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Old November 25th, 2005, 01:33 PM   #1
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Best External Hardrive for Video

just a quick inquiry to see what everybody else is using. I purchased a LaCie 160gb Firewire HD from the Apple Store over a year ago. Everything has worked perfectly since I've had but I need to get another one now. But it seems like no matter what Hard Drives I look at, it seems like they all have bad reviews or horror stories surrounding them, even the one I bought. Just looking for reliability here. Thanks for the help.
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Old November 25th, 2005, 02:08 PM   #2
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I'm not sure that the brand matters a lot. Just look for a 7200 RPM mechanism. Most of the interfaces are probably fast enough these days, but a couple years ago that wasn't the case and you needed to look for drives with the Oxford 911 chipset. Also the prevailing wisdom (on the Mac at least) is to go with firewire instead of USB2. Firewire 400 should be fine - I have a whole stack of them that all work fine. 4 Maxtors, 1 Western Digital and 1 Seagate.

The current issue of Macworld reviews and compares a number of external drives, might be worth a look.

Also see some of these threads, the question comes up often:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=54186
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=47550
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=45281
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=37203
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=15959
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=12502
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=10320
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=6707
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Old November 25th, 2005, 02:18 PM   #3
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the brand of the drive makes a huge difference these days, because of the way that hard drive warranties have gone belly-up... a lot of cheap drives from companies like maxtor only offer a one year warranty... look for a seagate drive, because they still have a five year warranty... if you are going to put it in an external firewire/usb enclosure, get one with a fan on it, to keep the drive cool.
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Old November 25th, 2005, 04:30 PM   #4
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I have oldass Lacie 80gb and it still works fine
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Old November 26th, 2005, 11:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
a lot of cheap drives from companies like maxtor only offer a one year warranty... look for a seagate drive, because they still have a five year warranty...
While the Seagate internal hard drives come with five year warranties, the external ones only have one year warranties. The user reviews (I believe it was on Amazon.com) weren't too positive as far as the external Seagate drives' reliability, either.
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Old November 26th, 2005, 02:33 PM   #6
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that's one reason why i said "seagate drive", and not seagate external drive... after which i specifically stated "if you are going to put it in an external firewire/usb enclosure, get one with a fan on it, to keep the drive cool."

your point about the warranty is one of the reasons why i don't buy external hard drive setups for myself or any of my customers... roll yer own with an external usb 2.0 kit, so that you can get a real warranty on the drive itself, mounted in a fan-cooled compartment, with an on/off switch on the box.

most people that post reviews on the 'net about computer hardware don't know squat... all of the hard drive manufacturers suffer from unwarranted product bashing that stems in large part from user error.

classic case in point is my neighbor, who lost his western digital external drive not long after the warranty ran out... it turned out that he was plugging and unplugging the dc power jack from the back of the drive case, because it didn't have a power switch on the case, and he couldn't be bothered with plugging the wall wart into a power strip to shut it down with instead.

when i took the external drive case apart and checked the dc supply voltage to the drive itself, i found that both the 12v and 5v regulation was all over the map... well over the voltage tolerance spec that the drive required, because the connection at the plug was hammered so badly... so he probably caused the drive to fail.

things like that are why drive manufacturers don't typically offer longer warranties on external hard drive setups... even tho the hard drive itself is the exact same hardware as their internal drive, just with a different serial number to keep track of the shorter warranty.
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Old November 27th, 2005, 10:17 PM   #7
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Brands of External HD

Thanks for the replies everyone. As I said I have treated mine perfect and its worked flawlessly so far. Of course I only bought a LaCie because thats the only brand they sell in the Apple store so I trusted that.
But since I'm looking, I found this great deal and wanted to see what you guys though. Never heard of the brand but it is a Firewire with 7200rpm. Would I be able to daisy chain this one to me current LaCie without a problem? Or wold you recommend against it? Thanks.

http://www.compusa.com/products/prod...ct_code=332724
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Old November 27th, 2005, 10:18 PM   #8
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whoops....

sorry in advance Chris. Just realized they're not a sponsor.
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Old November 28th, 2005, 06:38 AM   #9
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I have a 3 year old Acom Data 60GB external drive that I got at CompUSA. I've never used it to edit video, just for backups so it has seen very little actual spin time. I have no idea what brand mechanism is actually inside the box. Personally I'd stay away from these bargain-basement variety drives.

