Home Hardware Storage Buyer's Guide 2009: Storage
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Buyer's Guide 2009: Storage

Make room for more photos and backups with these external solutions


This Article Features Photo Zoom


The Apple Time Capsule is a NAS drive that doubles as an 802.11n WiFi router: Connect Time Capsule to your Internet modem, and it creates a wireless network that all your home computers—Windows and Mac—can use. Through this network, multiple computers can access the Internet, back up files to the 500 GB or 1 TB internal drive, and share a printer. The unit also works with Apple's Time Machine utility to allow automatic backup of computers running OS X Leopard.

Connections: Ethernet, WiFi (802.11n)
Size: 7.7x7.7x1.4 inches
List Price: $299 (500 GB)

The Data Robotics Drobo is very different from the other units discussed thus far. The Drobo itself isn't actually a hard drive, but a very smart box with four drive bays. You can add your own hard drives of varying capacities or buy a preconfigured model with up to a massive 16 TB of storage. Drobo does all the thinking for you: As your capacity is reaching its max, Drobo tells you which of your drives to replace and automatically brings that new drive into the fold, maximizing speed and mirroring all saved data. The Drobo is compatible with Mac and Windows computers and works with most data backup software, including Time Machine.

Connections: USB 2.0, FireWire 800/400
Size: 10.7x6.3x6.3 inches
List Price: $499 (without drives); $799 (2 TB)

The Seagate FreeAgent Go takes the concept of portability a step further with its unique docking station, which is included with the drive. Available in capacities from 250 GB to 500 GB, the dock helps this sleek drive seamlessly do double-duty as both a desktop and a travel backup solution.

Connections: USB 2.0, FireWire 800/400 (dock included)
Size: 5.4x3.2x0.7 inches
List Price: $159 (250 GB)

The Western Digital My Passport Elite series of drives is available in Windows and Mac versions, and includes the same backup software that ships with Western Digital's desktop drives. Capacities up to 500 GB are available, and so is your choice of four color finishes. An LED capacity gauge lets you see your space remaining.

Connections: USB 2.0
Size: 4.9x3.1x0.6 inches
List Price: $139 (250 GB)

The Buffalo MiniStation TurboUSB is powered by a USB 2.0 connection and is available in capacities from 120 GB to 500 GB. The unit has a shock-resistant casing and handy built-in USB cord that snaps to the size of the drive when stored. The MiniStation also features mobile versions of Mozilla's Firefox and Thunderbird so you can take your Internet preferences and e-mail settings with you if you're traveling without a laptop.

Connections: USB 2.0
Size: 5.2x3.3x0.9 inches
List Price: $119 (250 GB)

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