Big External Hard Drives

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Aug 3, 2006
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Whitehouse Station, NJ
I've got two 300gig internal hard drives in my desktop system. The intent was to use one as a primary and the second one as my redundancy (not RAID but backed up via a software package that I haven't yet puchased). I began by manually copying my important stuff like documents, pictures, video, songs, etc on a regular basis. The problem I ran into was as I increased my video capturing, I ran out of space on the primary drive and started "borrowing" from the backup.

The new plan is to get a 500G - 1TB external drive for backup stuff and use all 600 of the internal drives for primary. I'll probably dedicate 300 of it just to video.

My first thought was, I'll need a backup drive larger or equal to 600g to backup everything. Truth is, a lot of the space taken up is OSS and installed programs which you really don't back up. So, do you agree that 500g is good enough for backing up 600g worth of drives when you use a folder-selective backup software?

I'm looking at:
Seagate 500g Freeagent Pro at for $140. 5 year warranty is cool and the price is right. The 750g version is over $100 more for only 50% more space.

Any other ideas?
What's OSS?

You need to see how much space the installed programs take up, too. They don't generally take up much space, to be honest.

All that said though, do you think that 600GB (minus OSS/progs) for primary storage is going to be enough long term? Although I agree that $100 for 50% extra is not much of a deal.
whats the difference between OSS, and OS? I always just thought it was Operating System. Am I missing an S?
Haha, start capturing and editing DV video and see how long that 200g lasts. I can't imagine what it's like to move around HD DV.

I now see that the Seagate 750g version on Newegg is only $195 with free shipping. I might go that route or look at the fantom drives. Does anyone know which OEM drive they use on those?

I'm running Windows XP Home SP2 on that machine.

I think at least in the short term, adding the new 300g as primary space will last me for a while. The main space concern is mostly temporary video files. I capture the raw DV, edit down to usable clips and save those in DV, assemble finished "movies", then usually trash the original captured stuff. I consider the edited down DV files as my masters, not the bloated captured stuff. BUT!! I'm lazy and let that stuff sit around sometimes.
Dont have a clue, would say either maxtor or WD.. but doesnt really matter to me. They have a good warranty and newegg stands behind their products
If OSS really means OS - why do you have that stuff on the external drive? I would expect it to be slower than having that stuff hosted on your PCs internal drive.

Definitely shop around - learn from my brew pot experience Bobby - get twice what you think you are ever going to need :eek:
Get the biggest drive your budget will allow. 1TB isn't that huge when you do much video editing.

Also, don't underestimate the value of a bootable mirror of your system drive. I've had 2 HDs fail on me in the past 2 months (both Seagate, both under warranty). I learned my lesson from the first one, and the second time it happened I was able to just swap drives & only lost about 1 hour of work.
Just wanted to update in case anyone is toying with this idea as well. I ended up with the Seagate Freeagent Pro 750G. I like that it's a single drive for less noise and more compact package. The one that supports eSATA, USB, and Firewire was $194 from It also comes with a backup software solution for keeping the data backed up without intervention. Very happy so far.
750gb is definitely when the price peak is exceeding the value.

If you can at all spare another internal drive, newegg has a 500gb SATA with 32mb buffer for $119, shipped.

I just snagged one cuz I needed more storage.

doh did not bother to read page 2...
I didn't want anymore internal drives because I don't have a huge tower with a fan bank. I also wanted my backup drive to be portable so I could grab it in an emergency and/or share stuff at the parent's house. 500g drives are at a gig per dollar sweet spot but I can swing the $70 more.
Get a home network storage array. They all come with hardware raid controlers so you can concat more disks into your LUN and raid5 or mirror the whole shebang if you want. Automated backup off your main machines internal drives onto the storage array and your data is thrice proctected. Most of them hold 8 or more drives, so you can go with more economical sized drives and grow as you need them. You could even go so far as to pull out old drives as they fill with stuff you want to keep, but don't use much and store them.
Bobby M.

