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Gear & Apps

Pye’s Favorite External Hard Drives

By Pye Jirsa on June 26th 2015

Working Anywhere and Everywhere

Hard Drives are vital to any photographer who wants to work from home or on the go. I’m working everywhere, whether I’m at the studio, at home, or on “vacation” (sorry, honey!). No matter the situation or location, I have reliable hard drives that have become my favorite workhorses, and I want to share them with you!


Pye’s Favorite External Hard Drives

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Samsung Portable SSD T1 Series


These tiny Samsung Solid State Drives are as fast as they are slim. They boast a speed of 450 MB/s which is the fastest I’ve ever seen a USB 3.0 Drive. These drives have become a staple in my workflow because I can quickly transfer the data I need from my studio desktop and leave within seconds. If there was ever an ideal travel hard drive, then this is it. The price is worth the portability and performance, and because it’s a solid state drive, it’s more reliable than a hard disc drive.

G-Technology G-RAID Removable Dual-Drive Storage System


This hard drive is the work horse at the studio. I keep my entire perpetual catalogue on this drive, which as of now consists of over 10,000 images. If I’m working on a project and need to pull up an image, or if someone else in the studio needs to look through my catalogue, this is the drive they go to. The data transfer speeds with USB 3.0 are rated at 400 MB/s and with Thunderbolt, it’s 440 MB/s. This Hard Drive is fast, reliable, and sturdy. I’ve used this Hard Drive for over a year now, and it’s never given me a single problem. If you need a hard drive to work off of or to store images on, then the G-Technology G-RAID Removable Dual-Drive Storage System is the way to go.


So there you have it, my two favorite external drives. Do you have any questions about my workflow or the gear I use? Let me know in the comments!

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Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

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Q&A Discussions

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  1. Andy & Amii Kauth

    Those Samsung Portables look sweet … fast, and we have been looking for something like this (couple off continent weddings coming up), but I wonder if they are almost too small … anyone lose one yet?

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  2. Mel Stoutsenberger

    Cafe Rio is good eats!

    So is the Samsung, thanks!

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  3. robert garfinkle

    as for the samsung portable – I am so all over it…

    but for the G Drive –

    You can build your own 4 x 3 and mirror them in pairs – for a total of 6TB, for about $700.00 – I should know. I have one. it’s a PC that acts like a server. I generally use it for all media.

    it’s not portable, but –

    1. you can put any style card for connectivity in it, for your needs – thunderbolt, USB-c (both if you want)
    2. you also have direct lan or wifi connectivity to it.
    3. you can put a familiar operating system on it, and it’s great; if you have an old copy of windows 7 pro lying around – it’s perfect, great, for-free front end operating system you can remote into and even sit down at.
    4. raid disks, in mirror, can be split / broken away from the rest of the pack and your data is still safe – meaning, you can replace a bad drive without worry of loss.
    5. more benefits not listed…

    while raid (not just a buzz word) is excellent for redundancy, in similar cases above (like the G drive), you don’t know the operating system or how it’s raided (via software or hardware), and if it breaks, do you just throw it away? not for that type of money.

    Plus, in a built it your self system, you can also pack it with a pretty decent amount of RAM and an excellent video card – so as to use it as a second workstation if need be. But, cannot pass up the chance to say that it has on-board VGA / HDMI / Display Port w audio.

    recipe: (using my own setup as an example)

    1. 1 x asus micro atx baord (built-in: video, audio, LAN)
    2. 1 x corsair 750 power supply
    3. 1 x 250GB drive for the operating system
    4. 1 x blu-ray / dvd / cd burner
    5. 2 x 2 GB and 2 x 3 GB HDDs for raid drives, setup in pairs, leaving a total of 5TB’s in raid (mirrored)
    6. 1 Intel I5 2.4GHz processor
    7. 16GB corsair ram
    8 1 micro atx case.

    out of pocket, $850.00 (added Blu-ray to knock it up a few pennies)

    this allows, flexibility, redundancy, connectivity, 2nd workstation possibilities –

    I’ve been running mine for 3 years, 1 HDD gave way, replaced it, no data loss…

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  4. robert garfinkle

    I spent the weekend starting to write an application which will store images (or any other file) directly into a database. it will know how to catalog every file attribute associated with a file, and allow you to search by any attribute. I have had a rudimentary prototype for the last couple of years, yet now it’s time for a serious go at a web-based front end to this application. yes, it’s your own image cloud.

    why announce it here – well, while we speak of hard disks, it was always a pet peeve of mine to just throw files onto a hard disk in an un organized fashion, and I always, invariably ended up with duplicates or never “really” knowing where the “real” originals were. and, occasionally delete something I don’t want to delete.

    I plan on eventually selling this, where you’d buy your own copy, set it up in your own home / office…

    features –

    1. upload files to a database, single or batch. in original binary format.
    2. self-cataloging of every file with the ability to search on ANY term. (width, height, all exif info, color depth etc… all of it – whatever was in the file)
    3. will allow for ANY type of file, not just images… videos, invoices etc… (currently has 2.1 GB file size limit, will break that size limit soon)
    4. prevent duplicates
    5. ability to be served anywhere on the net – up to you….
    6. more to come…

    planned name of product – “ImageArea51”

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  5. lee christiansen

    I’m using G-Tech’s G-Speed RAID drives and I’m loving them. Fast, enterprise class and very quiet. Always with great customer support.

    I ditched my Drobos when their customer support became awful and the speed difference is astounding. (Not just data speed, but rebuild speed / GB if there is a drive failure. The G-Speed is about 1.5 hrs / GB whereas my Drobos were an unusable day / GB).

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  6. Richard Hammer

    These articles always seem to come along at the right time, because my backup drives are getting rusty and I need a reliable option. G-Tech has a great reputation, so I think I’m sold!

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  7. Brandon Dewey

    thanks for the information.

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  8. Jesper Ek

    For me it is still a bit small for backup. I am in need of a more long term one and one that is more for recent projects. Still havent found a price worthy and secure one for long term use…

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    • Jesper Ek

      The long term one need of course to be huge.

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    • Dustin Baugh

      Agreed but single portable SSD drives are really only feasable for backups while traveling IMO, 500GB is great for that (250GB for 90% of my trips as well).
      And the 8TB external G-Technology is still over 3 times the size of my current catalog, so plenty of room for full backups on that one.

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  9. Tom Johnson

    Still waiting for SSD to come down in price a bit more.

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  10. Leslie Troyer

    Anybody have favorites that use USB-C?? If I buy today I want a standard that will be good for a few more years.

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    • Dustin Baugh

      That’s so new regular USB will be more common for a few more years. By time it’s obsolete and gets difficult to plug a current USB into any devices you will likely have upgraded your hard-drive multiple times.

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    • Leslie Troyer

      going with usb-c – is all about speed, portability & power. The choice between Thunderbolt and USB-C – I would choose USB because it is more widely accepted outside of the Apple world, This should drive the price down substantially over TB. USB-C also can deliver a significant amount of power so I won’t need a separate wall wart to drive even a couple of harddisks (65W).

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  11. Liam Doran

    Getting ready to pick up those very drives! My drobo has been ok but quirky and starting to fail now

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