So right now I work off of a laptop/desktop replacement. I know it aint the most powerful but I'm still a student and kinda need to stay somewhat portable for the time being. It's got a 500GB hard drive and running windows 7. I manually back up to a 1TB external with NTFS. I'm gonna get anther 1TB because I don't like having my work only backed up in one place. I've got a couple questions though.
1. I was planning to format both externals as exfat because although I work on windows 7, I often have to be mac compatible for my school. But I've looked around the google and found that people think exfat is unreliable.
2. I also wanted to setup the two external drives in a Raid 1 configuration. (This can be done?) Now I've never actually attempted to use raid before, so i'm not sure if it is actually what I want, which is automatic mirroring from one external drive to another, and back up in case one fails. Maybe I should just stick to manual back up?
first of all NTFS is a good choice, also for Mac. There are no problems, we format all windows world based HD's in NTFS. There is a company called Tuxera you can format HD's with NTFS on a mac. But if you want to stick to fat its okay as well. You are just limited to the max of 4TB files.
You need an enclosure which can hold up 2 HD's and has a built in Raid controller. I recommend Lacie, but there are lots of other brands on the market. It's not terribly expensive and you get a good backup level. The data is automatically backed up within one enclosure. If you buy two enclosures, both with raid 1 you are pretty safe. A FW 800 connection is wise to have, better would be a eSata connectivity but this might be a problem with your laptop.
You should use reliable HD's, like Hitachi deskstars ore similar ones. Seagate barracudas are good as well. Spend another few bucks in good HD's it's worth it.
Mac pro 8core
several raid systems