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Jeff Kott

I have a couple of drives made by G-technology that work great. I think what you're looking for is their G-Raid Mini. Here's a link:


Rob Smith

I share my "current" files (20Gb) with http://www.dropbox.com between desktop raid based data, laptop, and my other base in Malta.

James Youngman

Personally while away from base I keep copies of images on a single portable disk drive and keep a second copy on the laptop. While space allows I also keep the original copy on its CF card.

Assuming we do end up reusing the CF cards, this strategy still preserves you from disk failure to the same extent as RAID-5 (i.e. tolerates max. 1 failure) but just isn't nearly as cumbersome.

RAID-5 is IMHO next to useless in the field, since it requires too many disks (i.e. 3) and you can get the same protection with RAID-1. RAID-5's only advantage over RAID-1 is greater storage-to-cost ratio. And frankly, for protecting images in the field that should not be your primary concern.

Everett Heller


You might consider looking at a Drobo. It may be small enough to take with you and has RAID-like properties. I use mine in my office with Firewire-800, but it also connects via USB.

Just a thought!

Neil Enns

I'm curious... why the need for a raid on the road? If this is just for making edits to files before print, would it be possible to use some sort of cloud-based offering? Dropbox, Skydrive, etc. would all let you host the files.

Or, why move the files around at all? Could you set up a remote desktop session and do the work that way?


Godfrey DiGiorgi

Any RAID worth using will need more power than a USB 2.0 interface can supply: The USB 2.0 spec for high-load devices says no more than 500mA or about a half amp of available current. While some USB ports on some computer hardware can exceed that power delivery spec, many (most) do not. A RAID device with a minimum configuration of two hard drives is going to need more power than that to run reliably.

I've not had any trouble with individual portable hard drives, however, and the notion of doing additional sync and backup to an online data server is what I'd be looking for in a mobility situation.

Vince Binder

RAID 5 takes a minimum of 3 drives and requires too much power for any existing USB port on a laptop (or desktop for that matter). Eventually I think we'll see higher current capability but it may be a while.

The G RAID Mini uses firewire for power or power&data - but your windows laptop may not have a firewire port. It's a nice system but only supports RAID 0/1 - Reading the material it's not clear but - The say a capacity of up to 1TB but don't say if that's in RAID 0 or RAID 1 configuration - my guess is that it's RAID 0, and if you go mirrored you'll only get half that. If it were two 1TB drives - they'd probably market it as a 2TB system.

At this point there are two options that I'm considering for myself. The first is to continue with WD Elements USB drives of 1TB size which are self powered (although my current laptop will not power two of them, my hub will)

I think the better option if you have access to AC is to get one of the OWC Mercury Pro Qx2 Enclosures (with or with out drives). It supports hardware RAID 0/1/5/10 It does require an AC connection but once you get beyond 2 drives I think your going to be stuck anyway. With this system you can have up to a 6TB Raid 5 solution that's fairly compact 10"x5.5"x7" You can also probably find an eSATA card for your laptop that will give you a huge speed boost, probably faster than your internal drive.

Then being the paranoid person that I am - I'd back up at least the raw files to a 1TB WD Elements USB drive. A good Inverter (hardwired type) would allow you to work from the car if you had to.

Josef Tornick

I have an easier answer......... :-)


I've never seen any USB-powered raid products, and I agree with other posters that the power requirements are too high, at least with conventional drives. Even if you found a solution you'd probably drain the laptop so fast that you'd get fairly short battery life on one charge.

You could of course get at two drive enclosure, some 12V external battery and power the drives from that. You could recharge that battery and the laptop from the car using a 12V to 110V (AC) converter, or even better directly from the car's 12V output if you find a way to hook it up.

Anyway, I have a similar problem when I want to bring documents and images I want to work on on vaction or weekend trips. My current solution is to copy from my main machine to a 1TB WD USB-driver, then work form that or copy the files I work on to my laptop's hard drive. I back up to a 64GB pen drive, so I have all changes in at least two places.

The problem with this solution (which I guess is similar to what you do now) is IMO not data safety as such, but syncronisation. Both copying from the main machine to the portable drive, backing up to the pen drive and copying back to my main machine is timeconsuming, and it's also possible to forget a file or overwrite.

So, my ideal situation would be to have a drive that was always in sync with my main PC. I assume that's where your portable raid solution would be useful. Personally I'm more interested in eSATA, USB3 and SSD-drives.

The problem right now is that USB2 is too slow to work from for large files. Both eSATA and USB3 would more or less solve that problem and a SSD-drive would be more reliable than a standard hdd. I'd be happy to trust a single SSD-drive, at least for the limited amount of work I'd get done on a trip. I'd probably still back up work to a pen drive, in case the SDD was stolen/lost, but that's not too much work.

So my new setup would be:
Hook up the SSD to the main PC for normal work, set up syncronisation for current project (or everything if you have room for it).
On trip, bring the SSD, work from that or sync to your laptop's drive. Do some backups to a pen drive as neccessary.
After trip, resync with main PC.
The reason I don't have that system right now is price and availability. I'd want at least a 128GB SSD, preferably 256GB. One interesting model, OCZ Enyo 128GB is external USB3 and within my price range, the 256GB is too expensive for me. None of these are in the stores right now where I live, but I expect these and similar products will be available within weeks. And cheaper within some months. Not RAID, but maybe good enough?

eric stammer

Allway-Sync is what i use vs a raid setup. As others mentioned, a copy on my laptop hard-drive, and 1 on usb drive. A/S set up to automatically sync every 30 mins. Then when i return home Allway is also set on on main editor to sync to my main Lightroom drive,LR cat. images and all..

Graham Patterson

I am assuming a moderate laptop, mostly battery use, and you want to protect edits for the Lenswork masters only, not necessarily huge file sets. I also assume this is a Windows laptop?

Don't over think it.

Get a couple of identical USB external drives. Use SyncToy (one of Microsoft's PowerToy apps) to do a least copy mirror of one drive to the other, or the laptop to both drives. If you don't mind the command line, robocopy is a good tool. On a Mac or Linux I'd probably use a shell script and rsync, or one of the GUI tools for mirroring.

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