Rated Win

Take off every zig!

Kill the spindle monster —

Anyone who is anywhere near the video nerd I am does a massive amount of collecting and backing up. Those who still buy DVD spindles, but have evolved past needing to burn DVD’s to watch video, do so to archive their collections, and watch the video from a hard drive instead. This is clearly a good route for anyone wanting to keep their collection (or at least part of it) in one place. This method allows very efficient access to your video collection, rather than physically looking through a massive amount of DVD’s.

The natural disaster which struck a very important hard drive parts factory in Asia was about six years ago now, and for the last couple years drives are finally starting to really come down in price. This now makes it a better investment to buy 2TB hard drives instead of blank media, since the equivalent in optical media storage is now more expensive. A 100 spindle of quality single layer (still not archive grade) DVD -/+ R is $30-45 these days, which equals 439 GB in real world space. Archive grade optical media is at least 15-20 % more expensive. It would take 4.14 spindles to equal a 2 TB drive, which formats to 1.82 TB. Even if you use the 30 dollar low end of the spindle price scale, it would come to over $120. A 2TB WD Green can be bought on sale these days for $80-90.

My method these days is to use HD’s for both collecting for playback, and also archiving all my video. Not only is this option cheaper in the long run, but it is far more convenient to drag 1.82TB of stuff to a drive over time to back it up, rather than burning 400+ discs. Another crucial fact to consider, is that a drive which is kept stored away unpowered and unmounted on a computer will live almost forever, because you never put any wear on it. A drive that is powered on 24/7 can live between 3-7 years normally, so imagine how long one will live if only running for a couple hours a couple times a week when backing up. Burned optical media that isn’t archive grade can often lose its data integrity after a few years. It happens more than most would think.

It’s time to slay the spindle monster and embrace the convenience and longevity of using hard drives as both active storage, and an archive medium. All my hard drives are dedicated to one or the other. I based this around the concept of video, as that is what I use most of my storage for, but these same methods can be adopted for any type of mass data backup need.

This is where a hard drive dock like the Thermaltake BlacX Duet I have really comes in handy. No need for external enclosures (although I have 2), since I can just plug a drive into the dock when needed. Since the Duet model I have holds 2 drives, it’s also a great piece of hardware to have for mirroring drives. When unused I keep my archive drives in a parts closet, and in their original anti-static bags.


d4ElgaQ*This post was originally on PowerPC Liberation, but has been moved here.

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