Advice badly needed for a RELIABLE hard drive to save music/movies/etc

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by TechNutt, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. TechNutt macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2007
    Hi, I'm a newbie, and I need some help.

    I want to buy an external hard drive for my Mac that would be able to hold 600-800 of my cds, plus other files like some video and applications to backup my macbook pro since I dont have enough storage space as it is. I think I would need a 500 GB drive, but I'm not entirely sure since all my music files would be in aac format.

    What I'm most concerned with is the *reliability* factor! I've read on forums and web site reviews where hard drives will be dead in a year's time, and since I'm no expert, I would like to know other people's opinions. I've read good and bad reviews on the Lacie drives, but also for Seagate's drives. Isn't there anything that separates itself from the rest of the pack?

    I've been thinking of getting the LaCie d2 Quadra External 500GB Hard Drive (4 1/2 mouses out of 5 on MacWorld--but heard terrible things about it elsewhere), Seagate 500 GB one, or even a Western Digital one (isnt' that PC specific?). Anyway, I would like a drive to hold about 500-750 GB.

    Like I've said, I'm not concerned with much else other than reliability, first and foremost. It doesn't do much good if it's fast and/or looks pretty--BUT STILL fails. I've read about Raid 1 and Raid 5 but it seems I need more than one drive to do achieve that sort of protection.

    Please help. Any advice will be tremendously appreciated!!!! Thanks.
  2. marioman38 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Elk Grove, CA
    I've heard nothing but good things about LaCie. Many pro video editors use LaCie, so i assume they are very reliable, although no hard drive is perfect. I have a maxtor, and it is very noisy. My next purchase will be the LaCie Big Disk Extreme+ 1TB. I like the idea of RAID being built into it as one drive, so i always have an exact backup, without needing two drives plugged into my MBP. There is no such thing as a PC specific drive. Any hard drive can be formated in to Mac OS Extended.
  3. midorix macrumors member

    Nov 23, 2007
    I personally like Seagate Drives.

    I bought one 120GB Seagate Drive and another 160GB Seagate Drive for my Tivo DVR. Both running constantly for past 4 years with no problem what so ever.

    I just recently purchased 750gb FreeAgent Pro drive to use it for time machine.

    No, I do not work for Seagate.
  4. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    Lacie used to be good but they have been crap lately.. designs focusing too much on looking pretty and less on heat management... which kills the drive.

    OP: The only way to have "reliable" is to use multiple drives. One brand isn't really going to be more reliable than another.
  5. torpy macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2007
    Sydney + Los Angeles
    I have that Lacie drive (with what appears to be a 500gb Seagate inside) and compared to my other fanless aluminium external it's virtually cool to the touch. Haven't had any problems with it, plus the auto-off feature is extremely useful. Sure it may be a bit noisy when accessing data and when the fan spins up but I'd trade that any day for reliability!
  6. cmac101 macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2006
    The Big Easy
    srry for the ignorance, but what is RAID? I have the lacie big disk 1 TB and apparently it has RAID, but idk wat it is

  7. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    That probably means it's really 2 500GB hard drives, and it uses the technology RAID to make it act as a single hard drive.
  8. cohibadad macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2007
    Lacie makes nice drives. I have had many. They are quiet and look nice. But when it comes to reliability don't think in terms of brand name. Reliability comes from redundancy. Don't depend on 1 drive. It will let you down.
  9. TechNutt thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2007
    thanks for the feedback, mac geniuses!

    ok, so I talked to a friend of mine, who is very hard to get in touch with, and he said he uses 2 seagate 500GB drives along with Raid 1 to mirror them together. I might get 2 500GB drives since 1 TB seems sketchy right least I have not seen good ratings for them whatsoever on any site so far.

    Like i said, I don't want to lose the info on them since i just plan on uploading the music files/pics/videos and then turning the drives off. Is it possible I would lose both drives if I do it this way? Geez....I just don't know what to do! :confused:
  10. torpy macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2007
    Sydney + Los Angeles
    There's a really low chance of both drives conking out on you at the same time, not that it can't happen, but the chance is something along the lines of once in a blue moon. (This is assuming of course that they are not affected by any external factors like a natural disaster, etc :p )
  11. aiterum macrumors 6502


    Nov 17, 2007
    United States
    I've just recently bought a fantom 500GB drive for 109 dollars and it works like a charm.

    The only downside is that it's only USB2.0 and esata. If you want something with firewire (Eg: you need something faster than USB) then you'll have to look in the higher price rangers.

    However, if your mac supports an expresscard (I don't know that all do, I do know that the MBP does) you can buy an expresscard for the esata and save yourself about 50 dollars compared to the firewire, and get faster speeds. (This is what I plan to do with mine) However, if you don't want the hassle of an expresscard, or lose the "pure prettiness" factor of your precious machine, then you might want to look into getting a drive with firewire 800 capabilities (although firewire 400 is useful too, considering that it is also faster than USB) then you'll have to look into something with a higher price tag.
  12. wildmilne macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2008
    Is the Fantom drive quiet and cool? Hard to find people that own them. Thanks.
  13. ZiggyPastorius macrumors 68040


    Sep 16, 2007
    Berklee College of Music
    I own the Western Digital MyBook, 500GB. It was cheap (I think I got it for $120), and I've had it for several months now with no problems. It's quite reliable. However, if you're looking for speed, you may want to invest a bit more in a faster RPM external, too...Good luck.
  14. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    I've had hard drives from all makes fail on me... Whatever hard drive you buy has the possibility of failing, and, eventually, all hard drives fail. Knowing this, if reliability is really important to you, buy a RAID 1 setup. That's two hard drives that mirror each other. If/when one of the hard drives fail, you will have an exact copy on the other drive.

