cheap archiving for a data hoarder

Every now and then I check to see what's out there for cheap but good data storage. I'm not talking about the NAS stuff because that's complicated... although I will admit NAS is a lot easier to set up these days compared to years ago.

What I'm talking about is the easy stuff. USB stick, internal drive and external drive solutions.

USB sticks

The best deal going right now are SanDisk 128GB Ultra flash drives. These things are cheap, reliable, and I own several of them.

Generally speaking, you max out at 512GB with these before you start running into problems.

True, the 512GB is just 35 bucks now, but the beauty of the 128 is buying them in packs. There's a 5-pack right now for 50 bucks.

It is genuinely a good idea to have a handful of 128GB sticks. Definitely better than the old days of having a pile of DVDs.

Internal drives

A Seagate Barracuda 8TB is the best option right now. This is of the 5400 RPM flavor. Not good as a primary OS drive, but excellent for backups because the lower RPM means it won't run as hot.

Like with the flash drives, yes there are larger drives out there, but the 8TB in particular is widely available and "normal". No special drivers needed and no special setup needed. Install internally, or plug in to a USB hard drive enclosure and will work easily. Easy is good.

External drives

I'm not a fan of these, but it is a turnkey plug-in-and-use thing that does work.

Seagate once again has the best option with their 5TB offering...

...which brings up my biggest complaint with these. Yes, it's ready-to-use. Yes, it's convenient. But I get 3 more TB if I go with an 8TB internal drive + enclosure for roughly the same price.

However, I will admit that this is the best thing for plug-in-and-go and have somewhat large storage. Works with PCs, Macs and modern gaming consoles easily.

Get the 128GB sticks first

I trashed most of my USB 2.0 sticks since the USB 3.0 SanDisk ones are cheap and good. They're even cheap enough to where you can "manually mirror" by copying the same data to two sticks. It's just a nice thing to have.

Published 2024 Jun 20