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I went to the country, broke into a chicken coop. Stole a dozen chickens, put 'em in a pot of soup - Me And My Tapeworm, Sylvester Weaver 1927

Author Topic: Electronics  (Read 8610 times)

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Offline Stuart

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Re: Electronics
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2011, 05:02:41 PM »
I've been doing a little scouting around for a friend who wants to transfer his cassette tapes to his PC. I ran across the following:

http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/UCA202.aspx

http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/UFO202.aspx

The reviews indicate solid products for the price, but anybody here have any first hand experience or know anything about these devices?


Offline Rivers

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Re: Electronics
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2011, 06:44:41 PM »
No, unfortunately I don't know about those Stuart, looks interesting though since I recently unearthed a trove of cassettes. I just wanted to interact with the other helical thread within this thread about off-computer storage.

USB drives I don't trust all that much, in fact not at all, since I've had two reputable brands go south on me.  >:( A better solution for taking big media folders and scheduled backups off the main drive might be a NAS, network area storage, if you're prepared to budget a little higher. These have now come down in price into the consumer zone, they were once only in the domain of corporate data centers.

This is basically a 'not entirely dumb' racky-type dedicated storage box into which you can plug multiple SATA hard drives, which you can get at any big box retailer, of the size, speed and $$ of your choice. I recommend keeping the drives smallish (relatively speaking), 1 terabyte would be the max size I'd chose for a single drive at this point in time for various tedious geeky digital- and mechanical reasons but if you have a four-slot NAS that's huge.

So anyway, you plug in the drives and connect the NAS to your computer via your network and it's basically just another computer on your network dedicated to storage. To connect it to more than just your computer you will need need a gigabit switching hub ($50 for a 5-port Dlink, is a good one), and don't skimp on the cables, CAT 5e or CAT 6, and the shorter the better for power reasons. You plug your computer's network cable into one port on the switching hub, and the NAS into another, and your internet connection into another. Plug any other computers, TiVos, Blu-Ray players, TVs, anything with a network connection, into the remaining ports on the switching hub or other connected hubs on your network.

You then run the supplied config software on your computer and at the end of the day the NAS drives come up as one or more mapped drives on your computer, and are available to any other device on your network, should you have them, and have elected to share the NAS during the config stage.

Advantages are speed, huge expandability (if you get a four drive-space NAS), and connectivity to everything on your network. There are further less tangible benefits to do with the box's infrastructure like thermal control (they have built-in fan cooling), greenness (look for one that will sleep when nothing is accessing it, saving the planet and saving you money) and thereby extended TTTF (total time to failure).

Hope this is helpful.

[update, 4 months later: I ended up getting a 5 drive space NAS with 5 x 2 Terrabyte WD drives, formatted into a RAID array. Raid type I elected to go with is SHR which gives 1 disk redundancy and 7.14 Tb available storage. Google Synology NAS DS1511+ for details. It's been flawless so far, and the management software is excellent, highly recommended]
« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 05:19:54 PM by Rivers »

Offline Stuart

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Re: Electronics
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2011, 10:47:10 PM »
Thanks for the info, Rivers. Coincidentally, I was down at Fry's in Renton tonight and saw that they had several DLink and Netgear boxes on the shelf -- both with and without hard drives. I'd opt for the empty enclosure if I was going that route and select my own HDD. I agree with you about 1 TB being the upper limit. One thing to be aware of is that getting a new SATA 3.0 (6.0 GB/s) drive that will work in a new Network Attached Storage box might not work if installed in an older PC without some configuration and jumpering. The discussion boards point this out, so it's a matter of being aware of what the potential compatibility problems might be if one is thinking of moving it around at some point.

As to non-NAS external hard drives, my advice is to buy the drive and the case or docking station separately and put them together yourself. That way if there's trouble, you can pull the drive to see whether it is the drive or the case that is the problem--and you can choose the drive that's in the case, things that you can't do with the pre-assembled external HDD. Back in February, I took my daughter's laptop in for some warranty work (it had a short in the keyboard). I spent some time talking to the repair people about their experience with hard drives. They told me that the Western Digital Caviar Black or Scorpio Black line of products were generally the best performers (and have a 5 year warranty), with Hitachi coming in second. In other words, their failure rate was lower. A quick glance of reviews at sites such as Newegg bears out that every manufacturer's products have problems, but some brands and product lines seem to be better than others. A while back a couple of the sales people at Fry's said the failure rate of computer related products was about 6% overall within the first 30 days (thus, their return policy). This doesn't exactly inspire a lot of confidence.

So there's my two cents worth. And with that said, the three rules of data preservation still are redundancy, redundancy, redundancy.

« Last Edit: June 27, 2011, 10:50:32 PM by Stuart »

Offline Stuart

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Re: Electronics
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2011, 04:43:38 PM »

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