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Data Storage Portables Hardware

Portable Storage? 479

Posted by Cliff
from the movable-data dept.
An anonymous reader asks: "I need a portable storage solution, as I strongly desire to keep my personal stuff separate from my work stuff. In the past I have used some types of portable external hard drive (via USB connection), but I wasn't too pleased with the quality of the barebones models I found at Fry's. With so many new types of portable storage out (USB keys, 2.5" drives, full drives with enclosures, etc) I would appreciate some feedback from others using this type of device regarding what their favorite brand or model is. Remember: bigger storage is better, as is smaller size."
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Portable Storage?

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  • ximeta (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bob Cat - NYMPHS (313647) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:00PM (#10063904) Homepage
    usb and ethernet, well done

    www.ximeta.com
    • Darn, I would have had first post, but the man said it was too soon since my last post. f m

      NDAS is a good solution. Ximeta makes drives with USB 2.0 + Ethernet, (choose one) pretty cheap compared to plain USB/FireWire drives. Plug into your work PC with USB, take it home and use it to fileserve on your enet.

      Clicky [ximeta.com]
      • Re:ximeta (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Klowner (145731) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:53PM (#10064287) Homepage
        From the reviews I've read, they suck with Linux support. Also ethernet _sounds_ very sweet, but it uses some odd proprietary protocol (not windows shares, not ftp).

        Otherwise, those things look neat.
        • by BenFranske (646563) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @12:14AM (#10064454) Homepage
          As others have said, the Ximeta drives are not really good at standards support. They sound really cool and all but they're really just USB drives with a strange USB to ethernet adapter built in. They require you to install driver to access the drive. Let me repeat they do not use smb they use a driver that emulates a local USB port over ethernet. I don't know if it has changes but one of the ones I played with didn't even support TCP/IP it used a strange protocol on top of ethernet meaning the device wasn't even routable and had to be on the same segment. I would stay away from these if you're serious about the network ability of the solution. As far as I can tell they are ok for USB access though.

          Overall it's a good idea, but very poorly implementd

          • Re:ximeta (Score:3, Informative)

            The Ximeta drive is a NDAS drive not an NAS drive. These two technologies are very different. NAS allows you to simply plug it in to the network and it is viewed as a network drive. The NDAS drives you must install software and drivers to use it. The drivers allow you to utilize the drive as a local drive that is viewed within My Computer. The USB segment does not require any special drivers, it just uses the standard Windows drivers to use it. Yes it requires you to enter special serials to read and write
          • Alternatives (Score:3, Insightful)

            by cjsnell (5825)

            It sounds like there is a need for an embedded Linux-based external storage case. Imagine a very small (but well-ventilated) external drive case that had an embedded Linux system (with Firewire, USB2.0 and Ethernet) built in. The idea would be that you could plug in any ATA drive and it would automatically detect, format, and share the drive.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @01:42AM (#10065037)
        Well, they're really on top of that Linux support. Just look at their graphic on the NetDisk page; clearly their Linux support is is Red Hot!

        http://www.ximeta.com/images/ndo_diagram.gif [ximeta.com]
    • Re:ximeta (Score:2, Informative)

      by artlu (265391)
      Drive fried... I was a big fan of my ximeta drive, I used it strictly for backup purposes. 3months later, the drive just died. Just one user's experience. Also, it isn't very mac/linux friendly unless you put sometime into it or like annoying messages.

      gShares.net [gshares.net]
    • Re:ximeta (Score:4, Informative)

      by SensitiveMale (155605) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:45PM (#10064255)
      usb and ethernet, well done

      www.ximeta.com


      If you are using this solely as a personal drive then it is pricey, but ok.

