External Hard Drive For MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by RealMadrid15, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2012
    Hi, I'm wondering if any of you can help me pick out an External Hard Drive for my new MacBook Pro (non retina -.-).

    I'm really not a technical person so if any of you can steer me in the right direction that'd be great.

    The only thing that I want to use the Hard Drive for is Time Machine backups.

    My MacBook Pro has a 500gb non SSD hard drive so basically I'd like my external Hard Drive to be about the same thing.

    I'd like the External Hard Drive to be:

    -No formatting or anything required - I can just select the disk from Time Machine and I'm done

    -No preinstalled crap

    -About 500gb non SSD

    -If possible, FireWire 800 so I can take advantage of increased speeds over USB 2.0

    -Long lasting, reliable

    -Compatible with a MacBook Pro running OS X Lion

    -IDK if this makes any sense but - not compatible with Windows so I can't get any windows viruses on it

  2. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Any external hard drive will work with PCs or Macs, as long as the connectors are there (Firewire, USB, etc.) It doesn't matter how the drive is formatted out of the box, since you can re-format any way you like.

    Format A Hard Drive Using Disk Utility (which is in your /Applications/Utilities folder)

    Choose the appropriate format:

    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive)

    NTFS (Windows NT File System)
    • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
    • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X
      [*]To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X, here are some alternatives:
      • For Mac OS X 10.4 or later (32 or 64-bit), install Paragon (approx $20) (Best Choice for Lion)
      • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
      • For 64-bit Snow Leopard, read this: MacFUSE for 64-bit Snow Leopard
      • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36).
      • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and Lion, but is not advisable, due to instability.
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
    • Maximum file size: 16 TB
    • Maximum volume size: 256TB
    • You can use this format if you routinely share a drive with multiple Windows systems.

    exFAT (FAT64)
    • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
    • Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages.
    • exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
    • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB
    • You can use this format if it is supported by all computers with which you intend to share the drive. See "disadvantages" for details.

    FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
      [*]Maximum file size: 4GB.
    • Maximum volume size: 2TB
    • You can use this format if you share the drive between Mac OS X and Windows computers and have no files larger than 4GB.

    I've been very pleased with both of these models in various capacities, from Other World Computing (OWC):

    OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro..........................OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro™
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Windows viruses have zero effect on your Mac. Windows malware, like any Windows app, cannot run in Mac OS X.

    Mac Virus/Malware FAQ
  3. macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2012
    Very informative post.

    I have a 1TB NTFS external HD currently having around 900gb data. I am also soon switching over to Macbook Pro from Windows. How I go about getting this drive into proper format so I can use it with Mac and not loose data? I have files bigger than 4gb.

  4. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    You can install Paragon on your Mac, which will enable it to read/write to the NTFS drive. That won't work if you intend to use the drive for Mac backups, however. Read the details under HFS+ and NTFS below. If you intend to use the drive to backup your Mac, you would need to move the data from the drive to another drive, then format the 1TB as HFS+, then copy the data back.
  5. macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2012
    Good idea. Most probably I will get another drive for back up. Whats the storage capacity I would need for that?
  6. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Well, it depends on how much you have stored on your 1TB drive, and how much you think your future storage requirements will be.
  7. macrumors regular


    Jun 4, 2012
    Toronto, ON

    Check this out maybe it can help you decide.

  8. macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2009
    Whitehorse, Yukon , Canada
    If this is a 2012 MBP (non-retina) then I would go for USB3 drive. Time machine needs more space then what your 500GB harddrive is if you eventually fill the HD. It needs the space to keep more than a single backup so it can go back in time.

    Therefore, if its a 2012, I would get a 1TB or 1.5 TB portable external. Or if wanting to not travel with the drive, then a 2-3TB external.

    I have WD, Seagate and Transcend drives in a mix of portable and desktop and all work fine.

    If your MBP is 2011 then look at FW800 drive like the Seagate for Mac ($ premium over the USB3 one but not much).
  9. macrumors regular

    Aug 20, 2007

    Don't buy any of these mass manufactured pieces of rubbish. Too slow, poorly made, unreliable end up becoming landfill. Buy an enclosure and a bare drive.

    The Mercury Elite is a decent FW800 enslosure. If there was anything to grumble about it probably be that it is much bigger than it needs to be and sometimes takes too long to mount compared to other enclosures I have that also use the Oxford chipset.
  10. mblaak, Jun 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2012

    macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2011

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