Are all external hard drives the same?

I am looking for an external hard drive to hook into my Oppo-95. Are there any differences other than storabe size? What should I look for? This will be used to store movies and music.
Are there any differences other than storabe size?
1. Reliability.
2. Speed.
3. Noise.
4. RFI.

RE: (1). Hard to find a bulletproof drive. Judging from owner reports, some of the most reliable drives are made by Glyph. I own two of them and I'm very happy with them.

RE: (2) Speed is primarily determined by the connection between the drive and the computer. USB 3.0 and Firewire 800 are both sufficient for HD video, IME. Also, a solid state drive (SSD) will be more responsive than a hard disc drive (HDD), but also much more expensive.

RE: (3) Some drives have fans, some do not. Fans produce noise, which can be bothersome, depending on how loud the fan is and how far you sit from the drives. But fans keep heat down, and that improves reliability. The fans in the Glyph drives I linked above are fairly quiet.

RE: (4) A SSD will produce less RFI than a HDD. Whether that is audible is debatable, and probably system dependent. IME, SSD's can sound better than HDD's. Personally, I use a combination of drives. I have my better recordings on a SSD, and worse recordings on a HDD.

Hope that helps.

There's limits on the voltage output on most usb's. Too big of a drive may not power up correctly. Get a usb powered drive with the option for a wall wart.
Also, with my oppo, the menu isn't so great. Again, too much on one drive could get difficult.
You want a USB drive with its own power supply. I have an Oppo bDP-93 and it plays quite well with my 3 Seagate FreeAgen 1.5TB drives and with my WD 750GB drive. All of these are USB 2.0 spec drives.

It will NOT recognize my new Seagate Backup Plus Desk 3 TB USB 3.0 drive. I would recommend you stick with USB 2.0 drives for your Oppo...

12-02-12: Rlwainwright
I have an Oppo bDP-93 and it plays quite well with my 3 Seagate FreeAgen 1.5TB drives and with my WD 750GB drive. All of these are USB 2.0 spec drives.

It will NOT recognize my new Seagate Backup Plus Desk 3 TB USB 3.0 drive. I would recommend you stick with USB 2.0 drives for your Oppo...
RW, I'm wondering if that might be due to the size of the drive, rather than to the interface. Drives larger than 2.19 TB utilize a different and relatively new partition table format, GPT, rather than the traditional Master Boot Record format. Older computer operating systems will not recognize GPT, and perhaps the same is true of the operating system firmware in the BDP-93 and/or BDP-95.

So I would suggest to the OP that he not purchase a drive larger than 2 TB unless an authoritative indication can be found that a larger drive will work with the player.

Excellent comments by everyone above.

-- Al
I agree with Rlwainwright.

Externally powered HDD enclosures are reasonably priced, especially if all you want is USB 2.0, which is fine for audio. Since you don't want a fan you are looking for a chunky aluminium unit that will dissipate the heat from the drive. Typical prices are around $40.

A nice 3.5" 1TB or 2TB Western Digital drive ("Red" series) consumes a small amount of power and does not require a fan. These drives are marked by their low energy consumption and quietness. Maybe around $90-130

Thank you all so much! I want to put Blu-ray, DVD, CD, lossless on the drive. What is the best way?
Since I backup the music files on my PC anyway, I use the USB external drive hooked to the USB input on my BDP-95. I presume the hard drive is controlled by the OPPO. Does this make it effectivly asynchronus? If not, what is it called? Can someone explain to me what might be the benefit (at the cost of increased noise in the room) to drive the asynchronus USB input on a BDP-105 directly from a PC?
Oldears, "asynchronous USB" refers to an interface between a computer and the USB input of a DAC. When the Oppo player is used to play files that are on an external hard drive that is connected directly to it via USB, the Oppo can be thought of as acting as the computer, with the computer-to-DAC interface being internal to the Oppo, and implemented in a different and more simplified manner than USB, asynchronous or otherwise.

As to how results would compare between playing a file from a computer into the BDP-105's USB DAC input, and playing the same file from a hard drive into a USB port on the BDP-105, that would be dependent on many design variables involving both the player and the computer, and perhaps even other parts of the system which might be affected by computer-generated RFI or digital noise. I doubt that the answer can be determined without trying it both ways in your particular setup.

-- Al
Could I just buy a heavy duty external hard drive and get a Blu-Ray recorder card to put in my current computer? If I record on my current computer and put the data on the external hard drive, could I just unhook the external drive and hook it into my Oppo 95?
If so, what recorder card would you recommend? Could this be an external recorder / drive? I do not care to record blu-ray onto discs, I want to upload them to a hard drive.
Greg, unfortunately I believe that it is not possible to transfer most commercially made Blu-Ray discs and DVD's to a computer hard drive, because of copy protection provisions they utilize.

