2.5" drive upgrade -suggestions?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by macstatic, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. macstatic macrumors 65816

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    #1
    My wife has a 2.5" external G-drive permanently connected to her iMac as a Time Machine backup drive, but the 320MB is no longer enough, so we're looking to replace it with say a 1TB drive instead.

    I see external drives are quite cheap these days -sometimes maybe even cheaper than internal ones, but then I realized the G-drive enclosure has a Firewire interface (which we use with the iMac) and is probably an advantage over USB 2.0 (there's no USB 3.0 on her 2008 iMac).

    So (assuming the drive inside the G-drive enclosure is a SATA drive, which I'm almost certain it is), which brands/models would you go for when buying a 2.5" internal 1TB drive? Like I said, it's permanently attached to the iMac and is also permanently switched on, so it should be able to handle that (even though I believe OSX does power down drives when they're not used for a while).
     
  2. Trusteft macrumors 6502

    Trusteft

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    #2
    If you are using the drive as a backup device, you don't really have to get a firewire device or a drive for a firewire case, I am pretty sure usb 2.0 (usb 3.0 downgraded to 2.0 as buying a 2.0 would be stupid) is plenty for this job.

    Still, to actually answer your question, I stand by Seagate drives and also have perfect experience with Toshiba and Samsung drives. I assume you are talking about mechanical drives and not SSD.
    I can't talk about model as they change all the time.
    Also, I know I am in the minority, but I have 100% failure rate with WD drives over the last 20 years, so I avoid them.
     
  3. macstatic, Nov 13, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017

    macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    I should probably stay away from Western Digital drives to be on the safe side then. I've also heard others complain about them, so I guess it's a gamble if you get a working one or not.
    Personally I'm using several WD drives ("green" series) for backup and everyday storage purposes and have had no problems. They're all 3.5" drives though, not 2.5".

    Yes, I'm talking about mechanical hard drives. I'd find it pointless to pay lots of money for a super-fast backup drive that only works in the background. You say I could just as well use USB 2.0 instead of Firewire. The external G-drive already has both USB 2.0 and Firewire (both 400 and 800) so I was thinking backups would take less time compared to USB 2.0). I was thinking of opening up the enclosure and simply replace the 320GB drive with a 1TB drive. That way I could keep using Firewire, but I really don't have any hard evidence on the speed difference.
    [​IMG]
    (photo taken from here).


    About specific drive model numbers: are there any good review/test sites around for that sort of thing?
     
  4. Marshall73 macrumors 65816

    Marshall73

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    #4
    I stand by seagate drives, a tower of failed ones :)

    Doesn't really matter what drive you get as long as it is not your ONLY backup. Make sure you either have more than a single physical backup of your data or a physical and a cloud backup. Nothing worse than your machine going pop and then discovering that your only backup is also broken.
     
  5. macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #5
    Exactly, Marshall73!

    That's why I've also gotten her another G-tech external portable drive and created a script which automatically backs up the computer whenever it's attached and powered on, then a final message pops up telling the backup is done, the drive can be powered off and disconnected. The idea is to do a weekly backup on that drive, then keep it in a safe place, away from the computer. Just in case of theft, fire or whatever....
    I use Chronosync for that.

    So you've got bad experiences with Seagate drives, and Trusteft likewise with WD. That would leave Toshiba and HGST for the most part. I see Samsung also have a couple, but they're way pricier than the above.
    I think the bottom line regardless what I get is back up, back up and..... back up! On multiple drives.
     
  6. Trusteft macrumors 6502

    Trusteft

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    #6
    Another reason to avoid SSDs for backing up/storage is that they are not reliable if left unpowered for few years. Not really relevant in your wife's case, but it is what it is.

    For speed, don't forget that there are SATA and SATA connections/drives. I II and III. Speed varies. No idea what's inside that G-drive has. Again it shouldn't matter for this particular usage.

