My Synology DS411j NAS arrived today, & it’s busy right now formatting hard drives, a long process (well, it is if you tell the NAS to check for bad sectors & the drives are 1.5 TB each!). My plan is not to use RAID—I don’t need it—& instead use each drive as a separate volume. This will give me the following:

  • 1.5 TB for videos
  • 1.5 TB for more videos
  • 2 TB for music
  • 2 TB for data

Ideally, I’d buy a 3 TB drive and use that for videos instead of 2 separate drives, but hard drive prices are currently higher than they’ve been in years, thanks to flooding in Thailand. But I’ve been nosing around & doing some thinking, & I’ve come up with a solution, if I was so inclined.

I prefer Western Digital drives to others. Right now, a 3 TB Western Digital Caviar Green drive on Amazon will run you about $250. At the same time, however, you can buy the Western Digital WD Elements 3 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive for just $190 from Amazon (it was $120 only a few months ago!). An Australian blogger posted very clear instructions for taking the WD Elements apart on his site, & it turns out that the drive in the WD Elements is … a Caviar Green! So if you’re willing to put in a tiny bit of work taking an enclosure apart, you get the same 3 TB drive for $60 less if you buy the right gadget. Nice!