Also, even if it were possible in some cases I believe that you would have to subsequently process the files with a video editing program to convert them to something that the player would recognize. Files on computer hard drives and on optically read discs are structured differently. And the process of "building" a video file using a video editing program, especially with high definition material that would be used on a Blu-Ray disc, would be likely to require several hours or more per hour of material for typical computers to do the necessary processing.

Not sure what you are referring to when you mentioned Blu-Ray recorder cards. If you mean Blu-Ray drives which can burn Blu-Ray discs, their "recording" function is intended for creation of Blu-Ray discs from one's own material, in conjunction with video editing or other software.

Re your question about putting CD material onto your hard drive, for some particularly knowledgeable suggestions about what software to use see this page at the Empirical Audio website. Steve N. of Empirical Audio is member "Audioengr" here at A'gon.

-- Al
Al, Thank you very much.
G-Techs are the quietest and most reliable drives I've owned (5 of them for about 6 years now with no failures, all conventional ones and one solid state).
The newest versions are the quietest. They run cool too with little vibration.
I have a 3tb version.
Reliability is the thing I would worry about the most.

I've run the Seagate 1.5 and 2 Gb USB drives from BEst Buy for a few years now and have found them to be most reliable and essentially trouble free. They also come with backup software installed which has also been very reliable and trouble free. I see no reason to look elsewhere, there is some motor noise when they first fire up, but nothing of much consequence there really.

Highly recommended.
Whoops, I meant Tb, not Gb above.

I use Hitachi Ultrastar 1Tb drives and have had excellent results with them.

I know that many VERY large cloud storage companies (which I won't name but guarantee that you have heard of) use these which speaks volumes to me.
I've got two Lacies: attractive aluminum cases, fanless, pretty quiet, south of 200 bucks for 2TB, maybe well south, depending on model. Purchased from Amazon @ competitive prices.

Whatever you do, I'd rip my material to two drives, and keep one off site (say at work). This is a pretty cheap way to ensure not having to repeat a lot of ripping labor if there's a failure.

Some people use RAID arrays for redundant storage, but for audio, this doesn't buy you much. You will be up and running immediately if you have a drive failure, but this is not very important for a hobby, and having a RAID doesn't protect against "environmental" failures like fire, flood, children, pets, and theft.

John, good point about a RAID array of multiple drives not being something that should be counted on as an exclusive means of backup. Some additional reasons:

1)If the RAID controller circuitry fails at some point in the future, and if the same or a similar controller is no longer available, for RAID modes other than RAID 1 (simple mirroring) the data may be unrecoverable even if all of the drives are intact.

2)Although unlikely, it is certainly within the realm of possibility that all of the drives in the array could be simultaneously destroyed or corrupted by the power supply going into an overvoltage condition (although a *good* design will include effective protections against that possibility); by misbehavior of the controller circuitry due to undiscovered design bugs; or by misbehavior of software or firmware due to undiscovered design bugs, crashes, malware infections, etc.

-- Al
RAID technology in a single storage device provides storage redundancy to provide high or constant availability in teh case of certain hardware failures.

Its good stuff but not a good fit for most home users IMHO. Having a physical backup drive is the single best protection for home use. Having a backup at a separate location from the main is the best solution in case fire or other localized disaster is a concern.

If a main fails, the backup can be switched in easily with some but little downtime. Most business applications that use RAID cannot afford ANY down time.

To accomplish that, data is replicated or backed up to additional devices that can be switched in quickly if needed.

RAID alone adds cost and little value for a home user.
Al's points about the vulnerability of RAID technology to certain kinds of "internal" failure are well taken.

And as Mapman notes, the cost of RAID units is significant, and your paying for something home entertainment users don't really need -- minimizing drive failure related downtime.

I have the Oppo BDP-103, but have a HTPC connected to it via HDMI and a Drobo FS Network Attached Storage Unit. I have not tried the network connection from the Drobo directly to the Oppo, but it works great through the HTPC for music and movies.

I think the advantages include large capacity (up to 15TB), ease of setup, redundancy, location flexibility via ethernet cable, and potential multi-room options.
I use an Iomega 2T eSATA connected to my OPPO95 SATA port. Much faster that USB. Then I powered it with a linear power supply instead of the included wall wart.
Investigate Wiebe Tech harddrives.