      If you plan on sharing it then don't buy. It's crappy and crippled "sharing software" (and I use that term loosely) is terrible. You have to install special software to access it and you have to issue passwords for people to be able to write to the drive.
    • Re:ximeta (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jdh-22 (636684) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @09:19AM (#10067117)
      I recently bought a enclosure [byteccusa.com] and threw my own hard drive in it. The enclosure was only $30, made for 2.5" hard drives, has Firewire, and USB2, and works with Windows/Linux/OSX. The drive I purchased was a 80 gig from Fujitsu from Newegg.com [newegg.com] for about $160. Buying your own enclosure gives you the option for what size you want, and how much you want to spend.
  • 1GB USB drives (Score:3, Insightful)

    by VTEC01EX (726566) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:00PM (#10063905)
    Super small, good capacity. Done.
  • iPod? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:00PM (#10063915)
    40 GB, plus music, for $399? Why would you choose anything else?
    • Re:iPod? (Score:5, Informative)

      by UberPfloyd (114121) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:27PM (#10064138) Homepage
      The RIO Karma player is another storage/music solution to consider. It play Ogg files too. http://www.digitalnetworksna.com/shop/_templates/i tem_main_Rio.asp?model=261/ [digitalnetworksna.com]
    • Re:iPod? (Score:5, Funny)

      by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:29PM (#10064156)
      I, for one, am glad that the iPod advertisements have been moved out of the headlines and back into the comments where they belong.
    • Re:iPod? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EvanED (569694) <evaned.gmail@com> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:32PM (#10064168)
      'cause you can get a 200 gig external drive for $125 on Pricewatch?

      Not saying that the iPod is a bad option, but really, if you're just looking for a storage device and not an MP3 player, it is probably not the way to go.
      • Re:iPod? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by sarahbau (692647) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @02:04AM (#10065143)
        Those aren't very portable. They're large, and you have to carry around a power supply as well (and most of those enclosures have a power brick, which takes even more space). An 80GB bus-powered 2.5" drive from someone like LaCie will probably run about $350, and will be about 360g. They also make their F. A. Porsche Data Bank, which is $330 for 40GB, and actually weighs less than the 40GB iPod (137g vs 176g). One thing the iPod has that other non-mp3 player drives don't have, is a battery. If you are using it on a non-powered bus, such as 4-pin FW, or connected through a USB hub, it can still work without a power cable. The iPod might not have the best $:GB:g ratio, but I think some of the other features are good for a lot of people (calendar, notes, address book, etc.).
      • Re:iPod? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dave420 (699308)
        It is the way to go if you want to fit everything in your pocket... the iPods are TINY compared to nearly every single external HDD, and they don't need a seperate power supply. They are also USB2/Firewire.

        One more thing to consider - most external HDDs aren't portable, meaning they're not really supposed to be lugged around. The external HDDs I've bought all have a warning in the manual about that. The iPods use notebook hard disks, and are (supposedly) more hard-wearing. I use mine every day to copy

    • Re:iPod? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by LBArrettAnderson (655246) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:44PM (#10064244)
      Because archos [archos.com] has better mp3 players with more capacity for a lower price. not to mention they support images and video with a color LCD. They don't corrupt data and are very very fast.
      • Re:iPod? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Onan (25162) * on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @02:15AM (#10065193)
        Hah. The "they don't corrupt data" was a nice little jibe; you didn't actually make the incorrect accusation that ipods corrupt data, you just implied it. Very cute.

        Traditionally the Archos devices have been perfectly fine as long as you don't mind that they're huge. But actually, a quick glance at the site at the moment does not in fact show any products that are either larger higher capacity than ipods or lower price, much less both. The players they're offering appear to top out at 20G for $350, versus a 20G ipod for $300. And given that they're based around the same 1.8" drives that ipods are, I'd be very surprised if there's any difference in speed.

        So mostly this looks like a low-end ipod, 31% bulkier, with a quarter the cache, and $50 more expensive. In what way is this "better"?

    • Re:iPod? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mr_zorg (259994)
      I agree, though you should ideally have a FireWire-400 port on your system if you plan on using for anything more than copying a few files once or twice a day since the iPod won't charge off a USB cable. And it sucks the juice fast using it as a hard drive. Also keep in mind it gets very hot after prolonged use as a hard drive!
      • Re:iPod? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Moofie (22272)
        FYI, the 4G iPod will charge off the USB 2.0 port. It will not charge while syncing (or, I assume, copying data) according to the manual.

        Just a note from a happy owner.
    • Re:iPod? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by waynelorentz (662271) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @01:19AM (#10064893) Homepage
      The iPod is excellent for its size, speed, and storage. But instead of shelling out for a new one, try finding an older iPod with a dead battery that someone is trying to unload. Maybe for $50 on eBay, or something.

