You wouldn’t believe what you could get out of an external hard drive these days. These are the devices that you could back up your entire media library on and still have enough space to download your favorite videos from Youtube. For real — you can get the 16-terabyte RAID-capable external hard drive and be sure that your data is safe if you remember to keep it next to your bug out bag so you can grab it when you need to bug out. Even though it’s costly, you can be sure that you’re saving money in the long run because you just can’t rent sixteen full terabytes for this cheap.
Let’s not fool around here. If you’re going to buy an external hard drive to back up all of your important data, you want to do it right. 30 terabytes might seem like overkill, but look at it this way. If you’re considering getting an external hard drive of this size, it means that your livelihood depends on the ability to access and edit a lot of large files on demand. That means you’re screwed if that data ever gets lost because your server melted down and you didn’t have anything to back it up on. Your boss will not be very understanding if you didn’t get the large project finished on time because you had to completely redo it. It’s RAID-capable, meaning you can divide up the storage space in a way that makes it easier to recover your data if a petition dies. It is FireWire-compatible, USB 3.0-capable, backwards compatible with USB 2.0, and it’ll work with Windows and Mac. Because keeping a device that works on this scale cool is vital, it’s designed to maximize air flow to avoid dangerous heat buildup. As importantly for you, the manufacturer actually honors the warranty if something goes wrong. (WTH, let’s really not mess around. This version is available in 40-TB, too. Or if 30 TB seems like a bit much right this sec, you can get it in 20 TB.)
The 16TB My Book External Hard Drive can be described as the “Best value for the money” option. You’re not going to be backing up an entire data center with a single My Book Duo, but buy two of these and you’ll have 32TB for a few hundred bucks less than the Mobius costs. Be sure to run something called a “Complete Drive Test” before using. If the included utility software hangs at 30%, it’s probably got glitches, so call the WD customer support and ask about getting an updated version that’s glitch-free. However, the USB connector seems to have improved over previous generations of this particular hard drive and the customer service department is usually helpful if you have any issues. The “cloud backup” option has been effectively called “nice but unnecessary” — it’s just DropBox with some WD-specific features added. In other words, don’t let WD confuse you into equating cloud storage with an external hard drive, especially one that has this much storage. It works well, can be formatted to be used with Windows or Mac, and can store all of your important documents even if you’re a total media freak who has so much music and movies that you need this for overflow space to take a load off your devices.
Fantom’s GreenDrive lineup is basically designed to be energy-efficient and meet Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive compliance standards. It’s available in storage capacities ranging from 1 to 8 terabytes, but seriously? Just get the 8TB because sellers on Amazon actually charge more for the 5TB version than they do for the 8TB. It’s got huge capacity and takes up very little space on your desk and in your briefcase, which makes a difference if you have a job that requires you to haul equipment that includes a storage device around. It’s got USB instead of FireWire, but if you don’t use a Mac or you already have a decent USB-to-FireWire adapter, you’re not going to care. Many users reported buying multiples of this model because they use External Hard Drives for the Mac’s “TimeMachine” feature to back up their data and that really seems to fill up the storage capacity something fierce. The GreenDrive is a rugged little bugger and a good power saver if you’re one of those people who has their external hard drive plugged in most of the time, though, so 8TB of storage is really nothing to sneeze at.
If you have a Youtube channel and care about not losing your videos because some jerkoff files a fake DMCA claim, this is a good one to have on hand. Youtube doesn’t care about whether the claim is a legitimate one, but because you do, you’ll want an external hard drive that works with your Linux laptop so that you can just Youtube-DL everything that you care about saving and move it over to a storage device that can handle the job. It’s eight terabytes, so it can be counted on to handle the job even if you have a couple of hundred videos to back up. It can handle 140MB/S, so downloading and copying movies over to the hard drive can take a while, but you’re buying it for the storage capacity and ability to get your channel back up and running. As an added bonus, you can get this one for less than $300, so you’ll count this as money well spent when somebody’s being a jerk. (If you don’t care about making advertising money with Youtube, though, check out Vimeo. Vimeo is less awful when it comes to handling DMCA requests partly because it gets less of them and you can still embed Vimeo videos on your blog. You’ll still want backups just in case, though.)
What’s cool about this one is that you actually have to plug in a passcode into that keypad on top before you can actually access the data stored on it. That and the 256-bit encryption makes it handy for situations where you would definitely not be very popular if you lose sensitive or potentially humiliating files or your kids get hold of your external hard drive. It’ll self-destruct if it detects that somebody is attempting to hack it with a brute-force attack and has a lock slot to reduce the risk of losing it to theft. It’s software-free, so you don’t need admin rights to use it and it works with most modern operating systems (y’know, the ones that know that USB exists). It had some issues with Windows XP and some Linux boxes, especially VMs, but otherwise did all right. Lawyers love this one because it lets them transport digital evidence from the lab to the courtroom with less risk of the evidence being disallowed for having been handled in an unprofessional manner. IT security experts are impressed that it’s a fookin’ external hard drive with 256-bit encryption, man. Yes it’s kind of pricey for an 8-TB external hard drive, but you’re paying for the security.
This is one of Toshiba’s more popular external hard drives. It has gotten some lame reviews, but any mention of “mutant cables” that you might have run across were probably from people who got the inevitable lemon that most mass produced products suffer from occasionally. It’ll get warm because it doesn’t come with a built-in fan, so make sure you don’t use this in a place that’s super hot to begin with and don’t leave it powered up for any longer than you absolutely have to. Make sure you delete the software that claims to automatically back up your files, but do not lost the warranty file on this one! It’s saved a few butts when somebody got a lemon. So yeah…maybe not the greatest hard drive to get if you want something you can use for a lot of Read/Write operations, but if you can get it to work for you, this might work as a backup drive you can use to store your most important files if you don’t mind making manual backups on a regular basis.
2big? Not really. It’s four terabytes and, while it can come off as a bit pricey for a 4TB external hard drive, it’s one of the few 4TB external hard drives that actually has RAID capability. But if you care more about backing up some of your most important databases than you do about backing up an entire data center, this is a good one to have around. It’s got a quad-interface for hooking up with a PC or a Mac, and is hot-swappable, which basically means you can swap one out without losing any uptime in the rare cases that something malfunctions. It looks cool and stays cool with a dual cooling system that protects its electronics from the dangers of overheating. They can be stacked to save space on your desktop. These are awesome if you care more about reliability and the ability to get back up and running quickly if you have a problem than you care about frills.