    Good review sites, yeah, I don't trust any review site, apart perhaps from hardwareheaven, but that's just me.
    Best thing to do, or at least what I do, check some review sites for sure, but don't rely on them. Just get information and then proceed to customer reviews from sites such as Amazon, newegg etc. Spend time reading and reading different, 100s of reviews. After some time you will realize they are all the same with barely any good information and all of them have at least some very negative reviews about how the drive is the worst thing EVER. Then spend more hours and hours and then realize you will just buy whatever you wanted in the beginning anyway.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 13, 2017 ---
    Funny how that works, isn't it? Seagate are the only drives that have never failed on me since I started using them in the late 80s.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 13, 2017 ---
    One thing I would like to add. What I do for a while now is avoid powered (external power supply) external drives. I know you want an internal drive, I am just adding this bit of info. The external power supply is just another thing that can and most likely go wrong/fail, more than the drive itself. Also extra cable and extra size etc. The last powered ext drive I bought was an 8TB one last year and I don't plan on getting more ever since I started buying 5TB 2.5 drives that require just the USB cable to transfer data and power the drive.
     
  7. macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #7
    But most 2.5" laptop external drives don't need an external power supply as far as I know (we've been using that G-drive for years without any issues, connected just via a Firewire cable to the iMac).
    I personally hate those power "bricks" with all the additional cabling and fuss. I didn't think about the reliability issue of an external power supply, but you're absolutely right. A good reason to avoid them.

    I will of course have to open up the G-drive enclosure to see what's inside (no big deal, just a couple of screws) before buying anything. Good point about checking for SATA I, II and III and of course the RPM speed. I hadn't heard about hardware heaven, so I'll check out that as well.
    Yes, it's funny what you say about spending hours reading reviews (and they all mean the opposite of what the previous review just said), then end up buying what you wanted in the first place :p

    I guess I'll take them all with a grain of salt, read them more as information about the specs (and compatibility with the enclosure and its USB/Firewire-SATA bridge board) and stick with the well known brands (well, some of them anyway... eh... if I can figure out which brand is the "right one" then). Oh, well.. I knew this wasn't going to be easy ;)
     
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

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    #8
    For drives, I'd avoid Seagate and WD.
    I'd recommend HGST (Hitachi) or Toshiba.

    Are you going to open the G-drive enclosure and replace the drive?
    Or... are you looking for a SECOND enclosure?

    It's getting hard to find firewire800 enclosures any more.

    If you don't mind using USB2, I'd suggest this:
    https://oyendigital.com/hard-drives/store/U31M-C25-BK.html

    Note: the above is a USB-c USB3.1 drive, but it should work just fine with a USB-c/USB-a connecting cable.
    And... you'll have a USB3.1 compatible enclosure for that time in the future when your wife "moves up" from the old iMac to something newer.

    Personal experience:
    I have a slightly older Oyendigital USB3 enclosure, and it's a solid enclosure -- excellent hardware.
     
  9. macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #9
    I'm going to use the same G-drive enclosure as she already has, just swapping the drive.
    A new USB 3 enclosure will just mean more outlay, but if I was to get a new enclosure then USB-3 would of course be the right choice these days.

    So I popped up the drive to look inside and found a Hitachi/HGST Travelstar 5K320 (HTS543232L9A300) and looked up the specs here. It's a SATA 3Gb/s 5400 RPM 320GB drive with a physical height of 9.5mm. I assume I have to look out for the same height and the same (or better SATA specs) and since I'm powering it off the iMac I probably need to figure out how much power I can take from the computer. I found info on this for the USB ports, but not for Firewire. It's an early 2008 iMac (iMac 8,1) 2.4GHz core duo. Does anyone know how much Firewire power it can supply to whatever's connected to it?

    I figure if it can supply enough power I can opt for a 7200 RPM drive (assuming the physical size is the same) because the price for one of those is more or less the same as a replacement 5400 RPM drive.
     
