View Full Version : buying an external FW/USB2 HD for os x and xp

Oct 19, 2004, 09:51 PM
I'd like to get a USB 2/FW 400 external hard drive to use with two macs running the most current version of OS X and a computer running Windows XP SP 2.

Is it possible to do that?

If so, can anyone suggest something around $200 USD that has a capacity of 160+ GB? And in a perfect world, it would be a fanless drive.

In fact, I really like the look of Fantom Drives and the fact that they are fanless, but I didn't see any that were both USB 2/FW 400 capable.

Thanks for any advice you have to offer!

Oct 20, 2004, 01:14 AM
160gb drive:


external enclosure (pick usb and firewire from the search box on left):


I got this one for my dvd burner:


Works fine, with two firewire ports for daisy-chaining, but I wouldn't buy another one from them - I'd get this one instead:


That one has the built-in power supply. :)

Oct 20, 2004, 02:28 AM
You can essentially use any model harddrive and external enclosure, the key is the formatting on the drive. I format my drives MacOS Extended/HFS+ then install MacDrive on any PC I frequent. The drives run much faster and alot more stable.

Oct 22, 2004, 10:34 AM
OS X can read and write to FAT32 Windoze-formatted drives, but I don't imagine any such volume would be bootable. You might be able to partition it and have one or more OS X only bootable volumes though, alongside the FAT32.

You could get hold of a USB/Firewire external enclosure (eBay is good for them) and put in your own desktop (3.5") HD. Might run out cheaper, and it's very easy to do.

From reports it seems that although USB 2.0 has a quoted maximum transfer rate higher than Firewire, it regularly is slower in practice. It's nice to have the choice though, so a dual USB/FW box would probably be a safer bet.

Oct 22, 2004, 06:36 PM
I am running 2 external FW/USB drives right now. One is specifically for my powerbook (200gig), and is format for only my powerbook. The other drive is formated with FAT32, and it usually is connected to my gaming rig. I have no problems moving it back and forth when I have to transfer large amounts of data.

I also have a small 2.5 protable firewire/usb drive for my powerbook. I use this for when I travel (backup data).

There is a lot of talk about which firewire chip to use. Most people recommend the oxford911 chip. My 2.5 has this chip, and it is good. My two other drives use the prolific chip, and it seems to be fine also.

All of my hardware was purchased from newegg.com (just picked the case, and the drive)