Slim Devices SB3 external hard drive

I am getting ready to start setting up a Sqeezebox playback system and wondering what others are using for a hard drive. I am thinking about getting a 500 gig external drive and never owning or using one before, I don't want to buy a POS. Also should I be using another for a back up?
Any other advice for a newbie?
Thanks in advance for any and all advice
I use a pair of 500 GB LaCie d2 quadra drives--one for storage and one for backup. I have them connected to my macbook via firewire for the storage drive and USB 2 for the backup. I've had them for about six months and so far no problems with either (knock on wood). Whatever brand you end up choosing, I would definitely recommend getting 2 drives with at least 500 GB of storage, or more if you can afford it.

Regardless of the brand's reputation, external hard drives can always fail. Without a backup, you are faced with the morale-crushing prospect of re-ripping/re-downloading all your music. I make it a habit with each new cd I'm ripping or piece of music I download to immediately copy it to my backup drive. Call me paranoid, but experience has taught me well. Good luck in your search.
I thoroughly agree with Eslaudio's suggestion of having two on hand, one to function as a backup of the other. The prices for large drives is low enough nowadays to do that.

You can also just get an individual drive (500 GB is probably the best bang for the buck) from, say, Seagate or Western Digital, and then get an external enclosure from Icy Dock or Macally and put it together yourself. The nicer external enclosures are a breeze to install a drive into. Check out, which is my favorite place to shop for computer parts.

I'd recommend an external drive with both USB and Firewire interfaces. If your computer supports it, you might also consider one with an eSATA interface, which can be considerably faster.

Good luck,

Look here or here for best price on hard drives.
I have recently seen 1TB IOMEGA external drives advertised for as little as $244. This would yield a price of less than $500 for a twin drive system for full backup. Here is the relevant IOMEGA page:
I am not sure of long term reliability of IOMEGA drives. I chatted at RMAF with the McIntosh rep. . . McIntosh is using twin Seagate 500Gb Mission Critical drives for their music server offering. This simply points to the fact that manufacturers offer different levels of reliability for different applications. . . and what is found at Best Buy or Fry's may not be the most hardened versions. A call to Seagate, Iomega, Western Digital, Hitachi and Samsung, Toshiba will let you determine what are their most reliable or mission critical offerings. Note: Maxtor is now part of the Seagate group.
For a slightly different opinion than the previous poster's, it's much more common to have a "user failure" (ie, accidental deletion or other form of software corruption of the files) than a hard drive failure. Most hard drives produced today are remarkably reliable; go with inexpensive offerings from well-known manufacturers, and just get an extra one for backups. That's what will really protect your data.

Michael, perhaps you would like to tell my comatose Maxtor Onetouch 250Gb External that it has suffered only of a software crash and it's time to get off its little spinning a s s?!
Alternatively, you may want to visit and read user reports of various drives. . . reality is that consumer-level drives these day are often not terribly reliable. . . there is a real price war going on these days, and drives are cost engineered to a very low price point.
Thank you all for your input, looks like I will need to do as much research for these as I have for other gear.
Audioperv, I must be living a charmed life from a hard drive standpoint. Out of the dozens of hard drives I've owned over the years, only one catastrophically failed, and that was after 4-5 years. One other was DOA. I also build/fix machines for friends, and I've only seen one of them die.

The mean time between failure on drives is in the hundreds of thousands of hours. And I guess my experience backs that up.

That's why I advocate 2 inexpensive and large-capacity drives. The 2nd drive will be a backup to the first (and preferably stored elsewhere, for maximum protection). The backup drive is the true defense against data loss, regardless of the mechanism.

Jeff, get an external drive enclosure such as this one:

Then get a 500GB SATA drive (Seagate and WD have reliable for me for years). It's a breeze to install. Just remember to get two of them so that one can be used to backup the other.

For latest pricing specials on hard drives see:
Select your state. Click on hard drives. For reliability info on individual models check user reviews on Newegg,, CNET. Even from the same manufacturer, some drive models seem to be much more reliable than others. Good idea to maintain twin copies of the music collection on separate drives. Ideally drives should be from different manufacturers and they won't fail at the same time. . . . believe it or not, twin failures have happened as well. Optionally. . . makes ya bets'n takes ya chances !
For creating a music server around extremely rugged milspec external hard drives capable of surviving 1200G of accelleration see:
Somewhat pricier than run of the mill consumer grade drives, their 500GB solutions cost approx $550 after rebate. The 750GB drive is approx $750. . . still a bargain for audiophilically hardened pockets.
Olixir has an even more hardened line of drives, but those go only up to 160GB.
Not having done ripping yet I am wondering how many songs you can get from best slightly compressed (I guess Apple lossless) and fully oncompressed say on a 500 Gig drive.
I have 7211 FLAC compressed songs on my 300GB drive and it is about 66% full. Figure something around 18,000 songs for a 500GB drive if you use FLAC and the assortment is about the same (jazz, rock, classical - small and symphonic). Not sure how Apple Lossless and FLAC compare.