If you are moving big chunks of data around as part of your workflow, here is a neat solution. This is what I use here when dealing with lots of data and the need to archive raw material.
It is a Hard Drive Caddy (or hard drive dock) that attaches to the computer via a fast USB3, eSATA or a fire-wire connection. There are several advantages to using a dock vs. a portable drive which I am still using, mostly for when I have to move data outside the studio.
Why I like using a Caddy
Pay only once for the enclosure. This is right, the price for a simple hard drive dock is in the $30-$50 range and you only need to get one of those, Where with a portable hard drive you pay an “enclosure fee” for each unit.
Bare hard drives are cheap. storage is cheap now, each 1T is about $45 (as appose to ~$52 for enclosed Tera. So it makes sense to use as much storage as you want.
A Caddy allows for backwards compatibility. This is one of the more convenient ways to load a SATA3 drive on a SATA2 enabled computer.
What do you need to look out for?
Labeling is king. If you are using multiple external hard drives, make sure you label each one and know what each one contains. One you start collecting drives, labels like: Raw Transfer Disk or 01-06/2012 BCK will be your best friends.
Handle with care -Exposed drives are delicate. They lack the protecting enclosure and were meant to be used inside a computer. (The lack of enclosure is exactly why they cost less). They are not as protected as the small portable drive and definitely not as protected as a solid state drive. Be kind to them. If you are shooting at the beach, rugged portables are probably a better option.
Never move a spinning drive – I cannot stress this enough. Before moving a drive make sure that it is ejected and that the drive has stopped spinning (you can feel that it’s not vibrating anymore). Moving a spinning disk is a great scientific experiment about gyroscopic powers. They exist. Really. First, the disk will start making weird noises and eventually it will die.
All that hard drive chit chat really reminds me about backing up. Maybe you wanna get one of those for backing up your data if for nothing else.