Can someone suggest a cheap backup drive that holds maybe 1 tape for backups, is still sold, still popular, and is likely to still be accessible on it or another model in another 10 years?

  • And don't give me none of that "but those are obsolete", I'm not having that; tapes are still cheaper than hdds per GB.
    – leeand00
    Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 0:53
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    Here is a search result on newegg for backup drives. If you are really looking for "cheap" drives, you might try ebay, or local thrift shops, though they can be a crapshoot. Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 1:34
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    When it comes to tape drives, "cheap" basically means buying at least two generations old off Ebay, and "still accessible" means Ultrium/LTO: you'll be writing to LTO-5 tape on a used LTO-5 drive today, and reading it from a used LTO-7 drive ten years from now.
    – Mark
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 21:41
  • His comment on tapes being cheaper than HDD may not be as true as he thinks it is lol. Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 5:58
  • @NZKshatriya, it depends on the data volume. Per-terabyte, LTO-5 costs about half of what hard drives do (LTO-6 is the current sweet spot, at a third the price). Thing is, the break-even point for a $2000 LTO-5 drive is around 100 TB of data.
    – Mark
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 22:07

1 Answer 1


You don't specify a price range, but your use of the word "cheap" implies you looked at what's commercially available and were shocked by the fact that even low-end tape drives run around $2000.

I'd recommend getting a secondhand Quantum TC-L52AN (internal drive) or TC-L52BN (the same thing, in an external enclosure). I don't have experience with this particular model, but I've had good luck with Quantum tape drives in the past. They run around $500-$800 on Ebay; you'll probably need a SAS controller card as well, but those can be found for under $100. The LTO standard requires two generations of backward compatibility, so the current LTO-7 drives can read the TC-L52AN's LTO-5 tapes. Ten years from now, you'll be able to get a secondhand LTO-7 drive to read your tapes.

  • Also, I think that is why he likely has not been back since posting.....sticker shock coma. Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 5:55

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