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Old May 17th, 2011, 04:47 PM   #1
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Portable External Hard Drives

I'm considering purchasing a portable external hard drive for backup and storage off-site. I like the portability of the small USB-powered drives. I'm looking at the 1TB/USB 3.0 models but I'm not sure of their reliablity. Anyone having a good experience with these types of drives? Thanks.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 05:24 PM   #2
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Re: Portable External Hard Drives

I bought an Eagle (cheapo) USB powered drive for a customer (I loved it, really cool).

For anything serious, I would not use any large USB powered drive on a regular basis As a video editor, I view them as consumer toys. I don't want to draw power through my MOBO, it doesn't sound kosher to me, but I have nothing to back that up.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 08:06 PM   #3
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Re: Portable External Hard Drives

regularly back up (and sometimes run from) wd passport and similar usb2 self powered drives. no problems so far...
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Old May 18th, 2011, 03:01 AM   #4
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Re: Portable External Hard Drives

Personally, I always buy the drive and the enclosure separately, then I stick the drive in the enclosure (usually you just slide it in, though some models require you to connect the cables). I also make sure the enclosure comes with a cooling fan and supports both USB and eSATA, so I can connect it to my laptop with USB but to my desktop with the much faster eSATA.

Buying the drive and the enclosure separately is much more flexible than buying it all as one, and it gives full control over the quality of both. I have been very happy with Hitachi 1 or 2 TB drives and Rosewill enclosures (Rosewill is owned by NewEgg).
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Old May 18th, 2011, 03:17 AM   #5
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Re: Portable External Hard Drives

When traveling light I use USB powered hard drives like the WD Passport. But if I can I prefer to using my hot-swappable hard drive enclosure (RTX100 by Wiebetech). I usually store the bare drives in old VHS cases, though Wiebetech also sells similar plastic cases for around US$5 a pop.

The pluses of the a good hot-swappable enclosure is that 1. you can use 7200rpm and 10000rpm drives, 2. bare drives tend to be cheaper for the same amount of GB, and 3. You can connect to fast interfaces like eSata or Firewire (and hopefully in the future Thunderbolt). The main minuses, 1. it's heavier than your typical USB powered HD and 2. you have to plug it into an electrical outlet.

I also have a dual-bay hot swappable enclosure for mirrored drive backup. Not great for light travel, but good if you know you're going to be on location for a few days.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 07:02 AM   #6
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Re: Portable External Hard Drives

Thanks everyone for your comments. I'm probably going to go with the HP - 1TB External USB 3.0/2.0 Portable Hard Drive. It seems to be very favorably reviewed in most cases.

Regarding using a seperate drive and case, I've also done that as well with a NexStar-3 case and an old PATA drive to transfer files from my old PC to a new one.This worked and still works great with PATA to USB 2.0 although it's pretty slow.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 06:56 PM   #7
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Re: Portable External Hard Drives

Hello, I'm visiting from Final Cut Pro land. i was asked to capture several tapes for someone who is not in the same state...he wanted me to upload to Dropbox which has been hell, for many reasons which i won't go into here. i have done this for two tapes and need to finish this job soon, as it's taken up way too much time already. i've told him we need to find a workflow allowing me to put the rest of the files on another hard drive and mail it (his other suggestion was putting them on DVD, but this will take way too many DVDs and way too much time). does anyone have suggestions about a hard drive formatted for both PC and mac use? i have been attempting to research this online,and see references to the exFAT file system, but i can't find info on which drives use this and whether this is in fact the best option.
thanks for any help!
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Old May 19th, 2011, 07:25 PM   #8
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Re: Portable External Hard Drives

Cynthia, It would be best if you used NTFS format for your hard disk. Earlier format structures have file size limitations that could be a problem with large video files. The latest versions of the Mac OS will also support NTFS. You can probably find more info on the OS versions that support NTFS on Apple's web site.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 07:37 PM   #9
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Re: Portable External Hard Drives

Cynthia, you didn't say if the other user is a PC user or a Mac user.
If he's a PC user, have him buy a copy of MacDrive and he'll be able to read anything you send him.
I do work with some FCP shops in my city and have a Mac-formatted drive that I use whenever we need to trade files.
It's only $50 and worth every penny as it does what it's supposed to do.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 10:15 PM   #10
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Re: Portable External Hard Drives

also - how many / size files? i regularly have a client send me a couple of hours of hdv on a 32gb cf card.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 10:39 PM   #11
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Re: Portable External Hard Drives

mike, the MacDrive looks great, and has a functional free trial...great as the client can use it for this immediate situation and decide whether he wants to make the investment longer-term. thanks, i'll pass on the link right away! jim, NTFS, from what i find on the web, can't handle files larger than 4 gb, so that won't work for the larger video files we're working with. and leslie, what codec are you working with that you can get a couple of hours into 32gb? wow, i wish. i'm in pro res, and it's capturing at about a gb per minute. i could try cards, but we'd still have the file system issue, i believe...thanks everyone for the quick response!
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Old May 19th, 2011, 10:45 PM   #12
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Re: Portable External Hard Drives

Cynthia, I don't know where you are getting your information but the maximum file size with NTFS is 16 terabytes.

NTFS.com NTFS vs FAT32 FAT64 exFAT FAT. Comparing. Performance.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 11:08 PM   #13
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Re: Portable External Hard Drives

well jim answered that quickly!!!

i'm generally working with m2t (hdv), dv, and avchd. all of which are around 12gb to the hour.....

of course once you transcode your end file size will be dependent on the format; pro res, cineform, dnxhd, etc., but in most cases much large than original file size.
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Old May 20th, 2011, 07:35 AM   #14
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Re: Portable External Hard Drives

FAT32 is limited to 4Gig. NTFS can definitely handle MUCH larger files. Many external drives come formatted as FAT32 to maintain compatibility with both PC and Mac. Some come formatted as NTFS which allows the larger file sizes and work great with PC's but Macs can only read from those drives natively.
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Old May 20th, 2011, 08:26 AM   #15
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Re: Portable External Hard Drives

So Edward, if I give an NTFS/pc formatted drive to a mac user, they can transfer the files to their own hard drive thereby are able to edit them?
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