external hard drive

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by fjs08, Nov 11, 2006.

  1. fjs08 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    #1
    I'm looking for an external hard drive. I'm looking at a recent issue of a mac on line catalog and I see 9 of them listed. I'm thinking of a Lacie. Are they usually pretty good?? Looks like a USB interface.

    If I bring my "data" (like spread sheets, Word docs, etc) over to the hard drive, should I be able to plug the hard drive in to another Mac and share the data between the two mac's??

    I'm looking at a new Mac Book Pro and am thinking of how to get my data from one to the other AND have a "permanent" backup too. Will I be able to get my photo's from iPhoto over?? Do I just copy the Pictures/iPhoto Library folder. Should that do it??

    Thanks for your help.

    Frank
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    Adelaide, Australia
    #2
    Lacies are meant to be pretty good. If possible, I'd go with a firewire interface (preferably both) since it'll be faster for large transfers and it'll work marginally better with booting, cloning and backing up your data.

    Keeping files on your external will mean they're accessible to any machine you plug the drive into, so long as the machine can read the format you've given your drive. If you format it on a Mac as Mac OS Extended (Journaled), which is the default, then any modern Mac will be able to read it and write to it. If you format it as NTFS on a PC then PCs will be able to use it normally but Macs will only be able to read it. They won't be able to add data to it. If you format it as FAT32 on either machine, both operating systems will be able to use it.

    Simply dragging your iPhoto library from the default Pictures folder location to the external should suffice. Then, when you next open iPhoto it'll ask where your library is and you'll simply have to point it in the right direction. :)

    I hope that helps a touch. :cool:
     
  3. fjs08 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Any external HD's you recommend.

    Am I to assume that an external HD isn't as easy as a flash usb drive, ie plug and play?? There is "formatting" to do???

    In this catalog, Western Digital and Seagate both have Firewire. One is even a Firewire 800..

    Frank
     
  4. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #4
    I don't have much experience with the different brands so I'll avoid recommending anything for now, sorry. However, it's probably safer to go with one of the big names and ensure it's both Mac-compatible (you've done that) and there's a bit of a warranty on it.

    It'll probably come formatted already but you can choose to format it again or partition it if you like. It should be about as simple as a flash drive. :)

    Firewire 800 is great, but only if your computer supports it. You'll probably be fine with just Firewire 400. If possible, get a drive that supports both Firewire and USB though, since most PCs won't have a Firewire port and you may want to use this with a PC at some stage. :)
     
  5. fjs08 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #5
    >>since most PCs won't have a Firewire port and you may want to use this with a PC at some stage.<<

    Wife has a PC. So your advise is well taken.

    Frank
     
  6. Temujin macrumors 6502a

    Temujin

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    #6
    Check out Lacie. Great drives, great design, Firewire 400/800 and USB2.

    Got the 250 version and love it. Works great with my MBP and PC.
     
  7. fjs08 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #7
    >>Got the 250 version and love it<<

    I would think 250 GIG should be enough of any brand???

    Do you agree, or are you pushing out the HD's space??

    Frank
     
  8. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #8
    This is great advice.

    To the OP, be sure to format as FAT32 so that you can use it with both platforms. Otherwise, if you format for Mac only, you will not be able to use it with your PC without reformatting.
     
  9. Temujin macrumors 6502a

    Temujin

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    #9
    Really depends on what your needs are.
    My drive is nearly full and I need to get another one. I'll daisy chain the two which is a nice feature on the Lacie drive.

    But keep in mind I do video editing and need the ability to have many video and music files stored.

    If you only need the drive for backups and other none AV related stuff then 250 Gb should be fine.
     
  10. Temujin macrumors 6502a

    Temujin

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    #10
    FAT32 only support file-sizes up to around 4 Gb. Very restricting if you need to store larger files.

    If you need to use the drive on both a Mac and Windows computer I would recommend taking a look at MacDrive.
    When installed, MacDrive will enable Windows to read and write to and from a Mac formatted harddrive.

    In short: Keep it Mac formatted and use MacDrive
     
  11. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #11
    Yes, MacDrive is a good solution.

