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Thread: Solid State External Hard Drive

  1. #1
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Solid State External Hard Drive

    I have been perusing Solid State External Hard Drives on the web and they seem not only very expensive (which is probably pretty much expected since this seems like cutting edge technology) but, they seem pretty small in capacity also. I have not used a 128GB or 256GB external hard drive for a long time. My external hard drives are usually in the area of 1-3TB.

    I am thinking that a pair of mirrored 1-TB hard drives would be every bit a safe as a solid state drive and would certainly be far less expensive.

    I don't think that I really need the speed of solid state technology so I will probably wait to get one.

    Do you think as the technology becomes more generalized, that the prices of solid state hard drives will come down.

    My wife may replace her desktop computer soon and is thinking of getting one that has a SSD. Is the performance and reliability of the SSD worth the extra price?

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    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Solid State External Hard Drive

    I'm running a retrofitted 120GB Corsair SSD in my laptop. Load times for programs are dramatically reduced, and boot time is also improved. Personally, I do think they're worth the cost, but I'm not sure if an external application makes sense. If you're simply archiving data, access speeds are much less important than storage size. If I were buying a new laptop, I'd look for a dual-drive model - a small, fast SSD, and a large, slower HDD for storage. Even a 120GB SSD is plenty for all of one's programs.

    Reliability is a tricky question. Honestly, failure rates for modern drives are pretty dang low, so HDD vs. SSD might be the difference between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 10,000. Pretty good odds either way.

    A lot of people have been waiting for the price to drop for quite a while. I was an early adopter (2010), and prices haven't dropped as far as I expected. I suspect they'll be pretty stable for the next year or so.

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    Re: Solid State External Hard Drive

    I too will get an SSD when I purchase my new laptop as I think speed is important for the programs. However like Lex stated, I would not use it as and external storage device. Lenovo does offer a 180GB in some of their laptops.

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    Re: Solid State External Hard Drive

    Thanks, you cleared that up for me. My wife is considering a Lenovo desktop since she is already using a Lenovo notebook and is very happy with that brand...

    I guess that I will stick with my regular external hard drives for storage and back up.

    I like to use on two physically small but, large capacity external hard drives when I travel.

    My workflow is to download the images each night and to transfer the files to the external drives for storage and security. I will carry one drive and my wife will carry the other. That way there is a pretty small chance of losing the images - either from a drive going down or from a drive being somehow physically lost...

    Since, I don't do any editing when I travel. I use a small capacity notebook computer which has the Canon software installed. I have to investigate if I can download the images from my CF cards and transfer them to the two hard drives in one action, rather than transferring from the CF to the computer and copying on to the hard dries individually. If I could do the downloading and copying in one action it would save time and effort...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 10th May 2013 at 05:26 PM.

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    Re: Solid State External Hard Drive

    Another point to consider is data recovery if the drive fails or is damaged. For a price, firms like DriveSavers can recover most anything from a conventional hard drive. Solid state drives are more difficult and have proprietary formats that the manufacturers are generally not willing to share. Even if the data is still their it may not be recoverable. I am a complete fan of having a SSD drive in the computer but IMO backups are better kept on conventional hard drives.

    John

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    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: Solid State External Hard Drive

    I'd not heard of DriveSavers so I googled them just for interest. They now say they can recover (most!) SSD's

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    Re: Solid State External Hard Drive

    I have a 2 Ghz i7 MacbookAir with 128Gb SSD 8Gb ram. The performance is quite remarkable, with excellent start up, load and save times. In day to day use it is very bit as fast as my iMac 3.4Ghz i7 with 16Gb ram and 1Tb conventional drive, although I'm sure the lab boys would say different.
    My back up for the MBA is a conventional external drive.
    Interestingly Macs now come with the option of a hybrid drive system utilising both SSD and conventional drives which apparently gives a noticeable speed advantage.

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    Re: Solid State External Hard Drive

    Richard, sounds like we do the same thing. I too carry my external drive when traveling and use a netbook, no editing on the road. Yes you can transfer directly to the external drive. I use windows explorer to copy all my files so i don't need the Canon software. I just open windows explorer, drag the files to the external drive and off it goes.

