Recommended External Hard Drives for Photo, Video, and Audio Production


If you work with libraries of large image files, or in audio or video production, you need to be selective about your external hard drive. Reading and writing files directly to or from an external drive can incur some hefty performance demands, so it's best to determine your needs before you buy a drive. With the ever-increasing data-transfer demands brought on by more megapixels, complex audio layering, and higher-resolution video, keeping up with all of that data can be a burden.

The first thing to determine must be how much overall storage space you need and then, what data-transfer speed your projects will require. Each medium is different, as is every user. To break it down, we'll discuss the writing of data to an external hard drive while editing video, for use in photo editing and running audio projects.

Drives for Video Production

No one creates a greater need for media storage than a videographer, especially those working in 4K or higher resolutions. To prevent getting bogged down by a sluggish external hard drive, you need fast drives. These days, the bare minimum spin rate is 7200 rpm, although even faster drives, such as solid state, are available for a premium.

Next, you need to consider your interface. Are you using FireWire, USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 Type-A or Type-C, Thunderbolt™, Thunderbolt™ 2, or possibly Thunderbolt™ 3? Do you intend to use eSATA or set up a RAID because a single drive can't handle your output, so you need multiple drives?

Interface Speeds: USB, Thunderbolt™, and Beyond

You need to prepare for 4K and greater resolution. Working with DCI 4Kp24 ProRes HQ files requires at least 94 MB/s. Compressed files straight from the camera or proxy workflows can alleviate a lot of this strain and are arguably becoming more important in editing, but you should still be able to play back your files smoothly. When searching for a drive, you will want to make sure you comfortably exceed these data rates to ensure uninterrupted performance.

With any external hard drive interface, keep in mind that you will only achieve its maximum data transfer rate if your computer—and the external hard drive—support it. USB 3.0 is capable of 625 MB/s. However, check the rated speed of the external drive (it likely can't move data that fast). For example, the LaCie 4TB d2 Professional USB 3.1 Type-C External Hard Drive is rated at up to 240 MB/s. The 6TB G-DRIVE Enterprise-Class is rated at up to 250 MB/s. Note that, in both cases, these speeds exceed the requirement of ProRes HQ. That can only be a good thing.

LaCie 4TB d2 Professional USB 3.1 Type-C External Hard Drive
LaCie 4TB d2 Professional USB 3.1 Type-C External Hard Drive

Faster still is Thunderbolt™. Version 1 can transfer at bi-directional speeds up to 10 Gb/s (1,250 MB/s), Thunderbolt™ 2 can transfer at bi-directional speeds up to 20 Gb/s (2,500 MB/s), and Thunderbolt™ 3 and Thunderbolt™ 4 operate at bi-directional speeds up to 40 Gb/s (5,000 MB/s). But you'll pay more for these interfaces, which may not be worth it for all that speed: Most drives are not that fast. But if you need a RAID or plan to use external solid-state drives (SSDs), you might want the Autobahn of interfaces.


A RAID offers voluminous storage beyond what one drive can offer. This option is well-suited for those who frequently work with large files, or who need to access files very quickly. This is because, depending on the configuration, a RAID will use multiple drives to speed up data transfers.

In general, a well-performing RAID utilizes drives that share the same speed and capacity. RAID configurations can be a bit complicated, so let's get into them.

A popular option for video editors is RAID 5, which can suffer the loss of one drive without losing any data. The downside is that it's more expensive to set up a RAID 5 array because it requires at least four drives.

You can use just two drives to set up a RAID 1 configuration, but the goal here is data redundancy, not speed. The second drive is a copy of the first, so it's got you covered, should the other drive fail. Peace of mind.

If you're after speed, it's hard to argue against RAID 0. All drives in this array are striped together, so they read and write simultaneously, which essentially doubles your speed whenever you double the number of drives. Here's the math: Two 2TB drives that write at 200 MB/s add up to 4TB of storage writing at 400 MB/s. Hot dog! But—here's the rub—you don't have data redundancy, so if one drive goes kaput, you lose all of the data in the RAID. Ach!

One of the big kahunas in this category is the G-RAID Shuttle from SanDisk, which offers incredible speeds of up to 1100 MB/s and the latest Thunderbolt™ 3 connections. While it is preconfigured in RAID 5, this array can also support RAID 0, 1 and 10 modes. The drives are easily swapped out and the system is designed to be reasonably portable with its heavy-duty handle.