      It may not be able to hold a charge on its own, but it still works great as a tiny bus-powered firewire hard drive. An external firewire drive doesn't hold a charge, either, so what's the difference?

      And if down the road your needs change, you can always replace the battery for $50 and you've got yourself a music player!
    • Since work paid for it, it's kind of nice to have up to 512 Mb always on me and be able to speak to just about any Mac laptop you can buy. Pity my PC needs a Bluetooth dongle.

      Xix.
    • Re:iPod? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bs_02_06_02 (670476)
      $399 for an iPod? Buy a firewire enclosure for $60, pick up a couple of $100 Western Digital special edition 160 gig hard drives. I have 4 of them. When one is full, I swap it out with an empty one. I store miniDV and RAW pics from my digital SLR on them. It takes less time to back up than a DVD-R, it's a lot less work, and when I want to access large chunks of data, it's a lot easier than switching CD/DVDs for hours at a time.
    • Considering the job desired (sneakernet file transfer, external storage), I wouldn't be so quick to suggest the iPod except for Mac environments. The music fonction is the main purpose for the thing, and the reason for the higher price (compared to normal media)

      On the Mac side, you have really easy access to the iPod as a hard drive, including the ability to boot from the iPod. That makes the thing pretty nifty right there, but there's also the FireWire transfer rates and other niceties that let you know t
  • ONLINE (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SirRandom (170675) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:00PM (#10063916) Homepage
    If you're oging to be accessing your data from online enabled computers try a good online storage solution. They often cost less than the portable drives or keychains and there's nothing to get lost or stolen.
  • by prof_peabody (741865) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:01PM (#10063918)
    Syquest is the BEST!

    Not many people have the drives anymore, making my data very secure.

    In fact when I find working drives I break them to insure my security...
  • Worked for me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by slumpy (304072)
    Get an Iriver. I have an IH140 or something like that 40 gigs, plus an MP3 player.
    • How do you like it? I was looking at it as a portable storage / mp3 player / class recorder, as it has the recorder built in and has more capabilities than an iPod. Granted it's not super-slick like an iPod, but I use macs and linux boxes and you know, I'd rather have something a little more open.

      Anyway, pardon the rant. Seriously, how's it working out?

  • by FractalPenguin (804175) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:02PM (#10063930)
    You absolutely need a punchcard as your solution!!! You know papers are very cheap nowadays... And you can use without any special devices.. Just excute your Hex Editor and need a punch and bunch of papers.. Or you can just use your pen or pencil!!!
  • Get an iPod (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Duncan3 (10537)
    It's a firewire harddrive with the right drivers. Noone looks twice at the thing, becasue most people think it's just for music, so your boss isn't gonna think you're smuggling out sourcecode.

    Oh, and it plays music.
    • Re:Get an iPod (Score:4, Insightful)

      by eingram (633624) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:17PM (#10064058)
      But then you're stuck carrying around the Firewire or USB cable that comes with the iPod. And as you mentioned, with the right drivers. It's best to have somethning that will plug in and work, even on a new computer.

      I would think the USB key devices would be best for what you're wanting to do, but I've never used one.
      • Re:Get an iPod (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Duncan3 (10537) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:19PM (#10064083) Homepage
        Unless you really get around, you're gonna use your home PC, a primary one at work or school, so it's not an issue.

        And they make these short little cables ... o so cute.
      • Re:Get an iPod (Score:3, Informative)

        by damiam (409504)
        Drivers aren't required for the iPod on anything supporting standard USB mass storage (win98 and up) or Firewire SBP2 (any recent Mac OS or Windows). The poster wasn't very clear about their needs, so I'm not sure whether an iPod would fit them or not. If you're only concerned with documents, a USB key is all you'll ever need. If you're ferrying around hi-res images or video, then you'll want an iPod or something similar.
    • Noone looks twice at the thing, becasue most people think it's just for music, so your boss isn't gonna think you're smuggling out sourcecode.

      Sorry, but I beg to differ [bbc.co.uk].

    • Re:Get an iPod (Score:3, Informative)

      by Yaztromo (655250)

      I was going to post "Get an iPod", but it looks like a whole lot of other people beat me to it.

