What's the best backup slolution? Ext. HD vs. ext. DVD-R

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by svejar, Aug 27, 2004.

  1. svejar macrumors member

    Jan 18, 2004
    I just realized that my iBook's HD is full. Mostly we're talking about pictures, but also large photoshop files. As usual I haven't done backup of anything...

    The thought of buying a stack of CD-R's and spend the weekend backing up my data is not my idea of a good time, so I'm looking for an alternative solution.

    The way I see it I have two options:

    1. Buy one of those external harddrives from LaCie, Maxtor, etc
    2. Buy an external DVD-R

    Option #1 looks more appealing to me: one drive with all my data and no more looking for the right disk. The only thing I'm afraid of is that I would put all my eggs in one basket. If the external drive decides to stop working I would lose all the data. If I got a DVD-R I could do dual backups for the most important stuff.

    Any input from the crowd out there? :)
  2. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    how about both?

    you could store your files to the hard drive for regular use, and archive the really important stuff (or final stuff that will not be changed anymore) to dvd's. with current prices it shouldn't be unbearable... take lacie for example, those are more than decent quality but don't cost a fortune, and are also rack-mountable should that be important to you.

    as the saying goes, nothing is backed up until it's backed up twice.
  3. Le Big Mac macrumors 68030

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC
    DVDs can fail too--say the burn doesn't work. And they're much more of a hassle.

    If you want to be really safe, you could buy two HDs, and back up to each one on a rotating schedule (say weekly or monthly), backing up to one drive on odd weeks and the other on even weeks, and bring the most recent backup to work, your parents, etc.
  4. macphoria macrumors 6502a


    Nov 29, 2002
    If you want to BACK UP your files, as in making duplicates in case something goes wrong with originals, then I recommend Ext. Hard Drive. It will be faster to back up your files and have access to them also.

    If you want to ARCHIVE your files, as in take the files off the Hard Drive but keep them for later, then I recommend DVD-R. If you take care of the DVD discs, they are supposed to last about 30 years. I cannot vouch for this since I haven't had my DVD-R's for that long. But I can tell you for certain that DVD-R's will last longer than Hard Drives. My Hard Drives have failed somewhere between 4-6 years of use.

  5. aricher macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2004
    I keep everything I have in 3 backups - one on an external HD and 2 copies on DVD. I keep one DVD at home and one off-site in case of fire or other catastrophic damage.

    Funny thing about backing up files - I have the same files that have followed this backup migration over the years:

    5.25" Floppy disk -> 3.5' Floppy Disk -> 44 MB Syquest Disk -> 100 MB Zip disk -> 1 GB Jaz Disk -> 650 MB CD-ROM -> 4.7 GB DVD-R.

    I'm very anal about my data and have only lost a couple of files due to bad media usage since the first computer I used - my family's 1981 IBM PC. Keep at least 3 backups - make sure one is off site.
  6. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    My friend had 2 small holes drilled in a fire-safe, ran a power and ethernet cable in, re-attached the heads on the cables, and put my 500G raid 5 in there.

    RAID 5 keeps it mostly safe from failure, the firesafe keeps it safe from large magnets, theft, fire (duh), and the thing is made of solid steel so it can easily displace the heat produced from 3 measly hard drives.

    I helped him build it, it was fun :)
  7. applemacdude macrumors 68040


    Mar 26, 2001
    Over The Rainbow
    I would choose the external hd because they are more reliable and dvd's scratch and become messed up in some conditions...
  8. svejar thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 18, 2004
    Thank you all for your replies. I see that some of you have thought about this. A lot.

    Well, I think I will go for a external hd. As long as it can keep me happy a couple of years down the road, I'm happy. Also, I will backup the most important stuff on CD's. That ought to do it for now.
  9. Le Big Mac macrumors 68030

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Of course, the holes mean that it's a bit less fire safe.

    And, for anyone doing this, be sure that you get a fire safe for media. Paper burns at a lot higher temperature than media melt, and most safes are rated for paper, not plastic.

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