G-RAID Shuttle
G-RAID Shuttle

This is a good choice for many demanding workflows, and we especially like it for video editing. With storage ranging from 24TB to a whopping 80TB, users can share the wealth by daisy-chaining up to five additional devices. Enjoying blistering read and write speeds while editing across a multicamera configuration feels luxurious, and the price reflects this. This big guy is meant for editing large-scale video projects and will bring the TLC to your HDR and HFR footage.

If you are looking for a less involved array, LaCie's 2big Dock 2-Bay Thunderbolt™ 3 RAID might be an option worth considering. Providing many of the ports newer laptops have done away with, this array also functions as a handy docking station for your desktop configuration.

LaCie 2big Dock 2-Bay Thunderbolt™ 3 RAID Array
LaCie 2big Dock 2-Bay Thunderbolt™ 3 RAID

With storage capacities ranging from 16TB to 40TB, the 2big's overall capacity is shared between two SATA 3.5" enterprise-class hard drives. Using Thunderbolt™ 3, it can achieve transfer speeds of up to 550 MB/s. Direct ingestion via the SD and CF card slots makes transferring the files you need from your device incredibly convenient, while broad compatibility means the 2big will work for a variety of systems. Powerful and versatile, this is a great option for those who are looking for a mass storage solution.

Solid-State Drives

SSDs use flash technology, so they have no moving parts. This could be critical if you are recording video in a studio or other enclosed location where the video camera must be near the external hard drive. Having the whirring sounds of a writing disk and spinning fan show up in your audio will become annoying quickly.

Portability is another benefit of SSDs, with the Samsung T7 being a solid example. This SSD is a great, reasonably priced option if you are looking for a compact solid-state drive. Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, the T7 boasts read and write speeds of up to 1050 MB/s and 1000 MB/s, respectively.

Samsung T7 Portable SSD
Samsung T7 Portable SSD

Overheating is a worry of the past, thanks to Dynamic Thermal Guard technology, enabling the T7 to remain cool while achieving blistering-fast speeds. It is an overall excellent option if you are looking to avoid that noisy fan, and it's slim enough to take anywhere.

Of course, there are tradeoffs when opting for an SSD over a RAID. SSDs charge a premium that's many times per TB when compared to a RAID and tend to have capacity caps. If price is not your issue, they provide a quiet performance, lightning-quick data transfer, and are easy to carry around.

Older Interfaces

If your computer only has USB 2.0, and you're trying to edit video, you should consider an upgrade. The old USB interface has a maximum speed of just 60 MB/s.

Similarly, FireWire 800's capability of transferring up to 100 MB/s won't earn a recommendation for manipulating high-definition video—newer hard drives are capable of faster speeds.

Picture Perfect

In general, photographers don't need as much hard-drive space for their still images as videographers need for their footage, since editing a photo on an external hard drive does not require the same bandwidth as editing video. Still, a trigger-happy photographer needs a fast and reliable external hard drive that can seek and display numerous uncompressed raw files in a jiffy. You don't want your creative time to turn into a wait-and-see game of file-find and transfer.

If you don't need portability—say, in a photography studio—a desktop model will usually get you more terabytes for your money. One drive in this category is the LaCie d2 Professional USB 3.1 Type-C External Hard Drive, which comes in capacities of 4, 6, 8, and 10TB. It offers read speeds up to 240 MB/s and has a single USB 3.1 Gen 1 port.

For a little more space, consider an enclosure system like the TR-004 Gen 1 RAID Expansion Enclosure from QNAP and some IronWolf drives from Seagate. This kind of configuration is flexible and will enable you to configure your RAID for either redundancy, speed, or both.

Seagate IronWolf Pro
Seagate IronWolf Pro

We especially like the IronWolf drives from Seagate for this application. With a fast sustained read speed of 260 MB/s, users can enjoy fast and simple transferring. At a great dollar-per-TB value, this is a solid option to consider if you are configuring a RAID on a budget.

An interesting feature in this drive is the ability to host an mSATA drive to use as an Accelerator Cache for faster readout of your most commonly accessed files. It's great for backup and current work. Overall, this setup will allow you to expand storage space as needed, providing maximum flexibility.

