Firstly, I want an external hard drive to store movies/music on and to back up my data (as well as move files onto a new laptop I will be buying soon, more on that in a minute). Preferably I am after an external that will fit inside my safe in case of fire. So the specs I am looking for are roughly as follows:
- 10.5Ēx 8Ēx 3.5Ē maximum physical dimensions (hopefully smaller so I can store other things in the safe too)
- 200 to 1000GB capacity (preferably around 320-500GB, happy medium for capacity/cost/size)
- USB connection required (anything else a bonus)
- good performance (buffer size/seek time/spin speed)
- cost less than $200 (in Canada, factoring in 13% tax rate)
So what is out there that meets these requirements and is reliable? This is the kind of thing that should be purchased from a real store with a warranty, right? Iíve seen some very cheap ones on eBay, but undoubtedly they are ďMade in ChinaĒ crap, correct? Also, are FireWire and/or eSata a lot better than regular USB, like worth some extra bucks on the external and the new computer for the performance they provide? I still need USB to get the files off this old system, though.
Which brings me to getting a new laptop. The lappy I have now is approximately three years old, and itís getting close to time for an upgrade. But all new computers ship with Vista, right? Should I wait for SP1 to come out (and when is that going to be) before I invest in a new machine, so I can get the service pack installed on there as soon as I open the box? Also, I have heard Home Basic is utter crap, so I will need a more powerful machine than the cheapest ones out there so I can run Premium, right?
What specs will this require, and bearing in mind I intend to play Wil Wrightís Spore when itís released? Iím not a PC gamer by any stretch, but Spore is definitely a game I want to check out. And as I need a laptop (for school etc) I canít just build my own system, so I need to get one that is Vista Premium- as well as Spore-capable right off the shelf. So what sort of specs do I need, and can I get it for roughly a grand in Canada, or will it run me closer to fifteen hundred?
Finally, some questions about file systems. The lappy I have now uses FAT32; it came preloaded that way. I will want to use my external to ship a bunch of media files and programs etc over to the new lappy, so will there be any issues with either the external or the new lappy when it comes to the file system of the original files (Iím guessing that newer computers and external hard drives all use NTFS these days)?
Also I plan to reformat and reinstall XP on the old lappy, and put some of the old programs back onto it from the external afterwards. I want to give this old one to my mom in a clean yet well equipped state for her, i.e. with anti-virus/spyware, firewall, photoshop, ms office etc. Now if Iím using a system recovery disc, is it going to make the file system FAT32 again, or will I have a chance to select NTFS instead? Iíve considered using the convert feature in XP to make it NTFS in the past, but didnít want to lose/corrupt any of my precious data on the hard drive. And now that Iím getting a new lappy I can just wait until I get all the files over to the external and do the wipe/reinstall.
So thatís my situation, and Iíll try to sum it up briefly once more:
- What is the best external hard drive meeting what I specified above?
- Is Vista Home Basic basically useless, or will it suffice for casual users?
- When is SP1 going to be released, and should I wait for it before buying?
- What specs will my new laptop need to comfortably run Vista Home Premium and Spore?
- What problems may surface in going back and forth between FAT32 and NTFS with files?
Thanks in advance for your time and for any help you could provide: resources, links, anecdotes, contacts. Iím a bit of a noob when it comes to the actual nitty-gritty of computers. Good day all, and i'll owe you one if you can help me sort all this stuff out; cheers!