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External Hard Drive Suggestions?

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Hi All,


Before I get too far along in the CD 'ripping' process, I figured I'd better have a good backup strategy in place.....I only want to do this once!

At the same time, my wife is asking for my Christmas list, so I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone and put an external hard drive on my wish list.


I've got a newer Macbook Pro, and I'm looking for at least a terabyte of storage. Plug and play is desirable, as is a long MTBF. Budget should be $500.00 or less.


Any ideas?

Help out a newbie folks....





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Hi Mikey - There are two ways to approach this. The best options and drive quality come from purchasing the external case and the hard drive separate. This way you can get an enclosure with a good Oxford chipset and pick up whatever drive you want. But, you have to put the hard drive in the case yourself. Not too difficult, but can be rocket science to the uninterested or technically challenged.


The more traditional route is to purchase the whole thing as one piece. This is the easiest and is certainly plug n play like you want. Going this route I prefer to concentrate on the brand of the drive instead of the enclosure. For example LaCie offers some neat looking devices, but can use very cheap drives internally because more people would never peer inside the device and most people won't use the device long enough for it to fail. The external drives I've purchased this way are Seagates. I think Seagate and Hitachi make the best spinning drives in the world. When it comes down to it the actual drive is what you need to perform day-in day-out. The case manufacturers only need to make a good looking case, put in a cheap SATA or PATA to USB converter and a cheap hard drive and most people will never know the difference.


Also, watch out for high capacity 2.5" drive like 640 GB and higher. They are commonly 500 GB drives with major compression built in so they reach higher capacities.


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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Glyph 050Q drives. They have 160GB, 250GB, 500GB, 750GB, 1TB, 1.5TB, and 2TB sizes which come with USB 2.0, Firewire 400 & 800, and e-SATA connections. The 1TB is $310, 1.5TB is $370. You can get them at sweetwater.com, musiciansfriend.com, or guitarcenter.com. They may seem pricey compared to other external drives but these are very reliable and tanks as far as build quality goes. They are built for the pro recording side of music and not aimed at consumers.


david is hear[br]http://www.tuniverse.tv

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Hi Chris,


Thanks for the info.


Can you suggest a place to find a nice looking hard drive enclosure?

I'm not aware of any case manufacturers...


I've also had good luck with Seagate drives at the office.


Would there be any preference between a spinning drive and a solid state drive?




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Hi Mike - Check out Newegg.com it has 410 external enclosures available. Some nice looking some hideous looking :~)




I much prefer solid state drives but the cost is still prohibitive.


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm not familiar, I use WD "My Book". It suits my needs for 300 gb of flac and mp3 files. I have a 500 gb drive. Alan


Vista Ultimate 32 bit/ Intel e5300 cpu/ ECS G41T-M2 mainboard/Diamond XS Dac/line-in to Insignia Amp/ Cambridge SoundWorks meets Infinity RS1001\'s

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am looking to pick up an external drive as well. I am Mac based, and the G-Drives look like they could be a good solution, with both Firewire and USB connectivity. These have a heat sink case with no fan, so should be reasonably quiet, and they are made by Hitachi, so the drives themselves should be quality (according to Chris).

Does anyone have any experience with the G drives in terms of noise and reliability?


SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888 speakers-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Purple Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.  ISOAcoustics Oreas footers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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I have been using a Glyph external hard drive (GT062 with 2T storage capacity) for about a year now. The Glyph connects to an iMac running iTunes via FW800 and storage is exclusively for iTunes media. It’s been reliable with good performance.


Initially, the Glyph GT062 was configured in Raid 1 mode (mirroring), which left about 900GB of useable storage space. After some time, the music library grew and I needed more storage capacity. I also wanted to improve redundancy and continuity planning.


I’ve since reconfigured the Glyph GT062 to Raid 0 mode (without mirroring), which renders about 1.8T of useable storage space. In addition to more room for music, Raid 0 mode also seems faster than Raid 1 (in terms of access speed and response time). The unit generates some noise when the fan is engaged, but the drive is relatively quiet otherwise.


I’m also using G-Technology’s 2T G-RAID as a back-up storage device. It has 1.8T of usable storage when configured without partitions. I have used both G-RAID and Glyph as the primary iTunes drive when checking the success of regular backups.


In my experience, G-RAID is noticeably louder than Glyph; it seems to produce more fan noise and significantly more mechanical drive noise. G-RAID works very well as a backup device, and it has been reliable. However, in my opinion, it is not highly recommended as a primary external storage device. This is because G-RAID generates higher noise levels and it has slower response time when compared to Glyph. [barrows, the G-Raid unit that I am using has a fan and the G-Drive unit that you are considering may have less noise since it does not have a fan]


In summary, the Glyph GT062 has...