    The way I see it, buying hard drives is a real crap shot, luck of the draw. That being said, in recent history, the brand that has given me the least issues are Seagates. Years ago, I had a bunch of IBM Deskstars that just died on me one after another. The problem got so bad that people started calling them "Deathstars". I haven't purchased another IBM since then. I've heard they're much better now, but I'm still bitter.

    LaCie doesn't make drives. They just put other people's drives in pretty enclosures. I never found justification in paying their premiums.

    Good luck.
  15. Royale w/cheese macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2007
    You wouldn't happen to know what kind of drive is in the fantom, do you? I would like to find out, but the only way I have figured is to just buy one.
  16. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    Or just use Time Machine to do a backup...
  17. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    The Toshiba drive I have is extremely reliable. Never failed once.
  18. duncyboy macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2008
    I couldn't agree with this post more. I've had "Deathstars" peg it on me before and even though they're reputedly much more reliable now I'd still avoid. Once bitten and all that...

    All HDD's die eventually and you're bound to hear horror stories on every manufacturer if you delve deep enough.

    From personal experience I've had four Seagate drives in different machines over the past 5 or 6 years. 40GB IDE and 120, 200 and 250GB SATA ones. The 200GB was a general files/downloading drive with files on and off all the time and never missed a beat. The 250GB has been in my Shuttle HTPC with massive files and TV recordings being added and removed for about 3 years and that's still running perfect.

    As was said above, I wouldn't trust my REALLY precious files on one disk alone. I'd have a back-up on another drive and I've purchased a cheap 8GB flash drive for things like family pictures and rarer files as extra protection.

    My ideal set-up I'm building towards is an external Time Machine drive to completely back-up my iMac, the flash drive as above and then I'm looking around at deals for offsite file storage- about 25GB or so.
  19. Flynnstone macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2003
    Cold beer land
    You want your data on at least 2 drives. The probability of both drives failing at the same time is low for non environmental reasons. That being said, a nearby lighting strike could kill both drives.
    Also it sounds like you want to off load data from your laptop.
    This indicates at least 3 drives (including the one in your laptop), with one drive mostly off line.
  20. cb31 macrumors member

    Mar 13, 2005
    If you are going to buy a raid 1 system, ie. 2 drives that are mirrored, then please don't buy 2 identical drives. If you do they will probably be from the same manufacturing batch so if there is a defect it may make both drives fail around the same time.

    It is much safer to buy 1 seagate and 1 western digital, etc.
  21. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Instead of a RAID drive, get two external disks. One 500 GB for your media (A CD converted at 192KBit/second AAC is usually about 100 MB, so that should be plenty. Even Apple Lossless tends to be only about 350 MB per CD) and a 750 GB or 1000 GB for Time Machine backup.

    The problem with RAID drives is that they protect you if the hardware fails, but they don't protect from user mistakes. If you accidentally delete all your music (and there are always posts here from people how did exactly that), Time Machine will get your music back; RAID won't.
  22. steeler macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2008
    I buy Seagate drives, but agree with others who have said that you can't really trust important information to just one drive. The RAID solution suggested is something I haven't looked into much yet, but in addition to having important files (digital photos, for example) on two different hard drives, I also backup to data DVDs.
  23. jacksam101 macrumors member

    Dec 27, 2006
    Crewe (UK)
    I use the Maxtor One Touch firewire 750gb drive (had it for about 9 months) - had no problems; it is always available when I wake the Mac from sleep mode.

    I have it formatted into 3 partitions - 250gb each; one for Time Machine, one for movies/music and one just as temporary storage.

    I find the firewire device more reliable than the Usb2 connected drives I've used previously.
  24. SeniorAD macrumors newbie


    May 30, 2008
    Don't trust any one drive from any manufacturer

    Over a decade in Post Production. Golden rule: don't trust any 1 hard drive from any manufacturer. Have had a Lacie Big Disk collapse as well as a Maxtor and have witnessed countless other FW failures from different manufacturers. My advice is as many other professionals recommend, get at least 2 different hard drives from different manufacturers (I would say Seagate and maybe G-Tech – something with FW 800, never USB which is much slower) and set them up as a RAID (putting duplicate info on each, in case one collapses). I personally go 2 steps further: I have a third FW that is almost always offline. A lot of fry ups occur during activity. Lastly the most important files – buy yourself the fastest DVD burner and backup the old fashioned way.
  25. ButtUglyJeff macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2008
    New York. The state, not the toilet.
    I was going to say something similar. Hard drives fail, and you need to plan for it...............

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