly don't, but when I was doing backups to DVD (back when I had a 250GB drive) I found an annual full backup and weekly incremental backups to not be a major task. These days I use two external TB drives, one for primary storage & the other for a weekly full backup. If my primary dies I can switch to the backup drive (it's not online but it's just a plug & play setup) and buy a new backup drive. And redo whatever I worked on during the last week of course, but that's the risk of doing a weekly backup vs. daily. Or (more expensive yet) implementing RAID.

    (One place I worked was so sensitive to data loss that they implemented mirrored RAID 5 arrays. Beautiful setup, they could lose up to 3 drives without crashing, but my gods, talk about expensive! Not for home use.)
     
  12. bp936

    bp936 Thread Starter

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    well said calvin
     
  13. Stoner

    Stoner Banned

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    Racing stripes?...:D
     
  14. Rich-M

    Rich-M

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    To your specific question, personally I recommend iomega drives over every other brand and most of them do have on/off switches and fans, which none of the major brands have any more. Hitachi externals also usually have both as well.
    As for 1 Tb, well they seem stable now but I would not advise anything bigger is all.
     
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