External HDD or SSD for backups?

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Justme Forum Pro • Posts: 22,208
External HDD or SSD for backups?

I am looking at Seagate SSD and HDD for backups in the 2TB range.  SSD costs double but is it more reliable?

What brand of external HDD do you recommend as reliable?

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rickpoole Senior Member • Posts: 1,200
Re: External HDD or SSD for backups?

Look at Backblaze's HD failure rates reports to see which drive in the capacity you need has the best reliability.

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PHXAZCRAIG
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 16,835
Re: External HDD or SSD for backups?

My experience with external backup drives has been dismal, with many failing soon after the warranty expired.  By many, I mean 3-4 over 6 or 7 years.

One would think that (modern) SSD drives would be more reliable, though I'm not sure what happens if no power is applied for a year or two.  However, I just experienced my third (internal)  SSD failure in the past 4 years.  The early models seem not to be as good as hoped.

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Sean Nelson
Sean Nelson Forum Pro • Posts: 13,874
Re: External HDD or SSD for backups?
2

Justme wrote:

I am looking at Seagate SSD and HDD for backups in the 2TB range. SSD costs double but is it more reliable?

No media, even SSDs, are immune from failure, so you should have more than one backup drive and alternate them. The last thing you want to discover after your live drives die, get corrupted or or stolen is that your sole backup is also dead. You also don't want to be in the situation where, for example, your system suffers its failure halfway through cloning your live data to your only backup drive. Now that backup is half updated and may be useless. And whatever took out your system might have taken out the backup as well.

That being the case, I see no reason to pay the extra money for an SSD as backup media. The big extra that SSDs give you is speed more than reliability, and you don't really need the speed for backup media since you don't normally run your backups while you're actually doing work on the computer.  And the reliability issue is covered by having multiple backups.

I would particularly avoid SSDs if by "backup" you mean "keep data offline for a while". SSDs will loose data if they're left sitting on the shelf for too long, they need to be powered up and scanned every so often in order to detect and refresh memory pages whose static charges are dissipating. That's not too much of a problem for an SSD drive that gets used as part of a regular backup cycle every month or so, but I wouldn't trust it to keep offline data intact for periods measured in years.

SC489 Senior Member • Posts: 1,225
Re: External HDD or SSD for backups?
1

It's very easy to kill an external HDD if you knock it whilst running so in that sense a SSD is more reliable. You need to backup to two drives as insurance against such failures.

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Robert Zanatta Senior Member • Posts: 1,952
Re: External HDD or SSD for backups?
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Instead of one SSD, Id buy two HDs and do double backups.

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Austinian
MOD Austinian Forum Pro • Posts: 10,356
Re: External HDD or SSD for backups?
3

Justme wrote:

I am looking at Seagate SSD and HDD for backups in the 2TB range. SSD costs double but is it more reliable?

What brand of external HDD do you recommend as reliable?

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.

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Jeff Farkas
Jeff Farkas Regular Member • Posts: 177
Re: External HDD or SSD for backups?
2

IMO.. An SSD is mainly for the OS and programs/apps and not data. The difference in performance between an SSD and HDD for data isn't great enough to justify the extra cost.

I would opt for a double 2tb HDD, One for primary storage and one as a back up and it would be best if they're internal.

Brand wise I would go for Western Digital. I've had the best results with them in all of my builds. The blue series is the best bang for the buck

Jeff

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Ken60 Senior Member • Posts: 2,282
Re: External HDD or SSD for backups?
1

I agree , and have read that SSD's don't like to be left unpowered for long periods of time ... remember something about image fade !

Similarly HDD's are a mechanical monsters , and I would suggest giving them a short burst every now and then just to allow self lubrication.   I have a USB dock, into which you can plug all sorts of HDD's and enjoy them at USB 3 speeds.  As others have mentioned show extreme care in allowing the drive to come to rest and park , before lifting out of the unit and placing in a storage ....... bumping whilst spinning is a sure route to problems.