      So instead of doing so, I'll expand on the benifits of doing so:

      • Comes in sizes from 4GB up to 40GB
      • Supports both firewire and USB 2.0
      • Rechargable
      • Size of a pack of cards
      • ...and hey, it's a music playback device as well!

      I love my iPod with my PowerBook. I routinely use it for storing backups of my data (even though I have the 3G 15GB unit, I'm currently only using about 3GB to hold the ~1050 songs I have

    • Re:Get an iPod (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jon787 (512497)

      It's a firewire harddrive with the right drivers. Noone looks twice at the thing, becasue most people think it's just for music, so your boss isn't gonna think you're smuggling out sourcecode.

      Once I used a digital camera as a storage device to get network drivers onto a Windows 2000 workstation.

      On the hiding data side, for awhile I had jokingly stored my filesystem's encryption key (loop-AES for the curious) on a 5.25" Sim City install disk. At other times the key has been on a 3.5" AOL 2.5 disk and the

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Get an iPod or iPod mini. Not only are fairly well concealed (not many 'normal' people know that they're anything beyond just a portable mp3 player), they pack a lot of space. A friend of mine just got back from Japan for a study abroad program and used his iPod frequently to transport files between computers on the network there (apparently you didn't have much in terms of personal space on their network). Worked on every machine he tried it on and was quite rugged.

    And hey, it's an MP3 player, too.
  • iPod (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MetalliQaZ (539913)
    Cheap, lots of space, stylish, and plays MP3s to boot.
    • Re:iPod (Score:5, Informative)

      by arivanov (12034) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @04:42AM (#10065806) Homepage
      Crap price per G, crap performance, not suitable for the job. The question was not about iPod avertisement solicitation. The question was about portable storage solution and at the moment there is only one answer that is reasonable as far as price/performance is concerned. It is Iomega Rev
      • 35G capacity
      • Fully supported without extra drivers on Linux 2.6.5+, Windows 2K and XP and MacOS X. 2.4 requires the write-DVD patches. Anything you write is also 100% portable because it uses UDF filesystem which prevents the relevant OSes from doing silly OS specific things
      • The cartridges are around 30£ (40$). which smacks iPod, removable harddrives and flash silly
      • The device is about the size of an external 2.5" hard drive enclosure so you can carry the device around instead of having one at home and one at work.
      • Blazing fast. Blazing fast to the point where I am seriously considering it as a suitable drive for network backups in a small to medium size office. It has roughly the same price as a DLT tape per cartridge, 5 times lower price per drive, 10 times the speed and the cartridges are only a fraction of the size. Add to that years worth of shelf life compared to months for an average tape...
      So let the iPod do what it does best - play music. It is not a good personal storage solution.
  • USB Keys (Score:5, Informative)

    by gr0ngb0t (410427) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:02PM (#10063937)
    I've got a 512 mb Kingmax USB key, and it's awesome - never had any hassles with it. my dad has got a whole range of sizes of theirs and has had for a few years now - he's happy with them.
    • Re:USB Keys (Score:2, Informative)

      by Frogbert (589961)
      I have to back this guy up, Kingmax are dirt cheap and their USB Drives are great quality, the only problem I can seem with their drives is that the necklace connects to the cap, not the drive, so if the cap breaks (unlikely at best) you loose your data. That said a small drill peice fixes that little problem.
  • IPod... (Score:2, Redundant)

    by nweaver (113078)
    A nice 20 GB firewire drive for $200, very small form factor, oh, and its also an MP3 player...
    • Re:IPod... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by evvk (247017) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:12PM (#10064015)
      ... and extremely fragile. Repeat after me: HD is bad. Once it takes a hit, it becomes shit.

      (Signed, "one fourth of my hdd mp3 is now bad sectors after having accidentally dropped it")

      • Re:IPod... (Score:3, Informative)

        by damiam (409504)
        The iPod is fairly resilient; I've never heard any stories of hard drive failure (not saying it doesn't happen, just that it's not common). Part of that is that the drive is rarely spun up while music is playing, and, when being used as a portable HD, is spun up but quite unlikely to be disturbed.
  • iPod? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by roshi (53475)
    I think you'd be hard pressed to find more storage in a smaller form factor than an iPod (classic or mini). And what you don't need for your files, you can use for music.

