Being that a lot of people on this forum seem to use external hard drives in tandem with their SMP I thought I would make a comparison post in layman’s terms about 2 of the more popular large capacity external hard drives on the market. Hopefully this post saves some people time and headaches.
Recently I have tried out 2 3TB External Hard Drives. I keep my media on these devices for playback on the SMP.
I have the Seagate GoFlex Desk and the Western Digital My Book Essential.
Below are some of the differences that I have noticed:
Seagate GoFlex Desk 3TB
-Pain in the **bleep** to “safely eject” I have tested this on 3 different computers. 2 running XP and one running Windows 7 64. Most of the time I cannot safely eject this device. This is a deal breaker for me unless I decide to use it solely as a hard back-up (unplugged most of the time.) You can only safely eject it if you reboot your computer. This is a common issue with this drive. Nothing in the official Seagate trouble shooting guide works - so be warned. Seagate has advised me to return the drive, but I feel an exchange would not solve the issue. It’s probably inherent in the hardware/software as many people are complaining.
-The drive is quite loud. If you have the drive next to you on your desk connected to your computer you will notice a humming noise - vibrations through your desk. And occasionally you can hear the fan(s) making noise. There is nothing wrong with the HD, It’s just the way It is built as far as I can tell.
-I like that the power light is static. It does not blink when you access the drive, so there will be nothing distracting you while it is connected to your SMP.
-USB 3.0 Connector seems flimsy. (It would be easy to accidentally disconnect.)
-Absolutely no issues working in tandem with the SMP.
-You cannot connect this directly to a newer TV, the TV will most likely not detect it (Depending on the brand and if you happen to be lucky.)
Western Digital My Book Essential 3TB
-This HD is more bulky than the Seagate, and I find the Seagate more appealing from an aesthetic perspective. But I believe as a result of this design the WD offers better ventilation (due to It’s extra width.) There is more room for hot air to escape from both the top and back of the HD.
-It has a blinking white light on the front of the device when it is accessing data. This is certainly distracting. I may consider turning it away from my TV viewing angle.
-So far I have no issues safely ejecting this device.
-It is VERY quiet in comparison to the Seagate. I have to put my ear up to the drive to even hear that the fan(s) are working. There is no humming/vibration on the desk like there is with the Seagate. Big plus for me.
-There was one issue when I first plugged it into my notebook running Windows 64. It said “Device drive not installed properly.” This seems to be a common issue with this HD. Regardless of the error I could still access the drive and transfer content, though many people are not as fortunate. There is a device driver download from WD that is easy to find in their knowledge base, so not a big deal.
-Like the Seagate - the USB 3.0 connect seems flimsy. I would be very careful when unplugging the USB connect it if you plan on moving it around a lot.
-So far no issues with SMP connectivity/functionality.
*I have not bothered to reformat either of these drives as they have both worked fine out of the box. I have had no issues transferring or playing files on either device.
*Do not install any of the software that comes with either drive as It’s crappy bloatware.
*Both drives only have a storage capacity of 2.72 TB - Not 3TB as advertised.
If you have any questions about these drives feel free to ask me. So far it seems that I would avoid the Seagate drive if you plan on swapping between hardware a lot to transfer files.