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Backup plans

If your search for portable storage media begins with a floppy and ends with a CD, we suggest you evolve from the Jurassic age.

Print Edition: January 25, 2007

If your search for portable storage media begins with a floppy and ends with a CD, we suggest you evolve from the Jurassic age. MONEY TODAY reviews personal storage solutions to take the load off your mind and machine.

Portable hard drives

Gone are the days when hard disk drives were meant to be revered and installed in CPUs alone. They were expensive, bulky and fragile then. Today you have sleek (from 1.8" to 3.6"), portable (carried in a metal casing), lightweight (weigh less than 300 gm with casing) and are capable of storing up to 160 GB.

Data transfer is through USB 2.0 ports. Hitachi plans a quarter terabyte (250 GB) drive in the later half of 2007 and the rest will follow in the days to come. For now, enjoy the luxury of the widely available 80 GB portable drive.That’s space for 1,300 hours of digital music, 25,000 digital photos, 80 hours of digital video, 40 exciting games, thousands of business files or a combination of all.

Price for a 80 GB drive: Rs 4,000

Flash memory-based pen drives

If portable hard drive is the solution to carry and back up your music, flash-based memory devices replaces the once popular but now defunct floppy drive.

They come in all shapes like thumb drives by Kingston or popular pen drives by Transcend. Mind you, flash drives are better used as data transfer devices unlike hard disk drives which are primarily for data storage and backing up. Available from 128 MB to 16 GB they are fast and easier to use and carry. If computers were meant to replace paper, pen drives will replace pens.

Price for a 1 GB drive: Rs 900

Electronic gadgets with memory cards

You may have thought twice before buying a portable MP3 player, high-end mobile phone, DigiCam with an extendable memory of up to 8 GB.

However their price might sound lighter when they double up as portable storage. These devices can be used to transfer data to a PC and vice versa using a multimedia card reader or through USB ports.

The next time your boss objects to you carrying music to your desk, you know what excuse to look for.

DVD/CD

Once upon a time there was a media device called floppy. It’s time we start speaking the same for the CD. It should now pave way for the DVD and in a couple of years for Hi-DVD as the affordable storage solution.

A DVD packs in at least seven times a CD’s storage capacity at 4.7 GB and this is just one option—you can use a single or double layer DVD (8.5 GB).A 4.7 GB DVD is available for as low as Rs 20. A must for someone looking to reduce the load he keeps in his CD rack.

DVD Writers

Combo drives (which read from a DVD and write on a CD) did to CD-ROMs what CD-ROMs had once done to floppy drives — made them redundant. We are sure 2007 will be the year when DVD writers will drive combo drives out of use.

That will be a natural consequence of DVD disks driving CDs out of the market. Already the price of a DVD writer has fallen by about 30% in six months to reach Rs 2,500 or even less.

Online storage

We all use some form of online storage in our daily lives when we store documents on webmails (Gmail,Yahoo as attachments).Yet there is a limit to the attachment size and thus on the size of the data that can be stored.We call this form of storage an infant baby prodigy.

Check out www.xdrive.com which offers 5 GB of storage space.The only glitch—obtaining an AOL account. Another is the iDisk utility from Apple. A free trial is available for 60 days but you need to subscribe to .mac later on.

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