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Old September 17th, 2009, 09:36 PM   #1
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Archive to Hard Disk - Brand?

HISTORY
Okay, after using 5 x 500GB Western Digital My Passport Studio FW800 hard drives to off load big projects off of our RAID, I done with them. I bought three brand new ones and 2 of them failed during archiving. My theory is that their flaw is due to the fact that they are buss powered. After an hour or so of data transfer any slight drop in power will throw an error breaking up the transfer process.

I've been using them very successfully to back up our Sony EX3 SxS footage (15-25 GB) at a time. Never had any errors using them in this way (short 10-20 minute transfers). It's only when they are transferring for over an hour or more that problems start to occur.

I've tried connecting them directly to our MacTower FW800 connection and I've tried connecting to our PCIe FW800 expansion card. I've had trouble using either connection.

Before this we used LaCie D2 hard drives but we had so many power supply problems we ditched them and switched to Western Digital (both powered and buss powered). We've never had any trouble with our AC powered Western Digital hard drives. We've got a few of them and they've been flawless. This leads me to my question....

QUESTION
What brand / model hard drive should we buy for off loading our projects to store on a shelf? What have you been using successfully?

I've narrowed it down to the following:

LaCie D2 Quadra (FW400, 2xFW800, USB2, eSATA - Single-drive - 2TB max size) $340
G-Technology G-Drive (FW400, 2xFW800, USB2, eSATA - Single-drive - 2TB max size) $380
Western Digital My Book Studio Edition (FW400, 2xFW800, USB2, eSATA - Single-drive - 2TB max size) $299.99

I've purposely picked units with only one drive in the enclosure. It just seems silly (and expensive) to put a RAID on the shelf. Transfer speed isn't that important. I can do long transfers over night. I'm currently leaning toward the Western Digital based mainly on price.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 10:17 PM   #2
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After doing a little more research (reading Amazon customer reviews) I found that:

1) LaCie is STILL having power supply problems. (I can't believe they aren't trying to get a head of this)

2) Western Digital (the powered units) also have problems mounting. One user reported that he had to re-format using the USB connection and only then would the drive mount via FW800. This is with a brand new unit. (not very confidence inspiring)

3) I can't seem to find anyone who has had a problem with G-Tech drives.
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Old September 18th, 2009, 06:52 AM   #3
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I have WDs, and they've been fine. GTech have a very good reputation and seem to earn their price premium, but I don't have any experience.

You don't mention Iomega, but just in case the idea comes up, don't touch them with whatever type of long pole is proverbial where you are (bargepole in these parts). My drive failed after less than 10 months, cost me abut $1000 to recover the data, and the first two replacements Iomega sent under warranty failed immediately.
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Old September 18th, 2009, 09:05 AM   #4
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It's extra expense & more stuff to go wrong using a complete external disk box. Just use a bare S-ATA drive in a disk dock. Newegg.com - PPA 2599 2.5" & 3.5" USB2.0 & eSATA Single Disk Docking Station - External Enclosures

There are also models where the disk lies horizontally & there may be less chance of damaging the connectors with this design. I cannot find a link on NewEgg but they are readily available here in France so I guess elsewhere too Botier disque dur 3.5" - FlatDock - Dock USB 2.0 et eSATA pour disque dur 2.5"/3.5" par MACWAY : Achat au meilleur prix !

You then also have the freedom to choose the brand of hard disk that you prefer for reliability. They are all much the same but once you have been burned by a particular brand then it's easy to be prejudiced.
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Old September 18th, 2009, 10:58 AM   #5
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Thanks Nick!

iOmega = BAD

What's funny is that iOmega just bought EMC Retrospect, the company that makes my long time backup software. While I was on hold with tech support, they kept hitting me up to buy iOmega hard drives for backing up data.
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Old September 18th, 2009, 04:19 PM   #6
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Just get one of these, and buy raw drives:

NewerTech Voyager Q- Quad Interface SATA 2.... (FWU2ES2HDK) at OWC
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Old September 18th, 2009, 09:50 PM   #7
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Iomega does seem to have issues! I have 4 of their firewire 800 drives, a 500MB, 750MB and a couple 1TB. Two of them will sometimes fail to mount. Another one developed a bad fan after a couple months. Haven't lost any data from them yet, but don't feel very confident about them.

