Best hard drive for back up

I am looking to buy one or multiple hard drives to back up all my data. I am trying to back up around 7tb of data. Should I buy multiple drives or one big drive? spinning rust or ssd(really dont want to spend that type of money)? What brand should I get? What type of drive should I get? I am wondering what are the best options? Any other things I did not think of, etc. It will just be used as a back up drive so once all data is on the drive it will become paper weight. Any advise is greatly appreciated. thanks!

Something that will hold everything you have… Have back up real regular :slight_smile: They have larger terabyte spinning rust than that. SSD at that size… my wallet can not do it.

ya i was thinking about getting a hgst ultrastar 8tb. something like that

To clarify, you want to backup ~7TB of data to cold, long-term, offline storage.

If that is correct, it is important to know how long you intend to keep the storage offline. Data on hard drives does gradually degrade. If you are looking at 5+ years offline, then hard drives might not be the best option for you.

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you are correct. the data isnt very important, but its data i would like to keep for a long time. But i also want to do it the cheapest way possible. I also want a physical copy.

At that volume, if you want reliable offline storage for 5+ years, you should look into tape. I have never had to deal with it, but I imagine there are some good deals online for used hardware. Tape or disc (like CD/DVD) are the best long term storage options. I don’t know what the data integrity is like with SSDs offline for years at a time, but obviously, that is very cost-prohibitive anyway.

The alternative solution is to store with a cloud storage provider. You don’t have to trust the provider if you encrypt the files before upload. Of course, on that long of a timeline, you might have to consider the possibility of encryption-breaking quantum computing in 10+ years, so the encryption isn’t completely safe on longer timelines…

I’d stay away from tape, because it’s much too slow.

What I’d use in this scenario is dual layer blu-ray disks. They are very reliable as compared to regular DVD and are cheap and plentiful.

I have several blu-ray disks as copies of in one another of highly inportant data sitting in my safe deposit box.

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Blu-ray is definitely a viable alternative to tape.

As much as I hate bluray… :(~ It has it uses.

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for blu ray discs. do you have to worry about disc rot or anything like that? can you burn any file to blu ray discs? that may be cheaper than a hard drive.

Yes, but this takes a while. Like a long time. Not as good as tape (decades), or M-discks (hundreds of years) but much longer than regular DVD’s.

Yes, same as you can any writable DVD. Keep in mind you will need a blu-ray diskette drive. These can be had for like $40 and attach over USB.

There are 4 types of blu-ray disks.

  • single (25GiB) $
  • double (50GiB) $
  • triple (~75GiB) $$
  • quad (~100GiB) $$$

And then a special one, M-disks. $$$ M disks are BDXL (quad-layer that are currently more durable than tape drives)

Here’s a great ODD that can handle all the kinds of disks. IT’s $60 right now.

Any cheap external diskette should be able to read+write any dual layer disks, and these disks themselves are quite cheap. But in case you needed to know about the different kinds of disks out there, now you know. So if you have about ~7TiB of data, the option with the least amount of disks would be the quad-layer.

You might be able to find these cheaper else where, but what you need is the ODD and the BDXL disks.

As for software to use these things, I don’t recommend windows as it will cost you. K3B which is available to any linux distro will do the job.

Now about the cost, using the BDXL disks might as expensive as buying multiple long-term cold storage drives right now, however, in the long run it will be cheaper because you won’t have to keep buying drives and testing them every four years or so. You can pretty much just write it once and it will last. That said you should still make additional copies for redundancy. And you should try compressing your data into .xz tarballs as these have the highest compression possible (slowest), and will still be a standard 50 years from now.


Wow thank you so much for all this research! Those xl discs are crazy expensive! I dont think i can justify those xl discs because of cost. I need to get a better job lol. I do have a LG WH16NS40 already! which is good haha…but I can get an 8tb for $230 which is throwing me off. Price is the main driving point.

seems like i can do it for about $240 with single layer 25gb discs

At the minimum this will need to be $460 because you will need two. And this also needs to be a cold storage drive, not a regular COTS drive.

For the price ($330) you could get 3 of these DL disk packs.

That will get you ~7.5 TiB. And then a year later when you have more funds you can do another copy.

seems like i can do it for about $240 with single layer 25gb discs

Yes you could, but you’d need 280 SL disks. 140 DL, 93.3 TL, and 70 QL.

If you’re fine with that quantity then sure go for it, as it will outlast HDD in terms and maintenance over time.

But here’s the trifecta.


Pick two.

Since you already have the ODD, I think you’re best best would be to do a hybrid approach combined with a staggered backup plan.

Basically, buy like a 10 pack of BD-DL for <$20

That gives you a total of 500GiB or total capacity, or 250GiB of capacity with duplication for redundancy. Do one of these every few months until all of your stuff is backed up. Get your most important critical data first. It will cost the same in the long run, but over time this effect is mitigated.

Im ok with a shit ton of discs. I just want to make sure I burn them correctly and can access the files I burn onto them easily.

you have convinced me its better than buying a hard drive.

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Glad I could help :slight_smile:

thank you very much! basically if i buy a hard drive it has the possibility of failing in the future and blu ray discs should last longer.

HDD will fail. It’s only a question of when. Under active use they last around 5 years. If you have one powered off in storage, the data will still rot. This is mitigated by buying special cold-storage drives but even then it won’t last as long as disks or tapes.

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