    Besides, if you're a mac user, you will soon be able to seamlessly carry your home directory around (Google for Home on iPod).

    Just my $0.02
  • Sorry, but you asked (Score:3, Informative)

    by krray (605395) * on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:03PM (#10063946)
    WARNING: I'm now a Mac zealot :)

    The answer is Firewire and Lacie or a iPod. Self powered and with a Mac either can easily be used to boot the host computer from -- my Lacie is the backup for my Application directory tree and User accounts which can be booted from with the loaded host OS [X].

    Yes, they can both work with Windows too.
    • I installed one recently for a guy who does a lot of video. The hardware is beautiful and has a professional feel. I didn't try it on a mac but in xp it just appeared as a drive like it's supposed to.
    • by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @07:14AM (#10066322) Homepage Journal
      The guy should use one of the Iriver music players.

      Mine has 40GB of disk space (which is what the guy needs) shows as a hard disk (which works in Linux, Winblows and that other OS I suppose), play many different digital music formats, is an FM radio, voice recorder and allows to record directly from another device (both digital and anlaog input).

      The only problem is that is a bit bulky, but ehwn compared to some external disks it becomes a nobrainer when it comes to disk storage on the move.
      • Even better: Neuros! (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tony (765)
        Bah. At the beginning of the year, I picked up a 20GB Neuros [neurosaudio.com] for about half the price of an ipod. It's a USB hard drive, plays many different formats (Ogg!), is an FM radio, an FM *transmitter*, a voice recorder, and allows you to record from another device (analog only, sorry to say).

        I looked at the iRiver, and liked it very much (they have some pretty cool designs), but ended up going with the Neuros. Personal choice and all, you know.

        Plus, since it uses standard 2.5" drives, I put in a 40GB I got fo
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:03PM (#10063947)
    Use this [thinkgeek.com] AND be a babe magnet!!!
    • My friend bought one of those watches before and had quite a few problems with it. I am not sure if it was from ThinkGeek or not but the usb cable kept popping out at odd times. "Is your watch happy to see me or somthing?" "Oh crap, stupid watch."
  • by Uhlek (71945) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:03PM (#10063950)
    Why? It's too vague.

    How portable do you need it? How much space do you need? What kind of interfaces do you have available? How fast does it need to be?

    There is no one best storage solution, there are many different bests depending on what's needed at the time.

    Throw out some more specifics, and maybe someone can help you out.
  • I mainly use my laptop so internal storage is nearly out of the question. Last summer I purchased an external firewire drive. It's basically just an enclosure with a firewire to EIDE connector and a regular 3.5 inch hard drive. This summer I had to upgrade the drive and it was no trouble at all.

    My laptop doesn't have USB 2.0, but it did have firewire so that's why I chose firewire. It will work fine in windows and linux. I formatted it as FAT32. Now while that's not the best thing to do for a 160 GB
  • Well.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by useosx (693652) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:06PM (#10063971)
    2.5" (laptop) drives are pretty damn expensive, but they are more convenient as they can be bus powered. Here's an example [lacie.com] but I'm sure you can get them for cheaper. I'd personally rather buy the enclosure separate from the drive because I can usually get a longer warranty on the drive itself and I don't have to worry about voiding the warranty if I open the enclosure.

    I personally only buy external drives for video stuff so I get 3.5" ones.

    Another option would be to get an iPod or iPod mini type device.

    I have a 128 meg USB keychain and I really like it. It's a Transcend JetFlash. But it's only good for documents and the occasional set of photos or MP3s.

    Personally, this stuff is pretty obvious, just Google around. It's not like there's some kind of hidden mega-cube storage out there that only a few people know about. Pretty basic stuff.
  • by ElForesto (763160) <elforesto@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:07PM (#10063976) Homepage
    You call yourself a Slashdot reader and yet you didn't check out ThinkGeek [thinkgeek.com]? For shame! I found this model [thinkgeek.com] on there that may fit your needs. I haven't used it before though, as a disclaimer.
  • by Tuxedo Jack (648130) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:07PM (#10063977) Homepage
    I was lucky enough to get my office to pay for a LaCie Bigger Disk. It's one terabyte of space, and we don't have to worry about losing my shares or work.
    • I was lucky enough to get my office to pay for a LaCie Bigger Disk. It's one terabyte of space, and we don't have to worry about losing my shares or work.

