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I am a proud owner of a hp laptop for the last 9 months. It has 160gb hard drive. Unfortunately, it's storage capacity is coming to an end. What external hard-drive should I get? I prefer non AC power ones, but I also like 1 TB ones. Which should I choose? how could the non AC power hard-disks keep the data without having to be powered constantly, like the higher volumed hard-disks?

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  • You're going to hate the start of this answer, but it really does depend on what you're going to use it for :-) Let's talk about the technology first. Unless we're talking about a Solid State Disk (SSD), then all drives are storing data on a physical platter -- whether … Read More

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You're going to hate the start of this answer, but it really does depend on what you're going to use it for :-)

Let's talk about the technology first. Unless we're talking about a Solid State Disk (SSD), then all drives are storing data on a physical platter -- whether it is self-powered or not. USB supplies a 5V current to devices (including drives) which would allow a drive to be "self-powered" (really USB-powered). The only problem would be that there isn't as much power available via USB as a typical drive might use.

To compensate, the drive may be a little slower. This would allow it to consume less power and, hence, only draw from the USB port. Here's where we go back to depending on what you need. If you are using this drive for backups or for storing sequential information (like songs or movies), then the speed difference really isn't going to matter to you. However, if you're installing and booting a Linux partition or something, then you might care.

So, unless speed is critical, you will probably be fine with one that doesn't draw AC power. Of course, I don't know if they have 1TB models that draw from USB or not, so I'm afraid your on your own for that particular part of the decision ;- )

HTH!
-geis

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Let's make it simpler: the drives that spin at 5400 rpm (the portable ones, 2.5") consume less power, so the power supplied by the usb port is enough. The drives that come with a Ac power supply consume more, but they are much faster. Your choice is actually speed over extra cable...

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I have two usb powered 2.5" drives (100/160GB) I use for transferring files to/from an older machine still in use and for watching movies from. (older machine (P4/XP Pro) will not recognize my newer Terrabyte usb drives. The TB drives have their own separate power supplies.)
The 2.5" ones are way handier and great for taking to a friend's house. There are also smaller ones now available that will fit your shirt pocket. (I think) they are 1.8" drives if memory serves me. And not too expensive.
Here's an excerpt from a post I just made elsewhere:

Ya gotta format first. Have fun partitioning. Vista's partitioning tool is brutal and I've read third party tools are not Vista friendly. I, too, am the proud owner of two WD 1TB drives (green)- both set up as USB. Each took about 12 hours to format (I don't recommend formatting via USB unless you're a person with lots of time!). Both work flawlessly and are used as main backups.

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Know has been solved, but going to add point anyhow. Powered drives give by far the best performance in terms of transfer speed. They are also a damned site more stable... rock-solid in fact.

Do a little reseach... 99% of issues ppl have when drive is removed incorrectly, or general corruption issues relate to usb-powered devices. An A/C powered external-drive almost never fails, no matter how many times you simply pluck the cord out, or power fails.

In my own case, I have a 500GB WD My Book Studio Edition. I've lost count of how many times it has been "incorrectly" removed, either due to myself (or cats) knocking out power cord or usb, power failure, or simply grabbing out to hook-up elsewhere. Still no errors.. runs perfectly. Try that with a USB (non-powered) drive, and see how quickly the error start rolling in. I myself was a little disappointed when the drive turned up and realised it was an AC powered drive... 18mths on, and I never look back :)

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I have two usb powered 2.5" drives (100/160GB) I use for transferring files to/from an older machine still in use and for watching movies from. (older machine (P4/XP Pro) will not recognize my newer Terrabyte usb drives. The TB drives have their own separate power supplies.)
The 2.5" ones are way handier and great for taking to a friend's house. There are also smaller ones now available that will fit your shirt pocket. (I think) they are 1.8" drives if memory serves me. And not too expensive.
Here's an excerpt from a post I just made elsewhere:

Ya gotta format first. Have fun partitioning. Vista's partitioning tool is brutal and I've read third party tools are not Vista friendly. I, too, am the proud owner of two WD 1TB drives (green)- both set up as USB. Each took about 12 hours to format(I don't recommend formatting via USB unless you're a person with lots of time!). Both work flawlessly and are used as main backups.

