Advice on External HDD for MBA

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by dlim, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. dlim macrumors regular

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    Jan 15, 2012
    #1
    I currently own a 2TB Western Digital Elements that I use to store my media (photos, music, videos/movies), and it's connected via USB 2.0 to my MBA.

    I saw a deal on a Seagate GoFlex, and know that they're going to be producing the GoFlex Thunderbolt Adapters, and was wondering if it'd be worth it to pick up one of those drives and sell my WD?

    My set up is currently external HDD -> USB hub -> MBA. The thunderbolt port is currently being used by my mini-dp adapter for my external monitor, but I'm planning on getting an ATD.
     
  2. CoolmaxMini macrumors member

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    Jan 22, 2012
    #2
    It's not going to be cheap I think. As a storage medium, USB 2.0 drives are still the most cost effective per Gb. Besides, you need to get a Thunderbolt cable and they are not cheap either.
     
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #3
    "Worth" is a subjective metric, so your question cannot be answered by anyone but yourself.
     
  4. dlim thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    I guess to better ask my question:

    I currently own a 2TB Western Digital Elements that I use to store my media (photos, music, videos/movies), and it's connected via USB 2.0 to my MBA. Will I notice a significant improvement by utilizing an external hard drive connected via thunderbolt? The external drive will only be used as storage, and I watch my videos off of it directly (instead of copying it over to my mac drive).
     
  5. jterp7 macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    assuming msrp of tb adapter and cable and best current price of the 1.5tb seagate portable you're looking at $300 (best buy 1.5tb $150 + $99 + $50tbcable)

    Its too bad there's not a comparison with fw800, since that's only $20msrp. I do wish there was an extra port to daisy chain, but I'm guessing that's why its under 100.
     
  6. danny_w macrumors 601

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    #7
  7. jterp7 macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Though according to a poster on that site with FW800, he put the performance about halfway in between

    TB - 86MB/s
    FW - 42MB/s
    USB - 27MB/s

    this is of course for small file transfers like photos. I believe for large files there would be an even larger difference. Just based on improvement per dollar getting the FW is the cheapest option for mac users. If you consider that for another $150 I could get another 1.5TB portable drive its enough to make me stop and consider.

    My personal number is under 100 for the adapter and the cable, but I'd probably have to wait a year for that to happen.
     
  8. danny_w macrumors 601

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    #9
    Thanks, I hadn't read that comment. The reason for the speed difference must be a poor Seagate implementation, since FW800 is capable of close to 100MB/s (real worled perhaps 85MB/s, the same as the TB in the demo).
     
  9. george-brooks macrumors 6502a

    george-brooks

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    #10
    Dont know if someone has already said this but TB drives with rotational storage are pretty much pointless, a way to sell you a more expensive drive that really doesn't do much more. Rotating discs aren't fast enough to give you any benefit from thunderbolt. If you're not using the drive for anything heavy duty (i.e. video editing) then another USB drive should be just fine for you (and much much cheaper)
     
  10. jterp7 macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    If you consider that usb 2.0 HDs never hit 60MB/s (most around 30), then the results for FW800 aren't too unreasonable at 40s-50s (theoretical 100MB/s).

    Keep in my small file transfers are the "worst case" scenario. If say he was transferring 4-8gb HD video files it would be faster in every case..except for usb2.0 hah.

    ----------

    I believe the FW800 raid fully saturates the potential of the interface, whereas for TB it will undoubtedly take SSDs to do so.
     
  11. DCJ001 macrumors 6502

    DCJ001

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    #12
    The original poster has a MacBook Air, with no FireWire.

    He has the option of USB 2.0 or Thunderbolt.

    FW800 is about 2.5 to 3x the speed of USB 2.0. Based on what I've seen, Thunderbolt is about 3x the speed of FW800.
     
  12. george-brooks macrumors 6502a

    george-brooks

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    #13
    Yup, pretty much, or something even faster than SSDs. I don't know why we're talking so much about FW here though, the OP has a MacBook Air.
     
  13. danny_w macrumors 601

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    #14
    Yes but the OP also noted the possible acquisition of a TB display, which I believe does have a FW800 connector.
     
  14. jterp7 macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    indeed it does, see sig:cool:

    my concern either way is seagate's reliability...mostly horror stories about them cooking in their own enclosures. A lot of these are the 2010 goflex desks but I wonder if the goflex portables fare any better/worse since there's no holes for ventilation like what was done in the 2011 desks.
     
  15. dlim thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 15, 2012
    #16
    First off, thanks for all the feedback on USB 2.0, FW, and TB everyone!

    Second, I agree. I've never had good experiences with seagate. I've actually had awesome experiences with WD, but I know of people with opposite experiences/preferences.

    I'm going to skip the goflex drives. My current WD Elements only has a connection for a USB 2.0. Is there any way to change this to firewire? via an adapter or anything
     
  16. jterp7 macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    not without removing it from its enclosure. This is one area where seagate has surpassed WD IMO. With WD you must buy one that includes the specific connections you need. So far FW, you'll have to pay the apple tax, so to speak, and buy the "studio" version to get FW800 on the WD drives natively, w/o having to void warranty.
     
  17. tmagman macrumors 6502

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    #18
    personally I'm a huge fan of the portable goflex. I've never had an issue with any of them and I have 5 or 6 of them (from both the original freeagent go and the goflex interface). I can't speak to the desk models but know friends who use them as religiously as I use the portable ones.
     
  18. jterp7 macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    any experience with the 1.5tb portable? I might get one of these with the fw800 adapter to hold me over until TB drives get reasonable
     
  19. dlim thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    what's the fw800 adapter?
     
  20. DCJ001 macrumors 6502

    DCJ001

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    #21
    FireWire 800 adapter.
     
  21. dlim thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 15, 2012
    #22
    Sorry I should have specified. I know FW800 is firewire 800, but I was wondering if it's a specific adapter for seagate goflex hard drives
     
  22. jterp7 macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 26, 2011
    #23
    yeah its a separate adapter with essentially a sata to fw converter. So technically you can use it on other naked 2.5HDs. So technically you could use it with the WDs, but you'd have to remove them from the shells.
     
  23. DCJ001 macrumors 6502

    DCJ001

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    #24
  24. jterp7, Jan 29, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012

    jterp7 macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    yeah so I ended up getting the seagate 1.5 portable at costco for 139.99 (not the cheapest its been there, but I felt like I wanted local access to my pc media so what the heck). I got the adapter for 20 @ bb, which is cheapest place somehow.

    Just googling today I find that bhphoto is already selling the portable thunderbolt adapter for an absurd 130, WITHOUT the TB cable. Assuming you buy on their site, it would cost 175 for the speed upgrade, but no option to daisy chain as with the desktop version. I wonder if that version will go for 250+ considering how the portable version was priced. Now the Lacie actually looks reasonable

    edit:
    Since yesterday BH felt it necessary to add another 10bucks, it stands at 139.95 now
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/840972-REG/Seagate_STAE121_GoFlex_Thunderbolt_Adapter.html
     

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