I have a LOT of WD firewire 400 and 800 drives which have always worked fine.
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Old September 18th, 2009, 10:42 PM   #8
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I'll dissent from Nick - my experience with WD externals is CRAP - the MyBook series anyway. Not even for FREE would I allow another one in my edit suite. Darn thing never mounted consistently and then just failed. Within 6 months. Thankfully all that was on it was non mission critical stuff but I lost a fair chunk (nearly 500 GBs to be precise) of personal stuff that I would have preferred not to have lost (but not enough to archive PROPERLY...)

As well they spin down after a period of non-use. This is NOT user controllable but is a part of the controller firmware. Unacceptable in a media drive. If your media spans several drives and during print to tape you are pulling from another drive for an extensive period of time and the WD spins down, when the timeline gets to the part resident on the WD, it needs to spin up again - BOOM! Failed print to tape.

Save your money.

PS. My Lacies have been rock solid, from my 10 year old 80GB FW400 drives to 2 current models currently attached to my edit bay.

ADDENDUM: The spin down MAY be limited to the NON-Studio Edition drives but I would certainly make sure BEFORE buying.
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Old September 18th, 2009, 10:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Miller View Post
I've been seriously thinking about that unit Don. The only minor issue preventing me from going that route is that I'd have to buy a few of them. Sometimes I need to have 2 or even 3 of the archive drives connected to my system. If the "drives" were all raw drives, then I'd need 2 or 3 docking stations. Not a deal breaker, but something to think about.

Thanks for the link! :)
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Old September 18th, 2009, 11:20 PM   #10
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Take a look at Firmtek's SATA system.

I archive to bare drives mounted in sleds, so the cost is about as low as you can get. The sleds are $22 each.

I'm using IBM/Hitachi SATA drives which have proven to be very reliable. I have more than two dozen of them on the shelf, been using this system for the past several years, and haven't had a single failure yet.
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Old September 19th, 2009, 01:46 AM   #11
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I had 3 Lacie, two of which failed. Sold out of Lacie, switched to G-Technology and haven't looked back. Currently, have and use 6 G-RAID2 drives with flawless results for backups, timemachine and FCP scratch disks. Will be getting a G-RAID3 as soon as I have the need to go with eSATA.

I can't say enough good about this company and their products.
Yes, you pay premium but my data is important and it means something when one of their drives is run over by a truck and still functions. That's probably the best Ad I've seen for product reliability. They're always my second stop at NAB (right after Facilis Tech).

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Old September 19th, 2009, 07:48 AM   #12
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Just wanted to point out that Lacie, gtech, iomega etc. do not make hard drives. They make enclosures. They may burn in the hard drives to catch early failures,but that's it.
For actual hard drives I suggest western digital, samsung and hitachi. Seagates been having problems.

There are many enclosures that allow the easy removal of bare drives. On a mac pro you will want to add an esata card if speed is important. "Enterprise" drives cost more but are tested more before shipping. I buy the cheaper desktop drives and run them awhile before archiving.

FW enclosures are relatively expensive. There's no reason to buy the FW interface over and over. For the same cost you could archive two copies. The consevative approach is to archive two copies, each one in a pair on a different brand drive.

In the U.S. 1TB starts at about $80. Sometimes $70 on sale. Samsung is good for reliable storage price/performance. Their performance is behind a bit for permanent internal drives.
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Old September 19th, 2009, 11:10 AM   #13
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WD offers a special cable that takes care of the buss power issue... its still buss powered
but the special cable puts two buss PS's to the HD... its on their site to order...

you just have to have two USB ports..

another option is to get an express card to firewire adaptor with the power wart, it works
too.. just not as portable as one would like...
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Old September 19th, 2009, 02:37 PM   #14
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Recommend G-Tech bigtime over the other brands- especially LaCie. They are fast, reliable and worth every penny of their premium price. Unless keeping your data safe is not that important. :)

-Noah
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Old September 21st, 2009, 04:44 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
I'll dissent from Nick - my experience with WD externals is CRAP - the MyBook series anyway...

PS. My Lacies have been rock solid, from my 10 year old 80GB FW400 drives to 2 current models currently attached to my edit bay...
Interesting - I have no trouble with my WDs, Shaun has lots. Whether it's down to differences in the units (quality control), or differences in working style, the conclusion should be that WDs may be a risk . Look for something else.

Don's point later on is well taken - most of the issues are around the enclosure/power supply, not the drive. My useless Iomegas used Seagates. When I took the drives out and fitted them to another enclosure, they were fine. IOW, it was the Iomega enclosure that caused the problem.
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