Which Firewire and bus-powered hard drive?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by arogge, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. arogge macrumors 65816

    arogge

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    #1
    I'm in the market for a Firewire hard drive, something between 250 GB and 500 GB capacity. I'd prefer a drive that can be powered by the Firewire port, requiring no other electrical power outlet or adapter. It seems that the available products are limited if you don't want the drive to be tied to the wall socket. Which drive should I buy? I almost bought a Lacie d2, but it seems to require an external power socket.
     
  2. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a

    QuantumLo0p

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    #2
    I have not bought any external drives for a while but I believe you are correct that a bus powered drive is difficult to come by. My last enclosure I purchased was a DS-3 which I like very much. It "sleeps" when it has been idle for a while.

    The only bus powered drives I have seen are smaller 2.5" ext drives that are powered by a single FW connection, two USB connections or a USB with a PS2 connection for power. I think FW carries more power than USB.

    I would think the main thing to watch for is if you find a complete ext drive then great. If you come across an enclosure and the manufacturer says you can stuff your own drive into it and use bus power then I would be careful. I have heard of a few instances where people assembled their own ext drive and the power was not sufficient from the bus, only with small 2.5" drives.

    Just my thought on this but personally I would not mind plugging a large drive into a wall, especially if it is 500 to 750 GB. That is a lot of data to gamble with, especially if you are going to rely on it for backing up.

    Are you trying to go with bus power for use with a portable?
     
  3. arogge thread starter macrumors 65816

    arogge

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    #3
    I don't plan to use this new drive very often, so I want not to have unnecessary power adapters and cables on the shelf. If I can't get this, I'm probably going with a d2. I currently use one of the new LaCie portable drives, and I really like it. It's very convenient to be able to plug it into any FireWire port and quickly transfer data between drives and computers.
     
  4. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #4
    Don't get bus-powered drives. Much more reliable to have AC power.
    Bus power generally is not enough for a 3.5" hard drive.
     
  5. bbarnhart macrumors 6502a

    bbarnhart

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    Jan 16, 2002
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    Stilwell, Kansas
    #5
    The Lacie d2 does have a power cord. It sounds from your message that you're thinking that it does not. Here is another options and it is US$10 cheaper

    MacSales
     
  6. arogge thread starter macrumors 65816

    arogge

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    #6
    Is the LaCie d2 500 GB drive an actual 500 GB platter, or two 250 GB platters?
     
  7. bbarnhart macrumors 6502a

    bbarnhart

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    #7
    Pretty sure it would be one 500 GB HD inside. If it did have two, I would think they would tote some kind of RAID setup. MacSales has an exteranal RAID configuration with two separate HD.

    I'm not trying to over-hype MacSales, and I'm sure the Lacie product would be wonderful. Just another option.

    You need to realize that a large capacity external HD is going to have a power cord. If speed is not important, you could set it up with file server device similar to the AirPort Extreme that will allow you to share the external HD on the network.
     
  8. Biker21098 macrumors member

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    Aug 13, 2002
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    CA
    #8
    Okay

    So. I have never seen a 3.5" drive that was bus powered. The 2.5" are great portable drives. I have an 80GB I assembled myself, that is firewire bus powered. Great for trips with the laptop. The guy asked about platters, not disks. Most drives nowadays have 2-4 platters I believe, used to have more, but higher densities have allowed fewer.
    The issue with LaCie is you don't know what kind of drive you are getting. One week it could be Western Digital, another Maxtor, then Seagate. That being the case really no way to know how many platters, because each company is doing its own thing.

    Also I work in film post production for a university. We have been having LOTS of d2 failures. usually a chipset failure that then corrupts the drive structure. About 50/50 to our success rate on recovery. We are now recommending the LaCie porsche drives or the Seagate externals or the Western Digitals.

    Lastly a plug for macsales. They are great, and will take care of you. So just my couple cents. best of luck.

    oh lastly, you could get a 3.5" enclosure that has a built in power supply, so you wouldn't have an external power brick, make cords a little cleaner. Just a standard power cable, and a firewire cable.
     
  9. arogge thread starter macrumors 65816

    arogge

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  10. weckart macrumors 68040

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    #10
    Firewire ports provide 12V at 1A, which is not really enough to power up 3.5" drives and feed the FW chip. The only bus-powered drives are the smaller laptop 2.5" drives, which come in USB or FW or combo flavours. USB, which provides 5V at 0.5A is on on the borderline with some drives working well and others less so. My PB generally does not provide enough juice from its USB ports to service bus-powered drives, although my HP laptop has no problems doing so.

    Smartdisk seem to be the most common FW bus-powered drives available, and the one that Apple Stores seem to favour, FWIW. I have one of those and it seems to work well.
     
  11. biturbomunkie macrumors 6502a

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    cali
    #11
    there's quite a bit of selection on cooldrives.com

     
  12. sethypoo macrumors 68000

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    Oct 8, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    #12
    Can anyone here tell me if the Lacie D2 will go to sleep when you put your Mac to sleep (e.g., close the lid of your MacBook Pro)?

    I want to be able to leave an external hard drive plugged into my computer, close the lid on my MacBook Pro, and have both the MBP and the external FireWire drive go to sleep.
     
  13. 512ke macrumors 6502a

    512ke

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    Sep 10, 2003
    #13
    This is just anecdotal, but my LaCie 250 GB died. My coworker's similar La Cie also died.

    I have a little Smartdisc Firelight that's bus powered. It has worked really well and it's withstood a lot of travel.

    I recently bought (but may return) a My Book 500 GB drive but it has an external power cord.

    Hope that helps a bit.
     
  14. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #14
    I have 2 Lacie Drives, one is 4 years old, the other is 2 years old. Never been a problem.

    Anyway, if you really want an external HD with the amount of capacity that you mentioned then look for this:

    http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?pid=10731

    The Lacie Little Big Drive, 320GB's on a FW800 bus. It uses 2 2.5" drives in a RAID setup and is very fast.
     
  15. iW00t macrumors 68040

    iW00t

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    #15
    Simple answer.

    This drive does not exist.

    You can either buy a bus powered 2.5" Firewire enclosure (costs more for SATA drives btw) or you have to stick with a AC powered 3.5" enclosure.

    There is no way around it until they start building 500GB laptop drives (probably won't happen until we start seeing 1TB desktop drives).
     
  16. EGT macrumors 68000

    EGT

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    Sep 4, 2003
    #16
    Why is that?
     
  17. Fearless Leader macrumors 68020

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    #17
    Buses get overloaded much easier than ac does.
     
  18. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #18
    Did you read the thread, did you skip my post? Now you look silly.
     
  19. opuslab macrumors member

    opuslab

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #19
    I use LaCie Little Big Disk as my mobile drive. This is exactly what you're looking for. It is powered via Firewire, and it is very reliable (at least mine is). It utilizes a RAID-0 configuration, so it is quite fast. Triple interface is a huge plus as well, however you will need to use an included AC adapter if you decide to connect via USB. I am an assistant editor working mostly on locations, so I cannot begin telling you how happy I am with this drive. Everything about it -- the performance, the size, Firewire bus power, RAID-0, and of course the looks -- make it a perfect choice for editor on the go. Check it out if interested:

    http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?pid=10731
     

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