Thoughts on what I should use for external storage?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by arnamak, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. macrumors member

    Dec 8, 2012
    Just got my 13" MBA a few days ago, I've been playing with it endlessly. I've been a Mac user for close to 6 years now, usually been an MBP guy, decided to try out an Air. Not looking back.

    I decided I would go as barebones as possible this time around, trying to be realistic about my needs in a computer. I went with the base model 13" with the 8GB ram upgrade (which I felt was necessary if I want it to last).

    Anyway, as you probably have guessed, that leaves me with a 128GB hard drive. Realistically, it's more than enough for my needs in the portable cyber-world. But, I gotta face it, I'm gonna want to have music and movies stored somewhere.

    Which brings me here.
    What do you guys think would be my best option for external storage?

    Note, I have a 750GB 7200RPM SSD SATA III Hybrid drive without an enclosure.
    I figure, I could get an enclosure of sorts for that and be satisfied. However, the lack of Thunderbolt enclosures is really harshing my mellow. I could always get any old Thunderbolt drive and pop mine in...But at the cost of Thunderbolt drives these days, I might as well just buy one and use that at that point, without swapping anything.

    Leading me into the possibility of just getting a USB 3.0 enclosure, or a FireWire enclosure + an adapter for Thunderbolt.

    One thing to remember is I lose elegance and portability with a big clunky hard drive. And really, that's kind of what the Air is all about, no?

    So my last option, and I feel like I'm steering towards this one to be honest, which is why I really want advice from those of you that have tried this approach.
    A large UHS Class-1 SDXC SD card. I could sell my hard drive (hopefully. where does one sell hard drives?)
    Realistically I'm looking at somewhere around 128GB of storage for the ~$100ish I could get for my hard drive, so it'd be significantly less space.
    But, much easier to carry and not have to worry about having room for on my desk or it getting in the way and etc.


    As always, 'cause I ramble,

    -Thunderbolt drives worth the money/physical space they take up?
    -USB 3.0 or FireWire 800 + Thunderbolt adapter enclosures for a 750GB SATA III Hybrid drive I already have?
    -High Speed SDXC SD Card? (Leaning towards this, let me know if you use SD as your method of external storage).
  2. macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2007
    I hate it when my mellow gets harshed.

    FWIW, I have the same MBA setup, and I just got a 128GB SD card. (It hasn't arrived yet, so I can't comment on performance.) I have a 1TB Western Digital MyPassport portable external drive that I was using for backups, but the micro USB connector just broke, so that's no longer an option. That's why i decided to go with the solid state option.

    I already have a 64GB SD card that I am using for backups, but Time Machine doesn't like it very much.

    All in all I like the portability of having a full backup on an SD card.
  3. macrumors 6502


    Jun 29, 2010
    Orlando, FL
    I just use a 2tb usb 3 drive for all my library's pics and media. When I'm located at a desk. If I'm running around the house or not near the portable hd, I have it connected to my Airport Express and connect to it over the network. Don't really need super fast speed to just play a movie or listen to music. Just when transferring large files do I connect it directly to the Air. Just my 2 cents :)
  4. macrumors newbie

    Nov 24, 2012
    A nice, very fast external option is a Seagate GoFlex Thunderbolt Adapter (STAE121). You can add an SSD drive and it looks very attractive (a simple black, double-died velcro strip makes for an attractive additional connector to secure the SSD).

    The Seagate adapter sells for $99 and you'll need a $49 Thunderbolt cable. I've been using one for several for months with no problems. I can quickly move data back and forth from my Mac Mini. It's a bit spendy, but much more flexible than the powered LaCie Thunderbolt solutions, and more flexible than the sealed Thunderbolt external drives. The only drawback is it only has one Thunderbolt port.
  5. thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 8, 2012
    Hey ya'll, thanks for the responses. I'm starting to realize I may not need Thunderbolt after all. At least not yet, not while it costs this much. Realistically, as someone said, you don't really need that high of speed to play a movie or listen to music.

    I, however, think I answered my own question. This is something I was hoping existed, and maybe it'll solve someone else's dilemma too.
    Nifty MiniDrive is what it's called, and it's pretty sweet. They're still doing preorders, but they are expected to ship soon.
    Here's their website:

    they use SDCX micro sd, so you're capped at 64GB for now. it's $35 for the enclosure, $63 for the micro sd itself, personally I'm just gonna get a micro sd elsewhere,

    Solves my issues because I can have it in there all the time without worrying the SD will it fills/closes the slot for the SD card, something I've always despised about MacBooks, because until now, I never used SD cards!
  6. macrumors 6502


    May 19, 2009
    I can highly recommend G Technology's slim configuration 500GB USB 3 drive. I carry it everywhere with my 11" MBA and scarcely notice the weight or size.

    The G-Drive Slim is 500GB but the G-Drive Mobile goes up to 1TB. I opted for the Slim (at well under $100) instead of a Thunderbolt SSD. I've been happy with the choice thus far.
  7. macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2012
    Anyone that bootleg version of this? It looks like they are selling a plastic adapter for $6.00.

    I might give it a shot... it is certainly cheap...
  8. macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2011
    Sounds great. Whats the biggest microsd available?
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 4, 2012
    I was planning to get the Nifty mini drive once I ran low on SSD space

    but this thing looks somewhat fishy to me. I'll probably wait until more people take the "gamble" :D
  10. thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 8, 2012
    As far as I know it's 64GB
  11. macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2012
    Just got mine - it works as expected.

    It is certainly not as nice as the metal one though.
  12. krravi, Dec 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013

    macrumors 65816

    Nov 30, 2010
    Just ordered a Buffalo 1 TB thunderbolt/USB 3.0 drive. Best bang for the buck in terms of storage, design, fit and finish and it also comes with the thunderbolt cable and USB 3.0 cable.

    Update :

    Received my Buffalo 1 TB Drive. What a beautiful and well made drive. Fit and finish are top class. The best external drive I have ever purchased and I have purchased many of them. Came with the TB and USB 3.0 cable as well. Amazon had a great price for it.

    Copying my stuff to it now and what a surprise, its Made in Japan.

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