The Trans-Americas Journey may look like fun and games but it’s also a working road trip and we generate a lot of data in order to manage our nomadic careers as freelance travel journalists and to keep our website and travel blog going. Just like someone working in a traditional office, we also need to keep our data backed up. Unlike someone in a traditional office we have to carry those back up hard drives with us wherever we go. That means they must be the toughest, smallest, highest capacity hard drives we can find. In 2011 we made the switch to Seagate hard drives and after 24 months of use here’s how these key pieces of travel tech have performed as part of our mobile office.
Our growing hard drive needs
It’s hard to believe that when we set out on our Journey back in 2006 a 500GB desktop external drive and a 100GB portable drive were the largest capacity drives average consumers like us could afford. Luckily, drives just keep getting smaller in size and higher in capacity. Still, at the moment we carry nine external drives (both desktop and portable) in our truck in varying sizes from 500GB to 3TB, totaling a data capacity of 15TB.
We have an extraordinary amount of music and movies on our drives but it’s the vital documents, programs, and nearly 100,000 photos and counting (about 1.3TB of data) Eric has taken since the Trans-Americas Journey began that we’re most concerned about backing up.
Doing more with less with Seagate hard drives
In 2011 we consolidated our data onto two Seagate GoFlex 3TB desktop drives which each doubled the capacity of our previous largest drives which only held 1.5TB. However, these are large drives which are not convenient for toting around so we use them as our double and triple backups.
The real game changers for us were the totally portable Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex drives which hold 1.5TB of data each. Before getting these drives Eric had to split his photo library between two 500MB drives—not exactly convenient or organized. For the moment, his entire library fits on just one of these 1.5TB Seagate drives.
Seagate hard drive performance after 2 years on the road
Our Seagate GoFlex drives have also proven to be more durable than any other portable drives we’ve owned. Yes, even awesome Seagate drives can fail, especially in the hot, dusty, humid, bumpy conditions on the road which have proven too much for previously owned drives from LaCie, Western Digital, and Maxtor. So far, so good with our Seagates (where’s some wood to knock on???).
The GoFlex line, as the name implies, is also very flexible and offers a range of accessories that allow you to use the drive with any of the standard interfaces – USB 2 or 3, Firewire, and eSATA. This means you can take advantage of the improved transfer speeds of the newer interfaces like USB 3 if your computer has those interfaces available.
Seagate drives also come in a Mac version. We’re PC users so why does Mac compatibility matter to us? Because drives formatted for PCs generally don’t work easily on Macs and vice-versa. However, the Mac version of Seagate drives have a utility that allows the drive to be used on a PC as well. This means we can share data with a Mac directly from our drive and this can be handy on the road.
Hard drives keep evolving and so does our data
Seagate just updated and renamed their line of portable drives which is now called BackupPlus. These new drives are even smaller and lighter than our GoFlex drives. The new line of drives also has a new easy backup features that allows you to automatically back up your content. Though they seem to have done away with the eSATA interface in the new line, they’ve added Mac’s new Thunderbolt high-speed interface.
Since we just keep traveling and Eric just keeps shooting it’s clear that we will need to upgrade to the new Seagate BackupPlus 1.5TB portable drives soon and we’re looking forward to checking out their new features. However we’re still hoping they will come out with a 2TB version since Eric’s photo library will soon be surpassing the 1.5TB capacity of Seagate’s portable external hard drives.