Saturday, January 14, 2006

calling all portable hard drives

With under 1 GB left on the ole powerbook, I'm in the market for a portable hard drive. I need more space for movies, music, backups, and Milla Jovovich photo collection.

Please let me know if you have any recommendations or warnings on models out there. Links to reviews would be much appreciated. Thanks!

My specs:
  • 80 GB or better; probably should go for 120 GB.
  • Fast spindle (at least 5400rpm, but preferably 7200 rpm; I've seen benchmarks on some 5400's that were faster than 7200 due to other other factors)
  • USB 2.0 and/or Firewire 800 (seems like the industry has settled on USB)
  • Decent cache (~2 MB)
  • Fast benchmarks for read, write, transfer done by reputable tester
  • Works flawlessly with Mac and Windows; no extra drivers to install and troubleshoot
  • Prefer some kind of disk management and backup tool included
  • Solid construction and gravity tolerant; high G-shock rating. I'm hard on hardware - I mean is IS called "hardware" - and drop something every 10 minutes. Come to think of it, why doesn't Apple make portable hard drives using their "sudden motion sensor" drive parking technology?
  • Capable of being self-powered through USB 2.0 / Firewire 800
  • Small form factor and light. Should fit in a large shirt pocket. A deck of cards or pack of cigarettes would be nice, but I'd be willing to go bigger for extra padding and durability.
  • Replaceable disk would be very nice (OK, I may be asking for too much for this one, but it would be nice to reuse the case when the disk plays out)
  • Attractive, thoughtful design. A portable drive should say, "Take me with you! I'm sleek and sexy. Show me off."
  • Can boot Mac OS X and/or Linux
I'm currently leaning toward the Western Digital Passport.

My friend Brian recommends an iPod, which is a good idea so I'm thinking on that. I have a 1st gen 5 GB (still going strong) and a Shuffle, but I know if I get a Video iPod (and I'd have to), I'd fill it up too fast since they are only up to 60 GB. They may need to be bigger and faster for my needs. I suspect they are also going to be coming out with large capacity flash versions in the not too distant future, so I'm sorta waiting to see. I mean, Jobs is cranking out so many different versions, I'm convinced they've built some kind of iPod Fuzzy-Pumper Barber Shop in the basement of One Infinite Loop.

Brian also recommends LaCie for their desktop drives, and I've heard good things about them. They are coming out with this very tough looking new portable and a sort-of lego-looking brick, both due out in February. Unfortunately their rotational speeds are 5400, so I'd have to really see some solid benchmark comparisons to see how they perform. I had been considering their Porsche portable, but knowing me I'd break it just pulling it out of the box.


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