Best 500GB external hard drive solution?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by robcts, Oct 29, 2006.

  1. robcts macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2005
    I'm looking for a 500GB external HD with FW800 for a MacBook Pro I'm considering...

    I originally liked the LaCie Big Disk Extreme but read that it has a lot of reliability problems. I also saw a WD MyBook and one from G-Technology I think?

    Any opinions? The budget is $400 or less.
  2. kettle macrumors 65816


    May 12, 2002
    England, Great Britain (Airstrip One)
    I went for the Western Digital MyBook Pro. It wakes and sleeps with your machine.
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    I am still in favor of getting a good external case like the MacAlly PHR series, and an 'internal' mechanism, then assembling the drive yourself. (2 minutes and 6 screws, that's it).

    Two reasons:

    1) You get to choose the mechanism for make, size and cache, and
    2) You get the full manufacturer's warranty on the mechanism instead of 1 year which is the norm for finished goods external drives. Seagate, Western Digital's RE series and Maxtor's MaxLine series all have 5 years warranty. Regular is 3 years on most other models, but Maxtor does have some retail packaged drives with only one year. Make sure you get the warranty in writing from the seller before buying
  4. zyuzin4 macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2002
    Eugene, OR
    I went for this one also got it on amazon for a good price. newegg had it cheaper but shipping to alaska was high
  5. robcts thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2005
    thanks for the help - will consider doing it myself...

    do you happen to know if the g-tech g-raid2 is any good?

    it has hardware-based RAID0 (is this a good thing if it's going to be used as a storage solution? i'd imagine RAID1 would be better...) and cost around ~$400. not sure if it's worth it.

    thanks again.
  6. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    I also recommend the Western Digital MyBook Pro. I use to never have a external drive hooked up 24x7 until I had this one. It sleeps when it needs to sleep and it out of the way on my desk thanks to the bookshelf type design.

    Make sure you keep it backed up. I bought two of them and keep them in sync using rsync.
  7. thenewguy macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2006
    can you guys recommend a stylish and well performing enclosure?

    I currently have a 250gb SATA 3.0 Wester Digital WD2500KS, and would like to pop it into a case.

    any thoughts? I'd love something stylish, like the MyBook
  8. thebill macrumors member

    Feb 20, 2006
    The Home of H.A.L., Urbana
    Drive AND Hub!

    I bought one of these as a gift, problem free. It's GREAT...a drive (it's power goes on & off with your system), & a hub, so extra Firewire ports & extra USB 2.0 ports.....& of course, STYLED like a Mini!
  9. 2ms macrumors 6502

    Nov 22, 2002
    damnit my iMac doesnt have Firewire800 but rather has FW400. But I am going to be needing one of these external drives. How big is the performance difference going to be?
  10. slackersonly macrumors 6502a


    Apr 13, 2006
    depends on who you ask. there are people and test that show it much better and others that show it marginally better. fw400 will be sufficient for almost everything you will use it for. in fact, with most external drives being used for data backup instead of constant access, a usb 2.0 connection will serve most people just fine.
  11. dongmin macrumors 68000


    Jan 3, 2002
    I was in a similar boat as you, but I was always considering buying two 500GB drives so that one could serve as a backup. After much research, I decided to go with the 1TB Maxtor OneTouch III, which is on sale for $440.,1895,1928236,00.asp

    It does FW800, FW400, and USB2.0. I believe the internal mechanism is a 16MB cache, 7200 rpm SATA Maxtor drive. In the end, the dealmaker for me was the various backup and RAID options it came with.

    BTW, according to their specs, the drive gets 91 MB/s sustained transfer for FW800 vs. 43 MB/s for FW400 and 33 MB/s for USB 2.0.

    Edit: If you go the seperate enclosure route, consider getting a 400GB internal drive--they give you the best bang for the buck. You can find them for $100 or less.
  12. MRU macrumors demi-god


    Aug 23, 2005
    The white Mybook Pro with FW800 is such a beautiful drive.

    In fact all the mybook drives are great but a word of warning. Do not install the mybook software - if you do it wont switch off the drive when you powerdown and you have to manually turn the drives off.
  13. weldon macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2004
    Denver, CO
    If you only have FW400, you can get the Premium version of the WD My Book 500GB. It doesn't come with Retrospect Express though.

