Top 5 storage gifts for 2012

Priced from $15 to $1500 there's something for every budget, even Mitt Romney's! Here's what I'd like for Christmas, if I didn't already own all of these.
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor

Grid-It by Cocoon Bags. As a gizmo-laden frequent traveler, I've created several "grab and go" kits that failed because I couldn't see when they were missing something. Grid-It stores everything securely and visibly, making it easy to make sure you've got what you need at a glance.

Priced from $15 to $25 depending on size. I love mine.

USB 3.0 portable SSD, hard drive or thumb drive. Even if your recipient deosn't have a USB 3.0 computer today, if they keep using a computer they will. A USB 3.0 drive is a handy way to future-proof a new storage device.

USB 3.0 is faster than any single disk drive and almost any single SSD. Even if the disk drive becomes obsolete, the USB 3.0 enclosure will be useful for years to come.

I've seen them for as low as $70 online, but expect to pay $80-100 for a portable 1TB 2.5" drive. Desktop drives have more capacity and cost more. 32GB 3.0 thumbdrives are less than $30. 

Internal SSD. If your recipient can pop open their PC and replace a drive, they'll love an internal SSD. Like clothes though, size matters. Get at least 128GB and expect to pay at least 70¢ per gigabyte. There are a lot of vendors out there, but I'd stick with brands you've heard of.

External Thunderbolt array. For the exceptionally good owner of a Thunderbolt-equipped Mac or PC, a Thunderbolt array takes advantage of Thunderbolt's exceptional bandwidth: up to 1GB per second. I've been using a 4 drive Promise Thunderbolt array with Hitachi 1TB drives for over a year and it has been virtually flawless.

With speeds up to 450MB/sec using RAID5 on my array - something I don't recommend for arrays with larger drives - and 3TB of protected capacity, the array offers SSD speeds with hard drive capacity. Great for video editing, music production or any application that crunches large files.

Other Thunderbolt options include products from LaCie, G-Tech, Western Digital and Seagate. To be cost-effective, only use Thunderbolt with an SSD or a hard drive array: single hard drives can't use the bandwidth.

Cloud backup software. Almost any backup software will be better than none, but easy-to-use software is most likely to be used. And nothing is easier than automatic backup to an offsite location. 

Carbonite is available in many office supply stores if you must have a box. But I recommend Backblaze and Crashplan to my friends. About $50 a year.

The Storage Bits take
Storage is something that almost everyone uses. What better way to remind them that you cared enough to send the very most.

Comments welcome, of course. I bought all the products that I use myself with my own money.

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