500GB-1TB external drive - which one?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by SamNeeds, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. SamNeeds macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2007
    Which external 500GB to 1TB sized external drive would you recommend? Having been a Western Digital user for some time with their MyBook, I'd definately wouldn't have a problem buying one of theirs. However, when we get into 1TB sized drives, my worry is that if the drive goes (assuming there is 1x 1TB drive in the case) potentially 1TB of data is lost.

    So, I wanted to get your recommendations about what's good and what's not. I see alot of people using Lacie and Seagate, but are these good alternatives to the WD drives?

    It'll mainly be used for storing TV recordings, general bits and bobs (Documents, pictures etc).

    I'm also UK based, so if you could refer to prices/websites etc in UK currency that'll be great.
  2. Neil321 macrumors 68040


    Nov 6, 2007
    Britain, Avatar Created By Bartelby
    I have just ordered this LaCie as it was recommended to me by some work colleagues,its compatible with time machine & backup software included
  3. SamNeeds thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2007
  4. cherrybomb macrumors regular


    Feb 11, 2008
    Good thread, I'm also looking to get a 500gb external drive. If anyone has the Iomega UltraMax on here, how does it play up? I was looking at this drive at the Apple store yesterday, and it looks very promising!!
  5. SamNeeds thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2007
    In a nutshell, I just need a drive that:

    1. Is 750GB to 1TB in capacity
    2. Is reliable – it’ll be on pretty much round the clock, or at least whenever the iMac is on. Also, I’d be a little bit worried if it consists of 1x 1TB. Meaning that if that died, then potentially 1TB of data is lost.
    3. Small form factor – albeit not a mandatory requirement, it would definitely be helpful if it takes up less desk space. That or I’ll have to mount them suspended under the desk, which I’d rather not do!)
  6. jonswan macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2007
    Well I have a couple of Lacie's - a 160GB that plugs straight in and needs no electricity (great, quiet, quick) and one of those 500GB quadras. Ugly + noisy. I can't have the former on all the time as it heats up too much, and the latter is too noisy - it bugs the hell out of me with its croaking. I just turn them on when necessary. then off again.
    I think a particular point I'd make is that you need TWO external hard drives, in preferably two different, secure places, due to theft, earthquakes, crappy drives etc. and these days they're cheap enough to warrant getting two.
    Western digital I've heard the mybooks are good. A good idea is to go to Amazon and read the reviews on there of each before making a decision.
  7. Neil321 macrumors 68040


    Nov 6, 2007
    Britain, Avatar Created By Bartelby
    I've had first hand experience of the 750 quadra and it was nearly silent,as for being ugly it looks alot nicer than a black or white mybook plastic brick sitting on your desk
  8. EarthDawn macrumors 6502a


    Feb 18, 2008
    Long-eye Land, NY


    losing that amount of data if it dies
  9. hotzenplotz macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2007
  10. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003
    I completely recommend Seagate Freeagent drives. They are fantastic.
  11. pcharles macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2003
    Michigan's Upper Peninsula
    I've used LaCie drives and I have used Western Digital Drives and I'm not sure which I would suggest.

    The last three desk drives I have bought have all been WD's, two of which were MyBooks. My 500 GB MyBook is on an Intel iMac running 10.4 and it works flawlessly. My 1TB MyBook Pro II (the raid one) is on my office desktop running 10.5 and until today it has been a Pain in the Butt. The problem I had was that it would turn off rather than go to sleep mode, even with the new button software, which meant it disconnected from the computer and needed me to go into the office and turn it on again. Today I decided to try the USB port on the drive and amazingly it works like a charm. It is now sleeping happily with the drive still mounted.

    I just shuffled my drives around a bit to accommodate the loss of the FW800/400 ports on the MyBook and everything is running great. My drives can now spin down and sleep and Time Machine is happy.

    I just bought a LaCie Rugged and that seems to be great. With the exception of a drive failure in my LaCie Porche enclosure and a couple of failed fans, I've not had any major LaCie problems.
  12. SamNeeds thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2007
    I'd say that the difference isn't all that much then. In that case I'll probably stick with the WD drives. I guess I'll go for two 500gb or 750gb drives instead of a single 1tb drive.

    Thanks for all of the input, everyone.
  13. siorai macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2007
    I couldn't agree less. I guess if you're using them for small files they might be fine. Wanting to use it for big (4GB+) files? Look elsewhere. The FreeAgent Desktops at least, do not play well with big files. They tend to lockup and not be recognized by the system when dealing with big files. It's a problem with the interface board found in the enclosure. I just ripped my 500GB FreeAgent apart to salvage the files on the drive. Amazingly enough, out of the enclosure, the drive (standard Seagate 500GB SATA drive) works perfectly.
  14. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You absolutly WILL lose your data not matter what drive you buy if it is not backed up. It is only a metter of time all drives will fail, mostly without warning.

    You need a backup plan. Keeping everything on one drive and depending on it being reliable just will not work in the long run. If the data are important then it needs to be on three different physical media and at two different geographical locations.
    You would be better off buying 2 smaller drives and using one of them as a backup.
  15. winchest macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2006
    I just returned a 500 GB MyBook because it would not work with 10.5 on Firewire. It worked fine on USB. I have not had this problem with my older MyBooks though.
  16. Dimwhit macrumors 68000


    Apr 10, 2007
    I'm a big fan of buying an external enclosure (I get mine from OWC), then buying a standard SATA internal drive and dropping it in. In fact, I love the dual-drive enclosure OWC sells. I put a 500GB and a 750GB Seagate Barracuda drive into it for TM and cloning. If a drive goes bad, I can get a new one cheap (internals are much cheaper than externals) and replace it easily.
  17. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    I've used LaCie, NewerTech, Seagate, and Western Digital with mixed results.

    A couple of years ago I bought a 1TB LaCie Bigger Disk. It is blazingly fast (can max out the FW800 connection), but is noisy as can be. Even when the drives have spun down and it's supposedly 'sleeping', the fans run constantly and sound like a gigantic ticking pocket watch. Never again.

    I have two NewerTech MiniStacks. They are a little noisy once they get hot and the fans crank up, but the noise is not annoying to me and as the fans are temperature-controlled everything is silent by bedtime. If you need USB/FW hubs I would buy these again.

    I have a 500GB Seagate 'Pushbutton Backup'. It has no fan at all, which is both a blessing and a curse. After an hour or so of copying files it will overheat and stop responding. It's quiet though... :) I use it for backup now, so it never runs enough to get hot. It has an interesting feature in that it will shut down the drive after ~10 minutes of inactivity - without host intervention. Good for AEBS. Also note that as of the arrival of Leopard, this drive no longer plays nicely with other drives on the firewire bus. It only worked if it was the first device. Any other configuration caused bus hangs. Worked fine with Tiger.

    Last but not least, I have a new Western Digital MyBook II Pro. It's been stable and well-behaved, but when it gets hot the fan sounds like a little vacuum cleaner. I use it only for backup, so I can tolerate it. I don't think I could use it as an always-on drive.

    NB: Some of these drives come with their own software to make lights blink or what-have-you. As a result of reading up on problems before buying I came to the conclusion that one should never install the software. It appears that the drive makers know how to make drives and enclosures, but not software.

  18. SamNeeds thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2007
    Yeah, I was just looking at that. It works out a tad more expensive, but the way I look at it, your paying a bit of a premium to have the flexibility to expand/swap out drives etc

    What enclosures would you recomend? (That I can get here online in the UK)

    I'm still considering WD External drives, but I'd like to look into custom ones (as mentioned above)

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