You should be able to plug it through your other drive unless there's something odd about it. However, it is generally not a good idea to have too many active firewire devices while capturing/editing/exporting with FCP. But you really just need to try that and see if you have problems with dropped frames.
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Old November 30th, 2005, 09:56 PM   #10
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Acom Data 250gb hardrive

Thanks again. Maybe I should also add that I do not (nor have I) plan to do any editing on the external hardrive. I will simply be using them to store and transfer enormous video files, and to back up the videos on my computer. Does that make sense? Is there less a chance of running into problems this way, meaning I guess the less I actually spin it, the longer it will last. Even the cheap Acom Data brand I mentioned before? I'm just such a sucker for cheap prices.....but I know you get what you pay for. Just seems like everyone with an external hardrive, no matter what brand, runs into problems.
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Old November 30th, 2005, 10:07 PM   #11
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I will state for the record that I have had no troubles with the Seagate external 120GB, the BussLink 120Gb external or the Homebrew Maxtor external 160Gb. I do however have an issue with the USB 2.0 hub I was using for a while.

It used to be one of the bigger issues was not the spindle speed but the size of the internal cache. Also note that higher spindle speeds don't always mean faster average seek times. That's the real stat to look at for drive response. A combination of spindle speed, average seek time and throughput. All related.

I use all these drives as USB 2.0 drives. There are issues when using 1394 drives AND 1394 caputer devices, like my DSR-11 or my PDX-10. Too many firewire devices are not a good thing really.

USB devices rely on some horsepower from the PC buss components but I have very seldom run into slow responses in the timeline of my Avid Xpress ProHD system using USB drives. Folks have said for years not to use USB 2.o drives but I like to buck the norm. I have cut lots of things including political spots, commercials, radio spots, industrial video manuals, etc. Always worked fine, and without the 1394 issues.

As it is now, I may be selling off 2 of the 3 drives as I just last night pulled them offline. Just not using them right now.

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Old November 30th, 2005, 10:17 PM   #12
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Sean, are you running under Windows or MacOS? I haven't used USB2 drives on my Mac, but there are plenty of reports of problems. I believe this is less of an issue on the PC.

Chris: it isn't "everyone," because I'm looking at a stack of 7 external drives in front of me right now. No problems with any of them. The only time I had a problem was editing from a 5600 RPM drive. Yes, I suspect just about anything will be OK for your application, but as you said... you get what you pay for.

Here's an interesting link someone posted awhile ago explaining why USB2 may perform worse than firewire, even though the specs would imply otherwise:

http://www.usb-ware.com/firewire-vs-usb.htm
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Old November 30th, 2005, 10:26 PM   #13
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Hey Boyd,
Using XP Pro with SP2 and current updates. Avid Xpress ProHD 5.20 (current as of this moment).

I know others have had issues but I just never have. I read the thing on the USB issues a long time ago. Data rate for USB 2.0 is actually a tad faster as I recall than 1394 but the overhead issues and collisions with other USB devices can slow things down.

I will mention I did run into one issue and that was with my printer drivers. My Lexmark has some resident driver that keeps querrying the USB ports and it was a problem for a while. I hardly ever use the printer so I simply unplug it when not in use. I seldom print anything while editing.

I will say I keep a really clean system. I have 4 things running on the task bar and that's it. Norton, Zone Alarm, my M-Audio audio I/O device and the little networking icon. I allow almost nothing to run while I am editing. I think that causes a lot of people more issues than they know. Stuff running they don't know about.

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