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I was considering to buy some storage device for data backup and transfer from my two laptops (one has 250 GB hard drive and the other has 100 GB hard drive).

  1. Which is common for such storage device, portable or not?
  2. How much sizes and what types for such storage device are at the best price/performance ratio according to current technology and market?
  3. Any brands to recommend?
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I believe the only reasonable option is a portable harddrive. They are relatively cheap, small, fast, and universally compatible (USB mass storage connection). Just get one that is big enough for you; 1 TB sounds about right, and is a common size.

As to brand, I don't think there's any specific recommendation. Just get one you like, and remember that all harddisk will fail, it's only a question of when.

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Can you compare which one will fail sooner, the hard disk drive or the portable backup/transfer storage device? – Tim Feb 11 '11 at 14:04
Just personal experience has been that the external drives usually go bad more often. It is usually the interface / enclosure and not the drive so I can usually recover the data. I only use the external as a backup to duplicate unique data (and do so regularly), or to store large cumbersome easily reproduced data like video ISOs. I think brand is personal preference and my best experience has been with WD. – Dennis Feb 11 '11 at 14:17

I would definitely go with a small NAS device, which confers a RAID 0, place 2 x 1 Tb drives in it (WD or some brand ones) and ready for backup and your safe too.

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can you give a link to one of such products please? – Tim Feb 11 '11 at 14:22
just did a really quick search on ebay (for reference)… (you can get this around 100$ at a good deal) OR… this includes HDD's as well. – Tiberiu Hajas Feb 13 '11 at 0:52

USB 2.0 is slow, if your machines have eSATA ports, buy an enclosure with SATA/eSATA port

if you can afford it- choose something with ethernet port.

Some routers have USB port and can share storage via Network

2TB disks have better $/GB ratio

Everything depends of your budget

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@jet: Thanks! (1) I was wondering how to know if my laptops have eSATA ports. One laptop is Lenovo T400 and the other is Acer Aspire 5000. (2) What are the steps for implementation so that "Some routers have USB port and can share storage via Network"? Any link for such information? Thanks! – Tim Feb 11 '11 at 14:59
The T400 does not have an eSATA port. (the T410 does though) However, most models of the T400 have firewire, which is much faster than USB 2.0 as well. – Brian Feb 11 '11 at 15:04
@Tim: About SATA: Just look at the specs. Quick googling shows that the T400 does not have eSATA (it does have SATA, but only internal). It does have a Firewire/IEEE1394 port. For the Acer, you google :-). – sleske Feb 11 '11 at 15:09
@Tim: About (2): Some routers have USB ports where you can connect a portable HD, so they double as a NAS (network attached storage); see e.g.… . If you have one of these, you plug a HD or other storage into the router, then the router will show it as a shared drive on the network. – sleske Feb 11 '11 at 15:12
@Brian and @sleske: So are eSATA port, Firewire/IEEE1394 port, USB x.0 port all used for data transfer into and out of a computer? In terms of transfer speed, eSATA port > Firewire/IEEE1394 port > USB x.0 port? Any link for me to learn about some common sense of these various ports among others? – Tim Feb 11 '11 at 15:28

For my personal use, I use DropBox. This allows me to keep my designated folders synced everywhere, between my home machines, my work machine, and my school PC. The monthly pricing structure isn't terrible for larger amounts of space, but I find my 2GB limit on the freebie more than enough for what I use it for. The nice part is, it allows you to work with the files while offline, and the folder will auto sync next time you are connected to the internet, in the background.

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Online backup has many advantages, but for the amount the question mentions (100 and 250 GB), it's not practical. So this would only work if only a few GB of the drives are backed up. This may be possible, but anything less than a full backup is dangerous, IMHO. You tend to forget all the places where you put your precious files... – sleske Feb 11 '11 at 15:05

Personally,i don't devices for my backups but i use a backup software installed on my computer called Safecopy backup.They offer a 3GB trial version which one can use as a test before upgrading to a paid account and above the services are just fine for me and they are also cost effective.

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