Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Monday, June 1, 2015

Major drop in the cost of hard drive storage

By TonyTheTiger (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons 3 external hard drives: 2011 3.0 TB 3.5" w:Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex plug and play drive, c. 2006 750 GB 3.5"w:Seagate Technology pushbutton drive & 500 GB 2.5" w:generic plug and play drive
I am concerned when I very commonly hear that genealogists have no backup for the information on their primary computer. Although trite, the old adage about having all your eggs in the same basket applies. The results of relying on a single hard drive or other storage device is that if it fails, all of your data is lost. This comes up as an issue every time I see a dramatic increase in hard disk storage capacity and a concomitant fall in the cost. Even though I wrote about memory costs rather recently, there has been another major drop in the cost of hard disk storage and a dramatic rise in the capacity of the drives. These changes seem to come practically over night.

Genealogists, by virtue of their existence as information gatherers, are forced to store information. Many of the adherents are still using paper. Paper gives you a sense of security. You don't worry that the paper you filled out yesterday will somehow erase itself today. The problem is a matter of scale. Large scale paper archives take a up a huge amount of space and unless maintained with a consistent and time consuming filing system, they are self-limiting. Let's just say that keeping hundreds of thousands of files on a computer is much easier than maintaining the same number of paper files and leave it at that.

Now, we come to the reason for this post. The cost of monumentally large amounts of computer storage just made another major drop. Here is what I find at the time this post is being written.

Seagate Backup Plus 8TB Desktop External Hard Drive with Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0 (STDT8000100) $299.99

This is not a RAID, a combination of two or more smaller capacity hard drives. This is one massive hard drive. There are also Seagate hard drives in the following capacities:
  • 2 TB $88.24
  • 3 TB $109.00
  • 4 TB $122.97
  • 5 TB $129.99
All of these are available on At the same time, the cost of a high capacity flash drive has dropped to the point where a 256 GB Flash Drive is $26.75. I have started using 32 and 64 GB flash drives with my cameras and I can take hundreds of photos before running out of storage space. This is with a camera that takes 50 MB+ single images. 

OK, there is no excuse for not going online and buying a hard drive to back up your data on your computer. The cost of the 2 TB hard drive is only about 10x the cost of the average movie ticket. 

1 comment:

  1. I read on some "geek blogs" that 3 TB hard drives have a very high failure rate. Might not be such a good buy if that is the case.