External hard drive or USB memory stick

  edenworkshops 10:48 03 Mar 2012


Up till now I have used an external hard drive as a back up.

But I dont need a lot of space, maybe 10GB.

I am thinking of going over to a USB memory stick as they seem so much cheaper than a hard drive.

What would you do please? Are there advantages/disadvantages of using a memory stick? Are they considered more reliable than a hard drive?

Thank you


  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 11:04 03 Mar 2012

Any back up source can become corrupted

so always back up to two different sources.

Memory sticks have a finite number of read write cycles The memory in flash drives is commonly engineered with Multi-level cell (MLC) based memory that is good for around 10,000 writes; but some flash drives have Single-level cell (SLC) based memory, good for around 100,000 writes. There is virtually no limit to the number of reads from such flash memory.

A well worn USB may be write protected to help ensure the life of individual cells; however, the USB connector hardware can withstand only around 1,500 cycles. from here

  robin_x 11:04 03 Mar 2012

If you can backup to 8GB, USB flash sticks are cheap enough. Otherwise use 16GB.

But I would recommend you alternate regular backups between two sticks. They are not considered reliable for long term backup.

They can also easily be lost.

MS Skydrive may be of interest for some or all of your designated files. (25GB max, 100MB size limit per file at present but 300MB coming soon I believe)

Upload and download will be slow but 'very' secure.

Or of course you could burn a couple of DVDs every now and again.

  Ian in Northampton 11:08 03 Mar 2012

In theory, because a disk drive has moving parts and is mechanical, it will always be less reliable than a solid state device like a USB pen drive. But, as others have said, all devices have their limits. I'd endorse the recommendation that you use the money you'll 'save' by going with a USB pen drive to back up to two of them - or even three.

  edenworkshops 11:28 03 Mar 2012

Thank you for that.

I shall buy 2 memory sticks and back up to both of them.

How do I tell whether a memory stick is MLC or SLC, would they be called one or the other?

I am also using MS skydrive to back up a dew critical files. thank you for the tip.


  edenworkshops 11:31 03 Mar 2012

I did a search on ebay for slc memory sticks...the couple I saw were over £200.00....eeek.


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