Looking for external hard drive suggestions and help...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by johnbro23, May 5, 2005.

  1. johnbro23 macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    What kind do you think I should get? I think 160GB is the magic number for me... not too much but not too little.

    Also, do you think my computer would run faster if I used it as my main drive since there's a greater rpm? Or is that even possible?

    Finally, where would you go for the best deals on one?
     
  2. e²Studios macrumors 68020

    e²Studios

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    Apr 12, 2005
    #2
    I have a 160Gb and a 250GB LaCie drive and i love them. They are both attached to my mini. I bought mine from Apple Driect wiht a EDU discount, maybe not the cheapest, but i was able to get a decent deal within 5-10 bucks of even amazon's best price.

    The only issue right now is with tiger and how it disconnects the drive when you switch users and someone logs out. There is a thread in the Tiger Bugs section that explains it better, i authored it just search my posts, it has a link back to apple support. Hopefully the update will fix this annoying issue.

    Ed
     
  3. johnbro23 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    I like the LaCie's design... thats the one I'm most interested in by just looking around on my own. Is that the best buy? And where can I find the best price on one?
     
  4. Hemingray macrumors 68030

    Hemingray

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    #4
    If you really want a good price, get an internal HD and stick it in a cheapo case with FireWire and/or USB 2.0. I think I paid $100 total for a 120GB 7200RPM IBM drive and case doing that. I only use it once a week for backup or the occasional big file transfer, so it does the trick.
     
  5. johnbro23 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Hmm, well I've found that you're pretty much going to pay $1 per GB for externals (on average), so saving $20 isn't really worth it to have an internal in a cheapo case. I'm leaning towards getting a 160GB LaCie at this point, if anyone else doens't have any other suggestions...
     
  6. wiseguy27 macrumors 6502

    wiseguy27

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    #6
    DIY is a lot cheaper

    Actually, it depends on the deals you see and the comfort level you have with things you build with non-branded components. I have searched for drives in the recent past, and in my experience you just cannot beat the price of an internal drive+enclosure. It's not a paltry $20 or so (in many cases it's a lot more).

    I made my own with a Hitachi 160GB P-ATA HDD + dual fan enclosure for $100 a few months back (including shipping, although I had a mail-in rebate too, which wasn't a hassle).

    With internal drive prices averaging between 30 cents to 50 cents a Gig (based on good deals) and a good enclosure costing around $30-$40, that's a deal that external branded ones cannot even come close to. Since the cost of the enclosure is fixed, if you buy any drive bigger than 120GB (in the current market), you will save a substantial amount.

    Check www.dealmac.com, www.edealinfo.com, www.shopping.com etc. for good deals. Also check Fry's outpost (www.outpost.com) and other bigger stores.

    You have to note that with LaCie (or Maxtor or most WD) drives you're no better off than with building your own if you look at the warranty. These branded drives provide a 1 year warranty. AFAIK, the external enclosures also carry a 1 year warranty. Internal drives from Hitachi and Seagate carry 3 years or 5 years warranty.
     
  7. johnbro23 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    I just tried checking out the enclosures and there's a ton of choices. Does anyone have any to recomend? I like how on amazon they have reviews of the products, but unfortunately there aren't reviews for most of the enclosures.

    I've seen internal hard drives in the ads in the Sunday paper, do you think that's a good place to start for looking for a deal on the actual drive?
     
  8. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

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    Jan 6, 2004
    #8
    i use a Maxtor one touch drive to boot off of, ive had no issues with it at all, its a 160gig too, it wasnt too expensive either
     
  9. jsalzer macrumors 6502a

    jsalzer

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    Jan 18, 2004
    #9
    EZQ

    I know I'm in the non-Lacie minority, but I'm a firm supporter of EZQuest drives. They're a Mac-Centric company, provide all of your chords, have a super-solid and attractive enclosure (silver with a clear polycarb layer), take a really good beating, and just don't seem to die (using the three drives (CD-R, DVD-RW, and HD that I've bought from them as samples.)

    www.ezq.com
     
  10. Crikey macrumors 6502

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    Jan 14, 2004
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    Spencer's Butte, Oregon
    #10
    I have a 250GB LaCie D2 "triple-interface" drive. It wasn't the cheapest available, but it's nice, and fast, and big enough to back up both my internal drives.

    Good luck!


