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Which is the best out of these 2 external hard drives?


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I'm going to buy an external hard drive in the next few days, as the 40GB on my laptop is not nearly enough. I'm shopping at Future Shop thus far, and these two deals seem good. I can't tell much differnce between 'em. They're both the same price. If you click the links, all the specs and stuff are there. Any thoughts?

I/O Magic 250GB 3.5" External Hard Drive


Comstar Platinum 250GB 3.5" External Hard Drive

Both are on sale for $100.

Thanks Skanks!

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ahhh...that would be a definite yes that FireWire transfers much more smoothly than USB 2 without question...and definitely more stable...

Any professional audio/video house prefers FireWire over USB because of this and other factors.

USB 2 is great for other applications, but I'm guessing Kev wants this for audio which is why I highly recommend a FireWire drive over a USB 2 drive but that's just my educated humble opinion... ;)

Firewire Tutorial

Firewire, also known as IEEE 1394, is a wired inter-device digital communication standard, providing data rates of up to 400 Mb (megabits) per second. The Firewire standard consists of a serial input/output port and bus, a copper cable capable of carrying both data and power, and the associated software. Its ability to transmit video or audio data in digital form at high speeds, reliably and inexpensively, over cable lengths of up to 14 feet, has made it a very popular choice for connecting digital video devices to each other and to computers. The Firewire standard is supported by electronics companies such as Sony, Phillips, Panasonic, Canon, and JVC, as well as computer companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Compaq, and Intel, although many of these companies use the IEEE 1394 label for the technology.


The Firewire/IEEE 1394 standard has the following properties:

Consists of both hardware and software specifications

Completely digital--no conversion to analog

Data rates of 100, 200, or 400 Mb per second

Plug and play--connection is automatic once cable is plugged in

Hot plug-able-- cables can be connected and disconnected while in use

Flexible--supports daisy-chain and branching cable configurations

Peer-to-peer--can connect digital video recorders (DVRs) to a computer or directly to each other

Scaleable--can mix 100, 200, or 400 Mb devices on single bus

Physically easy to use--no special terminators or device IDs to set

Physically small--thin cables


Non-proprietary--licensing is open and inexpensive

Two data transfer types--asynchronous and isochronous

Asynchronous data transfer--The traditional request-and-acknowledge form of computer communication for sending and receiving data.

Isochronous data transfer--A continuous, guaranteed data transmission at a pre-determined rate. This allows the transmission of digital video and audio without expensive buffer memory.


In the mid 1990's, Apple Computer invented the Firewire bus for local area networking. At the time it provided connection speeds of 100 Mb per second, although speeds of up to 1000 Mb per second were planned for the future. The standard was soon embraced by computer companies such as Intel and Microsoft, who saw the advantage of the Firewire/IEEE 1394 system over the established USB connection standard for applications such as connecting storage and optical drives. Universal Serial Bus (USB) has a connection speed of only 12 Mb per second. As electronics companies began producing digital video cameras, they too looked to the Firewire standard for connectivity, to maintain an all-digital path for signal quality in digital video editing.

In late 1998, Apple, which held the primary IP for Firewire, began charging a licensing fee of $1 per port--so a hard drive with 2 Firewire ports would cost an extra $2 per unit to construct. While a nuisance in the thriving PC industry, the additional fees would have seriously hampered the future of Firewire in the electronics industry, which typically operates on very thin margins. By the end of 1999, however, the standard was operating under a general licensing group, known as 1394LA, that holds the essential patents relating to the Firewire/IEEE 1394 standard in trust. This is similar to the way in which the patents regarding the MPEG video compression standard are licensed. Companies can now license the IEEE 1394 standard for $0.25 per finished unit, regardless of the number of actual 1394 ports in the unit. The term Firewire, however, remains a trademark of Apple.

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cool thanks

my western digital 500 gb external drive (regular SATA drive in an enclosure) is dying on my today, i bought one of those i/o Magic 250 gb drives KevO posted above.

frigging drive is eating through my files. and it's supposed to be my reliable backup!!! arg.

spending my new year's eve day burning dvds like crazy right now.


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Sorry to hear about your dying drive...been there and it sucks!!!

I have a 250 Gig USB2 drive that I use for back-up for all kinds of projects, sessions and files but when it comes to heavy duty applications I always have the data going toeither an internal drive (physically seperate from the system drive) or to an external LaCie FW drive and the only problem I've experienced was one of the power supplies just died which is far better than the drive going down and important files being lost...seen that happen and it ain't pretty!!!

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yeah i've experienced it all at work, but this is the first time at home. just bought the drive a month ago, of course it's off warranty now.

ran 3 virus checkers, malware etc... nothing seems to be wrong. although much of the disk is suddenly corrupted today. hooked up to a UPS / surge protector...


ah well. so it goes.


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THanks for the food for thought guys.. I'm pretty sure those were both just USB. I would probably exclusively be using the hard drive for music and video. Are those considered heavy duty?? I never thought about the drive becoming corrupted. Then again, I don't think I'll be putting anything on there that I can't survive without.

Pops, I know what you're saying re: making your own external HD. I'd do it, but I haven't got a clue. :)

What's lateny?

AD, how do you respond to Can-O's last comment "In the tek-world you really do get what you pay for...if you travel the cheap road you're bound to be in for a bumpy ride..."?

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the drive i bought that is corrupt now is a standard Western DIgital hard drive. the case was about $45. takes 2 minutes to put together.

taking the cheap road, well technically i'd agree with the comment. although there are many cheap products that will work, but you're taking a bigger chance.

that said, western digital is a reputable company and their drive is fucking up my day. (although i have no idea what the cause is, probably isn't related to the drive at all, although i have no viruses, drive wasn't physically damaged, power supply is sound... etc...)

i'd rather spend $99 than $499.

(from what i've heard the western digital MyBook Pro drives are the best external drives on the market right now... and they're the most expensive i've seen)

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There's one other consideration you might want to think about. The enclosures that take the big 3.5" drives pretty much all need to be plugged into the wall. If you want something that's more portable you'd be best to go with a laptop drive in a 2.5" enclosure that gets its power through the USB/FW hookup. It's more expensive, though, and the biggest drive you'll find is 200gigs which you may only be able to pick up online (I know Dell laptops have them but I don't think they're readily available in stores yet).

That said, I'm about to buy a WD 500gb drive but I may now go for the $50 more expensive seagate one after reading this.

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i just bought a versa-drive enclosure.

my laptop is 4 years old, 30 gig HD died once already, and after having my computer on 24 hrs for a weeks straight (oink x-mas special...5g's uploaded!) i started to get scared about my drive dying again. Imagine dropping a plastic marble-sized ball on to a table - thats what my hard drive sounded like. I think the arm-thingy in the drive was indexing and then returing the "home" position realy fast, so it would "bounce". Strange - it hasn't done it since. But i used my Maxtor 200G drive (ata-133) in this new versa drive and it works well. Can't comment on the reliability as i've had it for only a few days. It has a 12V power input, 2 firewire ports, USB, and built in fan. Apparently having a fan is good but only if the drive is on for a long time. If you are using yours for back-up, don't splurge for the built in fan, however if the drive will be running constantly, get one with a fan. I got mine at Victoria Park/Steeles E for $45

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So I just plugged in the new external HD.. Working like a charm! I went with the LaCie Porsche 250GB external hard drive. It was supposed to be $130 on sale but I missed out on that and ended up paying the regular price of $170.. Damn... But ah well, I'm just happy to have it.

No more storage space worries for me!

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