* fast access speed and response time when operating in Raid 0 mode (via FW800)

* a low profile and relatively wide foot-print that complements surrounding audio equipment well (twice the width and half the height as G-Technology’s 2T G-RAID)

* multiple connections available via FW800, FW400, USB and eSATA (my recent iMac does not support eSATA without an adapter)

* user-friendly and helpful Glyph management software

* a price tag of about $650 for 1.8T of useable storage space (when configured in Raid 0 mode)


As CA members have pointed out, Raid 1 with mirroring is not a truly redundant contingency backup. Two drives may mirror data in the event of a single drive failure, but Raid 1 does not protect against human error, such as accidentally deleting information. If you only have one storage device running Raid 1 (even though there are two drives), you can potentially delete data with undesired effects. It’s also possible to corrupt a file during use and/or editing that will result in a perfectly mirrored copy in its corrupted state.



The Glyph hard drive and G-RAID back-up work well and they are reliable, but they are not perfect. I continue to evaluate NAS alternatives that will provide library growth along with silent operation (provided the NAS unit is placed in a remote location outside of the listening environment). You may also wish to consider alternatives to external desktop storage. However, if you have decided to look for a reliable and attractive external hard drive that delivers value for the dollar, I can enthusiastically recommend Glyph as a manufacturer worth your consideration.


Cheers and best regards,




Amarra 3.0.3/iTunes-->AQVOX USB PS-->Acromag USB Isolator-->Ayre QB-9-->Ayre K-5xeMP-->W4S SX-500-->Tyler Acoustics Linbrook Super Towers-->SVS SB12-Plus (L&R). Cables: Nordost, Transparent, LessLoss, Analysis Plus & Pangea. Dedicated line with isolated power conditioning per component: PS Audio & Furman. Late 2012 Mac Mini 2.6GHz Quad-Core i7 (16 GB, 1TB Fusion, 6TB ext via Tbolt). External drives enclosure http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f7-disk-storage-music-library-storage/silent-enclosure-external-hard-drives-7178/

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SATA hard drives are manufactured to the lowest standards (independent) of manufacturer. The failure modes consist of hard drive failure (not very frequent) and sector failures (much more frequent) and the wrong data written to the wrong sectors.


Most Enterprises don't use SATA drives, instead use SAS drives for both performance and speed.


One can expect sector failure rates as high as 4%/year on SATA drives with drives having a lifetime of 3-5 years tops.


So you should select your strategy with hard drive failure in mind. I choose to (regularly) archive my 1 Tbyte onto an external hard drive which is then not used for actual playing.




Serious Listening:[br]Intel Mac Pro 6G (SSD) -> Amarra ->Alpha USB ->Alpha I Dac -> Ayre KX-R -> Tom Evans Linear Class A -> Avantgarde Mezzo Horns (107db) + Basshorns-> Engineered Room (Power, Traps, Helmholtz Resonators, Ceiling Diffusers)[br]Computer Listening:Intel Mac Pro 6G -> Lavry DA10 -> Adams S3A Active Monitors

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I'm in the same position of very shortly taking the plunge on an external drive for music storage and seeking 1tb as well. At this point I'm leanig toward an OWC 1tb drive:


the specs are shown as:

Chipset: Oxford Semiconductor 924 (OXUF924DS)

Standard Mechanism: 1.0TB Hitachi Deskstar™ 7K1000.C

Drive Interface: SATA (Serial ATA)

Drive Cache Size: 32 Megabyte (32,768k)

Drive Rotation Speed: 7200RPM

Port Configuration: eSATA - 1 port

FireWire 800 - (2) 9 pin ports

FireWire 400 - (1) 6 pin port

USB 2.0/1.1 - (1) 5 pin port


I've read good reviews on both the drive and the fanless enclosure.

I've decided that I'd like to try and keep the drive in the listening room and copy the drive for backup, rather than having internal drive redundancy.

And I feel I could even get two of these at $179 each. Chris has had favorable comments on the drive itself and Mac forums say the enclosure is among the quietest.

Any thoughts on this solution?


MBP13-128gb ssd using VoiceOver to hear the screen, iTunes, Ayre QB-9, McIntosh mx119 & mc207, Thiel CS2.4

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I've had drives from the following manufacturers all fail:




Western Digital


I currently am using LaCie drive(s) and they have not failed...yet.


IMO ALL drives fail. Go for one that has the best connections you can utilize in a case that looks good. Some come with different quality levels of automatic backup software that might sway you and cost is always a factor though for $500 or less you'll be fine getting two 1TB drives.


The #1 issue with a file-based setup is data redundancy. I have one 1TB drive storing my library, another 1TB drive backing it up once per week and back it up again on a portable 500GB hard drive once per month (quickly running out of room on this one...)


Good luck!




Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Mac Mini->Roon + Tidal->KEF LS50W

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