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Backing up via laptop solution?

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Craig Banham
Backing up via laptop solution?
on Jan 9, 2012 at 12:15:36 pm

I am a videographer for a UK charity and I need to purchase a new laptop able to excel in one specific area, 'backing up digital footage'.

Let me explain a little about my workflow and the challenges involved. I often travel to Asia for filming projects where I use a couple of solid state camcorders. I can shoot anything up to 60GB's of footage per day and at the end of each filming day I go back to the hotel and make x2 copies (in case of subsequent data lose) of all the footage from that day.

Currently I use two 2.5 inch external hard drives (7200rpm) daisy chained via USB 2.0 to my current laptop. I copy the footage straight from the Compact Flash memory cards inside the camera onto these drives, again via USB 2.0.

The process can easily take several hours, and that’s the problem I need to overcome. I assume the bottleneck is the USB 2.0 transfer rates since the memory cards inside the camera can transfer data at up to 60MB/s.

As mentioned I am now in a position to upgrade the laptop and accessories and I am looking for advice on the best way to reduce these back up times.

Currently I am considering purchasing another 13 inch laptop (travel requirements makes larger laptops impractical) with at least one USB 3.0, an e-sata port and a large internal hard drive, e.g. 1TB (7200rpm). Separately I thought I’d buy a USB 3.0 CF card reader and either a largish (750GB) USB 3.0 ext HDD or an e-sata equivalent. Whichever version I opt for, again they need to run at 7200rpm.

Thus on subsequent filming trips I could remove the CF memory cards from the camera and pop them into the USB 3.0 CF reader. I could then make one copy of that day’s footage directly onto the laptop’s internal drive and another on to the external USB 3.0 or e-sata HDD.

Right now I have a maximum budget of £750 to purchase all the necessary hardware.

So I have two specific questions:

1) Is the proposed solution the best one for overcoming the problem outlined, or can you suggest a better one?

2) Can anyone point me in the direction of a suitably priced (i.e. around £600) 13” laptop that has a USB 3.0/e-sata port and a large internal HDD running at 7200rpm?


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