If you need an external hard drive out in the field, you might consider a portable model that's designed to weather a few bumps along the way. One choice is the Storejet Portable Hard Drive from Transcend.

Storejet Portable Hard Drive
Storejet Portable Hard Drive

Constructed with military-grade silicone rubber, this reinforced drive is designed to withstand accidental drops. The handy reconnect button makes quick work of transferring your data by eliminating the need to remove or reinsert your USB cable. With easy access to file backup and file recovery software, this option is as easy to use as it is to bring on the go.

Music to Your Ears

Here's one benchmark for computing the overall capacity the music-makers need in an external hard drive: 24 mono tracks recorded at 24-bit/44.1 kHz will eat up about 190MB of hard disk space per minute.

If all you intend to do is write stereo audio onto an external hard drive, you're unlikely to hit a bump in the road. But if you're doing multi-track recording, you may run into data-transfer limitations. This could occur if your projects use a lot of plug-ins that are manipulating the audio tracks on the fly, or if you are triggering multiple virtual instruments with MIDI.

For best performance, it's widely recommended that your digital audio workstation (DAW) software run on a separate drive from the one to which you write your audio files. That is, your OS and all your applications, including the DAW software, sit on one drive, and there is a dedicated drive for audio files. If you draw upon a lot of samples or virtual instruments, consider having all of these on yet another drive altogether.

Depending on your studio, recording multi-track sessions to a FireWire 800 drive may not be a problem. It is possible to max out your audio interface without trouble at 24-bits. Mixing with dozens of plug-ins is also likely not a problem if you don't start pushing your total track to higher and higher numbers. Larger sessions, or those using a higher bit rate, would hit the ceiling and it would be recommended to upgrade to the latest interfaces for best performance.

You should be fine with good 7200 rpm drives, and it's unlikely anyone would recommend something slower. It's possible you could get away with it for very basic audio projects, but why risk it? Going with modern storage options and connectivity will only help guarantee smooth performance, and this gives you room to expand your setup later on without having to reinvest in all new media.

A good drive to get going would be the 6TB G-DRIVE Enterprise-Class External Hard Drive. This has a high capacity and data rates up to 250 MB/s—enough for basic work. Its USB-C port provides wide compatibility, while the built-in anchor points enable all kinds of mounting options in your studio.

6TB G-DRIVE Enterprise-Class External Hard Drive
6TB G-DRIVE Enterprise-Class External Hard Drive

If you are looking for more speed and capacity, you can start looking at RAID, such as LaCie's 2big we discussed earlier.

Of course, working with audio might necessitate a quieter option, depending on your studio's configuration. You might consider isolating the noise of your gear with sound damping, but if the whir of your drive is too much to bear, you can always opt for an SSD. These are significantly more expensive, but if your wallet can handle it, you'll prevent disk and fan noise from marring your pristine audio.

What type of external hard drive do you use for your creative endeavors? Let us know in the Comments section, below.


Thank you for your comprehensive article about external hard drives. 

Hey Sana, we're glad to hear you enjoyed the article!

Stumbled on this chat... I am needing a desktop storage device in order to keep all my raw photo files as well as the jpgs associated with them.  I have an older 1TB MacBook Pro 2014 and I am using Canon R5 with the monster file sizes and Lightroom 6.  Yes, I do have to convert my CR3 files to DNG files before I can edit.  Takes a crazy long time.  Anyway...once the MB fills up I have to move files to a 2TB Rugged Lacie drive.  When that fills up I move files from the 2TB rugged to a 4TB desktop Lacie version.  I have now filled that up.  I know, I take way too many photos.  Anyway, I need to move all my photo files to one big drive.  I'm willing to pay for it.  I would like it to have the recovery option in case it fails I can send it somewhere for them to fix.  Is that the Lacie or the G-Drive?  I'm thinking I would want 16TB, which should last me for four years at the rate I'm going.  I like the option of daisy-chaining drives together so it would be nice to pick one where in four years I could buy another one.  Hopefully someone is watching new comments.  :-)  Thanks in advance for your help.  P.S.  I am not a professional.  I am just one of many volunteers who take photos of events at

I’m in the same boat since purchasing the Leica SL2. Huge files. My 8TB OWC ThunderBay 4 (effectively 6TB with RAID 5) is now full. Supposedly can just swap with higher capacity drives, but a long process (can only do one at a time, let it rebuild, repeat). Perhaps a 6 or 8 bay drive would be best?  A friend recommended Sonntech but I haven’t used or researched enough to comment. 