WD do a modest 4tb Sata HDD for around £100  or less , you could get two of these and make double backups for the price of a single lesser brand 2TB SSD.

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CAcreeks
CAcreeks Forum Pro • Posts: 15,471
Re: External HDD or SSD for backups?

Austinian wrote:

Justme wrote:

I am looking at Seagate SSD and HDD for backups in the 2TB range. SSD costs double but is it more reliable?

What brand of external HDD do you recommend as reliable?

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 like this docking station because it has a cover.

https://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-External-Lay-Flat-Docking-EC-DFLT/dp/B00LS5NFQ2/ref=sr_1_4?crid=2XKX0C2CVXUJK&dchild=1&keywords=usb+sata+dock&qid=1596900244&s=pc&sprefix=usb+sata+dock%2Celectronics%2C208&sr=1-4

Internal 3.5" drives have more capacity than 2.5" laptop drives. Are they more reliable?

Ken60 Senior Member • Posts: 2,282
Re: External HDD or SSD for backups?

Different strokes for different folks ..

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CSG4XM4/ref=sspa_dk_detail_2?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B07CSG4XM4&pd_rd_w=LjroV&pf_rd_p=a64be657-55f3-4b6a-91aa-17a31a8febb4&pd_rd_wg=yJ1YA&pf_rd_r=XGR0D5WNCGWTVC8K88Q9&pd_rd_r=e5d2279f-f081-4043-aabb-78fa913ff004&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzVEU4SkZaUjZQUlFPJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNzYwNjkwR09OVjhIMlBWUjNWJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA3Nzg3OTMxSDA3QUhTUjJDUFJZJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfZGV0YWlsX3RoZW1hdGljJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

I chose one like this  , made by Startech.com  , it can take every drive from old PTA to SATA and smaller laptop size drives.  Because it can take more than one at a time you can copy a drive , and I find there is more of the drive to hold on to when lifting in and out .  The drives get warm whilst working , so the open to the air style of fitting is good for cooling.

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Austinian
MOD Austinian Forum Pro • Posts: 10,356
Re: External HDD or SSD for backups?

CAcreeks wrote:

Austinian wrote:

Justme wrote:

I am looking at Seagate SSD and HDD for backups in the 2TB range. SSD costs double but is it more reliable?

What brand of external HDD do you recommend as reliable?

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 like this docking station because it has a cover.

That might be nice protection, but I'd be concerned about drive temperatures for some HDDs. I only use mine for laptop backups, so a cover isn't useful.

I have one of these:

https://www.amazon.com/Plugable-10Gbps-Upright-Cables-Supports/dp/B01E80N2E8/

https://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-External-Lay-Flat-Docking-EC-DFLT/dp/B00LS5NFQ2/ref=sr_1_4?crid=2XKX0C2CVXUJK&dchild=1&keywords=usb+sata+dock&qid=1596900244&s=pc&sprefix=usb+sata+dock%2Celectronics%2C208&sr=1-4

Internal 3.5" drives have more capacity than 2.5" laptop drives. Are they more reliable?

I don't know, but I'd expect the 3.5" drives to be considerably faster; no need to worry about power consumption/battery life like a laptop drive.

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Sean Nelson
Sean Nelson Forum Pro • Posts: 13,874
Re: External HDD or SSD for backups?

Austinian wrote:

CAcreeks wrote:

I like this docking station because it has a cover.

That might be nice protection, but I'd be concerned about drive temperatures for some HDDs. I only use mine for laptop backups, so a cover isn't useful.

You don't have to close it while you're using the dock but you can close it when it's idle to keep the dust out.   I had to make a little cardboard cover for my dock, I like the idea of one that's built in (or at least provided with the dock, even if it's not attached by something like a hinge).

Austinian
MOD Austinian Forum Pro • Posts: 10,356
Re: External HDD or SSD for backups?

Sean Nelson wrote:

Austinian wrote:

CAcreeks wrote:

I like this docking station because it has a cover.

That might be nice protection, but I'd be concerned about drive temperatures for some HDDs. I only use mine for laptop backups, so a cover isn't useful.

