Take my comments with a grain of salt and i dont own either of the following,Seagate Backup Plus 4 TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive STCA4000100Seagate Expansion 4 TB 3.0 USB Desktop External Hard Drive (STBV4000100)
I have track both, as they have inside a drive that was the cheapest 4tb for some time, Seagate Desktop HDD 4 TB SATA 6Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST4000DM000
, they sometimes go down to $140 or so (cheaper than the retail/oem drive), and some people in storage forums just rip down the enclosures to use the hdds on their servers (to my knowledge this voids your warranty). In case you are interested into how its the enclosure, here is a video, How to open a Seagate Backup Plus Drive
, this practice happen a lot in the past two years due to how the prices skyrocketed on hdds due to flooding on tailand, now hdds starting to come down so its not as usual.
This hdd hasnt been tested by SPCR, but there are good comments about it in the forum, but the drive itself not in the enclosure Here thread with some info Looking for help to choose 3TB or 4TB drive
. I just received 8x ST4000DM000 (oem version), that ill mount on my server soon, but i haven't messed with them yet as im running WHSv1 and will not support 2tb+, so i have to move OS, still deciding between unRaid or WHS2011+Flexraid.
One thing that you should find out though is if its not going to be an issue with what you will be connecting it to, 4tb hdds are not recognize by all devices, same goes for 3tb drives, but its easier to find more compatibility in 2tb or below, for example my Netgear Streamer N550 cant see drives above 2tb, its a limitation of the chipset. Be sure to check the specs and limitations of whatever you plan on using this hdds on to see if it will work.
Personally for moving data, i do what NeilBlanchard suggests, i build my own external hdds, i buy the enclosure and the hdds seperatly and assemble it. This allows you to chose the hdd and you can go by what SPCR has tested. I have two atm, bought couple of Coolmax 2.5-Inch Aluminum USB3.0 Hard Drive Enclosure, Grey (HD-250TN-U3)
and added Hitachi 5K750 and Samsung 500gb (dont remember the model atm), the hitachi is much quieter but slower, the samsung vibrates a lot but its not noisy just can feel it if you touch the enclosure but its faster. There are limitations on this route though, for example atm the highest 2.5 mechanical hdd is 1tb (most brands have drives there in 5400/7200rpm), there is a 2.5 1.5tb coming very soon, Hitachi Travelstar 5K1500
, but there is no info into how it is in terms of reliability/noise/vibration, but aside from that you are limited into 1tb atm, there are higher like WD Green 2tb 2.5 but its 15mm not 9.5 (standard).
I have also tested a some prebuild 2.5 hdds, as my brothers do move a lot of data like me, but he didnt want to mess doing his drives, so i bought him a Toshiba Canavio 500gb and Toshiba Canavio 750gb, now there are newer bigger version, Toshiba 2TB Canvio Basics USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive (HDTB120XK3CA)
. From the limited use i have had with those, they are quiet, they dont vibrate as much as my samsung but they aren't as still as my hitachi 5k750. There is also a 2TB from WD, but i never tested, WD My Passport 2TB Portable External USB 3.0 Hard Drive Storage Black (WDBY8L0020BBK-NESN)
, the only thing i dislike about Canavio/Passports drives is their cable (not a big deal im just picky), it has a very weird usb3 to the hdd (the other end is standard usb3), but my MSI Coolmax have standard usb3 connectors in both ends, more rugged imo, at the cost of being bigger/bulkier.
If size dont matter (for me it does as its more for transporting large amounts of data) then look into 3.5 enclosures, i have very little experience here, as i never have done one, i toyed doing one couple of years ago, but ended getting a Mediasonic enclosure
for external hdds that its not portable by any means but hold 4x 2.5 hdds and has both esata n usb3 (your device has to support port multiplying or wont see all hdds), so its pretty solid for doing backups home, although i barely use it now as i have my server, but i do use it to backup important data that i also have in my server but as pure external backup in case something happens. Another thing that i dont like about 3.5 enclosures is that most will require a PSU (that it comes with the enclosure) but its another thing that i have to deal with, while 2.5 hdds are moved by 5V that its supplied by the USB3 port.
Another to consider is a small NAS, for example Synology DiskStation 1-Bay (Diskless) Network Attached Storage DS112j
, you will simply add the hdd of your preference, its a server that will run Sylonogy DSM software that can do a lot of things, including backups, you just need a power outlet and network conection and it should be very simple. I have setup one for my brother (DS111) and was pretty easy to setup and have it running, worth mentioning that it has a small fan on the back, i didn't find it noisy, but who knows in time.
On the hdds, for 3.5 if you want to go by SPCR reviews, check WD Red 3 TB NAS Hard Drive: 3.5 Inch, SATA III, 64 MB Cache - WD30EFRX
, reviewed by SPCR Western Digital Red 3TB & 1TB Hard Drives
. WD greens have been among the favorite on SPCR for quiet mechanical hdds in the past, check SPCR New high areal density 2-and-3 TB Greens from WD
, there are newer versions out, but no review from SPCR yet, so im not sure if they are better in terms of noise, WD Green 2 TB Desktop Hard Drive: 3.5 Inch, SATA III, 64 MB Cache - WD20EZRX