  10. MSastre, Nov 13, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017

    MSastre macrumors 6502

    MSastre

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    #10
    I've also had a Seagate and and couple of WD drives fail on me, but no HGSTs. OWC has some bus powered drive enclosures that feature backwards compatible usb 3 and firewire connections. You can get them with or without the drive inside. You should be able to replace the one in the G-Tech with a 7200rpm drive and I know they work with the enclosures from OWC, which is also a great source for bare drives.
     
  11. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    #11
    That's a solid enclosure - no reason not to reuse it. That enclosure should work with 7200 RPM drives, because HGST sold several 7200 RPM models in the same enclosure (plus IIRC, doesn't FW800 provide dramatically more power than USB 2 or 3 over a type-A-to-mini or micro connector?)

    I'm a fan of HGST and their TravelStar line I feel is well-proven. However, I've recently been using the Western Digital WD10JPLX primarily because it comes with a 5 year warranty, where as most others are only 2-3 years, and it's not really priced all that differently from comparative 7200 RPM HDDs with shorter warranty periods.
     
  12. HDFan macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    For selecting drives you might want to check the latest Backblaze failure rate report:

    https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-failure-stats-q2-2017/

    There are numerous discussions about whether this data suggests possible failure rates in a home environment, but it is the only large scale disk failure analysis that I know.

    Yes, for Time Machine backups I wouldn't worry about the speed of the disk. Although I vaguely remember just reading a review of a drive that was so slow that it was almost unusable.

    I am not sure why you want to use the current enclosure when you can buy a 2 TB drive for $69.99 and a 4 TB for $109.99 at Costco both with enclosure:

    https://www.costco.com/Seagate-Back...ith-Rescue-and-Replace.product.100301412.html

    https://www.costco.com/Seagate-Back...ith-Rescue-and-Replace.product.100295697.html

    That way you have warranty coverage both for the drive and enclosure, assuming that their interface meets your needs.

    Having an an extended warranty is definitely helpful, and may justify the additional cost. It's a trade-off between the initial higher cost vs lower cost and just replacing the drive when it fails. Backblaze I believe has chosen the lower cost choice, as they generally don't purchase the higher priced enterprise drives. I purchased a very expensive helium drive from HGST and it failed. Got a free replacement, but won't do that again.
     
  13. kohlson macrumors 65816

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    #13
    Just to clarify, HGST is a wholly-owned subsidiary of WD. FWIW I've used a 1TB WD 2.5 (USB3) for 3 years now. It's often banging around in my backpack. It was $50 at B&H on a Black Friday deal.
     
  14. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    #14
    I wouldnt personally pay much more for a longer warranty, but since its pricing is relatively consistent with comparable Seagate and HGST models, I figure I might as well take the extra two years given that means the drive should be under warranty for its entire lifespan. That said I use the HGST Ultrastars more than anything else, and, as you noted, even they sometimes fail prematurely (although they are generally consistent performers, for the most part, IMO).
     
  15. macstatic, Nov 19, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017

    macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #15
    HDFan makes a good point about getting an external 2.5" drive which makes more sense pricewise. But with this particular Mac we're talking USB 2.0, so Firewire 800 surely would be considerably faster and not keep Time Machine running endlessly because of the rather slow speed. I've personally bought an external 2.5" Seagate USB 3.0 drive, but that was for a Macbook Pro which actually has USB 3.0 ports, so another story entirely.

    So a 5400 or 7200 RPM drive wouldn't make much difference for TM backups in terms for each hourly backup to complete? It occured to me that perhaps a 7200 RPM drive would make more noise than a 5400 type, which in the long run will make a difference. I should probably compare spec sheets for this, but can anyone confirm or deny this?

    Does anyone have the specifics on how many mA a Firewire port on this particular iMac (early 2008 iMac (iMac 8,1) 2.4GHz core duo) can supply for a 2.5" external drive which doesn't have its own power supply?