    Dell seems to have the lowest prices at the moment, especially if you combine with a coupon. In fact, I think the prices are better than buying a FW400 enclosure and buying a bare drive to go in it.

    I've been shopping for the My Book Pro 500GB because I'd really like to get Retrospect Express w/ the drive and I could use the FW800.
  14. islandman macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2006
    I second the recommendation for the OneTouch III. For the money, it's very hard to beat.

    I also agree that 400GB internal drives are the best bang for the buck nowadays.
  15. thenewguy macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2006
    what standard prices do you guys see for the $400 drives?

    And what enclosures are you all using?
  16. kettle macrumors 65816


    May 12, 2002
    England, Great Britain (Airstrip One)
    Works fine for me, but you're right it's a really nice drive, in a kind of 'I don't read much but I love books' way. It makes me want to have more than one.
  17. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    Seagate 7200.10 drives are great. has 320GBs for $95, 400GBs for $190 and 500GBs for $225. I'd check for the latest prices. The 7200.10 has perpendicular drive recording which is great for video editing.

    Enclosure wise look at Cool Drives, their FW400 and FW800 Oxford 900(?) enclosures are nice. You can get it with a drive too. They even have FW/USB/eSATA enclosures for SATA drives, shoud you want to future proof your drive case with a eSATA port, however buy the time computers come equipped with them, prices on cases will come down too.

    The Ministacks are awesome, 500GB for $295 or empty case for $75 or $85 (incl. backup software), not to mention it is a HUB, however they are only FW400 not 800.

    The Western Digital MyBook is a nice package for ease of use and look.

    There are even some PowerMac G5/Mac Pro looking drives that copy the tower case design and come in FW400 and FW800 as well as 1, 2, and I think 4 drive case sizes.
  18. thenewguy macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2006
    I decided to go for the Western Digital My Book Pro 500gb. I'm really psyched. Dell Home has an Amazing price on it right now - $227 with free shipping!

    The color will match the MBP and my coming kensington Dome USB hub, and the FW800 will be awesome.

    Does anyone know what kind of drive is actually inside the enclosure, in case I wanted to take it out at some later date?
  19. jlanuez macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2006
    RE: G-Technology

    I use the G-Drive, FW800, 500GB 7200 RPM on my G5 Quad
    and the G-Drive Mini, FW800, 100GB 7200RPM with my 17" MacBook Pro

    The price on the G-Drive mini was actually LESS at than the manufacturer's website and Apple had it in stock with free shipping!
  20. Philberttheduck macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2006
    HB, CA
    Regarding MyBooks

    I was wondering, because it sleeps when inactive, does that mean there's a little "fan-whirling time"? I mean that, if you don't open up the harddrive, it just stays quiet. But when you open up something (say you put your itunes directory there), will the harddrive "load up" and run its fan, causing a 5-10 second delay?

    That was my chief concern with fan-powered harddrives (I built mine from a kit) so I wasn't sure if this applies to the MyBook as well.
  21. telecomm macrumors 65816


    Nov 30, 2003
    The delay is the hard drive spinning up, it has nothing to do with the presence of cooling fans.

    There is a slight delay when the drive wakes from sleep, but it's certainly less than 5 seconds.
  22. Dunepilot macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2002
    The Newertech Ministack and the LaCie equivalent look like the best bets (no way I'm touching Western Digital, on past experience).

    I'd like to pick up a 250 gig drive to sit under my Mac Mini but for some reason noone in the UK seems to have them in stock. I've tried Dabs, Amazon, Ebay etc.

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to where I can get one?

  23. thenewguy macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2006
    How does formatting for these drives work? Fat32 will be most convenient, since both windows and osx can read it - but then you can't transfer any files over 4gb, which just won't work for a drive intended to be for backups images.

    What is the best format for this drive? It will probably be used for OSX mostly, but I'd like to have the option of using it with windows. any ideas?
  24. techster85 macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2006
    Lubbock, TX
    WD has the My book Pro 1 tb, that is raid-able. You can RAID1 the drive to have it mirror the two 500 gig drives, or you can RAID0 the drive for a 1tb drive. I don't think they cost much over 500, and it is cheaper than buying two 500 gig My Books.

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