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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?


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Old 05-23-2006, 02:58 PM   #1
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External Storage advice please (UK)

I'd appreciate some advice about external storage devices please.

Why ?

Well, I recently installed SuSE 10.1 - Initially, I did this as I'd always done, by installing to the / (along with /boot and /swap) but not touching my /home.

This time round, it proved problematic, I suspect that it didn't want to do that - I believe that thats got something to do with user ID's etc.

Anyway, I managed to salvage most of the stuff in my /home by writing it to CDRW - I couldn't work out how I'd save both the data and music to the same CDRW and in my impatience I just did a complete re-install including trashing the /home.

This resulted in me loosing about 100 CD's worth of music (ripped as FLAC as I have a Rio Karma, which conveniently happens to support that format).

So, I'm sure you understand how long it's gonna take me to "re-rip" the music (I'm about half way through after a week).

My problem is, that although I've done a bit of digging around, there seems to be a plethora of devices that might suffice, but which one ?

Theres lots listed on the HCL, though I haven't got a clue as to which might be a good make/model.

What I would like to know, is linux compatibility, availability in the UK, likelyhood of "future proofing" (in as far as that might be possible), formatting, USB stuff (i.e. my current system is about 4 years old, so only has USB 1/1.1, will something that uses USB2 work ok or is there a device - resonably priced - that will work via ethernet).

Plus anything about other storage methods etc that might be relevant i.e. I've read stuff about NAS but don't really understand what it's about.

I'm hoping to pay, about the 100/$200 mark (possibly a bit more, but as it's for home storage I'm not thinking of terabytes of capacity - 50/100 gigs would be more than adequate for many years to come).

Any info, is very much appreciated.


Old 05-23-2006, 04:32 PM   #2
Registered: Jul 2004
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I think that you shouldn't have any problem with 99% of all of the currently available external USB 2.0 or Firewire enabled harddisks. Note that USB2.0 devices are fully compatible with USB 1.x standard and will simply throttle back to that speed when attached to USB 1.x controllers, you shouldn't notice that except for the longer transfer times with large amounts of data, for playing music or a movie it shouldn't be a bother.
Ethernet enabled external harddrives, also known as NAS devices (Network Attached Storage), Well you might want to check these NAS devices thoroughly before you choose for one, because no two brands of NAS devices are alike unfortunately. Some even have a Linux kernel running, or something proprietary that might not mix with your settings, and they're not that cheap compared to USB/Firewire harddrives.

From personal experience I can tell you that the PDS2Go 35 USB2.0/Firewire 400 external harddrive enclosure works perfectly with Linux. I've tested it on 3 different machines with two different distributions (Mandrake and Knoppix, several versions including current) on both USB 1.1 and 2.0
Have to note though that my enclosure has the USB2.0/Firewire 400 controller, where you are you'll probably find the version that has the USB2.0/Firewire 800 controller if it's still in stores. The packaging contains the aluminium enclosure, four sets of transparent front panels/desk 'feet', two 1.2m long cables (USB and Firewire), a small wrench, a protective bag, steel cable lock and one power supply. The PDS2Go 35 is for 3.5" drives, and the PDS2Go 25 is for 2.5" laptop drives, in case you encounter that type and were wondering. The 2.5" will lack the power supply since it can feed off of USB power.
As for the harddisk itself, I just bought a regular 120GB Maxtor IDE drive and formatted it with a single FAT32 partition before I mounted it inside the enclosure.
I haven't had any problems with this setup so far, and found it pleasing and sturdy enough to buy a second enclosure to use at work for 24/7 usage.


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