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pythonmegapixel

Need an external (USB) storage device to archive photos to

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Background, skip this paragraph if you're not interested: I have a Windows laptop. I don't have a desktop PC (at home the laptop is connected to various things to make it functionally the same as a desktop). It has a Samsung SSD in it which is fast enough that nothing I own is capable of saturating it, and the capacity of 256GB which was absolutely fine for my needs when I bought it, however, times have changed. You might have heard of this little thing called Covid-19. Working from home means I need to store way more things on my personal laptop. Also I have a new camera which is quickly filling up the SSD.

 

My plan is to have an USB storage device which I will upload all of my photos to but if I actually want to use them for anything e.g. editing or any project I'm working on then I'll copy the relevant ones back to the SSD on my laptop. This means that I want something which can handle browsing the light loads that photo management software reading the metadata and thumbnails will put on it, but also reading/writing several gigabytes in one go. I don't want to spend loads on this and would prefer to keep it as cheap as possible. I don't particularly care about redundancy either (anything copied to this drive will also be sent to a backup elsewhere immediately so if the drive fails it's not a massive deal) and portability is not a concern as it will most likely never leave the room.

 

I was looking at HDDs in USB SATA enclosures but I'm willing to go with something pre-built if it works out cheaper or better suited (or indeed a completely different solution!)

 

Thanks in advance for any help you can give.


By the way, my desktop is a docked laptop. Get over it, No seriously, I have an exterrnal monitor, keyboard, mouse, headset, ethernet and cooling fans all connected. Using it feels no different to a desktop, it works for several hours if the power goes out, and disconnecting just a few cables gives me something I can take on the go. There's enough power for all games I play and it even copes with basic (and some not-so-basic) video editing. Give it a go - you might just love it.

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11 minutes ago, pythonmegapixel said:

I was looking at HDDs in USB SATA enclosures but I'm willing to go with something pre-built if it works out cheaper or better suited (or indeed a completely different solution!)

Just grab whatever size external suits your needs from WD or Seagate. I'd recommend a WD Elements or EasyStore 8TB/10TB/12TB (from experience; I can dive into detail if you care why). You won't need to worry about performance or such.


Main System (Byarlant): Ryzen 5 1600X | Asus B350-F Strix | Corsair H80i V2 | 16GB G.Skill DDR4 3200MHz CAS-14 | XFX RX 5600 XT THICC II | Samsung 960 PRO 512GB / Samsung 970 EVO 500GB / Seagate 7200RPM 3TB | Corsair CX650M | Mellanox ConnectX-2 10G NIC | Anidees AI-07BW Case | Dell U3415W Monitor | Microsoft Modern Keyboard

 

FreeNAS Server (Veda): Core i3-4170 | Supermicro X10SLL-F | Corsair H60 | 32GB Micron DDR3L ECC 1600MHz | 4x 10TB WD Whites / 1x Samsung PM961 128GB SSD / 1x Kingston 16GB SSD | Corsair CX430M | Mellanox ConnectX-2 10G NIC | LSI 9207-8i LBA | Fractal Design Node 804 Case (side panels swapped to show off drives)

 

Media Center/Video Capture (Jesta): Core i7-2600 | Asus H77M-PRO | Stock Cooler | 8GB No-name DDR3 | EVGA GTX750Ti SC | Sandisk UltraII SSD 64GB / Seagate 1.5TB HDD | Corsair CX450M | Hauppauge ImpactVCB-PCIe | Syba USB3.1 Gen 2 Card | LG UH12NS30 BD-ROM | Silverstone Sugo SG-11 Case

 

Laptop (Narrative): Lenovo Flex 5 81X20005US | Ryzen 5 4500U | 16GB RAM (soldered) | Vega 6 Graphics | SKHynix 256GB NVMe SSD | (all-around awesome machine so far)

Laptop (Rozen-Zulu): Sony VAIO VPCF13WFX | Core i7-740QM | 8GB Patriot DDR3 | GT 425M | Kingston 120GB SSD | Blu-ray Drive

 

Tablet (---): Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8" (crosses fingers)
Tablet (ReGZ): Asus T102HA (BIOS clock doesn't tick, loses time when sleep/off) (I kill tablets with disturbing regularity)

Tablet (Unicorn): Surface Pro 2 (battery will reset total capacity to current charge, leading Windows to think it's always 100% charged until it dies)

