• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

Question How come external drives cost about the same as internal ones?

pmv

Diamond Member
May 30, 2008
7,460
2,658
136
I'm in a dilemma about storage options. For one thing, i feel I ought to overcome my 'digital hoarding' tendencies and just delete everything. e.g. I have an absurd archive of podcasts, both music and speech, that I really don't have a good rational reason to keep, but can't bring myself to bite the bullet and just delete them all (it's like throwing away books!).

The other issue is, I already have a couple of external hard-drives for backup, and if I am going to keep stuff, I'd rather get a bigger internal drive....but if anything external drives seem to be _cheaper_ than internal ones, and they don't require putting more stress on the PSU. But do I want even more objects sitting on the desk?

What do the rest of you do? Are you all more strong-willed about just deleting stuff?

And, also, why is it that internal drives aren't any cheaper than external ones, even though the latter have the extra expense of a housing and their own power-supply?
 

pmv

Diamond Member
May 30, 2008
7,460
2,658
136
Is it that external drives gain an economy-of-scale because they are also sold to console-owners?
 

MalVeauX

Senior member
Dec 19, 2008
581
130
116
Heya,

Capacity is so inexpensive right now, 8TB is dumb-cheap. And you can get 12~14TB drives in the $200~250 range. Why delete things if you don't want to? You have access to plentiful storage. Go big. Keep it. Delete it when you're ready, if ever. No rush.

Externals ultimately have more application and can be sold to more markets. The internal market is fighting with capacity vs SSD, where there's basically no reason to get anything less than a 4TB HDD when you can get SSD at this point. The external market however generally needs higher capacity or they would just get a flash stick or external SSD, so to keep selling things to everyone, and the market is wide on externals, you just put a drive in an external enclosure and anyone can install it. Lots of people are not going to open their laptops or consoles to install a big HDD themselves. But a USB external high capacity drive is much more friendly to most potential customers. They don't care if the drive is good or not, lots of their external drives are using very good drives that may just sit on a shelf unpurchased due to limited market, but put it in an external with USB and market it for use with console, mac, windows, etc, you have a bigger audience and it will work out of the box without needing to know how to install components.

Eventually you can take all those externals, shuck the enclosure, put them all into a box with a basic PC setup and turn it into a server or network server. No need to have things on your desk when you can just have it all accessible over network.

Very best,
 
  • Like
Reactions: TnTecks and pmv

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
5,641
535
126
What I've done in recent years is buy external then once the warranty is over, shuck the cases on some to make internal. Both internal and external drives used for bulk storage of audio-video are on a fileserver, not the client systems.

What you keep vs delete and the cost to store that is entirely up to you. Do make sure you have redundant storage for anything you can't stand to lose. I have some files well over 20 years old, and some other, more of the larger audio-video I delete right after using once. I also consider how popular the content was, and how resilient the source, could I get it again online if I wanted to... an internet URL shortcut takes up way less space than a video.

I'm not a fan of the higher capacity HDDs, with more platters, more heat, slower spinup time, and at some point the cost:capacity ratio doesn't drop much. Instead I get drives near the curve of where capacity: price tops out, so a few more drives, then I use "everything" app to index it all so no matter what drive or host something is stored on, finding it is fast and simple.

More drives does mean more effort to keep backups of anything important but longer term storage of multimedia, you only need to backup once and maintain that 2nd copy, and also means a single point failure is a lower % of total files at risk while a replacement drive is acquired and filled to replace the old one. I used to raid everything but these days not so much. Moderate sized HDDs used only for bulk storage instead of running an OS, seem to have longer lifespans.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: pmv

pmv

Diamond Member
May 30, 2008
7,460
2,658
136
Think I'm going to get another external - the ones I've been looking at external are actually cheaper than the same capacity internal. Mainly will just be dumping stuff onto them and then leave them, so they won't be getting a lot of write-cycles.