    UPDATE: Found it! By going to the above iMac 8,1 link I found out that I could click on "USB ports/Firewire ports" where it says the two Firewire ports can supply 7W each (!!!???):
    7W sounds like an awful lot. Can someone confirm that this is correct or not?
     
  16. macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #16
    Since nobody's commenting on the above I'm thinking that as long as the new drive uses the same or less power as the old one we're OK.
    So I've found two models which pricewise are good and hopefully will last a while and perform equally or better than her existing 320GB HGST drive:

    2TB Seagate Barracuda ST2000LM015
    1TB HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTE541010A9E680

    Getting a 2TB drive is probably a smarter move for backup purposes, but the 1TB HGST "HTE" model which stands for Enhanced Availability apparently means that it is designed to be powered on 24/7. Her existing Time Machine drive is powered on all the time she's using her Mac and does the usual hourly backups, so I don't know if this is important or not -if this model handles better the repeated power on/off cycles (OSX powers down the drive after a while of non-use). I couldn't find a 2TB version from HGST.
    The Seagate is 7mm high (as opposed to 9.5mm of her existing drive and the 1TB HGST). Are the mounting holes in such a position that the drive isn't shifted higher/lower than the 9.5mm versions, but just add 2.5mm of extra ventilation room?
    I'm a little confused about the performance specs:

    320GB HGST drive (interface transfer rate: 300MB/sec, media transfer rate: max. 729 Mbits/sec) SATA 3 Gb/sec
    1TB HGST Travelstar (interface transfer rate: 600MB/sec, media transfer rate: max. 998 Mbits/sec) SATA 6 Gb/sec
    2TB Seagata Barracuda (interface transfer rate: ? , data transfer rate: max 140 MB/sec) SATA 6 Gb/sec

    Is it just me, or does the Seagate specs appear inferior to the other two? Or are they just using a different method/way of indicating the performance?
     
  17. Trusteft macrumors 6502

    Trusteft

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    #17
    From those three what you get is the Seagate having the slower rates? Are you kidding?
    The 320GB drive has half the max speed at best.
    The 1TB has less than 140MB/sec
    What I am saying is, based on those numbers the Seagate is easily the fastest of the 3.
     
  18. ZapNZs, Nov 22, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017

    ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    #18
    HGST does not make a 2 TB 2.5 inch as far as I know. The Travelstar and Barracuda may have different ratings on their load/unload cycles, but my guess is both will be 600,000. Both drives will run very cool in that specific enclosure, which is very good at dissipating heat IMO.

    The info sounds right for FW - it supplies a lot of power (it has to given the chains it is capable of supporting). As 7200 RPM drives shipped in the exact enclosure you have, I am 99.9995% confident you will not have any issue whether you use FW or USB 2.0. Sound-wise, the 2.5 inch HDDs are slightly elevated in sound, and use slightly more energy.

    It dawned on me that since you are using FW800, you will see virtually no performance gains from a 5400 vs 7200 RPM HDD given both have transfer speeds that exceed what FW800 supports.

    As for the speed variances among the drives, this is due to two different units of measurements: Mbit/sec versus MB/sec. The 2TB Barracuda appears to be slightly faster than the 5k1000 based on reviews. With that said, whether you opt for the Travelstar or the Barracuda, both will theoretically perform at about the same speed as the 320 GB HGST drive because FW800's max real-world transfer speeds are slightly below what the 320 GB HDD could support. For TimeMachine, which can rarely take advantage of a HDD's true capabilities, you will probably not really notice any difference in backup times* and the differences in latency among the various drives are mostly a moot point for this situation IMO.

    *actual backup speeds may be much faster if the existing HDD is near full, or if you are starting a fresh Time Machine backup as opposed to transferring over the existing TM, or if the current TM volume had directory corruption - but none of these would be directly influenced by the HDD itself.
     
