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Internal or external drive for backup?

I need to choose whether my 1TB data disk should be external or internal.
I have three choices for the data disk:

  • 1TB internal
  • 1TB external 3.5" (USB)
  • 1TB external 2.5" (USB)

The choice of category is affected by:

  1. reliabilyty (assuming some inexpensive Western Digital model in every category)
  2. ease of setting up the mirroring, or periodic auto backup

This PC will have one 250GB system disk (no data) plus 1TB data as described above -- internal or external. Size of data is under 500GB.

And, do I have other choices for disks that I did not mention above?

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marked as duplicate by squircle, 8088, Majenko, Sathya May 6 '11 at 5:20

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
What about connection? USB 3.0? SATA? –  paradd0x May 4 '11 at 19:51
    
Added USB remark –  Andrei May 4 '11 at 20:43

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The only reason I would use an external disk is if I planned on taking the disk with me some where, or otherwise needed the portability. If your data disk is going to stay with that computer, then I would go internal, period.

If, on the other hand, you do need to move the entire data disk around, external is your best option.

In the middle is if you need to move partial data from this disk, in which case (unless it's a very big part) I would go with the internal disk, and then get a smaller external disk or else rely on network/internet to share the data.

On the reliability front, external disks typically have an extra risk factor of being dropped, something internal disks (except those in laptops) generally do not face; barring that, both are, generally speaking, equally reliable. Additionally, unless you are using eSATA as your connection, it is difficult if not impossible to monitor the S.M.A.R.T. status of an external hard drive, so it could more easily fail on you without warning (of course, if you're not monitoring S.M.A.R.T. on your internal disks, this doesn't change anything, but you should be).

Backing up a disk is, for the most part, wholly independent of its external/internal nature. The only caveat here is that there may be a manual component required for an external disk if its drive letter/device letter changes when it is plugged back in after being disconnected.

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Mirror will depend on connection. USB won't work.

Western Digital drives come with software that automatically syncs the data on the selected data drive to the external so that would help. 2.5 does not need external power which is nice. 2.5 is USB only while sone 3.5 drives have firewire and eSATA which is nice. They(Quad interface) show as MAC drives on the web page but they work and just have to be formatted.

External allows you to store off site or in a fire safe. If the system is stolen or damaged, the internal drive is gone.

You can also get an external that can be configured as a RAID 1 mirror for extra protection.

If all you want is more spece and an easy backup, internal fits the bill but no protection against a fire or theft event

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