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Thread: External vs Internal HD

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    External vs Internal HD

    So, I built my computer with guidance from this website in 2011. I have upgraded different components here or there. Overall, it is still performing well, but I am just about out of HD space. I recently consulted my technically inclined nephews (I am getting old) regarding whether it was time to upgrade my entire computer or just add more memory and their thought was to wait another year or two as DDR5 comes out more completely and pricing come down on NVMe memory.

    Assuming I stay with my current computer, the question gets to be how to expand my memory. I just checked and the 4 bays for HDs are filled (3 HDs and 1 SSD). The computer only has two USB 3.0 (yep, so old they still called it USB 3.0) connections. I tend to use 300-500 GB of memory per year for photos.

    So, I am considering the following:
    1. Go to an external HD for my photos for 2021+ (until I get a new computer)
    2. Go to an external SSD (I am thinking the speed will only be marginally better as the USB 3.0 is likely limiting to ~500 MB/sec)
    3. Buy a large new HD and transfer information from one or more of the existing HDs over to it (~4 TB between the three). So I could do a WD Black 6 TB and still have a couple of years worth of room on it.
    4. Replace my existing 256 GB SSD (currently used for software, but getting maxed out) with a new 2 TB SSD, run software and 2021+ memory off of it. Biggest issue where is I would likely need to re-set up the Windows environment. While that could be a good thing, it would take up some time.


    I have a dedicated external HD already that is my real-time back up. My other USB 3.0 port is dedicated to my card reader, but I figure I could get a USB hub and run my backup and card reader off it and have a dedicated port for the external drive I would be working off of.

    As I sit here, I am liking option 2. Minimal work, perhaps slightly faster speeds and when I travel, I could also take it with me knowing that if I lost it somehow, I would still have the backup on my external HD.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    You have too much data to make SSD viable. You need cheap long term storage, so I would suggest 1 and 3. Get a large external drive. Copy the contents of the 3 internal drives to it. Replace the 3 internal drives with a second large drive. Copy the data from the external drive to the new internal drive.

    Why two drives? The external can act as a backup. Use your internal as you normally do. Every now and then (or each time you get new images, if you're that dedicated) copy the new folders to the external drive. Keep the external away from the PC normally. Now, in the case of computer theft, ransomware attack, dead hard drive, etc, you're safe. Keep the external off-site and you're protected for fires and floods too.

    If/when fill this larger drive, you have 2 free drive bays to add even more storage.

    (I say this, and *nearly* follow this advice... but I just attached a "ProBox" 4 bay external box to my Mac. Two bays have old drives from my PC. New photos go on internal drive. Every now and then, I copy the new internal drive contents to a large disk in bay 3, and a backup copy in bay 4. They're always attached, so I'm really only protected from drive failure, but I've had enough drive failures that it's my main concern).
    Last edited by DavidEccleston; 12-19-2020 at 09:02 PM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member clemmb's Avatar
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    I got one of these a year ago. I am amazed how fast it is.
    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...table_ssd.html
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  4. #4
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    I have four or five externals laying around the house and two at work. I also have an old MAC Pro that is going on 12 years now with three hard drives I use for storage. It hasn't failed me yet.
    External storage is cheap and it is slow with even the newest USB. If storage and backup is the goal the USB I find to be ok. I bought a a 4tb external not long ago and loaded everything on it. They are little towers and I knocked it over on its side and it died. If you go that route be sure and get two and duplicate.
    The real question is do you want to work with those files or are you just storing. Externals are just to slow to work from. An internal may be quicker.
    But I know the MAC Pro at its age it would be very slow if working between two internal drives.
    My ASUS ROG I bought last year is very seamless between the two internal drives. Using a USB it still is to slow and I use an external for additional backup.

    From my perspective I do not like your Nephews advice. I would be looking to upgrade, after all you are on year 9. You were probably storing and manipulating files from the 7D or the 5D II in 2011. For now get an external, when you upgrade you can use the external to put everything on the new machine.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone...

    Just to add, my back up system is to have an active back up to a external HD. Actually, as we speak, a new WD My Book is humming as it backs up my different hard drives. I then have various "My Passport" external hard drives. A couple just lying around, but, more importantly, two that I keep offsite that I update periodically. I know some people back up to the cloud, but I prefer to have physical hard drives.

    What I am trying to do is decide where to store photos that I am actively working on as my current hard drive (from 2016) is full. I do not have to move the information off my current hard drives. But, you make a good point, two of those hard drives are from 2011 and the other is from 2016. No failures yet, but....

    Quote Originally Posted by HDNitehawk View Post
    From my perspective I do not like your Nephews advice. I would be looking to upgrade, after all you are on year 9. You were probably storing and manipulating files from the 7D or the 5D II in 2011. For now get an external, when you upgrade you can use the external to put everything on the new machine.
    Yep, when I built this computer I was shooting the 7D. As for the new computer, it is just a matter of when. I have been making upgrades to this computer over the years. As it currently stands, 32 GB of DDR3 1666 RAM, AMD 8 core 4 GHz processor, GeForce 1050i video card, etc. And it works very well. But, I will want to upgrade before it starts having issues and newer faster is out there.

    Thanks for the help.
    Last edited by Kayaker72; 12-20-2020 at 12:32 AM.

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