SSD: External Storage

Today I spent the morning updating all of my external backups and making sure everything was in good order. Next week is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. which means a short work week and loads of travel. I love it, but it is also a peak time for data loss so I wanted to make sure everything was properly backed up. The annoyance though quickly set in as external USB HDs are slow, and I began to wonder what it would be like to have external SSDs instead.

Here are the options that I have found, none of which I have tried.

Drobo + SSDs

It appears that you could put SSDs in a Drobo, you would just have to find a way to mount them in the 3.5” bay that Drobos use. If you were to buy the base model Drobo that has 4 bays that would cost you $399 and it appears that for only a twenty dollars for each drive you could get the needed adapter, though I have never seen the inside of a Drobo so I can’t say for sure that this adapter would work.

You could then fill the drive with Intel X25-M Gen2 80GB SSDs at a price of $250 a pop – not cheap. But in the end you would have a 320GB Drobo that is all SSDs for an everyday low price of $1,479.00.

Which is massively expensive for what you get.

[Updated: 11/19/10 at 10:21 AM] Drobo says it does not support SSDs – that saves me 1,479 dollars.

[Hat tip to Graham Wetzler on Twitter]

Other Options

Since the Drobo is out of my price range here are some other options that I found:

  • For $215 you can get a bus powered USB/Firewire SSD that is 60GB – which is pathetically small, but would make for a great backup drive for traveling photographers.
  • Or for $590 you can get the same setup only with 240GB of storage. That brings you within striking distance of the Drobo storage amount above, but for 1/3 the price.
  • For $1,280 you can get a 400GB external Raid solution that has eSATA/Firewire/USB. Or just get the 800GB model for a measly $3,300.

Ok so far I am striking out to find anything useful. I would need to replace 1 mobile 250GB HD, 2 1TB desktop HDs, and 2 500GB desktop HDs so that my backups would remain solid. None of the above options do that in a way that I could remotely afford.

More Options

  • Iomega offers an external USB 3.0 SSD in the 256GB flavor for a not so cheap $619.00.
  • Not to be outdone OCZ offers the Enyo line with similar stats for $715.

Sad Reality

It appears that in order to get all external drives to SSD you need to be rich, very rich. I am not, so for now I will stick with my lovely 7200rpm records. I would suspect though that we are very close to seeing these drives at affordable prices.

What really intrigues me is what form factor SSD external drives may take – they wouldn’t need the same cooling fans, the same power requirements, nor would they need to be in a box shape.

Originally posted for members on: November 19, 2010
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