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killmoms
Jul 21, 2003, 11:28 AM
I plan to buy a 15" PowerBook for college this summer. I know about the whole "may be updated to Aluminium case" deal, and I'm trying to wait as long as possible (though with this $300 off at the education store, it's awfully hard). That's not my primary concern right now. My primary concern is getting an external FireWire drive.

Here's my specs:

- It has to be at least 60GB, preferably 80GB

- It has to be fast. I plan to use this for my video editing classes, so I need something that I can stream to without hiccups. The professor mentioned some kind of chip that was used to achieve this, but I don't know the name of it off the top of my head.

- It has to be reliable. I can't have this thing crapping out with digital video data for three separate projects all due tomorrow with no hope for retrieving them.

- It would be nice if it was stylish, like metal-y looking like the PowerBooks, but it's not absolutely required.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I'm new to the Mac community and I'm not sure of where to even start looking.

--Matt

MacManDan
Jul 21, 2003, 11:42 AM
I found that the best way to get a great firewire HD is not to buy one, but to build one.

Get a 3.5" IDE hard drive of your choice (I have a Maxtor 8MB cache, 7200RPM, 120GB hard drive .. after rebates and such, it came out to $80 from my local Best Buy).

Next, go online and find a firewire enclosure box with the Oxford 911 chipset. The Oxford 911 is up to twice as fast as other IDE->firewire chipsets. It's fast! Trust me!

A good place to find firewire enclosures (although a bit pricey):

http://eshop.macsales.com/Catalog_Page.cfm?Parent=685&Title=&Template=1

You can also do a search for 3.5" firewire enclosures with the oxford 911 chip, and find some good deals. Not only can you find the case you want, but you can save TONS of money doing this. A similarly-spec'ed firewire HD as the one I made would cost $75 more! Good luck! :)

[Edit: the Oxford 911 chipset is for Firewire 400 systems. If you get a system that allows for Firewire 800, you may want to search for the updated chipset that supports that speed. I do not know the name of the chipset that supports firewire 800, though.]

You can also find enclosures for 2 or more hard drives. This would be great if you wanted to RAID-stripe them together to achieve more speed.

idea_hamster
Jul 21, 2003, 11:44 AM
If you're able to wait until the update, the new 15" may (should) have FW800, so you might consider looking at HD's with FW800 connections.

I know that LaCie makes a 200GB FW800 HD with their "d2" case design -- not raw metal, but a nice modular design that's not too big and comes with a foot that allows you to stand it on its side.

They also make a bunch of other stuff in the same "d2" case -- 80GB, et al.