Tablet (Loto): Dell Venue 8 Pro (screen discoloration issues, wouldn't update to Windows 10)

Tablet: iPad 2 16GB (WiFi died, basically useless after that)

 

Testbed/Old Desktop (Kshatriya): Xeon X5470 @ 4.0GHz | ZALMAN CNPS9500 | Gigabyte EP45-UD3L | 8GB Nanya DDR2 400MHz | XFX HD6870 DD | OCZ Vertex 3 Max-IOPS 120GB | Corsair CX430M (?) | HooToo USB 3.0 PCIe Card | NZXT H230 Case

 

Camera: Sony A7II (w/ Meike Grip) | Sony SEL24240 (better than most reviews say) | Sony SEL2870 (kit lens) | Sony SEL50F18F (meh, don't buy) | PNY Elite Perfomance SDXC cards

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Posted · Original PosterOP
16 minutes ago, AbydosOne said:

Just grab whatever size external suits your needs from WD or Seagate. I'd recommend a WD Elements or EasyStore 8TB/10TB/12TB (from experience; I can dive into detail if you care why). You won't need to worry about performance or such.

Thanks... can you explain to me what the difference is between an Elements device and the versions of MyPassport drives that WD sell?

Also, what is special about the "WD_BLACK Game Drive" units?


By the way, my desktop is a docked laptop. Get over it, No seriously, I have an exterrnal monitor, keyboard, mouse, headset, ethernet and cooling fans all connected. Using it feels no different to a desktop, it works for several hours if the power goes out, and disconnecting just a few cables gives me something I can take on the go. There's enough power for all games I play and it even copes with basic (and some not-so-basic) video editing. Give it a go - you might just love it.

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31 minutes ago, pythonmegapixel said:

Thanks... can you explain to me what the difference is between an Elements device and the versions of MyPassport drives that WD sell?

Also, what is special about the "WD_BLACK Game Drive" units?

Elements (and EasyStore sold by BestBuy, and MyBook) are 3.5" drives. As long as you're at or above 8TB, these will be PMR/CMR drives. Thumbs up from me (I have seven of these in various places).

 

Elements Portable (and Elements SE, and MyPassport) are 2.5" drives. These run without a power brick, but are SMR drives internally (in laymans terms, they slow down if you right too much in a random fashion).

 

WD_BLACK "gaming" drives are 7200RPM drives giving higher maximum read speeds (but only ~30% higher at most). More expensive per unit TB. Will run hotter, and drives don't like high heat. Also has a USB hub built in (which is neat, but gimmicky).


Main System (Byarlant): Ryzen 5 1600X | Asus B350-F Strix | Corsair H80i V2 | 16GB G.Skill DDR4 3200MHz CAS-14 | XFX RX 5600 XT THICC II | Samsung 960 PRO 512GB / Samsung 970 EVO 500GB / Seagate 7200RPM 3TB | Corsair CX650M | Mellanox ConnectX-2 10G NIC | Anidees AI-07BW Case | Dell U3415W Monitor | Microsoft Modern Keyboard

 

FreeNAS Server (Veda): Core i3-4170 | Supermicro X10SLL-F | Corsair H60 | 32GB Micron DDR3L ECC 1600MHz | 4x 10TB WD Whites / 1x Samsung PM961 128GB SSD / 1x Kingston 16GB SSD | Corsair CX430M | Mellanox ConnectX-2 10G NIC | LSI 9207-8i LBA | Fractal Design Node 804 Case (side panels swapped to show off drives)

 

Media Center/Video Capture (Jesta): Core i7-2600 | Asus H77M-PRO | Stock Cooler | 8GB No-name DDR3 | EVGA GTX750Ti SC | Sandisk UltraII SSD 64GB / Seagate 1.5TB HDD | Corsair CX450M | Hauppauge ImpactVCB-PCIe | Syba USB3.1 Gen 2 Card | LG UH12NS30 BD-ROM | Silverstone Sugo SG-11 Case

 

Laptop (Narrative): Lenovo Flex 5 81X20005US | Ryzen 5 4500U | 16GB RAM (soldered) | Vega 6 Graphics | SKHynix 256GB NVMe SSD | (all-around awesome machine so far)

Laptop (Rozen-Zulu): Sony VAIO VPCF13WFX | Core i7-740QM | 8GB Patriot DDR3 | GT 425M | Kingston 120GB SSD | Blu-ray Drive

