Feb 4, 2012
I'm building my first PC and I have a few questions about Hard Drives....

I had a power surge a couple years ago and it damaged my external Western Digital External (Lacie) drive which was probably made around 2003. I had my data recovered for $499.00 by a company called Datacent. This data was recovered onto a new drive I supplied which was a Seagate 500GB. I was told then Western Digital is a horrible brand and to steer clear. I turned that Seagate into an external drive by putting it into an enclosure and a few months later this hard drive was not working as well...However unlike the WD, this disc still upspins.. it was originally detected but i couldnt access the files and now it's just not detected at all. I believe it's a problem with the logic board...anyway....

Since then I've noticed Western Digital has made improvements and from what i read in the forums and charts it's the best out there right now...so.... I want to have 3 1TB Hard Drives in this new build,(I'm looking at the WD Black Caviar 1TB 7200rpm 64mb) 1 being a backup of important files...my questions are....

1. Should i make one external? (My case has an eSata port)

2. With an eSata external, isn't that detected as 'internal'? (not important but i'm curious)

3. I would keep them all internal but If I should get a power surge, all 3 could be damaged
so i figured keep the backup external and unplug when not in use

4. I've also read unplugging external hard drives is bad because electronics die quicker when heating up and cooling
down (both of my external HDDs started having problems when i decided maybe it would be good to turn these off
over night

5. Do enclosures have Sata connections these days?

6. My Motherboard has USB 3.0..is eSata still better?

7. Should I invest in a battery backup with Automatic Voltage Regulation?

8. Do battery backups drive up the electric bill?

Thanx in advance for any help
1) Backups should always be kept on external drives so that power surges, rain coming in an open window, or your cat cannot take out the primary and backup copies at the same time.

1B) For the same reason, if you want to be really correct, you should have at least two sets of backup media - if the system explodes while you are doing a backup, you lose the attached backup drive but keep the older one. Backup types and schedules depend on your needs.

2) The system has no idea if a drive is internal or external. With true eSATA, the internal drive and external drive will be treated the same. RANT: eSATA and SATA have different electrical specifications. Using a bracket that converts an SATA port on your MOBO to an eSATA port on the backplane with just a cable is an invitation to disaster. Most people do not agree with me.

3) Yes. See my 1B.

4) Never noticed a difference myself. The cost of losing a backup overrides the cost of putting more wear on the drives; remove them when the backup is completed.

5) Yes, some do. They even have true eSATA, with the necessary converter chip.

6) USB 3.0 and SATA hard drives have about the same transfer speeds, so USB 3.0 is an excellent choice for external drives. See my point 9 below, though.

7) That's up to you. I have one. The time that I would spend re-building and re-installing is worth more to me than the $150 that battery backup cost.

8) Yup. But, as above, it's worth it to me.

9) I don't actually backup my own machine to "external drives," although I use an eSATA external enclosure to backup my wife's machine. For my machine, I have removable drive bays that allow my to insert an SATA drive, even while the system is on, and have it directly attached to my motherboard. I skip the cost of external enclosures and use bare disks. I've accumulated fourteen of them over the years; ten live in an antistatic case and the other four are used for scratch experiments. If you are willing to take the extra care that bare drives require, look at something like this: http://kingwin.com/products/cate/mobile/racks/kf_1000_bk.asp .

I have to admit that my case is a little extreme.