$90-120 500 GB External HD's - Any Good?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Xtreambar, May 29, 2008.

  1. Xtreambar macrumors regular

    Aug 2, 2006
    Washington, DC
    I browsing NewEgg looking for a 500 GB external HD for my MacBook. I don't expect to heavilly use it except for storing movies and Time Machine back-ups.

    Examples: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...414+131021357+1310221309+1036007800&name=3.5"

    -- Fantom Titanium-II TFD500U16 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache USB 2.0 External Hard Drive $90 after rebate

    -- Cavalry CAXE CAXE37500 500GB 7200 RPM USB 2.0 / eSATA External Hard Drive - Retail - $85 after rebate

    -- Western Digital My Book Essential 2.0 WDH1U5000N 500GB External Hard Drive - Retail $123

    Two Questions:

    1) How much should I expect to pay for a 500 GB drive that probably won't crap out on me a year after I buy it with this sort of usage? (Not too much heavy lifting, so no using it as an Adobe scratch drive)

    2) Most drives in this range are USB 2 only. Is USB 2 fast enough for me to stream movies off of it or do I need to get a firewire enabled drive?
  2. KingYaba macrumors 68040


    Aug 7, 2005
    Up the irons
    Go with Firewire. People will always say "USB Is faster" by some number like 480 vs 400. Do a test yourself and tell me "usb is faster." :rolleyes:
  3. txhockey9404 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2008
    My Book Home Edition

    I use a Western Digital My Book Home Edition 500gb that cost a little more than $120 at Costco (I think it was around $129 for the 500gb and $220 for the 1tb) It is essentially the same as the My Book Essential except that it adds two Firewire 400 ports and an eSATA port and a larger status light. The FireWire is definitely faster than the USB. I use it for my iTunes library (100gb), iPhoto library (10gb), schoolwork, Time Machine backups, and some home videos.

    If this isn't out of your price range, I would definitely recommend it, as I think it is a major upgrade for what you will be doing with it. (Don't believe those people who say they fail often. I have had mine for 7 months with no problems at all. Just make sure you keep the firmware up to date.)
  4. soberbrain macrumors 65816


    May 9, 2008
    I've got a Western Digital that's partitioned to back up a PowerBook and an iBook and some space leftover for any extra back up needs. It's working just fine for about a year.

    I've used both firewire drive and usb 2 drive and they've been fine for streaming videos.

    A positive for firewire is that it only uses one cable for data transfer and to power the drive, while usb 2 needs a separate wire for a power outlet.

    A positive for usb 2 is available in more computers.

    If possible check the quality of the product vs the price. I bought a relatively cheap drive that came with a horrible cable that kept popping out when it was bumped even slightly.
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Do you plan to keep data and backups onthe same drive or buy multiple drives? It is best to use a drive for either data or backup but not both.

    Firewire is the way to go. It's faster.

    Lots of companys don't really make drives, they just buy assemble a drive into an encloseure. What you should care about is who made the drive inside and the length of the warenty. Seagate has a five year warenty on their drives. I think warenty length is the best indicator of quality

    The next thing to look at is how the drive is cooled. The best way is toplace it inside an aluminum that has a built-in passive heat sink. Cheaper drives will use a platic box and a fan.
  6. surferfromuk macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2007
    USB uses your CPU while copying - Firewire uses the FW chipset...FW is better

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