Thinking of using an 80GB iPod classic as a Time Machine backup disk

Discussion in 'iPod' started by tangledweb16, May 25, 2008.

  1. macrumors regular


    Nov 29, 2007
    What are your thoughts on this? I realize that the iPod has a higher chance of failing than a dedicated backup disk, but I bought it off the refurb store for 209$, so (to be honest) it wouldn't be the biggest loss for me if it were to fail and the likelihood of that happening probably isn't that high. Anyway, what do you think? I only have about 45 gigs of backup-able stuff, so the size is right.

    What're your thoughts on this? Thanks.
  2. macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
  3. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    It seems to be an expensive way to get a backup disk?

    Something like this would be more appropriate and a hell of a lot cheaper.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2008
  5. macrumors 65816


    Nov 28, 2007
    Bristol, UK
    The financial loss might not be that big. But the point of a backup is to securely safe data which is valuable to you. This might, and in most cases will include personal data. if you have a backup on your ipod and your ipod gets stolen, you'll soon be able to find those private pictures and information you might have on your ipod on the internet for sale...
  6. macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Bad idea

    1.8" drives were never made for the type of sustained access this would take. I wouldn't be entirely surprised if it overheated and burnt out on the first sync.

    Besides the already-mentioned theft/loss scenario and the dead slow performance.
  7. macrumors 68020


    Aug 23, 2004
    50.813669°, -2.474796°
    Oh, to have personal pics that somebody other than me would pay for.

    I use my 60Gb as an occasional data shuttle, anything more frequent would be too slow.
  8. macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    San Jose (CA)
    It doesn't work. I tried it already.

    I've also tried install OS X on it, Windows on it, Linux on it; none work; and yes I'm talking about the desktop versions.
  9. macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    If you go look at the white paper released by Toshiba for the drives used in the previous generation 80GB iPod you'll see that they're no different than regular drives. They have a high tolerance for shock, they're tested for 100,000 start stops and have a MTBF of 1 million hours.

    The problem is the speed. the drives in the iPod classic are slower than previous generation iPods.

    We hear about so many iPod drive failures because A) theres a ridiculous amount in the world B) they take at least 100x more abuse than any other HDD out there. But if you read the polls you'll see that even the HDD based iPods have a relatively low failure rate. Something around 10%.
  10. macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    But what I'm saying -- the usage pattern of an iPod (mainly read-only, occasionally writing, but always in large blocks, and seldom erasing) is entirely different from the usage pattern of a desktop or laptop hard drive, with constant writing and erasing of small files, swapfiles, etc and occasional very sustained high access usage. So take a 10% failure rate on an iPod usage patten, and put it into a hi-use pattern, then combine it with entirely inadequate cooling, and I still think they will burn out rather than fade away.
  11. macrumors 68000


    Aug 21, 2007
    Sure, a hard drive is a hard drive is a hard drive. But the controllers are different. iPods are not manufactured to be used as dedicated USB drives. Sure, you can use them in disk mode for the occasional write. But they are not designed to take the same "beating"" that a standard drive takes. If anything, get yourself a 1.8" drive enclosure and mount the drive in that.

    Something like this:
  12. macrumors 68000

    Nov 14, 2005
    Danville, VA
    Why are you using an 80GB drive to back up your 120GB Macbook? It's best to have a TM drive that is bigger then the drive your backing up. I would recommend at least 200GB for your MacBook. And since when is $209 cheap for an 80G HD? You can get MUCH larger external HDs for much less then $209, heck Newegg has a 1TB Lacie for $189.99

    To sum it up, just buy an external HD :)
  13. macrumors 68020

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC

    What he said--if you're using the iPod to back up, you can't use it for any of the other features, so why pay for them?

    The only way to use the iPod for backing up would be as a portable backup for certain critical files, so if your house burns down you either will have your iPod with you or you can grab it on the way out the door.
  14. macrumors 604


    Aug 13, 2002
    +1 to all suggestions that it is a bad idea. The whole concept of a backup is that it is reliable, fast, available, etc. If the media you use is not designed for it, then your backup is just a copy that might not come through for you in your time of need.
  15. thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 29, 2007
  16. macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    Well, as I said before, if you read the white paper for the HDDs used in the iPods, you'll see they ARE designed to be used as "regular" HDDs.

    I'd say that its the iPod's usage that kills them. The SMART data on my 80GB 5.5G iPod already reports almost 6,000 starts/stops and I've only had it since March of '07. They're made for 100,000. Combine that with the physical abuse an iPod incurs on a regular basis.

    Theres no reason one can't use an iPod as a Time Machine backup. The drive can handle it. Another person tried to state that the "controller is different". That is not true at all. The only difference is that Apple programs the software in a manner that it shuts the drive off almost immediately after it is done reading or writing.

    Your only real enemy is heat. The heat from having the drive on constantly will eventually wear away at the battery.

    It really doesn't make sense to use Time Machine at all unless you have A LOT of data. If you don't, just make quick backups every so often. Maybe a DVD a month or so.
  17. macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2008
    it actually works pretty well.

    in my experience, time machine would not recognize the iPod classic as a backup drive.

    i even partitioned it, and it still didnt work.

    whatever you do, dont partition it!

    it takes a long time to undo, and you have to reset the iPod as well.

    i use iBackup to backup everything.

    it simply creates a folder in the iPod, no partitioning needed.

    it does take a while, but after the first time its pretty fast.

    ive read elsewhere that time machine worked, and i wish it did for me.

    i even had enough space to put my 11GB of music, videos, and photos on it, too.

    and i still have space to backup the 11GB, too.

    ive heard alot of people talking about the overheating issue.

    my iPod never overheated at all on the first sync.

    i even had a coldpack wrapped in a towel just in case, but i didnt need it.

    i synced about 40GB of data, and it stayed at room temperature!

  18. macrumors G5


    Nov 25, 2005
    Buy a cheap external drive, and give the iPod to someone who appreciates it.

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