New Hard Disks

Now that I’ve got my new camera I’ve been struggling with what to do with all those digital files. A couple of weeks ago I ordered a couple of 500GB SATA drives from cdw.ca because they have warehouses in Canada. I had a mixed experience getting them installed. But the shipping was fast.

I’ve been reading The DAM Book by Peter Krogh. I highly recommend it, even if you don’t use his exact solution, it will get you thinking about your digital workflow and especially how to manage and store the gigabytes of digital images that can quickly accumulate.

I decided that a 500GB disk should be enough to get me through the next year. At 20MB per image, that’s 25,000 images or 480 per week. I’m only getting out to shoot maybe once per week lately so that seems plenty, but I’ve also got six weeks vacation this summer that I expect will generate 100-200GB of files, so we’ll see. Peter doesn’t advise looking ahead much further than one year that since the technology is changing so fast.

I had a look at my HP Pavilion desktop PC and determined that I had some spare SATA connectors and a couple of empty bays.
I decided to go with the Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 – hard drive – 500GB, mostly because the price was good and they have a 5 year warranty. Most external USB drives have only a one year warranty.

I also ordered the StarTech.com 5.25″ Trayless SATA Hot Swap drive bay. The idea was that one disk is installed internally, the other disk is the backup drive that I can pop in and out of the PC via the bay. At under $50, this is a great deal. It allows me to use regular internal SATA drives for my backup, and those are cheaper than external USB drives. Next year I’ll probably add an external SATA drive box to hold a few drives, but I’ll still want this bay so that I can easily insert and remove my backup hard disks.

I was amazed when early the next day a box arrived with the hard disks. Later that same day another box arrived with the StarTech drive bay. Wow, was that fast! The only problem, no cables. However, a trip to a nearby store netted me some SATA data and power cables.

Installation on the HP was a pain. There was a 3.5″ internal drive bay, but it was really tight. I basically had to bend the bay a bit to make the drive fit. Then I had to remove the CD drive to make room for the SATA drive bay. That was also a pain because HP puts extra door covers over the CD and DVD drives. But a little more force and I was able to remove the CD door cover, fortunately without breaking it, though I thought it was going to.

After booting up I wondered where my new drives were. But a little Googling turned up the Windows Manage Computer feature that lets you format and partition hard disks. This worked fine, though it took forever. It was probably a couple of hours, for each drive, but I did this over a couple of days at night.

Finally I had a pair of drives and I just had to try them out. Normally I back up to an external USB drive, and copy that backup to DVD’s for offsite storage. But I just copied the backup from the USB drive to the SATA drive and took that offsite. I think I’ll still make some DVD backups once in awhile. But it was really nice to have my offsite backup ready in 20 minutes, instead of the hours it takes to write the 8 DVDs that my normal backup fills.
I still don’t have my photos archived properly. But now I’ve got a place to store them so I can get started.