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[ale] External HDD (non?)recommendations



>Hey y'all, any recommendations/non-recommendations about
>external HDDs?  Looking for USB/Firewire & maybe eSATA.

I strongly recommend eSATA. Not only is it the fastest, but it is the most
likely to support SMART monitoring. If you are going to rely on an external
drive for your data, you really want to be able to run SMART tests on the
drive to increase the chances that you can detect when the drive starts
failing before it's too late and your data is all gone. This happened to me,
which is what convinced me to move away from firewire drives to either eSATA
or NAS (network attached storage).

I say 'most likely' because I've run into some combo enclosures (eSATA +
firewire and/or usb) that use a chipset that doesn't properly pass SMART
data.  The newest versions of smartctl do include support for detecting USB
chipsets that support passing SMART data, but unfortunately it's nearly
impossible to find information about which chipset an enclosure uses,
especially for the cheaper enclosures.  And right now, the number of
enclosures which do not support SMART far exceed those that do. Here is a link
to a page with some more information:

	http://www.hdsentinel.com/usbharddisks.php

The only disadvantage to eSATA is that it usually requires 2 cables for 2.5"
drives - the eSATA cable for data, and a USB cable for power. This is much
less of an issue for 3.5" drives, which will require a separate power cable
anyways.


Personally, I get my enclosures from newegg, starting by filtering on ones
that have eSATA and USB2, sorting by price, and check the 'all reviews' page
for each, searching the comments until I find one with a review that explicitly
states that the drive supports SMART data over USB. A bit of a pain, but worth
it, imho.

-- 
Arguing with an Engineer is like wrestling a pig in mud.
After a while you realize the pig is enjoying it.