I have used G-Technology enterprise as well as their standard drives exclusively for years. Performance and reliability have been superb. Technical support was truly outstanding.


Now that Western Digital has acquired the company, technical support has crashed. All new people with little to no knowledge of the products. I have been working with them now for eight (8) days on two issues with still no answers!


Consequently, it is impossible to move forward with them under the WD umbrella.


I'm looking for recommendations of companies that produce highly reliable enterprise-level drives AND have responsive, knowledgeable customer support teams.



11 MONTHS LATER...  Did you find one you are happy with?  I need advice on what to purchase.  Thanks.

Highly recommend checking out GLYPH... top quality products and best warranty in the biz. 

I need a 8tb harddrive that I can bring with me abroad. I'm working of a macbook pro with usb-c ports. I'll be working on premiere. So it needs to be portable enough to fit in a checked in bag (with other things) but also big enough for my project. Any advice greatly appreciated!

The Oyen Digital 8TB U32 Shadow USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type C Portable Solid State Drive, BH # OYU32CSS8TG would a suitable option for your needs.

I'd like very much to set up a system for two data-hungry activities I'm involved in frequently: editing video and creating/editing music with a DAW and virtual instruments. I am confused about optimal library and app locations some of which were explained well in the article. What remain a mystery to me is how to instruct the app systems during installation so that files are always located where they need to be. I use apple's Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X.   I have 2 non-Apple VI libraries: Spectrasonics Keyscape and Native Instruments Komplete Ultimate. I have a thunderbolt 3/USB 3.1 C -capable MBPro laptop. How do I best proceed to locate files on external drives? If I need 2 external drives I could keep thunderbolt 3 SSD's or USB C 3.1 SSD's nearby in the laptop's briefcase but these lovely fast and quiet drives are too expensive above 1TB.  Can you point me in a direction for good reliable directions? I am 20 years into audio but new at video... I don't even know the difference between "an event," "a project," and "a library" in Final Cut apple-speak. So much is obvious and intuitive... then suddenly not.

Looking for a storage system for all my pictures, documents and photishop, and lightroom..  I have numerous portable drives..and a couple external drives would like one space and backup.

I use windows (documents) and Mac (pictures).  


Thank you


is there a way to do with setup with out encryption, me experience is that the encryption hardware fails much sooner than the data hardware.

What specific storage device would you recommend to store pictures on them for my kids 20, 30, 40+ years down the road? Just to mainly store. Maybe add more pictures/videos every couple of years to it. Samsung T5 SSD? Hope that's not a dumb question, I've just been researching a lot and still not quite sure what to get for what I need. Thanks.

If just merely for storage in the long term, a Samsung T5 SSD drive is just fine. 

Thank you for the detailed article - it is very useful.

I am still running a Windows 7 custom build w/ a 4GHz OCed i7-920 - yes, I know I have to upgrade - and using GTech GRAID 4TB drives, via e-SATA.  But it's been working fine so long - only recently I've noticed an issue w/ one of the drives throwing an error about requiring a file system check and slowed down speeds, tho the files in there are accessible.

With USB 3.1 out, I am considering purchasing an 4-port USB 3.1 Type A PCIe card and one of your external hard drives or SSDs to achieve the same or better performance than my current GRAID drives? Any comments or advice you can give on the controller and the drives? I am considering Lacie drives - appear to be faster than the GTech USB drives currently available of same capacity.


The Sonnet Allegro 2-Port USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C PCIe 3.0 Card, B&H # SOUSB3C2PME and the HighPoint RocketU 1344A 4-Port USB 3.1 Gen 2 PCIe 3.0 x4 HBA Controller Card, B&H # HIRU1344A would be to good options to consider. However, they require Windows 8 or later. 

Great article. I've been searching up and down for information about external hard drives for my making music with my Mac and this is very helpful.

Which drive do you recommend for connecting to a thunderbolt port (usb-c interface) that has at least 7200rpm? I really just need 1TB of space. The Samsung T5 SSD is only 5200rpm, and the Lacie drives from your article under the "Music to your ears" section use USB-B to USB-A interface and I don't really want to get a USB-C adapter.

