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Yeah, I'm using 4TB laptop-sized (2.5") external USB drives, because they are small, cheap, quiet, and they don't need a secondary power supply. At the time of purchase, they were the sweet spot, with 5TB drives considerably more expensive. That may have changed now.

If you're going for 3.5" drives, then yes I can well believe that the sweet spot is with slightly larger drives, especially if you take enclosures into account. I did the calculations for work a while back for shoving hard drives into something from https://www.45drives.com/ and it seemed that getting the largest drives possible was the best price/capacity option.

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