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Windows 7: Looking for Recos on 3TB External Hard Drives

31 Aug 2013   #1

Looking for Recos on 3TB External Hard Drives

Hi all,

I am currently looking for a decent 3 TB external drive. Looking around Newegg I see some decent ones, but none of them really stick out.

The only one that really stuck out was a Seagate for $109. However, I've had a bad experience with Seagates. I'd hate to pass up a nice deal like that because of one bad experience, I've been using WD and OCZ ever since. Have they gotten any better?

Other than that particular drive, I could probably afford something from this list.

So, even if a drive you might be using isn't represented on this list, could you let me know what you use, its pros and cons and if you would buy it again?

Thank you very much.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

31 Aug 2013   #2
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 X64 (Windows 10, 8.1, Linux Mint, Windows XP and others in VM)

I prefer to use an external dock. They are so much easier and any sata internal drive will fit. Use esata if you have it. It's much faster than USB 2.0 or 3.0. I use 2 of these, you can change drives in less than 30 seconds. Thermaltake BlacX Duet (ST0014U) Black External Enclosure -
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Aug 2013   #3


That's actually not a bad idea...however it would be a bit more expensive, but probably worth it.

What hard drive do you use?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

31 Aug 2013   #4

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit

I've had only one external HDD, an antique 120GB WD. That puppy lasted me a good 11 years although I pretty much outgrew it after eight years. I permanently retired it (discarded it) early this year because it was mostly just taking up space and starting to grind a bit when spinning up.

I don't use external type drives anymore. They eat up more storage space, the larger ones require their own PSUs, and they don't seem to be as good of quality as internal drives. Internal drives are available with longer warranties and seem to give more bang for the buck. I have a couple of hot swap bays in my desktop rig, a 2.5" and a 3.5", that I plug internal HDDs into for making backups. I also have a couple of cute, little USB docks I plug internal drives into to make backups for my notebook. I use a modified, heavily padded transport case in which to keep a backup HDD and the original HDD from the notebook (I replaced it with an SSHD a month or so ago); the case and one of the docks (I keep the other in my desk drawer at home) fit into my notebook's case with a bit of creative arranging.

I feel the internal drives are going to more reliable, more economical, require less storage space, and, with the exception of the ones for the notebook, which get infrequent use, are more convenient to use.

As far as brands go, the only real games in town for HDDs are the WDs and the Seagates; the other brands are owned by one of the big two. Both get similar user reviews and each has had their bad batches. Although I favor the WDs, the best way to choose before buying is to compare the recent reviews of both to see if one is having a bad run. Other than that, the only real criteria to consider are price and length of warranty. For external drives, I suggest only considering those that are USB 3.0 compatible, even if you don't have it available on your machine; someday, you might and you don't want to be hampered by a slower buss. Same for getting only SATA III. It's all about future proofing. If your machine has an e-SATA port on it, then an external drive that is e-SATA compatible would be nice.

Edit: Steve and you crossposted while I was posting. I use WD greens for my backup drives. They don't hold up as well as the WD Blues and Blacks, based on reviews, but, since I run them only for backups around once a week, they should last a long time. If you use yours heavily, then I recommend the Blacks (I don't think WD makes a 3TB Blue, which would be a better choice for intermittent heavy use). I do have some Blues I was using to backup my boot drive until it dawned on me that all I needed to do was keep my boot drive images in a folder on my main data drive, then they would automatically be backed up when I did my weekly data drive clones (I prefer to clone my data drives to back them up so accessing data is easier if the data drive itself or the computer dies; I have a dock for the latter scenario) without any extra effort on my part.

Whatever drive you choose, don't let it be the only repository for your data. You should have your data in no less than two different place: the original and a copy. Two copies of the original, one onsite and one offsite, is much better. I have three HDDs for each HDD in use for backups. Two are kept onsite and one is kept in a safe deposit box at my credit union (that one gets swapped out at least once a month). I also use Carbonite for an additional offsite backup that I also can access for data retrieval when I'm on the road so I don't have to carry all my data with me.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Aug 2013   #5
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 X64 (Windows 10, 8.1, Linux Mint, Windows XP and others in VM)

I am hard drive poor. I have several older samsung 1TB, several Seagate 2TB and a couple of 3TB drives. Western Digital drives are too expensive and the quality seems to have diminished according to reviews. I know a lot of people don't like Seagate's but they had 1 bad drive that had bad firmware on it. Since, they seem to be a lot better. I've lost 4 drives in the past 4 years, all Western Digital. I have never had trouble with Seagate, I have some 5 years old still going strong. Unfortunately, buying mechanical hard drives is a big gamble now days, no matter what brand it is.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Aug 2013   #6
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 X64 (Windows 10, 8.1, Linux Mint, Windows XP and others in VM)

Also, buying the pre made externals no matter who makes them, they put the cheapest drive they have in them. They pretty much compete on price.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Aug 2013   #7


Thanks...I guess I'll go with an external with your suggested dock.

My PC has no e-SATA port, so I may need to purchase a bay. I just wonder if that will be a choke point...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Aug 2013   #8


Plus, if one of my internal drives fails I can simply put the 4TB drive inside and still use the dock for data transfers and other storage for smaller drives (of which I have dozens...I really think I have about 5 500GB hard drives).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Aug 2013   #9


What is the point of an eSATA external enclosure with a USB 2.0 connection? Isn't one going to be limited by the USB?

It seems like external eSATA bays sell more than do internal, which doesn't make much sense to me...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Aug 2013   #10
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 X64 (Windows 10, 8.1, Linux Mint, Windows XP and others in VM)

You use an esata cable not a USB cable. If you use a USB cable, you;re right, it will be limited to the USB speeds. The one I linked to has a USB and esata cable. Use the one you want, but the esata will be much faster. If you need an esata port this is something like you need. KINGWIN Model ESAC-02 -
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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