      Erm, how do you figure that you don't have to worry about losing your work? The BiggerDisk is 4x250GB drives RAID 0'd together, so instead of risking your work on one drive going bad, you're going to lose your work if any of the 4 drives go bad (somebody else can to the MTBF calculation - it's not 4x more fragile, but it's not far off).
  • I use CF cards for totin' stuff home quite a bit. The readers are $30. I've heard you can't countinuously rewrite them, but for dumping files off at the end of the day, I've never had a problem.

    2GB cards appear to start at $133 on pricewatch.

    I've heard other folks have had trouble with these wearing out, though.
  • 20G Archos GMINI120 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BoBG (9969)
    I purchased this originally to use on vacation for storing pictures from my digital camera. I got used to carrying it around and it will soon be replacing my laptop as the 'take home every night' device. It plays MP3s and has a CF slot built in. Very practical device.
  • Cruzer Mini (Score:2, Informative)

    by thief_inc (466143)
    256 megabytes of storage.
    I switch between Mac an PC quite abit and this is perfect as it does not require a driver for MacOS v9.1 or higher or for win2000 and XP.
  • ...this [futureshop.ca]. It's a 1.5 GB USB 2.0 hard drive, and also pocket-sized.
  • Sheesh.. Who wants only 20/40 GB or even less space? (iPod, CF, etc.)

    Use a Firewire/USB2 to a small 3.5" combo enclosure (some are barely larger than the drive, which is damn small).

    250+ GB... works on USB1 (ie. everything), USB2, and Firewire systems. No worries.
  • by Dr_LHA (30754) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:13PM (#10064034) Homepage
    What is it, stupid question time?

    Dear slashdot, I am looking for some kind of input device that allows me to enter words onto my computer. Can you help.

    Seriously, why is this on the front page - when anyone with half a brain can figure out the answer is either a $40 USB key or an iPod or equivalent depending on the size.
  • The Drivedock [dansdata.com] is really nifty, and it is probably the smallest solution out there. Heat isn't a problem, however it leaves your hard drive with minimal protection from the elements. You can buy a bottom plate to protect the bottom hard drive circuitry from harm. It is rather expensive however.

    Personally I use a no-name 2-bay 3.5" firewire enclosure with an aftermarket Zalman fan and a resistor on the fan to slow it down. Its very quiet and reasonably cool, and I rarely move it so the size isn't an iss

  • Aluminium enclosure for 2.5" hard drives; available in Firewire and USB models. I currently use the USB2 model and it's brilliant.. it can be powered through the USB connection, and if your USB port does not supply enough power, there's an additional USB plug that is only used to supply power that you can connect to another free port.

    From my experience so far, avoid Firewire+USB combo devices like the plague. My old external enclosure cannot be made to work using kernels > 2.6.4 using either USB2 or Fir
  • PQI iStick (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rexz (724700) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:16PM (#10064054)
    I have one of these [pqi.com.tw]: a PQI iStick 2.0.

    It's absolutely minute - far smaller than any other USB key device I've seen. It has a funny shaped contact at the end that looks like it shouldn't fit in a USB port but works perfectly.

    It's made of study plastic and comes with a wallet-sized carrier/protector slightly larger than a credit card. Mine is a mere 64mb but they come in flavours all the way up to 1gb.

    It works out of the box with no problems. You can use a small utility that comes on a mini-CD to add a password protected partition.

    It even has a cool LCD embedded under a thin layer of plastic that gives a funky glow when transferring!

    Heartily recommended. (Usual disclaimer: no relationship whatsoever with manufacturers or retailers other than I like their product.)

