portable external HD vs desktop HD for backup

Started Apr 19, 2013 | Discussions
lovingtheview
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portable external HD vs desktop HD for backup
Apr 19, 2013

Although I have no specific need for a portable HD as opposed to a desktop version to backup my photos, I thought portability might come in handy at some point.  I already have several desktop units, all of which have worked well and lasted.

Is there any possibility that, for example, a Toshiba Canvio portable with 1Tb and USB 3.0 would be in any way whatsoever less reliable or otherwise inferior to a desktop version?

I prefer a no-frills HD, without fancy backup software.  I only want it to store and retrieve data when I tell it to manually.

Thanks,

Lovingtheview

Chris Noble
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Portable, redundant, automated and not fancy
In reply to lovingtheview, Apr 19, 2013

lovingtheview wrote:

Although I have no specific need for a portable HD as opposed to a desktop version to backup my photos, I thought portability might come in handy at some point.  I already have several desktop units, all of which have worked well and lasted.

Is there any possibility that, for example, a Toshiba Canvio portable with 1Tb and USB 3.0 would be in any way whatsoever less reliable or otherwise inferior to a desktop version?

I prefer a no-frills HD, without fancy backup software.  I only want it to store and retrieve data when I tell it to manually.

Thanks,

Lovingtheview

Get two portables (USB 1 TB, cheap) so you can swap them every few months. Leave one of them offsite (bank safety deposit is a good place).

I don't know what you mean by "fancy backup". I have a really simple backup that runs automatically every night and I don't have to think about it. If you rely on manual backups, you will eventually forget or become complacent.

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Birk Binnard
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Re: portable external HD vs desktop HD for backup
In reply to lovingtheview, Apr 19, 2013

I use a portable (shirt-pocketable) 2TB Western Digital USB3 drive for backup.  The drive uses only a short USB3 cable to connect to my desktop & laptop.  USB3 transfers files very quickly.

Normally I back up my SSD boot drive to an internal 1TB HDD and then I copy the backup files to the external drive from time to time.  The external drive also goes with me on trips where I make backups of my photos  & videos.

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andyus08
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Re: portable external HD vs desktop HD for backup
In reply to lovingtheview, Apr 19, 2013

1. After every shooting sessions, i copy all files to my external HD 2TB. Then i sort and delete the ones i don't like. Then import pictures to LR.

2. After import into LR, i backup new files  to Desktop ext. HD (also 2 Tb).

The reason i use external portal HD as main drive because i can bring it on the road with me so i can use it on laptop.

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lovingtheview
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Re: good ideas
In reply to andyus08, Apr 20, 2013

Many thanks to all for the excellent suggestion and ideas, which I certainly will use.

Lovingtheview

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Roland Wooster
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Re: portable external HD vs desktop HD for backup
In reply to lovingtheview, Apr 22, 2013

The advantage of 3.5" drives is that they are dramatically faster than 2.5" drives, so copying your backup files is quicker - I would estimate they are at least 50% faster, perhaps as much as 100% faster for some tasks. They are also larger capacity, and cheaper per GB.

The advantage of 2.5" drives is that apart from being smaller, and thus easier to carry around is that they only use a 5V power source, rather than the 5V and 12V required for 3.5" drives. This means that 2.5" drives can be 'USB bus powered' i.e only need a USB cable to be powered, versus a 3.5" drive which needs either a SATA power cable or an external power supply.

If you're looking at external chassis, if you can get one with eSATA that will provide the best performance, even better than USB3. Although the sequential read/write performance may not be much different, the latency on eSATA is better than USB3 so small file transfer is quicker.

Roland.

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lovingtheview
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Re: portable external HD vs desktop HD for backup
In reply to Roland Wooster, May 16, 2013

Roland Wooster wrote:

The advantage of 3.5" drives is that they are dramatically faster than 2.5" drives, so copying your backup files is quicker - I would estimate they are at least 50% faster, perhaps as much as 100% faster for some tasks. They are also larger capacity, and cheaper per GB.