    Michael
     
  11. wiseguy27 macrumors 6502

    wiseguy27

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    #11
    take a little time, it will help

    Actually, the enclosures are pretty much standard. The major part of these enclosures is the chipset used, and as far as I know they're all good. Check for the price, the interfaces (USB/Firewire/USB+Firewire), fans or fan-less (depending on your preference - I'd recommend something with one or two fans just to make sure the drive is cooler - it might help increase the life, but then you may prefer not to have the additional noise).

    Even I was overwhelmed by the choices for enclosures and was lost initially because the brand names didn't ring a bell. I started comparing features and the price and narrowed down on http://www.dealsonic.com and chose http://www.dealsonic.com/stpmsismbaus.html (USB 2.0). For Firewire, the same model is http://www.dealsonic.com/stpmsismbafi.html . For USB/Firewire combo, look at http://www.dealsonic.com/35inalusb20f.html

    These may not be the cheapest deals, but I felt they were reasonably priced for the features they provided. Note that these are P-ATA enclosures. Enclosures for SATA drives are a lot more expensive (and I did read recommendations against external SATA drives elsewhere).

    I usually check www.edealinfo.com, www.dealtime.net, www.dealmac.com, www.resellerratings.com etc. for good deals. I also go to www.bizrate.com, www.pricegrabber.com, www.pricescan.com, www.pricehead.com, www.nextag.com etc. to check for the lowest prices. Saving money does take some time. :)

    Look for:
    * Minimum 8MB buffer (that's the standard now, anything less is slow)
    * 7200rpm (this is standard for desktops, higher rpm drives cost a lot more)
    * average access time < 8ms (again, standard)
    * a good warranty (3 years or more gives me peace of mind)

    If you first decide on the brand and capacity (approximate range), it'd be a lot easier to check the deals on these sites and decide. Without that, you'd take longer to get one. After my research I decided on Seagate and Hitachi because of the longer warranties (3 or 5 years depending on the model) and better overall reliability comments from users on different sites.

    NOTE: If you follow this and get an external enclosure or even if you get a branded external drive, always follow a single orientation. If you prefer the disk standing sideways (vertically) to save space, always keep it that way.
    If you start using it horizontally, always use it that way. It's highly recommended not to change the orientation once you've started using a drive.
     

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  12. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #12
    I'm another LaCie fan. While you can find cheaper drives (and drive/enclosure combos), my LaCie 120GB d2 has been pounded on for almost three years with no problems. The 250GB d2 I added last year is also a flawless performer - and quiet as well. I added the LaCie 16x d2 burner and a desktop rack.

    Solid performers, good value, and - important to me - very attractive.
     
  13. johnbro23 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Pittsburgh, PA
    #13
    wiseguy27, thanks! Wow, that took some work! I'll have to look into those sites you suggested.

    I'm still not sure whether or not I'm going with the premade or build one myself. I love the LaCie design... I think I might just try to find a good deal on one of those on eBay. I've found a few 160GB HDs going for $120. And thats pretty much the cost of building one ($100 for the drive and $20 for the case).

    Plus, money isn't really too much of an issue for me, and if it's only going to be a difference of $30 or so, I'd rather play it safe and go with the premade. Plus, I like the looks of those LaCie's too.
     
  14. wiseguy27 macrumors 6502

    wiseguy27

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    USA
    #14
    branded vs. external enclosure

    I too like the LaCie design, but I have read that the Porsche drives are not good (too much heat and the enclosure doesn't really help dissipate it - heat reduces the life of your disk). So if you do decide on LaCie, go for the d2...or extreme models. Again, LaCie provides only 1 year warranty.

    FYI, I would stay away from eBay for electronic goods - just my preference.

    Also look at different sizes - maybe 160GB, 200GB and 250GB - you may get some great deals on one of them. Look at http://dealmac.com/sections/storage.html for deals like these:
    Western Digital 300GB for $138 at Amazon.com - http://dealmac.com/articles/Western...Drive+for+138+shipped+after+rebate/86135.html

    Seagate 160GB for $50 at Circuit City (this comes with 5 years warranty)!!! - http://dealmac.com/articles/Seagate+Barracuda+160GB+IDE+for+50+shipped+after+rebates/85842.html


    There are great deals for $20 enclosures (Firewire+USB) too. So unless you have a strong preference for LaCie, you'd be throwing away more than $50 by ignoring these deals. And plugging a drive into an enclosure is not a big deal at all!