Arecommendation that fits the bill for both USB-C or Thunderbolt interface at 7200rpm would be great. Thanks!! 

The Samsung T5 SSD would be a great choice.  It's a solid state drive and does not have any moving parts.  It would be a much faster drive compared to any hard drive with 7200rpm.

I work with multimedia, photos and videos and music, and I'm planning a new workflow setup. I've come to the end of the life of my 2012 MacBook Pro. I'll likely end up getting another MacBook with a SSD drive. I'm currently looking for two things: 1) a SSD working drive between 1-2 TB. And 2) a drive, or drives, for a total backup between 8-10TB.

I'm a difficult customer because I'm looking for the perfect fix: portable, durable, and quiet. As I'm traveling the world these days, and will need to occasionally pack my drives into suit cases, I would prefer something both portable and durable. It doesn't need to be fully crush proof or water proof, but it would be nice if it's dust proof and slightly water resistant against splashes. (This is a lot more important for my working drive.)

The biggest challenge for me is noise. I tried using a Glyph Blackbox Pro 6TB drive but found it to be far too noisy. The idling noise was bad enough, but the vibrations shook my desk. So I'm looking for backup drives that are either desktop-ready and quiet in both idling and running modes or a NAS drive which I could just put in another room and not worry about hearing. Of course, since I'll still be streaming content from the backup drives, speed is still a factor, just a lesser one. If the drive is not NAS, then it would be nice if it were USB-C compatible so it would best fit my future computer (in order to avoid unnecessary hubs).

What would you recommend for my complex needs? So far for the working drives I've been considering getting either a LaCie Rugged (…) or LaCie mobile drive (…). Are these drives equally quiet? WD Backup Drives are also an option as they are cheaper. 

For the NAS I've looked into WD My Cloud or Synology servers with Seagate Iron drives. NAS drives will be larger and less durable, I think. What would you recommend that will get me through another few years before I settle down from my travels and can afford a more extensive backup setup? Thanks!

For a working drive, I would suggest looking into the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro Thunderbolt 3 drive.  These drives are IP67-rated water resistance, as well as dust, 9.8' drop, and a two-ton crush resistance.  They also come with a LaCie 5-year warranty.  Not only are these drives durable, they're fast as well offering data transfer speeds of up to 2800 MB/s.  These drives are currently available in 1 or 2TB.

For a solid backup solution, I would suggest looking into the Synology DiskStation DS418play 4-Bay NAS Enclosure.  The enclosure can support up to 48TB total.  Your data would be secure with the NAS configured to RAID 5 and this is more than powerful enough to stream off of.  This won't the most quiet solution since you'll have 4 drives running along with the NAS' fan but if you're ok with the drive being in a separate room, then this would be my recommendation.


As a backup drive, I wouldn't recommend using a single disk backup solution like the LaCie drives.  It's best to have some kind of redundancy.  


So I have an early 2016 MacBook Pro and my memory is non-existant. I have 7 external harddrives from the past 10 years or so that I reference. I have one harddrive dedicated for Time Machine, then a couple I use often for storing files (Lacie). I am thinking of getting two 10-12 TB harddrives - one to merge all of my external harddrives into one place, and the other to serve as a back up. Does that make sense? Which high capacity harddrive do you reccomend (reliability, speed, price-in that order)? Thanks!

Great article!! Perhaps you can offer some advice. I have a mid-2011 iMac running LR and PS (install versions) with my onboard drive as the working drive. I have a Synology DS415+ (4 3TB drives) as my backup via Time Machine. I have run out of disk space on my iMac and can't fork out for a new iMac so I need to look for a way to leverage an external drive and/or my Synology to have a working drive and a backup solution. I am thinking:
1) Increase the onboard HD of my iMac
2) Purchase an external drive to serve as my working drive
3) Use my Synology to become my working drive, and purchase an external drive for my Time Machine backups.

I would greatly appreciate your input and insight!



Hi Jason!  My suggestion is to use an external hard drive.  Your Synology's default configuration is RAID 5 which is the best set up for backups (unless you changed it).  Replacing an internal HD is just more work than it's worth.  Using an external drive is easier and in most cases more economical.  Consider looking into a WD or G-Technology as an external.