The advantage of 2.5" drives is that apart from being smaller, and thus easier to carry around is that they only use a 5V power source, rather than the 5V and 12V required for 3.5" drives. This means that 2.5" drives can be 'USB bus powered' i.e only need a USB cable to be powered, versus a 3.5" drive which needs either a SATA power cable or an external power supply.

If you're looking at external chassis, if you can get one with eSATA that will provide the best performance, even better than USB3. Although the sequential read/write performance may not be much different, the latency on eSATA is better than USB3 so small file transfer is quicker.

Roland.

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Roland,

I forgot to thank you for the well-crafted summary of portable vs desktop external hard drives.  I decided to try a Toshiba Canvio 1.5Tb portable USB 3.0 drive.  Its speed with my laptop with USB 3.0 is quite good.  With my desktop, having USB 2.0, I haven't made an observation.  I must say though, its incredibly small size is most handy.  My only concern with it is the proprietary USB connector.  I would like to think that I could easily replace this little [approx. 16 inch] connector without having to go to Toshiba.

Best to you,

Lovingtheview

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Roland Wooster
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USB3 connector
In reply to lovingtheview, May 17, 2013

I think you have no reason to worry about the cable, it appears to be a totally standard Micro-B USB3 connector on the drive. You can get Male-A to Male-Micro-B cables anywhere. In fact, you can use the older Male-A to Male-Micro-B USB2 cable with the drive too - although you'll only get USB2 speeds by doing so.

The performance of the drive will be pretty poor on USB2, you'll be limited by the USB2 bus speed, this provides only 33MB/s. The drive itself is probably capable of something in the 80-130MB/s range (depending on actual drive used inside, but given the capacity it's probably closer to the higher end of this range). On a USB3 connection, with a USB3 cable, you'll get the full bandwidth and be limited only by the magnetic media speed itself.

Roland.

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lovingtheview
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Re: USB3 connector
In reply to Roland Wooster, May 17, 2013

Roland Wooster wrote:

I think you have no reason to worry about the cable, it appears to be a totally standard Micro-B USB3 connector on the drive. You can get Male-A to Male-Micro-B cables anywhere. In fact, you can use the older Male-A to Male-Micro-B USB2 cable with the drive too - although you'll only get USB2 speeds by doing so.

The performance of the drive will be pretty poor on USB2, you'll be limited by the USB2 bus speed, this provides only 33MB/s. The drive itself is probably capable of something in the 80-130MB/s range (depending on actual drive used inside, but given the capacity it's probably closer to the higher end of this range). On a USB3 connection, with a USB3 cable, you'll get the full bandwidth and be limited only by the magnetic media speed itself.

Roland.

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Roland,

Thanks for the correction and details.  I think I'm suffering from synapse failure or neurotransmitter deficit.  I recall having read that the connector was proprietary when I was doing my research before buying the Toshiba portable.  In addition, I [strangely enough] have never run across a description and image of the range of USB connector configurations, even though I read about their use every day, and despite the fact that I spent three decades in the audio business before retirement.

The Mini B and Micro B 3.0's look so delicate, but I guess pin-misalignment problems are adequately designed against.

Since my data storeage needs are for the most part loads of amateur images, the record and retrieval speeds are not so critical.   Nevertheless, when I look at these older monster external drives on my shelf and then look at this miraculous little portable, it makes me want to replace the old machines, since they are between one and seven years old.  The reliability of the older ones must certainly be questionable if indeed operation hours and shelf life are any predictors of reliability.

I am enjoying looking at your images.  Many are excellent, and many remind me of my own sense of aesthetics in imaging.

Best,

Lovingtheview

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digitalshooter
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My Toshiba is not a micro usb, it is proprietary (nt)
In reply to Roland Wooster, May 17, 2013
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Thanks,
Digitalshooter
PS: all posts are just my opinion!

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