Let’s talk hard drives. If you’re working on a project in Photoshop, or Illustrator, or Dreamweaver, or even GarageBand, a USB flash/thumb drive is probably all you’ll need to transfer your files, or back them up. But if you’re working on a video project in the lab that will take more than about a week to finish, we strongly encourage you to buy a portable hard drive to save your files onto. You should expect to use about 13GB per hour of standard, DV video and 40-50GB per hour of HD video.
There are 2 types of hard drive to consider:
1) There are the tiny portable ones, that fit in your pocket or almost into the palm of your hand, and only require a USB or Firewire cable to connect them to your computer. These tend to be in the 100GB-200GB range for $75-$150 depending on what brand you get and where you buy it. They’re extremely convenient, and if you don’t mind paying a premium for their extra portability, they’re probably the best option.
2) There are the bulkier, heavier drives that tend to be a couple inches thick, and require you to plug them into a wall outlet in addition to connecting them to your computer via USB/Firewire. They tend to range 300GB-750GB for $100-$200, so you get a lot more bang for your buck, but you can’t just throw them in your pocket, and you need an electrical outlet to use them.
You can find refurbished hard drives a little cheaper, but in my opinion, it’s not worth risking your data just to save a few bucks.
You can buy both types of drives at: