Welcome Dialog

Welcome to the Community!

We have a brand new look! Take a tour with us and explore the latest updates on Adobe Support Community.


What is the best external hard drive option to use for storing images?

Explorer ,
Jul 02, 2021 Jul 02, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

As of now, I use a 1TB Western Digital My Passport Ultra to store my images. I plan on getting a second external drive to backup the primary external drive but before I do, should I get a diferent primary external drive than the WD one I have? Should the second external be different than the first?

 

Generally, what is the most performant option for a first and second external hard drive?

 

I use Lightroom classic on a 2017 MacBook running Big Sur. 

TOPICS
How to, Mac

Views

119

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
LEGEND ,
Jul 02, 2021 Jul 02, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

There's no such thing as "best". A lot of solutions work well.

 

I would not consider replacing your existing external HD unless you are having problems with it, or need more space. Speed of the disks where you store your images is relatively unimportant with Lightroom Classic. It really doesn't matter what type of drive the backup is, as long as you feel the manufacturer produces quality drives.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Explorer ,
Jul 02, 2021 Jul 02, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Ok thanks. If I were to get a second external to backup the primary HDD what is recommended?

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
LEGEND ,
Jul 02, 2021 Jul 02, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

The only criteria I can think of is to have enough space for your current and next few years needs, and that you feel the manufacturer produces good quality hard drives.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 02, 2021 Jul 02, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I have 2 WD 5 TB external drives, one for my primary image storage, and one as a backup. I also have a 2nd backup in the cloud. Storage is very inexpensive now - ~$110 for a 5 TB drive.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Explorer ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Can you provide some detail on your cloud configuration? Is it sync'ing your files on the primary external drive?

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I'll let Jill respond for her cloud situation, here's mine: I use BackBlaze. They back up whatever you tell them to. For me, I have them back up my hard drive and my 4TB external drive with all of my photos. They have no limit as to how much a single user can use for the $60/year. 

 

If you need to restore a few files you can just download them from the site. If you wish to download a larger amount, they can send it to you on a large flash drive. If you want it all, they will send you a large hard drive that has all of the data that was being stored. In the case of the flash drive or the hard drive, you can either keep it and pay for the drive or send it back. I do not know how much the latter two approaches are (fortunately I've not had to use them), but every things I've done with them has been very reasonable and when sending questions to them they have been very responsive. 

 

I strongly endorse them.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

My "cloud" solution is kludgy and low-budget - I back up each new folder of images to my Amazon Drive which is free with Amazon Prime. Additional storage is very inexpensive. It's not automated.

I did set up BackBlaze a couple of years ago, but started getting extra charges on my Comcast account for exceeding the data limit on my wifi plan! BackBlaze itself isn't very costly - $60 per year, but the data charges were getting out of hand...

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 02, 2021 Jul 02, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

As has been stated, the brand is not all that critical, most brands are good to very good. But since you're doing the right thing to have a backup for your drive, the chance that two drives are likely to fail at the same time is very remote. However, if your house burns down, both drives may not survive. That why I have two drives, as you plan, AND I also have a cloud service that backs up my iMac AND my primary image drive.

 

I should add that I have a 3rd drive to take in my Mac's Time Machine.

 

I will add that 1 TB is not all that much (nowadays) for image storage. Whatever amount of storage you think you need, at least double it.

 

I will also add that you do also need software to keep your image backup date as good as your originla image data. Personally I use Chronosync, it has proved to be an incredibly powerful and mostly easy software to use. It also does checksum so that it adds up the data that it's about to copy and compares that with the data that's been written to verify that things went well. While I strongly recommend Chronosync, ANY software to do this should have some form of checksum or keep on looking. That is critical.

 

Oh, and almost forgot: do not use a portable drive (one that gets its power from the USB cord). It needs to have external power via a power cord. That's a good sign that the drive is intended for long term use.

 

Good luck!

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 02, 2021 Jul 02, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

To put things in a little context…


@harrybarnettw wrote:

Generally, what is the most performant option for a first and second external hard drive?


 

Technically, the “most performant” (highest speed) external storage would be an NVMe solid state drive (SSD) connected by Thunderbolt 3 or 4. If you spend enough money (a lot), that type of storage will be as fast as the internal SSD in a MacBook laptop (2000–3000+MB/sec). But for Lightroom Classic image storage specifically, both the speed and expense of that solution is not justified because it won’t be taken advantage of. For most people it would be a waste of money.

 

Instead of “most performant,” the more practical question is “best balance of price/performance for Lightroom Classic,” and that could be any of the options below connected using USB 3 or 4.

 

The fastest hard drive will be a 3.5" desktop type which might be 150–200MB/sec, possibly running at 7200RPM. This is a great midrange option between “super fast” and “super cheap.”

 

The Western Digital My Passport is a 2.5" laptop-sized hard drive, probably running at 5400RPM and, according to some recent reviews, transferring at 120–140MB/sec. That’s appropriate for consumer backups (so it’s marketed for that purpose), and it’s acceptable for use as a backup drive and as a primary drive for photos used in Lightroom Classic. The main need for storage speed with Lightroom Classic is not the access to originals, but access to the Camera Raw cache and Lightroom previews which are constantly read and written to far more often — those should be on the fast internal Mac storage, and they probably already are if you are keeping your Lightroom Classic catalog on the Mac.

 

You could consider faster external storage if your camera captures very large files (over 20-30 megapixels) or you shoot very large numbers of them in a session.

 

I’m slowly transitioning to SSDs as the cost of large capacities comes down, but it isn’t to make Lightroom Classic faster because they won’t necessarily do that. My reason is to speed up large backups of photo and video files, especially on trips when time might be limited. To achieve that, both the primary and backup drives need to be capable of higher throughput. But if yours is for home use only, the data sizes are modest, and you can let a backup run for a while, a My Passport type of compact hard drive should work out just fine.

 

@gary_sc wrote:

Oh, and almost forgot: do not use a portable drive (one that gets its power from the USB cord). It needs to have external power via a power cord. That's a good sign that the drive is intended for long term use.


 

I would not necessarily agree with that. There are very few 2.5" hard drives and SSDs that still come with an AC power supply. Also, with USB-C Power Delivery capable of delivering enough power to drive a laptop, USB-C external storage isn’t necessarily going to be more reliable long term if it had an AC power supply.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Explorer ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Have any SSD externals of recommendation? I am not married to Western Digital. 

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Hi Harry,

 

I'm getting my information from the website and cloud service BackBlaze. Every once in a while they publish a report on the reliability of the drives they use and in the past they have pointed out that the small portable drives are not as robust as standard desktop drives. Simply, drives are their business and when they talk I'll listen. As a side point, there was a time about 5 years ago their results on Seagate drives displayed their unreliability. Nowadays, Seagates have improved reliability significantly (but are still not as reliable as most other drives, just better than they were).

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

LATEST

@harrybarnettw wrote:

Have any SSD externals of recommendation? I am not married to Western Digital. 


 

If you want to keep it simple, a very popular choice is the Samsung T3/T5 line. On a budget, get the T3, it will be fast enough for storing original files for Lightroom and Photoshop, rated at up to 450MB/sec through 5Gb/s USB 3. The T5 is slightly faster, rated at up to 540MB/sec through 10Gb/s USB 3. Disclaimer — I have not used either myself.

 

I wanted to be able to carry all photos in one compact drive without needing AC power, and those Samsungs don’t offer more than 2TB, so I chose to buy a good internal (bare drive) SATA SSD and install it into a good USB 3 enclosure ($10 and up depending on speed).

 

Western Digital actually makes one of the cheapest high-capacity SATA SSDs out there, the WD Blue. They go up to 4TB and were recently on sale for $370 at that capacity. I have started using one for compact, fast, no-moving-parts reliable mass storage during travel. So far, so good… A competitor is the newer Samsung QVO 870 which is still on sale ($360 for 4TB).

 

Power users may scoff at both of those models; because of their cell types and hardware caches they may not be able to sustain high performance or have write durability as good as SSDs labeled "Pro" like the Samsung 860 Pro ($730 for 4TB). But I am only using them for occasional read/write like original photo file storage and backups, so for that purpose they should perform well enough for long enough. I would agree that those cheap SSDs are not ideal as a system drive or for daily read/write at high rates sustained for extended periods, such as caches for video editing.

 

Those are all SATA SSDs. As the prices of the faster, more compact NVMe SSDs come down, those will become more attractive, some time in the future.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines