Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Toolbox: Max Storage
High-capacity external drive options for constantly expanding image libraries
Image resolution is constantly getting bigger and better, and now that most new DSLRs are beginning to offer HD video capabilities as a standard feature, it’s more important than ever to have enough room for keeping all of your files organized and backed up. There also has never been a better time to take another look at external drives. Technology has increased by leaps and bounds over the last couple of years, and with internal SATA connections now offering up to 6 Gb/s data transfer and internal and external drives currently topping off at an enormous 3 terabytes, things are bound to get even more exciting.
With an impressively modern design, the LaCie Hard Disk MAX is built as a dual-disk drive for extended archival and backup options. Dual disks are ideal for backing up files, as they offer RAID setups that automatically will duplicate files to each drive for double the protection in case one of the disks goes bad. The drive includes RAID 0 (FAST) for using the total 2 TB capacity and RAID 1 (SAFE) for redundant writing of images and files. The Hard Disk MAX is USB 2.0 compatible with a front USB Hub for connecting peripherals directly to the drive. List Price: $209.
External hard drives with 1 TB of capacity were practically unheard of only a few short years ago, and they were certainly outside the range of most people’s budgets. Now it’s the norm, even available in the popular pocket-sized class of highly portable drives. At capacities up to 1 TB, the Buffalo Technology MiniStation Metro HD-PXTU2 offers USB 2.0 compatibility via the attached wraparound cable and fast file transfer, thanks to Buffalo’s TurboPC performance booster. The BumperBody shock absorbers help to protect it from shocks and drops, and optional 256-bit AES Full Disk Encryption can protect your files from being accessed with password protection, thanks to the included Buffalo Tools Software Suite. Estimated Street Price: $130 (1 TB).
Available in capacities up to 1 TB, Seagate’s ultraportable FreeAgent GoFlex external drive will let you power up your connection to USB 3.0, FireWire 800 or eSATA with GoFlex Upgrade Cable kits, including an available kit for upgrading both your laptop and your drive. (There’s also a 1.5 TB model that includes a USB 3.0 interface.) A Seagate Dashboard management tool lets you schedule backups, add file encryptions and check stats. List Price: $149 (1 TB, Standard USB 2.0).
Last year was an especially important year for external hard drives as the long-ago-announced USB 3.0 interface finally became a reality. With data-transfer speeds of 4.8 Gb/s, about 10 times the speed of Hi-Speed USB 2.0 connections, the format also known as SuperSpeed USB is showing promise as an option for professionals and photographers working in the video market. There are even kits available for upgrading older computers to the new standard. (USB 3.0 also is backwards-compatible for use with USB 2.0 peripherals.)
The My Book 3.0 from Western Digital includes 1 TB and 2 TB models, with transfer rates up to 10 times the speed of standard USB 2.0. The drives are available as stand-alone models or with an optional USB 3.0 HBA adapter for updating PCs. The model is stripped down to essential features in order to offer USB 3.0 at a particularly aggressive price point. List Price: Begins at $129.
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