You don't have to close it while you're using the dock but you can close it when it's idle to keep the dust out. I had to make a little cardboard cover for my dock, I like the idea of one that's built in (or at least provided with the dock, even if it's not attached by something like a hinge).

The dock I linked to has such a hinged cover that folds when a desktop drive is inserted. You do make a good point, and I think I'll cover the small laptop/SSD opening with a piece of plastic; can't hurt.

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Robert Zanatta Senior Member • Posts: 1,952
Re: External HDD or SSD for backups?

Austinian wrote:

CAcreeks wrote:

Austinian wrote:

Justme wrote:

I am looking at Seagate SSD and HDD for backups in the 2TB range. SSD costs double but is it more reliable?

What brand of external HDD do you recommend as reliable?

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 like this docking station because it has a cover.

That might be nice protection, but I'd be concerned about drive temperatures for some HDDs. I only use mine for laptop backups, so a cover isn't useful.

I have one of these:

https://www.amazon.com/Plugable-10Gbps-Upright-Cables-Supports/dp/B01E80N2E8/

https://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-External-Lay-Flat-Docking-EC-DFLT/dp/B00LS5NFQ2/ref=sr_1_4?crid=2XKX0C2CVXUJK&dchild=1&keywords=usb+sata+dock&qid=1596900244&s=pc&sprefix=usb+sata+dock%2Celectronics%2C208&sr=1-4

Internal 3.5" drives have more capacity than 2.5" laptop drives. Are they more reliable?

I don't know, but I'd expect the 3.5" drives to be considerably faster; no need to worry about power consumption/battery life like a laptop drive.

I have had one for about three years and it's been excellent.  UASP support.  Hot swapping works.  Never glitched.  With a 4TB Seagate Barracuda the sustained transfer rate is 180 MB/sec, and random small access is also quite fast.  Can boot from it too.

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OP Justme Forum Pro • Posts: 22,208
What do you think about these portables?

These are external slim portable HDD. How do they pack a 2TB HDD into such a small case? Does that affect heat build-up in a negative way?  How do these slim portables compare for reliability to external HDD in larger cases?

Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – Silver USB 3.0 for PC Laptop.

Thanks for the helpful advice so far.  I will respond soon.

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OP Justme Forum Pro • Posts: 22,208
Can I plug these internal SATA HDD to the USB dock?

Austinian wrote:

Justme wrote:

I am looking at Seagate SSD and HDD for backups in the 2TB range. SSD costs double but is it more reliable?

What brand of external HDD do you recommend as reliable?

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.

Thnaks for the tip on this option. Can I juust plug these internal SATA HDD to the dock?

https://www.amazon.ca/Seagate-IronWolf-7200RPM-128MB-3-5-Inch/dp/B07H2FPFW5/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=sata+hdd&qid=1596938465&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExT0xZNFNVVDVMNFJUJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMjQxODkzMlJWVFhSTDhUQk5NViZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwODA4OTYyMjNSUU42V09WRlkzUSZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

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Robert Zanatta Senior Member • Posts: 1,952
Re: Can I plug these internal SATA HDD to the USB dock?
1

Yes.  And 2.5 inch drives.  And SATA SSDs.

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OP Justme Forum Pro • Posts: 22,208
Re: Can I plug these internal SATA HDD to the USB dock?

Robert Zanatta wrote:

Yes. And 2.5 inch drives. And SATA SSDs.

Thanks Robert. I may consider this option.

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a_c_skinner Forum Pro • Posts: 10,087
Re: External HDD or SSD for backups?

I think that is good advice.  I'd always assumed a USB drive, if cracked open, revealed a standard SATA drive that could be tried in a new enclosure.  Apparently a lot don't so even if the drive is intact a failed one can be difficult to read.  A USB enclosure plus a standard drive if you don't care to have naked drives lying around.

Backup hardware does not need to be highly reliable because you will have a strategy (bascially several up to date copies stored off line) so a single or even duplicate failure won't affect all your data.

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