Sunday, October 17, 2010

Recommended External Hard Drive for Your WDTV

I made another post today about keeping your Media Library Turned Off. This reminded me about the massive hard drive I use with my WDTV and how wonderful it is.

I spent quite a while reading many many reviews about external hard drives and what to use with my WDTV. Here are a few of the conclusions I came to about

What I Wanted...

A. I wanted it to be MASSIVE - at least 1 TB... Music, Movies, and especially every episode of Seinfeld ever released... takes up a lot of space.

B. I wanted to be "master of my domain"... In other words, I didn't want the hard drive to come pre-installed with lots of CRAP backup software which could potentially screw with my WDTV and take up space on the hard drive.

C. It needed to look nice, and inconspicuous, because it would be sitting in a very obvious place underneath the telly in my living room. Preferably, I wanted a hard drive with "dim" running lights.

D. It needed to be externally powered... I.E. it has a power block that plugs into the wall outlet... Why? Because hard drives in this category almost always cost less, they also tend to have more space (see point A), and because I didn't want to put a strain on my WDTV by forcing it to supply power. 

E. It needed to be quiet... center of the living room...

F. It needed to be reliable... My original 500 GB started to give out me. My WDTV often had a hard time detecting it (from day 1)... it had extra functions and buttons which leads me to attribute those to perhaps being a part of that problem... (I.E. sometimes it would go into "sleep" mode and not wake up)

What I Got

Enter, the Western Digital "Elements" series of hard drives. Guess what... They meet ALL of the requirements above. I bought a 1.5 TB WD Elements drive for about $120.00 roughly 9 months ago. You can now get a 2 TB Hard drive for that price. They also make a portable elements drive, that is NOT what I wanted, nor should you, because they are more expensive with less space (see point D).

I opted for the 1.5 TB (which in reality is closer to 1.3 TB) because I had completely filled my previous 500 GB drive and I wanted more than just 300 GB of extra space.

My new drive has been running now for 9+ months without a single problem. The drive looks gorgeous (matte black) and the only indicator light is a nice bright white one... IN THE BACK... It is whisper quite and will only get a little warm to the touch after heavy use. I was very surprised by how cool it stayed relative to other hard drives I had used.

It is also one of the FEW name brand drives that comes WITHOUT anything on it. Which is wonderful... you plug it in and it works. And the power saving features are non-obtrusive, my WDTV detects it quickly every time.

A Few Minor Cons that Really Didn't Matter

It is only USB 2.0... and my transfer speed is probably an average of 30MB/sec (which isn't bad), and ranges anywhere from 15mb/sec(rare) to 60mb/sec(rare). USB 3.0 is still pretty expensive at this point and I don't have E-SATA on my PC or Firewire, so overall, I am ok with the transfer speed. The initial 500 GB of data took some time, granted, but everything else has been pretty zippy.

No dedicated power button... Some may view this as a con, but I haven't had any trouble as the drive turns on and off when it is supposed to.

So, if you are in the market for a new drive for your WDTV, I am telling you this is the best drive for your money... Believe me, I searched and searched and did lots of reading. These drives had WAY more positives and WAY less negatives than any other drive in this price range and almost all other higher priced drives.

So if you are interested in picking one up, here are the links:

Western Digital WD Elements 1 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive - $72.99

Western Digital WD Elements 1.5 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive - $94.99

Western Digital WD Elements 2 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive - $119.99

Final Thoughts

As a final note... never, EVER, buy a hard drive used... Hard Drives, in general, are finicky enough as it is (I read a lot of reviews) and while I am usually all for saving some money, this is NOT the place to skimp...

Some of you might respond to my last point by noting that this is a "value" drive... To which I would respond... "Yes," I thought the same thing until I read a number of reviews that rated this drive MUCH higher in reliability than some of the more expensive ones.


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