 

Tablet (---): Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8" (crosses fingers)
Tablet (ReGZ): Asus T102HA (BIOS clock doesn't tick, loses time when sleep/off) (I kill tablets with disturbing regularity)

Tablet (Unicorn): Surface Pro 2 (battery will reset total capacity to current charge, leading Windows to think it's always 100% charged until it dies)

Tablet (Loto): Dell Venue 8 Pro (screen discoloration issues, wouldn't update to Windows 10)

Tablet: iPad 2 16GB (WiFi died, basically useless after that)

 

Testbed/Old Desktop (Kshatriya): Xeon X5470 @ 4.0GHz | ZALMAN CNPS9500 | Gigabyte EP45-UD3L | 8GB Nanya DDR2 400MHz | XFX HD6870 DD | OCZ Vertex 3 Max-IOPS 120GB | Corsair CX430M (?) | HooToo USB 3.0 PCIe Card | NZXT H230 Case

 

Camera: Sony A7II (w/ Meike Grip) | Sony SEL24240 (better than most reviews say) | Sony SEL2870 (kit lens) | Sony SEL50F18F (meh, don't buy) | PNY Elite Perfomance SDXC cards

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Posted · Original PosterOP
30 minutes ago, AbydosOne said:

Elements (and EasyStore sold by BestBuy, and MyBook) are 3.5" drives. As long as you're at or above 8TB, these will be PMR/CMR drives. Thumbs up from me (I have seven of these in various places).

 

Elements Portable (and Elements SE, and MyPassport) are 2.5" drives. These run without a power brick, but are SMR drives internally (in laymans terms, they slow down if you right too much in a random fashion).

 

WD_BLACK "gaming" drives are 7200RPM drives giving higher maximum read speeds (but only ~30% higher at most). More expensive per unit TB. Will run hotter, and drives don't like high heat. Also has a USB hub built in (which is neat, but gimmicky).

OK just a couple more questions (you have been very helpful, thankyou)

Am I correct in assuming that because the Elements and Easystore devices come with a power brick they only use the USB for data and not for power (therefore won't cause problems if used through an unpowered USB hub)?

Also if I go for an Elements drive with a capacity of less than 8TB, is that going to be SMR (and therefore experience issues with random writes?)

Finally, if I run out of capacity on an Elements drive in the future, is it trivial to take the HDD out of the enclosure and replace it with a standard 3.5" SATA drive?


By the way, my desktop is a docked laptop. Get over it, No seriously, I have an exterrnal monitor, keyboard, mouse, headset, ethernet and cooling fans all connected. Using it feels no different to a desktop, it works for several hours if the power goes out, and disconnecting just a few cables gives me something I can take on the go. There's enough power for all games I play and it even copes with basic (and some not-so-basic) video editing. Give it a go - you might just love it.

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29 minutes ago, pythonmegapixel said:

Am I correct in assuming that because the Elements and Easystore devices come with a power brick they only use the USB for data and not for power (therefore won't cause problems if used through an unpowered USB hub)?

Yep, that's correct. I've run four off an unpowered hub once (I was starting to run into bandwidth limitations because I was hammering all of them to test, but power was fine).

 

30 minutes ago, pythonmegapixel said:

Also if I go for an Elements drive with a capacity of less than 8TB, is that going to be SMR (and therefore experience issues with random writes?)

That's my understanding. The larger drive use what are essentially the (old) Reds, while the smaller drives use Blues.

 

image.png.4310978083bfd24121d4c38c51ecda26.png

 

I should probably add that for you usage, it probably will only have a minor effect on performance (I'm just picky and have used both).

 

32 minutes ago, pythonmegapixel said:

Finally, if I run out of capacity on an Elements drive in the future, is it trivial to take the HDD out of the enclosure and replace it with a standard 3.5" SATA drive?

It's possible, but I wouldn't recommend it.

 

At absolute minimum, external drives are usually substantially cheaper than bare drives (for some unknown marketing reason; I just buy externals and take the drives out), so by the time you fill it up (which might be a while, seeing as I've been taking photos for a decade and only have about 750GB of total), your money is probably better spent on another new external (unless things change).

 

From a technical level, I think WD's enclosures work alright with other drives, but some other ones have specific controllers that prevent other drives from functioning properly.


