New 3-TB Seagate Drives Make Backup More Important Than Ever

Seagate's release Tuesday of the world's first 3-TB external hard drive provides consumers and home users with the ability to store more digital video and audio data than ever before

However, users considering purchasing large-capacity hard drives will also have to consider whether they have the software and processes in place to back up data on the device. Seagate's new 3-TB FreeAgent GoFlex Desk external hard drive comes with a USB 2.0 interface, but can be upgraded to a USB 3.0 or FireWire 800 interface for increased performance and transfer speed requirements, the company said.

The 3-TB external hard drive is the latest in Seagate's GoFlex Desk line which the company introduced in May.

Unlike most vendors’ external hard drives, which include a USB 2.0 cable and possibly a FireWire or eSATA port, the GoFlex family lets customers specify from a variety of interfaces including USB 2.0, USB 3.0, or FireWire 800.

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The problem with a 3-TB hard drive comes from ensuring data is properly backed up.

Research firm Parks Associates, in a recent study, found that nearly 50 percent of households are performing regular backups, up from about 35 percent in 2006.

That means that over 50 percent of households still to not do regular backups.

End users who do regular backups have a couple of options, including backing data to another physical storage device or to one of any number of Internet-based storage sites. However, when getting into 1 TB-plus of data, such backups can be very slow unless the user's software includes the ability to automatically back changes to data up on a regular basis.

Whether and how to do backups is an important consideration with such large hard drives. Seagate estimates its 3-TB GoFlex Desk drive can store up to 120 high-definition videos, 1,500 video games, thousands of photos, and "countless hours" worth of digital music.

Without proper and regular backups, consumers run the risk of losing a lot of their digital video and audio files and having to spend a lot of time assembling their collection, assuming it can be done.

Therefore, while the ability to store increasing amounts of data on a single hard drive gives consumers flexibility with their digital collections, the need for backing up that data becomes increasingly important.

The 3-TB GoFlex Desk with a USB 2.0 connector is available with a list price of $249.99.