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mjzee

Question re external hard drives

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Many of us have our digital music collections on external hard drives (EHDs).  There seem to be two styles of EHDs: larger boxes that are powered from an electric socket, and more portable ones that are powered via the same USB connection through which the data flows.  I puzzle over the uses and limitations of each.  Should my main collection be on the first type, with an automated backup on the second type, or does it not really matter?  There are really no differences as to capacity, and I don't think one type fails more than the other.  Is the first type somehow faster or more responsive?

Example of the first type: Western Digital My Book my-book-new-front-2.png.wdthumb.319.319.

Example of the second type: Western Digital My Passport MyPassport-1-2TB-Blue-Hero.png.wdthumb.3

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Posted (edited)

I began backing up all my CDs about 10 years ago, and have more or less backed up everything.  I have the smaller, non-powered drives, and they work great.  I back up all my digital music on two and lately three drives.  These can fail, especially if they are accidentally removed improperly, which is why I keep a few.  

I back up everything using XLD, which tells you if the discs extracted correctly or not.  As I'm a Mac person, I use Apple lossless.

One thing about the smaller ones:  If you need a USB port for your computer, be sure you get a good one by a company like Anker.  The cheap ones will not be able to handle transferring a lot of information.  

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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While I use EHDs for backup, I also use my main one to play music from my computer throughout the house.  I therefore wonder whether a powered unit will be more responsive in playing the music files.

To put my initial question a different way: if the smaller, lighter units are just as good as the larger, bulkier ones, why do they offer both?  What does the larger one do that the smaller one can't?

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2 minutes ago, mjzee said:

While I use EHDs for backup, I also use my main one to play music from my computer throughout the house.  I therefore wonder whether a powered unit will be more responsive in playing the music files.

To put my initial question a different way: if the smaller, lighter units are just as good as the larger, bulkier ones, why do they offer both?  What does the larger one do that the smaller one can't?

I don't play music directly from the drives.  I mostly play the CDs themselves, and use the files as backup.  I may import files into Apple Music if I want to burn a custom CD. So for my uses, I don't know what the powered units accomplish that mine do not.  I like the size and convenience of the small ones.  

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I'd think that if the block you use to get USB power to charge your phone gets the job done quick enough that it would be adequate for running the odd external session, right?

We've got a variety over the house, and I know which ones to avoid if I'm in a hurry.

But that might be one reason to lean towards a corded unit, a theoretically more consistent "shortest distance between two points" current.

Soon enough, I'm sure, there will be solar cells on these things, if we live long enough.

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Posted (edited)

Wow. What timing.

I think a lot of this is based on such things as how much physical room you have to store drives and how much music you plan on storing, etc.

I’ve been in that “consolidating drives” stage for a few days now and I’ve been seriously thinking that if I were to start over, I would be using this 7-port USB hub that I have with this Seagate 5TB portable drive (ca. $100). I’d only have to use one “brick” to plug the hub in and as I fill up each drive, I would just add a new one in sequence.

If you’re looking at REAL serious archiving, then maybe we could talk more… 😜 but, again, it’d be nice to know a little more about your plans. Such as: will you be using it with a desktop or a laptop and want it to be portable, etc.

 

Edited by rostasi

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56 minutes ago, rostasi said:

but, again, it’d be nice to know a little more about your plans. Such as: will you be using it with a desktop or a laptop and want it to be portable, etc.

Not really about plans; more like a permanent part of the new landscape.  I use my iMac as a music source, similar to a CD drive or turntable.  With a DAC and an Airport Express, I play my music through my stereo.  Because I rip everything using Apple Lossless, it's all CD quality.  It's more convenient to find an album on iTunes (now Music) than to shuffle through boxes looking for a CD or LP.  My system can also play music throughout my house, since I've wirelessly connected additional Airport Expresses and Apple TVs attached to powered speakers.  It really didn't cost that much to achieve.

Apple Lossless files aren't as big as CD (AIFF) files, but they are pretty big, so every so often I need to transfer my music to a larger EHD.  Also, EHDs fail every few years and require replacement.  Therefore the question: does a powered EHD have any inherent advantages over the smaller, more portable ones?

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Posted (edited)

Here’s a short comparison for you.

Basically, if you want faster speed, then yes a powered one will be the better one, but I think the difference between the two is negligible. That’s why I’m really leaning toward the more portable one these days. That 5TB one sends stuff to our bedroom speaker right now and works great, so…

Yes, here we send music all through the house using iTunes and a number of other sources too using all kinds of hard drives of various types at differing times - including having 2 of that exact “My Book” that you have pictured above and the 5TB portable drive I mentioned before. External, portable, and internal (inside and well as outside the machine in a docking station) have existed here, but I’ve been trying to clean that up especially in the last few days (I’m looking at almost 118TB of drives in front of me to sift thru - anyone interested in buying some? 😜). Plus, I use a wonderful unlimited storage service called “Backblaze” that currently holds about 20TB of my stuff now (I got those 2 “My Book”s from them). So, if you are really serious about keeping your cherished music, it’s definitely best to have backups in a couple of separate locations as well as in the cloud and your tunes will be there for you when a drive goes bad (and it’s pretty guaranteed to do so sometime).

Edited by rostasi

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