ALWAYS back up your data!
You can never have enough storage space. EVER! It is also important to get quality hard drives. Me and my friend have been working on a wedding recently and he was editing off a 1.5 TB WD essentials drive. This is a cheap drive. After looking up many reviews ALOT of people had problems with this drive. As you would expect the drive failed during our edit. Luckily we both had all of the source footage so I had all the footage on my LaCie rugged 500GB portable drive. Even better, his FCP files were on his desktop so nothing was lost. However, it does show that hard drives do fail. The cheaper ones especially (it was only a few months old).
I have had two WD hard drives for a few years. a 500 GB external and a 1TB external. I also have a Toshiba 500GB portable. (in case you did not know the difference: external’s need a power supply while portables can run off of power provided by the computer, usually). These were all USB connections; they were bought before I got into HD footage (more on that below). These drives have not given me a problem after solid use for a few years.
USB vs. FIREWIRE 800
In case you don’t know this is very important with today’s media. Firewire 800 is faster than USB 2.0 and with HD footage it makes a difference with editing, a noticeable difference. If your computer has USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt support that will be even faster, but only the newest computers and drives use that. When I finally made the jump to HD I purchased a LaCie 500GB Rugged Portable HD.
Spend the Money.
I would say it is worth every penny to buy higher end media storage. If you have the money go for a RAID hard drive. If you want to go a little cheaper you should still lean toward the more expensive drives. Most of the more expensive drives are the only drives that offer ports fast enough to edit HD footage (FW 800, USB 3.0, or Thunderbolt). I am always short on money, but I needed more storage. I looked up some information on drives and purchased the Iomega 2TB drive. Haven’t used it too much yet, but it performs just as fast as my LaCie. It also features two FW 800 ports so you could daisy chain hardrives together. Of course this will cause slower speeds, but if you only have one FW800 port this is a nice feature.
Long story short, for the extra few bucks get a nice HD, and back up often! It also helps to label drives if you have a bunch of external ones!