I have a couple of these|84|31022|31023&N=4013468&Mo=21&pos=1&No=0&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&cat=31023&Ns=P_Price|1||P_SignDesc1&lang=en-US&Sp=C&ec=BC-EC10626-Cat31022&topnav=
for the price they are great. I have one for about a year.. no issues.. and they are cheap.

If you get the ones as with firewire - (I am a mac guy) you can chain them together.

Just my 2 cents.

To answer your question exactly - If you're on a budget, I'd get the 500GB drive and just leave out the least essential 100GB of stuff. I think that that would be more than sufficient.


Now, on with how I feel about your situation (from one video editor to another):

Dude, don't worry about backing up all that captured video! Your video editor has a nice feature: recapture tape. Just keep your tapes, and if you lose your footage, you can recapture it and have your edits stay exactly how they were before.

Just back up your projects and graphics and music and everything else. This will obviously save you tons of space, because the video is what's taking up the most gigs anyway.


If I can make a recommendation on a hard drive (and if you have SATA 3.0GB/s capabilities), get the new Seagate 7200.11 drives. They are available in 500GB-1TB and make for extremely fast system drives. Even if you can't hook it up inside your machine right now as a boot disk or scratch disk, get it as your external so that you have that capability in the future - much faster video editing, I promise. They're only $120 plus an external enclosure. I'd look into taking out one of your 300GB drives and install the 7200.11 inside.

Again, that's only if you have SATA... but these drives are almost as fast as raptors, and I'm absolutely CRANKING some renders out from these drives alone.



I see you've resolved your issue :p I still think the info above is valid, so I haven't deleted it. Also, I see malkore recommending the same drive I recommended... it's right on par with the WD Raptor 10,000 RPM drives, and in some ways it's faster.
Thanks for the suggestions. I have two Diamondmax 10 drives. They were pretty blazing when I got them a couple years ago and SATA is the best my motherboard supports.

On the video editing front, I capture the full tapes, trim off the scraps and save individual clips to DV locally. I haven't seen a backup to tape option on Ulead Video 10 but I don't know that I'd want to do that anyway. Seems backwards to me.

Frankly, I can't wait for HD cams that use hard drive storage come down in price. Using DV tape makes me feel like I'm back in the VHS shoulder rocket days.
Not backup to tape, just keep your tapes as your backup footage so that if you lose it all, all you have to do is recapture the tape... which is essentially just as fast as restoring a backup from a hard drive. Also, if you trim all the fat and only have one clip left over, you can put in that tape and tell your NLE to go in and capture just that one clip. It will know where it is based on timecode.

Then you'll only have to backup your final renders.

The P2 cards are nice and all, but 4GB and 8GB don't hold much HD video. What's the matter with DV tapes? That's how the whole world does it.
It just seems clunky to me. Maybe I just don't know enough about the possibilities, but I can only capture in real time over firewire (unless you tell me how to get it from tape to hard drive faster). File transfer seems faster to me.

I'm sure if I had a dedicated DV tape drive, it would be a little easier for me.

I'm also trying to internalize the DV tape as backup philosophy. Of the 60 minutes I usually capture on tape, I'd say 10-20 minutes max is usable for any purpose. I had always figured it would be more economical to capture what I need and then, trim the good stuff and archive digitally and just reuse the tape again. I can even justify burning DVD backups of a tape's worth of usable footage because a DVD is $.50 each while DV tape is still about $3 each.
A 60min DV tape is actually holding 12 gigs, so that's 3 DVDs right there. That's still your most cost effective, but it's not exactly as convenient as just setting the tape on a shelf as your backup.

Keeping the tapes as your archive is _much_ more feasible than keeping the footage on your drive as a backup, when you consider that if you just leave that tape on your shelf as your backup, you have your hard drive free for other stuff.

How much video editing are you doing? I assume if you need more storage for it that you're doing more and more, but if you don't do much then maybe my tips aren't for you. I am a video editor by trade, but perhaps there are smaller scale ways of going about it :p so I guess I should keep that in mind.

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