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Gear & Apps

External Hard Drive Price Watch! – Prices Finally Come Back Down…

By Matthew Saville on April 10th 2012


Okay so for those of you photography enthusiasts out there, Or heck for ANY “digital media” enthusiast, buying external hard drives is probably a pretty regular thing. You probably read the official “Fry’s Ad” regularly, and always check your Newegg newsletter, …all in hopes of saving $5-10 on another external hard drive. If this is you, then rest assured we can relate!

Unfortunately, the past ~6 months have been very bleak for us HDD price shoppers. Why? Because Thailand, which is the world’s 2nd largest producer of hard disks and responsible for 25% of the world’s production (according to Wikipedia) …suffered from SEVERE monsoon flooding starting in July 2011.  Mid-year last year I bought a 1 TB USB 3.0 portable external drive from Western Digital for $95.  Within a few months, the same drive cost $195!!!

So, many of us have been putting off buying new external hard drives.  I usually buy new hard drives every year on Black Friday, and put them to use on January 1st.  Well, it’s already April 2012, and I’m still squeezing my personal work into the last few GB of 2011’s hard drives.  I still have enough space on separate drives to keep a BACKUP of everything, of course, but it’s getting down to the wire now!


Well, I’m glad to say that FINALLY, hard drive prices are starting to fall back down.  Western Digital has got most / all of their Thailand factories back online, and production is getting back to normal.  Amazon is listing 1 TB USB 3.0 portable drives for just ~$109!  Pretty close to the $95 bargain I got… (It was at Target; a WD Elements *not* Passport)  Also, the larger (3.5″ & requiring AC power) external drives are down to $89 on Amazon…  So, it’s finally “time to buy” again!

In fact, I recently saw one of the BEST DEALS EVER on B&H for a photographer’s dream-setup, the G-TECH G-SAFE.  G-TECH has recently discontinued the G-SAFE for no reason, (probably just re-configuring their product line) …and so these G-SAFE units will NOT be around forever.  Previously selling for over $600, this 2 TB unit is just $479!!!  (The 3-TB unit and all others already out of stock at B&H.)  And no, this is NOT some crap product that is being sold off for cheap because the inventory isn’t “moving”, neither is it being discontinued for any such reason.  The G-SAFE reviews are everywhere, and overwhelmingly positive.  (In a future article I will outline just how easy it is to use an automatic RAID 1 device such as the G-SAFE for effortless on-site *AND* off-site backup, and are in my opinion FAR SUPERIOR to the “Drobo” concept…)

If readers are interested, I’ll post again whenever there are great deals on (reliable) external hard drives.  :-)


Take care,


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Matthew Saville is a full-time wedding photographer at Lin & Jirsa Photography, and a senior editor & writer at SLR Lounge.

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Q&A Discussions

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  1. Merrilyn Romen

    YES, I’d love to read an article on how to use an “automatic RAID 1 device such as the G-SAFE for effortless on-site *AND* off-site backup” and keep us posted on deals. Thanks, Matthew! Always a pleasure to read your articles!

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  2. Anonymous

    Seen one of these in a Chase Jarvis video and I want one now!

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  3. Joe Gunawan

    The drive that I highly, highly recommend is the Silicon Power A80. Why you ask? Well, it has military-grade shock protection, weather-proof, and according to a Youtube torture test, can withstand a butane torch and being run over by a car! 

    Not bad for $134 1TB USB 3.0 hard drive!!

    Here’s the Youtube link to the said torture test: 

    Stay Creative!
    Joe Gunawan |

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