We examine the Seagate 750GB external drive.
He (or she) who dies with the most storage wins! This seems to be the motto of the modern digital image-maker, and with good reason. Digital camera files are getting bigger as the resolution goes up, more people are shooting RAW rather than JPEG (I never capture in JPEG anymore) and the processing of files can add extra layers that make the processed Photoshop files much larger. So we need more and more storage to cope with this.
External drives are the easiest way to add storage space to your computer. You do not have to open the box, you can move them easily for security (lock them away in a safe) or to take them with you when working away from the office and you can keep expanding by adding more units.
Seagate is a quality drive manufacturer and has been my preferred hard drive source for some years now, assisted by their five year warrantee on internal drives. Seagate also has a line of external drives and we recently lived with their largest of the new Pushbutton Backup line, a 750GB drive.
Unlike many externals, which, in my opinion, come in too small a case and thus suffer from overheating problems that my experience shows cause the earlier failure of externals compared to internal drives, the Seagate has a nice, big case that should provide plenty of ventilation for the drive. The model we tested had both USB and Firewire ports, whilst other models have USB 2.0 only. An external power supply block further serves to minimize heat in the unit itself, an approach I prefer in externals, even though it means another thing sitting under your desk. It comes with a stand so you can stand it on its side, or you can stack several of them (up to three) and interlock them.
With the supplied backup software it is a push button one stop backup process. Personally I do not like this approach and prefer to either manually move files over or use software for automatic backups overnight. But for those who like it, it is there and it works. Seagate’s warrantee on external drives is one year.
The drive is very quiet in use, making no discernable sound in a normal environment. It is also fast, both for very large transfers and for large numbers of small accesses requiring head movement. I didn’t do benchmark timing because there are plenty of others who do, and I’d rather concentrate on how it was to use rather than raw numbers. In practice I saw no real difference in speeds between accessing my internal drives and this external, which is pretty much all you need.
I like these new Seagate drives. They are well made and I like the option of single vertical mounting or stacking horizontally. You can choose the drive capacity you want, from 200GB to 750GB. The sweet spot price wise, at the time of writing, seems to be in the 350GB to 500GB range, but this will change with time and your market. (The sweet spot concept of mine with regard to disk drives is to look for the lowest price per gigabyte within a drive range. You tend to find that it falls somewhere in the middle of a range and you pay a premium for both smaller and larger drives. This sweet spot varies over time, gradually moving to larger capacities as the volume selling points shift. This sweet spot concept can mean it is cheaper to buy two mid capacity drives than one large capacity drive.)
I have no hesitation in recommending this Seagate drive system. It looks good, it is quite, fast and appears that it should be reliable.