Questions on working off an external drive:

Hi. I am a photographer looking to update my external storage system. As I'm figuring this out, I'm considering moving the photos from my internal drive onto a fast external drive that I can keep attached to my laptop for editing (working on a 2017 MacBook Pro) in order to free up some space on my internal hard drive. Typically, once I'm done editing photos, I move the images off my internal hard drive and into an external storage system.

I'm having trouble figuring out if it makes more sense to get a fast RAID 0 external drive or an SSD external drive for this purpose. My "Pictures" folder currently contains about 450GB of data. Thoughts?

I probably have an overly complicated and redundant system of saving photos: one hard drive for images right off the card untouched, one for storing edited files with all the layers, and one for storing JPEGs of the edited files (that one gets backed up in the cloud as well). I contemplated getting a good RAID system for storing all of this but due to cost of those systems, I think I'll stick with my redundancies for now. I'm thinking of taking my 4 smaller drives with all the layered images and storing those in one bigger drive (WD My Book or G-technologies 8-10TB drive maybe?). I use Crash Plan for backing up my computer, including the photos currently awaiting or in the process of editing.

Thanks so much.



Hi Stephanie.  For you, a SSD would be the better option.  RAID 0 is plenty fast but you also wouldn't notice any performance different for photos.  If you plan on editing videos, then I would recommend RAID 0.  You can get a good size G-Tech drive for data you're storing long term or if your budget allows, consider a RAID 5 drive.

Thanks so much! I was leaning in that direction. Considering the Samsung T5 2TB SSD. Just seems weird to be using something so tiny for so much data!! Do you think the G-Tech drives are significantly better than the WD MyBook Desktop hard drives? Thanks again!

G-Tech is now actually under the WD umbrella.  You'll find WD drives if you open up a G-Tech enclosure.  G-Tech enclosures are more solid in my opinion so I would go that route.

I'd stay away from LaCie if I was you. A few years ago, I had two LaCie external desktop drives for my Windows computer. When Microsoft upgraded to Windows XP, both LaCie Drives failed. They were not cheap either. Each had Firewire 800 which was fast when new. I only got excuses from LaCie, the last one being that the drive needed upgraded software (drivers or ?) I managed to get some of my pictures back but not all. I next started the slippery road toward WD drives. I had two large brown metal ones that never worked. I got some pictures back but not nearly the number on the drives. The price doesn't matter, I just want dependable backup. I soon learned that WD has purchased almost all other drive manufacturers. WD has serious connection issues with loose cables from the computer to the drive, in particular the G Tech drives that have nice specs but loose cables and that is the end of the drive when that happens. Western Digital doesn't seem to take seriously the value of the files entrusted to their drives. These are cables supplied with the drives and should be a perfect fit. Another drive to stay away from in my opinion. WD also provides backup software that was once great but now no longer works. After all these years, it seems that the internet is still filled with unscrupulous sellers of everything.

So if WD owns everything these days, which external drive are you supposed to buy that's dependable? 

Great article!

Looking at the Lacie 2Big Dock Raid Array 8TB (2x4) per this article, but wanted to see if you'd agree :)

This is for video editing, working with 4K footage - currently about 3.75TB of footage alone for this project, but I may need to use it for smaller projects simultaneously as well. Editing on Premiere, using a (new to me, refurbished) 2017 MacPro, 3.2 GHz Intel Xeon W.

I edit both at an office and at my machine at home (the above) so I need something portable enough to slog on my commute every day. A big stack isn't really an option, and my budget is around $600, which makes that Lacie 2Big Dock Raid Array look pretty good.

The drive given to me to work on this project is abysmal - a WD Easystore 8TB, which is so... not fast... that it's hard to even find a read/write speed noted anywhere. 5400rpm. Obviously it won't be tough to beat that, but I'm looking for the fastest deal I can afford (which seems to rule out SSDs).


Hi Cate!  The LaCie 2Big Dock you chose would be an excellent choice.  It's equipped with two 7200rpm drives and at RAID 0, it's made for video editing.  The only drawback is it's not exactly small and light at 6.4 pounds.  But if you're ok with this weight, it's the perfect performing drive for you within your budget.

Hello There!

I am looking to purchase an 8-10TB hard disc for photo studio back up. I am using Medium format gear and multi-layer files, but only keeping what necessary.
I am using windows machines and do not care much for speed. I care a lot about reliability and am willing to pay extra for reliability, but do not need any feature other than USB 3 cable connection. The drive can be connected to electricity (240V) and does not need to travel at all.
Can you please advise on the preffered Hard Discs for my requirements (simplicity, size and reliability)?