  • If you don't want an mp3 player, check this out: ThinkGeek [thinkgeek.com]

    They have 2 tiny USB2 drives that range from 20 to 80 gigs. And support just about any OS that has USB drivers.

    this one [thinkgeek.com]

    "MAC OS 8.6 or higher
    Windows 98/98SE/ME/2000/XP
    Linux Kernel 2.4.5 or higher
    DOS level support"

    Or this one [thinkgeek.com]:

    "Requires Microsoft Windows 98/98SE/2000/Me/XP, Macintosh OS 8.6+, or Linux Kernel 2.4+, available USB Port (To achieve USB 2.0 speeds, your computer must be USB 2.0 enabled), CD-ROM Drive for driver installation or
  • I've got a 40GB 3.5" hard drive in an external case with USB 2.0 and FireWire ports. The flexibility is nice, but I almost never use one set of ports. The biggest hassle is the external power supply. It's just one more brick to carry around, and it's a non-standard part, so I can't even get another one without buying another (frankly overpriced) case. Very high PITA factor.

    The iPod, with an extra dock, is a far superior solution. And the bonus of playing your tunes allows you to completely separate yo
  • getting a small usb keychain like device with loads of space will cost you an arm and a leg, and that is for a 512 meg one. then there is the fixed external usb hard drive. i found one at microcenter for $105 after a $15 rebate, it was an 80 gig model (about the price of the usb keychain 512 meg). another option is you could get an external hard drive case. these cases are different than an external hard drive, as you can put any hard drive in the case, any size. you can interchange hard drives. then if you
  • I have three types of portable storage:

    128MB USB key

    MMC Reader and multiple MMC cards

    20GB Archos MP3 player / hard disk

    The USB key is just handy and easy to take anywhere. It's the sneakernet of our day.

    The MMC cards can be read by my Palm, used in my camera, and the small USB reader plugs into everything else. Lots of small, easy to carry storage. Hard part is keeping track of all the small MMC cards.

    The Archos is a multi-function unit that does the heavy lifting, yet is still quite portable. (Y

  • by rufusdufus (450462) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:20PM (#10064088)
    I've toyed around with several portable solutions, what I settled on is an internet server accessable from my smartphone.

    The main problem with the portable solutions I've tried, such as zip disks, cd burners, usb doohickies and handheld storage is that you need to actually carry it around. And hassle with hooking stuff up to use it. Things you have to carry around can get broken.
    Also, you have the issue of instant access anywhere. Sure you can use a USB keychain, but can you read it at the mall without a device?
    In any event, you need a device, that device might as well be your cell phone, since you carry it everywhere. The smartphones out now have little insertable media; this might do the trick for you, but you still have the issue of syncing and all that bother.
    So my solution is to keep my data on broadband server, access it from anywhere with my smartphone, access from work/home on my broadband connection.
    The best of all worlds, even backed up regularly by the sever admins.
  • by gnugie (757363) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:20PM (#10064090)
    Look at that mess.

    No budget requirement, except small.
    No physical size requirement, except small.
    No capacity requirement, except big.

    So basically, you don't know what you want, probably don't know why you want it, what it has to do, or what you're willing to spend on it, but you want the answer?

    Good luck.
    • by Gubbe (705219) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @02:16AM (#10065201)
      Look, Ask Slashdot is meant as a forum where one person can raise an interesting question that gets a variety of answers in the form of different opinions from different people who have expertise in different areas. This benefits the entire slashdot community by offering a good range of solutions for everybody's needs.

      Had the original asker asked a very specific question about portable storage just for his needs, he probably would have gotten a bunch of answers suggesting one and the same thing and no-one else would have got anything out of the entire discussion. Now we have the opportunity to discuss different portable storage solutions where each and every slashdotter can find a solution that fits his/her needs instead of just the needs of the person who asked the original question.

      That's what Ask Slashdot is about.
  • How about going with DVD-R9 discs, or is it DVD+R9 discs that I'm thinking of?

    Never mind..
  • by KI0PX (266692) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:28PM (#10064149)
    Ars Technica has a good USB 2.0 Hi-Speed drive review [arstechnica.com] covering several USB flash drives. I got a 256MB SanDisk Cruzer Mini from newegg [newegg.com] for $37 and was very pleased (works on Linux well).

    I'll second the vote for an iPod if you want more than that. I just bought a 20GB 3G iPod from our local university bookstore for $250, since the new 4G model just came out.