  19. macstatic, Nov 22, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017

    macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #19
    Hmmm.. I think I've got MB (Megabytes) and Mb (Megabits) confused :oops:
    Using an online bit calculator I've ended up with these values:

    320 GB HGST drive: 720 Mb/sec (90 MB/sec)
    1TB HGST drive: 998 Mb/sec (124.75 MB/sec)
    2TB Seagate drive: 1120 Mb/sec (140 MB/sec)

    If that's correct, yes indeed -the 2TB Seagate has the best performance. Too bad HGST don't have 2TB drives, because based on the feedback here that seemed like the most reliable brand to go for.
     
  20. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    #20
    Indeed - and given with FW you are looking within the ballpark of 70 MB/s, you arent going to notice a drive-induced performance difference between any of the three drives, especially with TM.

    That particular Seagate drive has a very good reputation.
     
  21. macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #21
    Thanks ZapNZs for the clear and easy to understand explanation.
    Good to hear that 2TB has a good reputation. As usual it's tricky to distinguish from spec/info sheets what's related to actual performance/quality and what's promotional talk, hence the need for asking fellow Mac users ;)

    So given there really won't be any noticeable benefit of a 7200 drive in this particular situation my wife will probably be happy with a bigger 5400 drive (more than 6x the previous capacity).No need to waste additional money and energy to produce more noise and heat when there's no noticeable difference in use. We'll be on the lookout for any good deals on Friday (black Friday) and go for that one unless something better suddenly pops up.

    PS: I'm assuming the 7mm height won't be a problem (i.e. the mounting holes are in the same position so it'll fit in the same way as 9.5mm drives)
     
  22. h9826790, Nov 29, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017

    h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

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    #22
    For backup, I will just go for the cheapest, and make sure have more than 1 backup.

    Brand doesn't really that matter. The failure rate is more about a particular model, not brand. (Even though the following table is for 3.5" HDD, but 2.5" is more or less the same story).
    All-thru-Q4-2016-Failure-Rates.jpg

    And HGST is actually WD now. If anyone want to avoid WD, should avoid HGST as well. Anyway, I have multiple WD Red and Black HDDs, none of them failed so far. I quite like the Red series actually. I also own few Seagate HDD and SSHD, only one of the SSHD failed, but that particular one was dropped onto the ground by my wife, and then failed (read error) about 6 months later. So, it's hard to tell if it's Seagate's fault, or my wife's fault.

    Even though there is no need to go for any high performance 2.5" HDD for just backup purpose. However, there is one very advance function which only available in the Seagate SSHD. Which is, in case of power failure, the SSHD will use the HDD part (spinner) as the generator to power the SSD part, which allow the SSD to finish the data writing before "black out". This is extremely useful to prevent data corruption in case of power failure (e.g. you accidentally pull the wrong cable).
     
  23. macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #23
    I assume that SSHD drive is quite pricey, but indeed with a nice feature.
    A cheaper and more reliable solution IMHO is, as has already been pointed out by others, to back up to at least two separate drives, which is exactly what we're doing.

    She received that 2TB Seagate drive today, so I replaced the old drive (320GB HGST) drive with it, attached it (Firewire) and powered it up, initialized it and now it's in the process of backing up the whole drive again using Time Machine. No problems so far, and to answer my own question above (in case someone later wonders about it): no problem with the drive being 7mm high instead of 9.5mm as the original HGST drive was. The screw holes were in the exact same position. I should have taken a closer look, but I believe it just appeared to have its top layered shaved off a couple of mm. So all's looking good so far. Thanks for all your comments!
     
  24. h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

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    #24
    Yes it is, a 2TB SSHD is about $100. For the same cost, it's easy to buy a 4TB 2.5" HDD.
     
  25. macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #25
    Happy new year!

    A few weeks down the line I can say the new 2TB Seagate Barracuda (ST2000LM015) is working fine in the external G-drive enclosure. One catch though: it appears that the drive doesn't ever go to sleep, despite enabling the "Put hard disks to sleep when possible" option in the OSX Energy saver preference. Is there a special way to enable this?
     

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