Many thanks!


Hi Yaal!  Consider the Drobo 5C hard drive enclosure.  Drobo's aren't the fastest drives but they were created with reliability and stability in mind.  Drobo will also constantly check your hard drive's health and suggest when to replace a failing hard drive.  Then you'd just have to swap out the failing drive with a new one.  Because of Drobo's "BeyondRAID" system, 25% of your total storage would be reserved by Drobo in case of hard drive failure.  For example, if you purchase a 10TB Drobo, you would really have about 7.5TB of usable storage.  But the best thing about Drobo is you can just upgrade each hard drive with a larger drive as needed.

The Drobo in the link below is a 10TB unit (5 x 2TB).  Should you need more space in the future, you can simply remove one of the 2TB drives and add a 3TB or larger.  Drobo also supports 100-240v.

Hello! I am very interested in this topic of storage and backups as I am a professional photographer. I am looking to update my entire system and process, but am getting confused in the process. I think I want a DAS system to work from for my main working drive. I want to be able to keep my computer relatively clean and empty of files, so I can work exclusively from this external drive. But this drive needs to have fast transfer speeds and lots of space (~10-16 Tb would be enough I think). I'm getting a little overwhelmed, but seem to be finding that Drobo 5D3 is one of the best options for this? In an ideal world, I would like to have another drive that is syncing the main, providing me with another local backup. The only set up I have seen with this is suggesting to then get a Drobo 5N2. This is a little bit pricey of a set up (purchasing 2 drobo systems) and potentially a little bit overkill for what I am needing. I doubt I will ever need to expand to 64Tb. But is there ANYTHING else like this? If so, what are some options? I've looked at the WD and G Technology, as well as Synology, but nothing seems as seamless in its setup or as fast in its read/write. On the other hand, I have heard some bad reviews about the Drobos and I'm not sure I want to take the risk with such a pricey system.  Thanks!

Hi Taylor.  For your inquiry, I would like to suggest to reach out to us via e-mail at [email protected].  In the e-mail please also include what your current workflow is, the specs of your computer, and what storage solution you are using right now.  

Hi - I found this article and conversation in my search. I have two MacBook Pro laptops that include lots of photos and some videos from my iPhone.   I would like to buy an external hard drive for my images and videos to store safely (I do not use the cloud). I have determined that I need 1 TB for each computer (I would like to use one drive per laptop).  It will then be used often to access photos.  Can you suggest something for just this use. I am a hobby photographer (all images in jpeg).  thank you

Hi Caroline.  Consider the Western Digital 1TB Passport for Mac drive.  The drive is a portable drive so you can easily take it with you if you need to.  It's preformatted for Mac and ready to use with your computers right out of the box.

I'm a photographer and also work in post visual work. I'm looking for better options to store and backup my files whilst working on the system. I've used LaCie, WD, and Toshiba, and all of my drives started breaking down and not showing up on my computer after a few months. Toshiba was the only one that lasted for more than a year. Either the disk would start squeaking, or the drive just wouldn't show up (both in the disk utility and devices menu. Are there any other drives or options you could recommend to me? I would really like to stop losing info and files because my drives stop working

Hi, I work for a small TV channel and we want to buy several HDD. We were thinking about using RAID0 (We really need the speed), but I was wondering how can we connect the 4 computers we use to the same array? (cause if we use wi-fi we'll loose speed). Thanks in advance :)

I'm a video editor that works with 4k files. I currently have a 2017 5k iMac with the 512mb internal SSD. If I would like to edit from an external hard drive, what would be my best option for under $350? Looking for it to be as fast and easy to edit on the computer as it is now or better if possible via a drive. Thanks in advance!

Hi Bryan - 

If you want the capacity:

Designed for storing and working with intensive multimedia files including video, photos, audio, and music libraries, the 6TB G-DRIVE G1 USB 3.0 Hard Drive from G-Technology (B&H # GT0G03674) lets you store up to 6TB of your data and transfer it to or from your computer using USB 3.0 technology. Housed in an aluminum enclosure, the G-DRIVE G1 features data transfer rates up to 226 MB/s and a rotational speed of 7200 rpm, both of which allow for quick file access and fast data transfer speeds. The G-DRIVE G1 natively supports USB 3.0 and includes a USB 3.0 cable, and is backwards compatible with USB 2.0.