  • An iPod is not ideal (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kris_J (10111) * on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:34PM (#10064187) Journal
    If you use an iPod, you're wasting it if you have it mounted as a drive all the time. I have an iPod I take to work each day, but it spends most of its time playing music. I connect it in the evening to grab an off-site overnight backup and load anything too large for the main device I use to shuffle stuff back and forth -- a 128MB USB device that looks like a pen. Push comes to shove (ie; I've got too much stuff on the iPod) I might also use a CD-RW for a one-off transfer.

    If you're bringing a lot personal of stuff to work every day, you're better off just getting a bus-powered USB2 2.5" hard drive enclosure. Or finding a way to shift your stuff onto a server that's accessible from work. For example, I have all of my emails on Gmail, so I don't need to think about humping them 'round on a drive.

  • Partly sarcastic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by softspokenrevolution (644206) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:35PM (#10064194) Journal
    You could always just actually go to work and do your job instead of carrying your personal files to work to mess around with them.
  • Ext SATA? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Viceice (462967) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:40PM (#10064220)
    If you are going to use it between home and work, why not just get a SATA HDD and install the enternal SATA panal that comes with most new motherboards?

    No drivers and only a reboot away to very highspeed transfers.

  • iFolder (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Degrees (220395) <degreesNO@SPAMsbcglobal.net> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @11:41PM (#10064228) Homepage Journal
    If it doesn't connect to the net, it is a toy anyway... why would you store valuable data on it?

    Put another way, the network is your hard drive....

    The last computer I used that wasn't on the net was getting DBAN'd for the junk heap, er, garage sale.

  • Overkill (Score:3, Informative)

    by nwbvt (768631) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @12:02AM (#10064347)
    I see a lot of posts suggesting something like an iPod, but isn't that sort of overkill? $250 just to store files? Add to that you will probably lose it within the year. Just get a USB flash drive. $20 for 128 megs or half a gig for under $60. Small, cheap, and easy to use.
  • How about the iPod? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by halo1982 (679554) * on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @12:38AM (#10064639) Homepage Journal
    I'm surprised no one has mentioned this. At 20GBs for $300 or 40GBs for $400 (and soon [we hope] 60GBs for $500) the iPod isn't that cheap, but it works with Linux, Windows, or Mac. And with USB 2.0 or Firewire it transfers pretty quickly. And its so stylish!
    Of course you could also look at some of the cheaper alternatives such as the Dell Digital Jukebox or iRiver.
  • 2.5" USB/Firewire (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mottie (807927) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @12:56AM (#10064752)
    I work for a tech company and we are always having "failed" laptop drives come through. Run a lowlevel format on them, and then throw them into a 2.5" enclosure. Works great as long as you don't mind the fact that your data could become corrupt at any time.

    http://www.frontierpc.com/productlist.aspx?Categor yID=CA-1705/ [frontierpc.com]

    has a really good selection. If you're looking at USB enclosures, make sure you get one that either has an external power supply, or has a second USB/ ps2 connector to draw power when you're not on a powered USB hub or are on an older laptop.

  • My 40 GB ipod... (Score:4, Informative)

    by riprjak (158717) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @02:47AM (#10065351)
    is my weapon of choice for this; of course, our IT policy does NOT allow portable storage in the building (sensible, if you ask me); we dont actively enforce this (I suggested copper loops around all the doors :), but a thing to consider.

    15GB for my moderated music collection, the rest of the space as a mirror of my /home/>username directory from my personal linux box.

    Anyway, if ipod (I *REFUSE* to mac up the spelling of ipod) is too pricey, try a USB/firewire 2.5" hdd enclosure; relatively cheap (particularly if you take a trip to asia) and quite small, size of a small PDA; so relatively portable. Most come self powered (from usb/firewire) or with a separate USB~power cable.

    Anyway, just my 0.02.
    err!
    jak.
  • by TBone (5692) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @09:41AM (#10067342) Homepage
    I wasn't too pleased with the quality of the barebones models I found at Fry's.
    A wise man whose name escapes me once said you can have two of the following three:
    • Cheap
    • Fast
    • Good
    This isn't a backup drive or something for occassional use you're talking about, you're talking about your data. Get over the barebones models and spend the money on something with a decent shockproof enclosure, a carrying case, and all the other features that make it actually "portable"

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