Buyer's Guide 2006: Speedy, Spacious Storage
Solutions for creating a reliable digital image library
Space—the final frontier or a simple necessity? Because digital imaging has picked up speed in the past few years, the need for extensive amounts of digital storage space has intensified. Replacing the temperature-controlled closets that film shooters used to store processed film is now the hard drive library.
Aside from storing your images, data backup has become essential. Having only one copy of your files on one hard drive is a problem in waiting. What if that drive crashes and you can't retrieve the files? Your work is important and leaving chance up to the computer gods could lead to the loss of one-of-a-kind pictures. Back up, back up, back up!
Did I mention that you should back up?
External Hard Drives. A hard drive is the primary storage medium located inside your computer. An external hard drive is convenient because it can plug into your computer and instantly provide the extra backup and storage space you need. Many of these external devices are small and light enough for travel, and are capable of being plugged into any computer.
Capacities. Common hard drive capacities today are in the 160 GB up to 250 GB range and are reasonably priced. This makes protecting your data affordable. Even if you choose a mere 80 GB drive, you'll still be able to load a lot of large-sized images. If you have files sizes that are around 15 MB each, for example, you'll be able to fit roughly 4,500 images on that size drive.