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Posted: 10/28/2006 8:14:22 AM EDT
What to get. What to stay away from.

I would like a self-powered one.

About 300GB - 500GB range.

Link Posted: 10/28/2006 8:21:23 AM EDT
I got a simpletech a couple of weeks ago.  It was a trainwreck.  I would never buy that brand again.
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 8:22:18 AM EDT
I bought a Western Digital 120 GB EHD last year and have been really happy with it.
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 8:23:29 AM EDT
If you are looking for a USB drive that needs no external power then I'm afraid there is nothing in the 300-500gb range.

Most all your drives will need to have a separate form of power. Save (some) laptop drives and some special others. But they still aren't near the size you want.

You can buy a 3.5" drive of any size and put it in a $30 USB enclosure provided it has the correct drive interface and power requirements.

Link Posted: 10/28/2006 8:35:27 AM EDT
Yep, USB ports only provide 5vdc
Hard drives require 12vdc

All external enclosures require a power supply.
If it didn't go to the wall outlet, I would not buy it.

btw, Seagate has best warranty and best shock protection.
I'd stay away from simpletech, maddog, any other no-name/store brand.
Personally, I'd just buy only Seagate.
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 8:41:26 AM EDT
"Self-powered" ones are 2.5" (laptop) drives in enclosures, you won't find any with 300GB of capacity.  You'll need to go to a larger standard (3.5") drive.  Any drive will do really.
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 8:41:42 AM EDT
+1 on the above.  If you get any 3.5" drive, you will need to use the USB enclosure's provided power supply.  The USB hub on your computer can't power it.

The 2.5" drive enclosures usually CAN run off of your USB, but won't be near as big as you want.  
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 8:42:38 AM EDT

All external enclosures require a power supply.
If it didn't go to the wall outlet, I would not buy it.

Nope, all external enclosures with 2.5" drives are powered through USB
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 8:43:00 AM EDT
I've had a Western Digital External Drive for a couple of years now, I have no complaints.
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 8:47:09 AM EDT
The ones that don't need extra power are ones that use laptop-computer drives, as noted. There's not many that are more than 100Gb or so, and those are expensive (they are the largest available).

If you must have one that's 300-500Gb, then (as far as "what to buy") just remember that the enclosures cost maybe $25, and then look up the price for the bare hard-drive. It used to be that manufacturers charged a crapload of money for external USB hard-drives, when they were still a novelty--some places would charge $50-$100 OVER the price that the bare drive and enclosure would cost. But now, many charge right down around what they should--about what the parts would cost you, if you put it together yourself.

In case you did not know: external hard drives should not be defragged. MOST enclosures do not have any cooling fans, and there is a danger that the drive may overheat and lose data. Last time I tried it, none of the free HD-temp reporting programs would report the temperature of a drive over the USB connection, but the outside of the external enclosure does get scary-hot. If you want a drive you can use a lot (even defrag) and not ever worry about this, then get one that has its own cooling fan.

Also--if a external drive doesn't say what brand of hard-drive it uses, then it probably uses the cheapest in that size they could find. I tend to prefer Seagate drives, they run quieter and have fewer problems than the cheaper ones--but there are now some Western Digital drives that have 5-year warranties, just like the Seagates do. (one more reason I tend to buy the parts, so I know exactly what I'm getting.....)
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 8:48:43 AM EDT
I've had a "firelite" 80 GB for 2 years now. Survived a trip to the desert, and sub zero temps. Still runs like a champ. Every now and then, best buy has em on sale for under $100. It can run either USB powered, or with an encluded PS2 passthrough cable. Little bigger than a pack of smokes. Combine that with Truecrypt encryption, and you've got an awesome setup.

Link Posted: 10/28/2006 8:51:54 AM EDT
Thanks everyone.

I was looking at a Western Digital or Seagate. I saw some no-name stuff at good prices, but I need reliability.

I guess plugging in a wall-wart will be a requirement. Small price to pay for storage.

ed: for speeling.
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