Chances are, you’re storing a lot more digital media on your computer than even just a year or two ago. Music and movie collections perpetually grow, e-mails with long-forgotten attachments aggregate, and now that your digital camera probably has the ability to capture HD video in addition to multi-megapixel images, your own creative library is also continually expanding.
If you’re using a late-model system, your computer’s internal drive likely has a generous amount of space; but if you haven’t run up against storage limits yet, trust us when we say you will. Also worth noting here, for your computer’s general stability and performance, it’s a good idea to leave at least 10 percent of your primary hard drive’s total capacity unused, so your operating system and software have space for temporary files.
It’s better to plan for the inevitable space crunch in advance and have a system for archiving media files somewhere other than your primary drive. External storage options like these give you the flexibility to expand your capacity easily.
The DriveStation Duo offers out-of-the-box RAID 1 data mirroring in capacities of 1 TB and 2 TB. The fast 7200 RPM drives are suitable for video work, and while it comes preformatted for Windows, it easily can be reformatted for use with Max OS X and TimeMachine backups. USB 2.0 and FireWire 400. Estimated Street Price: $175 (1 TB).
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The Drobo S is designed for serious backup needs—with five hot-swappable drive bays, you can load it up for 10 TB of storage, and even can mix and match drive capacities and speeds. A variety of RAID configurations are possible, including mirroring. If you have a big library that’s growing fast, this is a very expandable system, but the flexibility isn’t cheap—the Drobo S price doesn’t include the drives themselves, only the controller housing. eSata, FireWire 800 and USB 2.0. Estimated Street Price: $749.
The G-Safe houses dual hot-swappable 7200 RPM drive modules for fast RAID 1 data mirroring. The removable drives make it easy to take a copy of your data with you. A front-panel LCD makes configuration easy right on the device and allows you to monitor system performance. Available in configurations up to 2 TB. eSata, FireWire 800 and USB 2.0. List Price: Begins at $349.