I dont know much about External HD's but im looking to buy one to store a lot of movies, pics, and other random stuff
I am looking at a 1Tb Drive
sata 3.0 (if it will make a huge difference for the first backup of all my info)
i am not sure about a few features however.
is 7200rpm recommended above 5400?
some usb transfer speeds say they operate at 60MB/s while others say they do 480MB/s and the ones with usb going at 60, their sata says they operate at 300MB/s which is slower than the other's USB
and how much does cache speed come into play? some have 8, others 16, few have 32
I am looking at newegg and have found a few drives i seem to like (from the little knowledge i have) and would love to eehar some input on them.
i will be mostly using them for backup and will not be running programs off of them
Any thoughts on Cavalry or FandomDrives XHD's?
here are the one's im considering: (sata is not necessary, usb will do if speeds seem fast enough)
Do NOT worry about SATA III (6 Gb/s). Few hard drives actually exceed the speed of original SATA, and NONE will match the new SATA 6Gb/s max speed. That will be used almost exclusively by Solid State "Drives" with no mechanical parts. SATA II is all you'll ever need in a hard drive for the near future.
In general, be careful comparing numbers - as you have seen, some look vastly different and seem to make no sense. The major "mismatch" is between peak (or max) burst transfer rate for data, and the average rate over a long test of varied data and file types. (Also watch for Mb/s versus MB/s!) USB2 has a max burst data transfer rate of 480 Mb/s, often quoted instead as 60 MB/s, assuming a byte is only 8 bits. The new USB3 is ten times faster at max. In actual tests of performance over your kind of task - long sessions of copying a mixture of file types from one drive to another - typical average data transfer rates for USB2 are around 30 MB/s, maybe up to 40. Look at reviews and tests reports here on Tom's and elsewhere for such real-world data.
In selecting an external drive you typically have about 4 interface options between computer and external case. In rough order of average transfer speed, they are: USB2, Firewire 400 (aka IEEE 1394a), eSATA, and Firewire 800 (aka IEEE 1394b). Firewire 400 and eSATA tend to be similar in speed, around 50 to 80 GB/s depending on tests and how recent the equipment is (newer stuff seems to perform better, and lately eSATA is faster than Firewire 400). Of course, in order to use any of these you need to have the matching port on your computer. USB2 is almost everywhere, so if you plan to carry your external drive to other places as a means of transporting data, this is a good choice. Firewire 400 is becoming more common, and so is eSATA. One advantage eSATA has is that, inside the external case, there is basically no real data processing between the eSATA system and the SATAII drive inside, so that eliminates any delays of a translation interface. Firewire 800 is much less common in PC systems, more common in Macs. It is VERY common to find an external drive with more than one interface system, to be used one at a time. For example, mine has both USB2 and eSATA; I use the eSATA interface because my mobo has that port built in and it is faster.
One option for you also is to assemble you own by buying separately a case and a hard drive. This way you may save money and get exactly the HDD unit you want. But you must do the assembly (not hard at all) and this form rarely comes with free software for backups and the like, whereas you may get that with a complete external HDD unit. IF you do that, make sure the case you buy has both the type(s) of interface(s) to the computer that you want, AND the internal system to connect to the drive you choose (IDE is less common now, SATA II a better choice).
7200 rpm drives are faster than 5400 rpm drives, although if you are using only the USB2 interface I'm not sure the difference will be so noticeable. A larger cache size is useful especially if your use pattern tends to be accessing long files in sequence, as opposed to randomly grabbing little files all over the drive. In fact, for your major uses - backups, and large video files - that is exactly what you will do most of. So forget 8 MB cache, go for 32 if you can, and no less than 16. In fact, some of the new WD Green units have a 64 MB cache to help offset the slightly slower performance of the 5400 rpm speed. But they really are a good choice for backup units where absolutely top speed is not essential and you can take advantage of their lower power consumption (and heat generation inside the external case).
No, I have not, which may only prove that I have not been looking at that field recently. I assembled my external drive a few years ago with a Seagate 500 GB SATA II unit in an AZIO case. Hopefully others here can comment from recent experience.