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Best external HDD for $175 or less

GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
I recently replaced my father's old Dell machine that perished in an electrical storm. This loss was costlier to him than it might have been because he had not made any sort of backups of anything, so I've recommended that this time he invest in an external HDD as soon as possible.

As part of a Christmas gift basket from his staff at work, he just received a total of $175 worth of giftcards from Best Buy, and he gave them to me and told me to go buy him the best external HDD I can get for that. It's been a while since I've been in the market for one of these, so I'd like to hear advice on what the best combination of size, performance, and above all reliability I can get on that $175 budget is.

As a point of reference, my dad's new system has a 1TB internal hard drive, and I really don't expect him to ever come close to filling it in the lifespan of the machine. However, I'm also planning on backing up some of my stuff on whatever external drive we end up getting (he's fine with this) as a precaution, as the pitiful little 100-something GB "Pininfarina"-styled SimpleTech I picked up before going off to school about five years ago seems to be on the verge of giving up the ghost if it hasn't actually expired already. I figure a 1TB drive would probably be sufficient, but more would be better if I can get it, although 2TB would probably be excessive (not to mention out of the price range, from what I can tell as the market still reels from the Thailand floods).

Edit: I should also say that form factor (desktop versus portable, etc) is not important.

Gaslight on


  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    I strongly recommend not buying a HDD at the moment if you can avoid it, the prices are pretty ridiculous right now.

    If the giftcards don't expire, I'd say sit on them until production ramps back up because chances are what will get a 1TB drive right now will buy you 2 or 3 in 6 months time.

  • Lucky CynicLucky Cynic Registered User regular
    With factories in Thailand literally being underwater right now, you should not be buying anything that has its price effected. I got a 1TB external hard drive for around $80 at Best Buy not more than 3 months ago.

    Nikon recently released that they would have their manufactoring back up to full speed in March. Assuming hard drive manufacturers take just as long, that is when we could start seeing the price hike relax.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    If he wants local backup, pickup whatever appropriately sized external HDD you can get. Maybe get the one with the longest warranty, as I haven't found any mark to be particularly more reliable than any other. The important thing is to setup a scheduled backup so the folders/files he wants get backed up automatically without him having to do anything.

    That said, an electrical storm might nuke his local external HDD backup as well as his machine, and if he's needs his documents/pictures/etc backed up I'd set him up with some kind of transparent online backup service (Mozy, Carbonite, or he might get some online backup service for a free period if he purchased his replacement machine from a big OEM).

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