External HDD or SSD for backups?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
afterburn Senior Member • Posts: 1,272
Re: External HDD or SSD for backups?

Austinian wrote:

Fred Colon wrote:

I don't recommend "external" HDDs at all based on what I often see in PC Talk.

What I recommend is a USB dock that accepts standard desktop SATA HDDs. That way any failure of the USB hardware won't affect your existing backups; the dock is easily and cheaply replaced, and you can back up multiple HDDs in rotation and have most of your backup HDDs safely off-line.

I'm afraid I don't accept this. If you think the usb hardware in the drive enclosure is going to fail then it's probably just as likely the SATA interface in the drive will fail.

Given the many reports here of external USB drive failures, I would want to see comparable failure rates data before I'd believe that they were as reliable as standard desktop SATA HDDs.

There's many angles here. There are definitely external disks out there, where the enclosure, while pretty, does not provide any cooling to the drive and in fact can be suspected to increase drive temperature. You do not want to use such drives extensively without risking failures.

That said, using a SATA dock as you posted elsewhere can be tricky too: the drives are standing upright in the dock and gravity can pull a fast one on you that way, particularly with high density drives where the heads are ever so slightly in a different position while reading and writing standing up to such extend that you can read errors or even failures when mounting it normal in the flat position.

Personally, I don't like those 'rugged' 2.5" USB drives. They are slow and can't cool the drive inside and it doesn't add much of anything in the form of protection. I guess they are ok for on the go, due to their size but I wouldn't use them for permanent backups. I'd very much prefer something like the dock, especially if it has an eSATA connection. Fast and reliable, provided you keep in mind the above caveat (you want to format and use them always in the same position).

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