Apricorn EZ Bus MIni, Apricorn EZBus Mini Apricorn EZ Bus Mini 40 gig Apricorn EZ Bus Mini 60 gig
Although I am fairly consistent and adept at organization and back up while on the road, I had never really set up a specific organizational system for the office. Through the years, my process had consisted of purchasing external drives and copying files over, to have as backups in the event of hard drive failure, theft, or fire.

Since my process was largely unstructured and with images stored on several different drives it was always a difficult and annoying task to plug in one of several drives in order to find an image.

Desperately in need of a way to organize and back up all my data in one place, I began researching new large capacity drives which had finally become affordable.

Having had such a great experience with Apricorn's Ez Bus Mini I decided to see if they had a large drive to offer.

A quick look at the Apricorn website revealed the EZ Bus DTC line, with capacities from 80 to 500 gigs. I settled on the ez bus dtc 400 which sells for about $300.

Upon opening the box, one of my first impressions was that the aluminum case had a very substantial feel as compared to plastic enclosures which I had used previously. This unit felt like a carefully crafted, sturdy piece of professional equipment !

I'm not one to spend too much time reading manuals, so basically I just put in the install disc and then skimmed the included installation info. I plugged the drive into my Sony Vaio VGN-S260 running Windows XP Home. The preformatted Apricorn ez bus dtc was recognized immediately and I was off and running.

Loading the ez bus software onto my Sony Vaio VGN S260

The EZ Bus DTC is a bit smaller than most other external drives and can be mounted in the vertical or horizontal position. I prefer the horizontal position because the supplied stand keeps it up off the desktop enough, that if I spill a Coke, my data will probably survive.

The EZ Bus DTC comes with the drive, USB cable, 6 to 6 pin FireWire/1394 cable, 4 to 6 pin FireWire/iLink cable, AC power adapter and a vertical stand. There is also included software to help make the job of backing things up a lot easier....Second Copy Synchronizing Software provides a variety of options for synchronizing your system for file sharing or backup. I found the software to be pretty simple and easy to use. It only took me a few minutes to complete the installation process and set up a specific backup protocol.

The drive also comes with "Cryptainer Encryption software" which secures your data with absolute privacy using Blowfish 128bit encryption. Apparently Cryptainer allows you to password protect and secure files or folders by simply draging and dropping the files and folders you wish to hide.

I chose "Second Copy" and clicked "run"...in no time I had created a "profile" and began backing up all my files. It doesn't get much simpler than that !

One compelling reason for me to go with the ez bus dtc was that it was advertised as having an "ultra-cool" fan which keeps the enclosure at optimal temperatures and extends the life of the hard drive. The fan is very quiet and in fact it does really keep unit cooler than you might expect.

I didn't break out thermometers or anything but, durning the long backup process, I felt the outside of the EZ Bus DTC and compared it to my Western Digital drive...the Apricorn EZ Bus DTC which had been running for about 7 hours (4 hours longer than the other drive) was cool to the touch, whereas my other was warm !

In the early stages of researching hard drives I found several "hard drive heat studies" which showed that as hard drive operating temperatures went from 40C to 50C to 60C to 70C there were increasing disk failures. 7200 rpm drives generate more heat than 5400 rpm drives and so they tend to run hotter. According to most research, a drive should run at under 40C. If it runs under 50C it's probably still OK. If it hits 60C you have a problem and if it hits 70C you have a big problem.

The back of the drive has two USB ports and a Firewire port (the power cord plugs in at far right)

A few other features that I like include the vertical stand which allows you to place the unit in both horizontal and vertical configurations, depending on your desk space or your esthetic preference .

The EZBus dtc is a bit more expensive but with 400 gigs worth of images representing years of hard work, I felt that it was worth the extra money.

When I was finished backing up all my drives, I had considerably reduced the clutter. Now I have just one external hard drive (the ez bus dtc) which contains over 300 gigs of photo files which had accumulated over three years of shooting. When I need an image, now all I have to do is check in one place. With it's firewire interface I can quickly and easily access all my files, off of the ez bus dtc, thereby saving me valuable time and considerable frustration.

I give this product a big thumbs up and would recommend it to anyone needing to quickly and easily back up and access important data.

You can purchase an ez bus dtc drive directly from Apricorn: Click here