A stupid 'first world problem' I can see is that if I dump all these podcasts onto the external drive, my media-manager will get confused about what episodes I've already downloaded or not as it won't know they are there. Have to say, it feels stupid to be wrestling with these problems of managing consumption! Though, partly it's because one can't actually go out much in these lockdown days!
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
5,641
535
126
^ Find where your media manager stores the file use data and edit that to point to the new drive path?
 

pmv

Diamond Member
May 30, 2008
7,460
2,658
136
^ Find where your media manager stores the file use data and edit that to point to the new drive path?
Yeah, will try that - just if it's a removable external drive that won't always be present, rather than an internal one, not entirely sure if that will work right. Anyway, thanks for the responses. As I say, this feels like an embarrasingly trivial thing to be fussing about in these times.
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
5,641
535
126
If you want your external drive to always be present, then just leave it plugged in. It'll spin down after an idle period then take a few seconds to spin back up upon next access, or there are various utilities out there that can make a query to that volume every "n" minutes to keep it spinning, probably even some where you can adjust what hours of the day it does that instead of letting it sleep.
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
18,443
1,100
126
What do the rest of you do? Are you all more strong-willed about just deleting stuff?
I have a freenas server with over 60TB of storage space because i am just like you.
A digital horder who can not hit that delete button even on backups.

I do not trust externals.
In Fact i do not trust anything without R1, and my really important stuff has a backup on a backup and a offsite backup.

But realistically, you either delete, or get a real archive solution.
Trust me, you rather delete something yourself, then have it lost because of drive corruption.

The first one makes your heart ache, the second makes you rage.
The heart ache is quickly taken care of with alcohol, the second not so much until you use a solid slug shotgun to shoot the drive from grief.
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
5,641
535
126
^ I used to not trust externals, back when HDDs ran hotter, or USB seemed more flaky with devices falling off, but besides one Seagate (where HDD itself went bad after only 5 years, the enclosure still works fine), I've had great lifespans from my externals that stayed in their enclosures.

Just took two out of commission, one was 8 years old, one 9. They still work, I was just factoring that the power to keep them running was costing more than the additional capacity from something newer, and no point in trusting something that old anyway, at this point they were a redundant copy of files I didn't even consider valuable.

However I don't much like the barely adequate AC-DC adapters for the average external. On my fileserver, I have 12V amps to spare so made (or could have bought but I had the parts anyway...) a 4 pin molex to barrel jacks adapters to power the externals from the system PSU instead of the AC/DC adapters that came with them, so not only is that more reliable in the long-term, also I have spare adapters with no wear on them, should I need one.

On that note, I like the Seagate Plus Hub externals because in order to support the two USB3 ports built-in, the AC/DC adapter has 1-1.5A more current capacity than the average AC/DC adapter, which means running at lower power density than the design, should help with lifespan. Heh, I kinda feel the same way about routers, will buy them with USB ports even if I don't plan to use them, to get the higher current spec AC/DC adapter included.

I guess I've just had too, too many AC/DC adapters fail from vented capacitors once they reach about 5 years old. Pop them open, put new caps in, drill vent holes in the casing so they look like swiss cheese but don't run hot any longer, but on a router it just crashes, while if the PSU fails on an external HDD, corruption is likely if it happens at the wrong time.

Ultimately it seems like just putting all your ducks in a row. Whichever data storage strategy you use, plan for failure and try to make it take as long as possible until then.
 
Last edited:

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
3,921
546
126
However I don't much like the barely adequate AC-DC adapters for the average external. On my fileserver, I have 12V amps to spare so made (or could have bought but I had the parts anyway...) a 4 pin molex to barrel jacks adapters to power the externals from the system PSU instead of the AC/DC adapters that came with them, so not only is that more reliable in the long-term, also I have spare adapters with no wear on them, should I need one.
The quality of those included AC-DC adaptors can indeed be questionable. But you can get high quality replacements if you're willing to spend a bit more, which is what I do. I don't trust those no-name Chinese units not to be fire hazards.

But then, I'm in the process of converting my externals to be completely bus powered. When you can get a get a bus powered 5TB external for the equivalent of $130 (not directly comparable to US pricing, but think cheap-as-****), there is no reason not to.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY