Sunday, December 3, 2006

Seagate External USB/Firewire HDD

This weekend I got myself the 750 GB Seagate Dual Interface (USB2.0/Firewire) External HDD [ST3750640CB-RK]. I looked around at the various external enclosures and internal HDD combination, but since Best Buy was selling the drive with an instant $100 rebate and I had a discount coupon the price came out better.

Seagate Picture

The drive's spec is pretty good:

  • 7200 RPM

  • 16MB Cache

  • 2 lb. 9.5 oz.

  • USB 2.0 port

  • Firewire (IEEE1394a) port

The drive is pretty compact and feels solid in my hands. It comes with a stand so you can have it sit upright or flat if you wanted to stack them. The problem is that there are no rubber feet if you do lay it out flat so it'll slide around on a smooth surface.

The drive is formatted as FAT32 and comes with a one-push button that will start a back-up program if you use it with Windows. I didn't try it with Windows but instead connected to my Linux server.

Setting it up was very simple and involved plugging it into the electrical outlet and connecting the USB cable from the drive to the computer. My Linux box didn't automount the drive, but I was able to check that linux can see it using "fdisk -l". This will return the device name that can be use to manually mount the drive:
mount -t vfat [device name]

Once I knew it was working, I decided that since I will primarily use it with Linux that I'll format it to use ext3 instead of FAT32 so it can understand UNIX file permissions. Unmount the drive and format using:
/sbin/mke2fs -j [device name]

This will erase everything on the drive and make use ext3 (ext2 + journaling). The process was very quick although it uses up a bit more space then FAT32. Once I was done formatting, the drive showed 688 Gb total and 198 Mb used. I think the default FAT32 had 699 Gb total.

Once it looks like everything is working, I added an entry into my /etc/fstab so that the drive will get mounted.

I'm debating whether I should use the fstab or whether to use automount, but this is a minor thing. Otherwise, the drive seems to operate seemlessly with Linux. I now need to get my other machines to back up files to the new drive.

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