    I have seen pc's as well that offer an SSD and a 2nd HDD which I'm assuming would be for storage.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Solid State External Hard Drive

    Carefully said, faster boot times are not totally driven by having a SSD. There are other changes to computers that have had some pretty major impact as well. One reason that MACs traditionally boot faster than Windows PCs is that the use a UEFI ( Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) rather than a BIOS (Basic Input Output System). Now that this has migrated over to Windows machines, the startup cycle can be extremely fast.

    My latest machine uses a SSD in tandem with a traditional HDD. With the key startup files sitting on the SSD, UEFI and some tricks the computer manufacturer has played, I have what seems to be a comupter that is usable just a few seconds after hitting the power button.

    I have 8 - 16GB of RAM on all my machines, so they are fairly fast when editing files, as frankly I have tons of RAM for image editing. NAND memory used in SDD will fail after a limited number of read / write cycles and your computer's operating system and the SSD drivers will work to ensure that this risk is minimized, but not eliminated.

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    Re: Solid State External Hard Drive

    I have a Mac air with SSD and a top spec iMac with "fusion drive" which is a hybrid SSD/conventional drive. Extremely fast performance. Built in SSD is superb.

    I also run a number of external drives, including 256Gb LaCie SSD, which has very fast transfer speeds. I also have a cheaper brand 128Gb SSD which is very small Transcend unit. It is hopeless: every machine finds recognition of it slow and sometimes impossible. I find the LaCie really great for quick copies, but a conventional drive is fine for high capacity external storage.

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    Re: Solid State External Hard Drive

    When I took delivery of my new MBPro earlier this year, with a 751 Gb SSD, I was astounded by the short boot and transfer times.

    I always try to keep files off the laptop and park them in one of three conventional backup drives of 2 or 3 TB, the most recent of which has USB3 for transfer.

    When travelling I use a netbook as it has functionality much greater than a backup drive and I can save the files on that and send a copy to a cloud storage as well. Like others though, I wait until I get home to do the processing, as the netbook would melt using CS6 with some of the file sizes.

    A 64Gb usb drive and spare 64Gb flash cards add to the capacity.

  12. #12
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Solid State External Hard Drive

    Note that if you're using an external SSD, or even a fast conventional HDD, file transfer speeds are likely to be bottlenecked by the USB2.0 interface. USB3.0 or FireWire 800 are required to get the most performance from fast external drives.

    Quote Originally Posted by :rcprowe"
    I have to investigate if I can download the images from my CF cards and transfer them to the two hard drives in one action, rather than transferring from the CF to the computer and copying on to the hard dries individually.
    There are some dedicated photo backup devices available. They're about the size of a 3.5in HDD and can back up cards directly without involving a computer. USB 3.0 versions are rare and expensive at the moment, but older USB 2.0 versions run about $350 for a mid-range model. Might save some weight while traveling.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Solid State External Hard Drive

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    There are some dedicated photo backup devices available. They're about the size of a 3.5in HDD and can back up cards directly without involving a computer. USB 3.0 versions are rare and expensive at the moment, but older USB 2.0 versions run about $350 for a mid-range model. Might save some weight while traveling.
    Let's see; a 2-1/2" 1TB 5400RPM WD Blue hard drive@ $77 and a Vantex USB 3.0 External case for the 2-1/2" at $15. All one needs is a screwdriver and I have nice large backup drive. If I want a 7200RPM drive, I can get a 750GB unit for $68. If I want a 256GB SSD, I'm lookingg at around $200, so a bit too much of a premium price for me right now. The downside over the dedicated backup units is that I have to have my laptop along (which in my case is no downside at all, as I always have it).

    Lots of solutions out there for a travel-sized solution for a reasonable amount of money. I personally prefer the laptop drives because they are more robust, and for a backup, I'll take small size and slower speed,

  14. #14
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Solid State External Hard Drive

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    Lots of solutions out there for a travel-sized solution for a reasonable amount of money. I personally prefer the laptop drives because they are more robust, and for a backup, I'll take small size and slower speed,
    Agreed. Pointing out those backup devices was an observation, not a recommendation. Present economics don't favor external SSDs for backup.

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