Advice on my External HD Choice(s)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by darkplanets, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. darkplanets macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2009
    Alright guys, its that time again. Except unlike most people, I did my research, on both this site and others. The problem I've come down to is I can't decide on a final product from a list I've complied (see below), so I need YOUR advice as to what I should pick.

    Just as background knowledge, I intend to use this drive as a dual partition 1 TB external storage solution, with one partition going towards TM and the other towards HD movie storage and playing. In the future the HD movie partition will become a scratch drive for 3D chemical modeling.

    As such, I have a couple requirements:
    -Firewire 800 a must
    -Oxford chipsets a must
    -3.5" SATA for the enclosure a must (Future expansion)
    -1 TB 7200 RPM w/ 32+ MB cache drive a must
    (I know this isn't necessary for HD movie playback, but it is for 3D modeling)
    -Good heat dissipation by external case a must
    -My price range is $150-200ish (USD)

    Now onto my choices, which were determined by mass reviews, tech specs, etc...:

    External All-In Ones:
    OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro 1.0TB Quad Interface
    This uses 1.0TB Hitachi Deskstar™ 7K1000.C, 32 MB cache, 7200 RPM drive.

    External Cases:
    IcyDock MB559UEB-1S
    If you picked this external, what color would you suggest to match an aluminum imac? White, Matte Black, Glossy Black? (I know color is worthless)

    OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro 0GB Quad Interface
    This is the same as the above all-in-one, only a bare case to pick my own HD.

    Rosewill RX81-MP-SC- SLV

    External HD Choices for Enclosures
    Alight, after much research, I decided only two were viable options given recent Samsung and Seagate issues (dreaded .11 and .12 revisions), and would work nicely with external enclosures:

    HITACHI Deskstar HD31000 IDK/7K (0S00163) 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

    Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

    If you disagree with my choices, how about a
    Distinct recommendation different from my own.

    Thanks guys, that about covers it :). Sorry for the long post, I just want to make sure I'm buying the best for my particular needs. As always, any HD purchase will be done via retail boxes, as OEMs via Newegg and Amazon have poor reputations for DOA and bad packaging.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    What are the warranties like on the Hitachi drives? I never buy drives with less than a 5-year warranty.
  3. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    I was in a similar situation and got tired of paying the extra cost for a fast external solution and having to buy a new housing whenever I wanted to add to my storage space. So, I decided to go with an all-in-one docking solution that allows me to store data on cheaper 3.5 drives and swap them out whenever I need different content. Once you get past the initial investment of buying the dock, you save money buying OEM drives to store your data on.

    This one has a quad interface and reads 2.5 and 3.5 SATA drives.

    You could buy a cheaper barebones 3.5 SATA drive and this dock for practically the same as you'd pay for non-expandable solution.
  4. darkplanets thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2009
    According to newegg, the retail boxing warranty for them is 3 years, just like the retail WD-- however if I get the OEM WD its 5 years. I've heard rumors on Amazon (not trusted right there) that they extend the 5 year warranty to retail packaged ones as well, but obviously that's not confirmed nor reliable given some of amazons user base.
  5. darkplanets thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2009
    Yeah, that was my thoughts-- the second set of external cases I listed are all hotswap like that Voyager so I can switch out drives when I want to add to my storage space-- the only inconvenience is unscrewing the front, which isn't even on the icydock model, no screwdriver required! :p
  6. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    Actually, that dock you are looking at requires screws. The ICY dock has a sled that you screw the drive onto. For me, if you could buy additional sleds then it might be worth it. Maybe for you dealing with screws is no big deal, but I like the idea of just grabbing a drive and popping it in like a flash drive and getting back to work without having to fumble with screws. If you have a lot of data on different drives then it might be worth having an easy swap solution. Finally, unless you buy the prefect enclosure, they have a tendency to hum or vibrate depending on what drive you put into it. Just speaking from my experiences.
  7. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    Just get the OEM. The only difference is a pretty box that goes into the trash and some cables that you probably don't need.
  8. darkplanets thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2009
    You have a valid point on both this post and the previous one. I was unaware you needed to screw the HD into the sled; I suppose thats pretty common sense though. Screws aren't really too big of an issue for me, but I definitely see the points you raise about easy swap. As for the OEM, while I really don't have a problem with it, the only reason I might prefer retail is neweggs (and amazons) reputation of shipping OEMs with just a layer of bubblewrap (hence the large number of DOAs). Both valid points nevertheless. How do you store your unused bare drives?
  9. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro 0GB Quad Interface
    Rosewill RX81-MP-SC- SLV"

    Either of these would be an excellent enclosure. I'd just find whichever had the best price.

    I'd avoid Western Digital and Hitachi, however. I had two Hitachi 3.5" drives quit on me in rapid sucession in the not-to-distant past.

    I'd suggest Seagate as an alternative.

    Finally, one other alternative. If you don't need portability, have you considered something like one of these:

    I believe there are one or two that also offer Firewire 800 as well (check the "iStar" models). Not sure if they offer eSATA. I'm _guessing_ that Apple will not adapt eSATA in any case, but rather move towards USB3 and LightPeak as soon as they are available.

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