External Hard Drive Head-to-Head

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strumcat

The fastest drive with the highest capacity lost to the drive with superior bloatware? Most people are just going to use good freeware alternatives anyway.

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vrmlbasic

In the pre-USB 3 days pre-built drives could easily be found with firewire & usb or esata & usb. Now that USB 3 is taking off it has pushed the other interface types out. I like USB 3 as an option but I prefer to use eSATA as my primary.

As I interact with a fair number of machines that have both eSATA and USB 2, but no USB 3, these newer drives make my life a bit harder.

I've used a USB 3 HDD to transfer video files from my USB 3 desktop to a USB 2/eSATA laptop and it was amusing to me to see a drive reading far, far, far slower than it wrote.

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SkinnyZeroOne

@vmlbasic
Agree with you.

And it's really why I wouldn't touch a one of these things - could rate a 10 for all I care.

I never went near anything external until eSata came around. USB2 was just way too slow to even think about. And even now I prefer eSata.

I cannot read the temps off of any external drive connected via USB. Take the same drive, same enclosure, connect it with eSata & I can get all the details I want - Temps, Smart status & whatever.
I do a lot of work remotely so it's important to me. Let's say I got a machine that's all cool but the hard drive is on fire. Not a good thing as I'm not there to put the fire out.
CPUID HW Monitor, PC Wizard will not read the temps if the drives are connected via USB anything.
Even Seagate's own SeaTools couldn't read the SMART status of their own external drives (USB3) on a machine I just dealt with.

Aside from that - a mechanical drive is not gonna run any faster (even a top notch drive) whether it's connected via eSata or USB 3.0.

Bottom line for me is an enclosure that MUST have eSata + USB3
No way I'm touching anything USB only - let alone one of these tin can drives. The drive is faulty - replace it. The enclosure is shot or runs too hot, or you simply don't like either one, go pick a different one.

One of these things? Ya gotta throw throw the whole thing out.
And if you're connected to a USB2 port? ... yeah, like you said - good luck with that.

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iwolbers

I bought a WD My Passport 3TB 4 months ago before this review came out. After trying the included backup software I am very disappointed. I have multiple PCs and would really like some more advanced options. Also it is not reliable frequently skipping files if it thinks they are locked or have an extension the software does not agree with.

Does anyone have any recommendations for good backup software that is configurable and reliable and will work with the passport?

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DavidWitteried

I bought Oops Backup for my wife's laptop after she had a near disaster with her homework getting lost (http://www.altaro.com/home-pc-backup/). I use Retrospect Pro for backing up the laptop, NAS, and my desktop via the home network, but she needed something with near real-time response. The Oops package is easy to setup and has an elegant GUI. It won't do a disaster recovery, that's what Retrospect is for.

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iwolbers

Thanks for the suggestion, I checked out the link but I guess what I am really looking for is good / configurable / automated file sync software instead of complete drive/PC image.

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SkinnyZeroOne

@iwolbers
Give this a try - go to SourceForge.net & search 'FreeFileSync'.
It's a thing of beauty I tell ya.
The more I use it - the more I love that thing. You can create a shortcut to a 'job' and execute it with a click once you find your way around the program.
Give it a shot & take the time to look at the different ways it can sync folders.
It's awesome.

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Peanut Fox

If you're going to keep it at home you may want to consider a NAS. Either convert an old PC into one on the cheap with FreeNAS, if you have support connect a USB drive to your modem, or go with an off the shelf unit from one of the many manufacturers.

Depending on what you decide it can get pretty expensive though.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Sure, just go to google and search> Acronis for Western Digital

Acronis has a Free Version for Western Digital owners

It works with any brand of SSD or Hard drive as long as you plug in the Western Digital first

Once it recognizes the Western Digital Drive, you may back up or restore any brand drive to any other

I actually prefer the free version over the paid version, and why not, it's FREE

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OpTicaL

Speed of these drives all depends on the quality of the controller each manufacturer is willing to use. The faster the controller, the more expensive.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Lets test that theory shall we?

I'd love to see a review on external drive controllers (USB and eSata)

Can any of these USB drives play Steam games if you also use the drive as a main boot drive running Windows 8 > Windows2Go?

I cannot play ANY CounterStrike Level with an Orico eSata and USB3 case for 2.5" drives using the eSata Interface>

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA1DS0CF0694

And I also have an $8 powered eSata Cable "Without a Controller" >

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812311004

I can play ALL Counterstrike Levels with the Evercool cable because there is no controller slowing it down

I must admit that I have not tried the Orico case with a fast SSD but it slows hard drives down (not much) just enough to make gaming impossible

Levels load and then Counterstrike crashes before you can play

Lets see a review of external case controllers to see if any are fast enough for gaming from a USB3 or eSata boot drive

I only compared "Hard Drives" as eSata boot drives using XP, but I'd love to see a comparison of external hard drives vs SSD's on USB3 and eSata controllers running as boot drives with Windows 8 > Win2Go

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DavidWitteried

Posted to wrong spot...

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OpTicaL

LoL, the $8 powered eSATA cable uses the onboard controller on your motherboard, why would it need a controller? P-eSATA only provides enough power for 2.5" drives and SSDs.

The reason why many external HDDs have SATA to USB controllers is simply because USB is the most widely used interface. eSATA was never widely adopted.

I'm currently transferring data from my internal 2TB HDD (7200rpm) to a internal 3TB HDD (7200rpm) connected externally via eSATA. Transfer speed has settled down to a constant 82MB/s. The controller is a JMicron JMB362 on a ASUS P8Z68 Deluxe.

At that speed it's pretty much the same as the transfers done on the Intel controller.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

I Love that $8 cable

It sure makes swapping out boot drives incredibly simple without messing with the BIOS or swapping out internal drives

It boots to whichever external drive is attached, or, if no external drive is attached, it automagically defaults to the internal drive without any BIOS changes

and I know it uses the internal SATA controller on the motherboard

I like to play Counterstrike at internal SATA speeds without latency problems from an external boot drive on a tiny portable PC that is hard to take apart

Besides, You cant play CounterStrike from a bootable USB drive now can you?

We don't all use computers the same way you do
LOL

I also use a different $3 cable with a 12 volt power adapter for 3.5" drives or with internal optical drives used externally

Internal Optical drives used externally can be quite handy at those times when USB optical drives simply won't do
You know....
Like when someone wants to install XP on a modern motherboard but can't because there is no internal drive and USB drives return an error message during the install

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SkinnyZeroOne

Wouldn't touch a one of these.
Pick your drive, pick your enclosure, & roll your own.

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warptek2010

Beat me to it. I was going to say, has the average MaxPc computer user ever purchased a ready made external drive instead of create their own?

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Peanut Fox

I have. A long time ago. Sometime in 2005 I grabbed a Western Digital MyBook Pro 500GB model. The thing was pretty good at sucking and eventually stopped working altogether.

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vrmlbasic

Yes, because they were dirt cheap and featured both USB 2.0 & eSATA.

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Budman_NC

Oh man, I would've liked to have seen how my Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1.5 TB USB 3.0 external fared against these. Its a 2.5" form factor with interchangeable interface modules. Works great, but the included software sucks. I use Acronis anyway for backups.

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