If you  want the speed and form factor of an SSD:

Designed for HD video editing, enclosed in aluminum, and compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux, the black 1TB U32 Shadow USB 3.1 External Solid State Drive from Oyen Digital (B&H # OYU32SSD1000) provides fast, silent, and durable performance, allowing you to access data quickly and efficiently using solid-state drive technology and micro-USB 3.1 connectivity. This SSD has a capacity of 1TB, allowing you to store a variety of files, including movies, photos, music, documents, and more. Using its 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 interface, which is also known as USB 3.1 Gen 2, data can be transferred at speeds up to 575 MB/s, and is compatible with 5 Gb/s USB 3.0, which is also known as USB 3.1 Gen 1, and 480 Mb/s USB 2.0. Included is a USB 3.1 cable.






Hi Bryan- 

This is a good choice for mobile use, but not a recommended choice for extended video editing applications.

Im a Photographer and im looking for the best option to store and backup my files... i want my iMac tu run faster so i want all my fiiles pulled from the drive and make sure i have a copy of everything just in case something happens...

i heard a Bay its a good option... what would you reccomend? keeping it afforadable under 350$ for maybe 8tb (two 4tb)

Hi Herman - 

Designed with the ability to edit and playback multiple audio and HD video streams, the StudioRAID 4TB 2-Bay USB 3.0 RAID Array (2 x 2TB) from Glyph Technologies is a production-grade external RAID array that connects to your host system using its one micro-USB 3.0 port, two FireWire 800 ports, or one eSATA port at speeds up to 360 MB/s. The StudioRAID is equipped with two 3.5" drive bays and a total capacity of 4TB, which is configured as 2 x 2TB 7200 rpm hard drives. To help facilitate its functionality within a production environment, the StudioRAID comes pre-configured as a RAID 0, which helps enhance performance by spreading data across two drives and is also compatible with RAID 1, which offers data redundancy. For those who do not require a RAID, JBOD and SPAN are also supported. This array is powered by an internal international auto-switching power supply that operates at 100-240 VAC at 50/60 Hz, is cooled with an intelligent quiet fan, uses disk health monitoring, and is constructed from a scratch-resistant black powder-coated aluminum chassis with a brushed stainless steel face plate. While the StudioRAID comes pre-formatted for HFS+ Journaled for Mac, it may also be used with Windows, Linux, Unix, and BSD after a simple reformat. Included is a micro-USB 3.0 cable, a FireWire 800 cable, and a power cable. It is protected by hardware, data recovery, and advance replacement warranties.

Thunderbolt Connection - 

The StudioRAID Thunderbolt 2 Enterprise Class RAID Array from Glyph is a high performance RAID array built for professionals seeking to edit multiple HD video streams. It features a rugged all metal enclosure, and Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.0 connectivity for fast transfer rates of up to 360 MB/s in RAID 0. It also supports RAID 1 and JBOD configurations if needed. This array is configured with two 4TB 7200 rpm drives for a total capacity of 8TB. Even though it's preformatted for Mac, you'll be able to reformat it for compatibility with Windows systems. Included with the StudioRAID Enterprise RAID are 2-year level 1 data recovery and 1-year advance drive replacement services.

 I have 4000 images on my MacBook Pro 2009. 

I  can no longer update my MacBook Pro and had hoped to put these images on an external hard drive that could be read on my PC.

I got some of them onto the external hard drive but the PC can't read it even though they are JPEG.

 Can you recommend  and external hard drive that would work for me? 


Hi Mabellucy - 

If the images are on a drive that is formatted for a Mac (HFS+ Journaled) - then the Windows PC cannot read the them. Save all  the images to a Windows formatted drive (exFAT formatted), then the PC can read them.

With the 6TB My Book Desktop USB 3.0 External Hard Drive from WD it is easy to back up important files and create system backups using the included WD Backup software for Windows or Time Machine for Mac. In addition to simplifying the backup process for both Windows and Mac computers, this hard drive features 256-bit AES hardware encryption to ensure stored files remain secure. The My Book Desktop drive features a USB 3.0 port for fast data transfers and comes exFAT formatted making it easy to get up and running in no time.

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