"I, too, am the proud owner of two WD 1TB drives (green)- both set up as USB. Each took about 12 hours to format" - what do you mean by that, dont they all usb cabled, apart from few firewire ones. It takes 12hrs to format one! are you serious!?

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@ Blade
Dunno where you live but in my part of the world (usually S Korea), these TB drives are often now built into the computer.
A friend of mine (IT professional) also has one. His time was similar to mine. FULL format, not the quickie. I only use quick format on previously formatted drives. Another thing to ponder: I bought mine about three weeks apart. The first one apparently has 3 or 4 platters. The second one only two. Go figure. Both were formatted via my T8300 Core2Duo (2.4Ghz), 4GB ram, Clevo tablet running Vista Ultimate sp1

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@ Blade
Dunno where you live but in my part of the world (usually S Korea), these TB drives are often now built into the computer.
A friend of mine (IT professional) also has one. His time was similar to mine. FULL format, not the quickie. I only use quick format on previously formatted drives. Another thing to ponder: I bought mine about three weeks apart. The first one apparently has 3 or 4 platters. The second one only two. Go figure. Both were formatted via my T8300 Core2Duo (2.4Ghz), 4GB ram, Clevo tablet running Vista Ultimate sp1

I don't think you know computers at all!
It takes about the same to format a drive, on any system.
Of course the number of platters were different, you bought 2 different drives, one normal, spinning at 7200 rpm, with 4 platters, and one spinning at 5400 rpm, slower, with only 2 platters, that consumes less. Green stuff...
There is no such thing as a system that has a hard drive "built in". The systems are assembled by someone.
Normal format for a hard drive should be used if you had viruses, partition problems or something like that. When it's new, a quick one would do the job.


So, what drive did you get?

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probably 1 tb ac powered drive. these days everything takes too much space, my computer takes ages to boot.

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@dadrian
#1) I meant built in as in inside a desktop box as opposed to externally usb connected. Sorry for not anticipating your ignorance. Guess I should have said 'internal'.
#2) Everything I've read and been told on these drives say they are variable speed (thus more power efficient). NOT just set at 7200 or 5400.
#3) My drives are only different because of manufacturing/tech advances. The second drive is just a newer version of the first, although marketed as the same drive (manufacturer reserves the right to change specifications without notice). I was only surprised due to the short time between purchases. I used their serial numbers for ID online when I bought them and I'm not about to reopen the cases just to prove it all to you. Read more at wdc.com
Btw, both of mine have 32MB caches.
#4) When would YOU like to find out you have a bad drive (platter). Before you store your irreplaceable files? Or after?
#5) Having had computers at home for 27 years and me as the sole administrator and usual assembler ... I ain't perfect but I do all right.
#6) Go heckle someone else

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1 TB drive is a good choice. Samsung or Seagate would be my top choices.
Sorry if I offended people that have computers since long before x86 hit the market, they surely know computers better than anyone that finished an informatics college.

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Sorry if I offended people that have computers since long before x86 hit the market, they surely know computers better than anyone that finished an informatics college.

Glad you can see that, given that most of your lecturers would have been either largely self-taught or gained the vast majority of their knowledge and experience in the real-world ;)

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Glad you can see that, given that most of your lecturers would have been either largely self-taught or gained the vast majority of their knowledge and experience in the real-world ;)

Ok, enough about that, it's silly, 2 grown-ups acting like kids.
I have a thread, perhaps you can give me a tip there. It's about my laptop's performance, it's a new domain to me.

http://www.daniweb.com/forums/thread197832.html

Thanks.

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