    In this case the OP mentioned Word and Excel type files so the 4GB file size limit should not mater.

    So unless the OP is planning on working with many files over 4GB, it's probably just easier to format it in OSX as FAT32 (shows up as MS-DOS File System in the Disk Utility application).

    Plus this solution saves $ for the MacDrive application.
     
  12. fjs08 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #12
    Went to Best Buy because the rep there told me they had the WD PRO on sale for $ 290. One of the on line Mac places had it for $ 280, so I thought "what the heck??"

    Well, it wasn't the Pro, but the Premium. The Premium doesn't have a Firewire (FW) 800, just FW 400 and USB 2.0. I told him I was getting a Mac Book Pro, and I "thought" it had a FW 800. He said that it didn't matter because I would be limited by the speed of the HD.

    Anyway, I brought the catalog with me and they had the Premium for $ 250. After figuring in tax and shipping which are none and rebateable from the catalog (not sure if I'm allowed to mention their name-that's why I haven't), it comes out to a $ 60 difference on this Premium model. So I went for nothing, but what the heck. I saved a bunch of bucks!! <g>

    I'll get the Pro.

    Frank
     
  13. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #13
    Yeah, you won't really need Firewire 800, Firewire 400 will suffice. The MacBook Pro can use either though. :)

    I agree with sushi that for most people, formatting it in FAT32 is the best option. There's no point in spending the money on MacDrive if you rarely se such large files. Of course, if you're doing lots of large video work, then maybe MacDrive + Mac OS Extended (Journaled) is a good idea. :)
     
  14. Locatel macrumors regular

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    Jul 21, 2006
    #14
    Lacie makes a great enclosure, but you never know wich HD is inside. I've seen Lacie d2s with Maxtor, Samsung and Seagate. Their product is covered by a 1 year warranty.
    Mercury Elite Pro Aluminum units are mounted with the latest Seagate drives. The unit is covered by a 2 year warranty PLUS 3 year warranty for the drive, directly from Seagate (the drive itself is covered by a 5 year warranty). I don't think you'll find a better deal than this, and they cost about the same.
    Check it out: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firew...teAL/800+USB2/
    For $260 you can get a 500GB USB 2 / Firewire 400.
     
  15. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #15
    I cringe when I hear Samsung. I have had so many problems with their HDs. I have a whole bunch of failed ones. They don't seem to last a long time.
     
  16. thenewguy macrumors regular

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    Oct 25, 2006
    #16
    I'm surprised so many people are recommending FAT32 formatting.

    that means the user could never use the drive for full system backups. Depending on the size of the MBP's hdd, you're looking at 100+gb files. That is one of the most useful things an ext. drive can do, in my opinion, so I would be very wary of using FAT32.
     
  17. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #17
    It depends how you back up your drive as to whether you use large files. Personally, I make a copy of my Home folder which happens to have all file sizes below 4GB. I don't turn my Home folder into an image to be backed up, but whatever suits you. :)
     
  18. domzanghi macrumors member

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    Mar 8, 2006
    #18
    I have actually heard the opposite. 5 or 6 years ago, they made a great enclosure, but lately my friends have had a decent amount of trouble with their enclosures (not hard drives). Just my $.02.
     
  19. Locatel macrumors regular

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    Jul 21, 2006
    #19
    Anyway, compared to the Mercury Elite, it's not worth it.
     
  20. tech4all macrumors 68040

    tech4all

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    Jun 13, 2004
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    NorCal
    #20
    Just as a side note, I've heard that the LaCie Big disk's go out after about 18 months. I've read here that may be due to the fact that they use the same power supply the d2's use, but they have 2 HD's in them instead of 1 like the d2's. With that said, the d2's make a decent external HD, IMO. :)

    Out of curiosity, what kinds of trouble?
     
  21. BengalDuck macrumors regular

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    Oct 27, 2006
    #21
    I've read the same thing with regards to LaCie drives. I have a WD 120 GB USB 2.0/1.1 drive that has exactly 6.00 GB left of free space. I only put music on there but I will defintely back up when I get a bigger drive.

    I think I'll be going with the Western Digital 500 GB MyBook USB/Firewire 400... I've heard great things about those products.
     

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