Five Cheap Desktop Hard Drive Deals

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At this time of the year, many of us are scoring new laptops for the work or school year. And while SSDs have made our computers faster than ever before they are typically of lower capacity than their HDD compatriots. Spinning drives are a great solution for backups, external media storage and other applications where your local storage is limited. Here are some of the best 4TB hard rive deals around.

I've settled on 4TB as that's a decent size for most people to store backups and some media. With 4TB, you can partition the drive easily and use one partition for general storage and the other as a backup drive.

Setting Up A New Hard Drive For My Mac

A couple of weeks ago I switched out my trusty, but ageing, Mac mini for a new 13-inch MacBook Pro. I'm spending more and more time travelling these days and while I can get away with an iPad for many tasks, there are times when I really need a "proper" computer. But one of the hassles is that my budget didn't extend to a 2TB SSD which added another $1800 to the price tag. So, that meant looking for an external storage solution. Here's what I bought and how I set that drive up.

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For all these drives, there are larger and smaller capacity options so if 4TB doesn't cut it you can go for more or less.

Also, it's pretty easy to buy a drive and enclosure and roll your own external unit. That way, you know exactly what sort of drive you're getting.

WD My Cloud Home

Hard drives are no longer just abut local storage. The WD MyCloud works with the My Cloud app so you can remotely access content stored on the drive. It also offers automated backup from smartphones to protect those previous memories.

The price is $279 via JB HiFi

Seagate Backup Plus Desktop Drive

As well as the 4TB of storage capacity, this drive is a USB hub so the port it takes from your computer is replaced by a couple of easily accessible USB ports at the front.

The price is $179 via Amazon

WD My Cloud Home Duo

Unlike many of the other options on the market, the Duo provides a pair of 2TB drives that can either bemused as a single 4TB volume or as a pair of mirrored 2TB drives. That means all your data is written to both drives at the same time for extra protection.

The price is $399 via JB HiFi

LaCie Rugged

For those that need to carry their storage with them, LaCie has built a solid reputation for making devices that can handle lots of punishment. The Rugged is a great device that's USB powered over USB-C.

The price is $264.95 via Ebay

Seagate Expansion Portable Drive

If you're after a more compact solution, the portable Seagate option, which connects over USB 3 is a solid choice. Mac users will need to reformat the drive to use it - a simple process - but as it's USB powered it won't need its own power outlet.

The price is $140.35 via Amazon

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Comments

    Officeworks are doing a 3tb portable for $99 I've seen JB doing a 6tb desktop drive for $189 too, think those are better value than the 4tb ones at the moment.

    https://www.officeworks.com.au/shop/officeworks/p/seagate-3tb-expansion-portable-hard-drive-sgexp3000

      Most of the ones listed in the article have other features the Officeworks ones don't, so have value in other ways but yeah, the 3Tb Officeworks option does seem a better choice compared to the 4Tb version in the article. $55 for an extra Tb doesn't seem like a good deal to me (its $155 at the moment).

      Nice pickup.

      3TB (and by extension 6TB if they're made of 2x3TB units) fail at over double the rate of either 2TB or 4TB units.

        Is that still true? I can find some articles from 2015/16 about that but not from last year.

    With 4TB, you can partition the drive easily and use one partition for general storage and the other as a backup drive.
    Just remember that if the drive goes to God, both partitions can fail leaving you with no original and no backup.

      Yes backup should be on another physical drive, or the important stuff in a dropbox folder or similar (consider the security though). A drive that has gone to God, as you say can be recovered often by professional recovery services, but at great cost (I think the last quote I saw was around $1200). I am just mentioning it because someone may not know these services exist and be willing to pay that to recover things.

        Having just gone through a drive recovery I can say that depending on the scenario the prices aren't quite that terrifying anymore. I got data recovered from a damaged USB for $180 (they had to reflow the solder) and I saw prices as low as $350 to recover from a HDD. Of course the price will vary company to company and on the severity of the problem.

        But still a good point about using a different physical drive for backups. Depending on what you're backing up it may even be worth doing offsite backups or having a cloud backup (as much as I hate leaving my data in the hands of a 3rd party).

    The amount of WD external drives I have been given to fix because the sata/usb controller failed is astounding. (Not that many but still all the same problem across different product lines)

    I prefer to buy "bare drives" and use a dock or enclosure. With careful planning you can get cheaper and/or better results than buying a standalone unit. My personal favourite at the moment is this combination (note: I'm just linking Umart because that's where I bought them myself, they may be cheaper elsewhere);

    ICY BOX 4 bay JBOD enclosure
    https://www.umart.com.au/ICY-BOX-IB-3640SU3-External-4-Bay-JBOD-System-for-3-5_29409G.html

    8TB Seagate Ironwolf NAS drive
    https://www.umart.com.au/Seagate-IronWolf-NAS-8TB-HDD-3-5--SATA-6Gb-s-3Yr_37367G.html

    I've tried several different docks and found that most of them would fail when trying to use more than one drive at a time, largely due to USB power requirements being to high (I think). I found the ICY BOX with it's own dedicated PSU doesn't have that problem. Of course that means it will need it's own power point.

    It runs like a dream with 3 drives in it (haven't added a fourth yet) whether I'm transferring from PC to it or between it's own drives or I'm doing three separate transfers from PC to each drive in it. I haven't been able to crash it or had drives randomly disconnect like the other docks I tried. It's also reasonably cheap at $146. Even if you're only currently planning to use one external drive it's not a bad option as it provides some future proofing if/when you decide you need more.

    I chose the JBOD version because I don't really need the raid features and I had a mix of existing drives of different sizes. If you're keen to go raid they also do a raid version though I haven't tried it.

    https://www.umart.com.au/ICY-BOX--IB-RD3640SU3E2--External-RAID-system--4-Bay-3-5---USB-3-0--FW400-FW800_31532G.html

    I chose the 8TB NAS drives because they're perfect if/when I do decide to switch to a proper NAS with raid and the prices aren't hugely higher than regular drives but you get slightly increased reliability. They're not optimised for general purpose access, so you wouldn't use them as a game/app drive. But for external storage they're perfect. The 8TB is also the cheapest dollars per TB at $41/TB though it'll set you back $328.

    If your funds are tighter the 4TB is a decent $42.25/TB and is the next best value for money at $169. The 3 and 6 TB options are also extremely close $/TB at $42.67 and $42.50 respectively. I wouldn't go smaller though as the 1 and 2 TB models are noticeably more expensive $/TB at $76 and $51. Similarly, the larger drives at 10 and 12 TB are $44.90 and $47.92.

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