Main System (Byarlant): Ryzen 5 1600X | Asus B350-F Strix | Corsair H80i V2 | 16GB G.Skill DDR4 3200MHz CAS-14 | XFX RX 5600 XT THICC II | Samsung 960 PRO 512GB / Samsung 970 EVO 500GB / Seagate 7200RPM 3TB | Corsair CX650M | Mellanox ConnectX-2 10G NIC | Anidees AI-07BW Case | Dell U3415W Monitor | Microsoft Modern Keyboard

 

FreeNAS Server (Veda): Core i3-4170 | Supermicro X10SLL-F | Corsair H60 | 32GB Micron DDR3L ECC 1600MHz | 4x 10TB WD Whites / 1x Samsung PM961 128GB SSD / 1x Kingston 16GB SSD | Corsair CX430M | Mellanox ConnectX-2 10G NIC | LSI 9207-8i LBA | Fractal Design Node 804 Case (side panels swapped to show off drives)

 

Media Center/Video Capture (Jesta): Core i7-2600 | Asus H77M-PRO | Stock Cooler | 8GB No-name DDR3 | EVGA GTX750Ti SC | Sandisk UltraII SSD 64GB / Seagate 1.5TB HDD | Corsair CX450M | Hauppauge ImpactVCB-PCIe | Syba USB3.1 Gen 2 Card | LG UH12NS30 BD-ROM | Silverstone Sugo SG-11 Case

 

Laptop (Narrative): Lenovo Flex 5 81X20005US | Ryzen 5 4500U | 16GB RAM (soldered) | Vega 6 Graphics | SKHynix 256GB NVMe SSD | (all-around awesome machine so far)

Laptop (Rozen-Zulu): Sony VAIO VPCF13WFX | Core i7-740QM | 8GB Patriot DDR3 | GT 425M | Kingston 120GB SSD | Blu-ray Drive

 

Tablet (---): Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8" (crosses fingers)
Tablet (ReGZ): Asus T102HA (BIOS clock doesn't tick, loses time when sleep/off) (I kill tablets with disturbing regularity)

Tablet (Unicorn): Surface Pro 2 (battery will reset total capacity to current charge, leading Windows to think it's always 100% charged until it dies)

Tablet (Loto): Dell Venue 8 Pro (screen discoloration issues, wouldn't update to Windows 10)

Tablet: iPad 2 16GB (WiFi died, basically useless after that)

 

Testbed/Old Desktop (Kshatriya): Xeon X5470 @ 4.0GHz | ZALMAN CNPS9500 | Gigabyte EP45-UD3L | 8GB Nanya DDR2 400MHz | XFX HD6870 DD | OCZ Vertex 3 Max-IOPS 120GB | Corsair CX430M (?) | HooToo USB 3.0 PCIe Card | NZXT H230 Case

 

Camera: Sony A7II (w/ Meike Grip) | Sony SEL24240 (better than most reviews say) | Sony SEL2870 (kit lens) | Sony SEL50F18F (meh, don't buy) | PNY Elite Perfomance SDXC cards

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Posted · Original PosterOP
13 minutes ago, AbydosOne said:

Yep, that's correct. I've run four off an unpowered hub once (I was starting to run into bandwidth limitations because I was hammering all of them to test, but power was fine).

 

That's my understanding. The larger drive use what are essentially the (old) Reds, while the smaller drives use Blues.

 

image.png.4310978083bfd24121d4c38c51ecda26.png

 

I should probably add that for you usage, it probably will only have a minor effect on performance (I'm just picky and have used both).

 

It's possible, but I wouldn't recommend it.

 

At absolute minimum, external drives are usually substantially cheaper than bare drives (for some unknown marketing reason; I just buy externals and take the drives out), so by the time you fill it up (which might be a while, seeing as I've been taking photos for a decade and only have about 750GB of total), your money is probably better spent on another new external (unless things change).

 

From a technical level, I think WD's enclosures work alright with other drives, but some other ones have specific controllers that prevent other drives from functioning properly.

OK, thanks very much. You have been incredibly helpful and I now have a much better understanding.


By the way, my desktop is a docked laptop. Get over it, No seriously, I have an exterrnal monitor, keyboard, mouse, headset, ethernet and cooling fans all connected. Using it feels no different to a desktop, it works for several hours if the power goes out, and disconnecting just a few cables gives me something I can take on the go. There's enough power for all games I play and it even copes with basic (and some not-so-basic) video editing. Give it a go - you might just love it.

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