    I understand it may not be easy to decide on going for an enclosure+drive (I had apprehensions too). For $140 (just $20 more than what you were looking at), you could have TWO 160GB external drives with a great warranty!!! This is assuming you can get one of the mail-in rebates through someone else. Anyway, what matters is your comfort level and whether or not you have a strong dislike for mail-in rebates (I've had no problems). :D
     
  15. bdj33ranch macrumors regular

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    Apr 19, 2005
    #15
    I have a Lacie d2 HD U2&FW&FW8 Extreme that I purchased from Lacie in their 'Clearance Corner' section. I've been very satisfied with it in the two months I've had it. I see the 160Gb version is going for $135 there today.

    http://www.lacie.com/products/clearance/
     
  16. Le Big Mac macrumors 68020

    Le Big Mac

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    Washington, DC
    #16
    I've had no problems with my OWC Mercury drive. Prices are basically identical to the same-sized LaCie drive. I doubt there's any signficant degree of difference between them.
     
  17. drewyboy macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 27, 2005
    #17
    I've heard good things about the OWC Elite externals... why hasn't anyone mentioned them?
     
  18. johnbro23 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Pittsburgh, PA
    #18
    Hmm. That's a pretty good deal. That's just a little more expensive than buying one, and it looks a heck of a lot better. The only thing that I don't like about it is the Warranty... only 90 days.

    Do you think I should go for it? How often to drives like that break?
     
  19. cube macrumors G4

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    May 10, 2004
    #19
    Try to get an enclosure that uses an Oxford bridge chip.
     
  20. johnbro23 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Hmm... not sure what that means.
     
  21. bdj33ranch macrumors regular

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    Apr 19, 2005
    #21
    Lacie has a good reputation to protect. I feel pretty confident with my 'refurb' purchase. But I might be wrong. I decided that at least some physical person actually tested, and fixed whatever problem there was with my unit before it went to the 'Clearance Corner'

    It came with a USB and two different FW cables. Plus Lacie's SilverLining (don't use with your Mac model) and SilverKeeper (a good backup software program that I do use). I have an eMac nearly identical to yours. The d2 drive came preformated in Mac HFS+. Just plug it in and it ready to go. If you hook it up to your FW port you can clone your Mac HD to the external which allows you actually from from the external.

    The 'Oxford bridge' chip is the 'controller chip' that allows the HD to communicate with your computer. The Oxford 911 was (and maybe still is) considered the best bridge chip.
     
  22. wiseguy27 macrumors 6502

    wiseguy27

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    #22
    That's the chip that translates your IDE interface to USB or Firewire - essentially, it's the converter that allows you to connect an IDE drive to your computer using the USB interface. Oxford is just one among many chipsets used in external enclosures and the technical specs of an enclosure would state the chipset being used.
     
  23. tech4all macrumors 68040

    tech4all

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    NorCal
    #23
    Another vote for the LaCie HDs. Got a 200GB HD: love it :)
     
  24. Ti_Poussin macrumors regular

    Ti_Poussin

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    May 6, 2005
    #24
    I personnaly have a fanless MacAlly aluminium enclosure and it's working well, as some have say earlier, buy an enclosure and a normal HD, you get better price in the end. The oxford 911 chipset is a most, it's give faster transfer. The only probleme with this enclosure, it's the lack an ON/OFF switch, but since it's quite you don't really bother. Fanless have slower transfer rate, but save your ears in the long run, if performance and longivity(really relative here, mainly depend of the quality of the HD) go with a fan and check the dB it make, the lower the better. You may also wanna have a dual connection USB2.0/Firewire it's help with PC and when problem occur like with Tiger at the moment. Good HD mark are Maxtor and Western Digital, 8MB of cache is not really more expensive so get it, especially if you wanna boot from it, less seeking of small file.

    Hope it's help, my first post over this forum ;)
     
  25. hal0n macrumors regular

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    Dec 27, 2004
    #25
    My collection of FW drives includes a 160 LaCie "porsche" drive, a fantom drives 160, and the newest member to the collection... the G-Technologies G-Drive 250 (FW400/800). My experience is that all of these drives are ok. The G-Drive is significant'y faster than the other 2 (oxford chip + hitachi drive) and it's significantly higher quality in terms of construction and materials. Also the FW800 is everything it claims to be. At least it is on my girlfriends Rev C 15" PB... Sadly, I can only use 400 on my 12" .

    If you don't mind paying a little extra the G-Drives are really nice, but even the budget minded FD gets the job done.

    K
     

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