Are HDs made specifically for the Mac?

fernande-mac

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 31, 2009
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I went to the store today looking for an internal and external HD for my PowerMac G5 dual 1.8GHz PPC. I am running 10.4.11, but will soon upgrade to 10.5 (Leopard, as I cannot run Snow Leopard with the PPC).

After reading the description in all the boxes it hit me that they all said "Compatible with Windows Vista/XP/2000".

Are internal and external HDs made specifically for the Mac? Or will any HD work?

I am looking at the WD Caviar Black (SATA, 3 Gb/s, 7200 RPM, 64/32 MB cache) for internal. However, I also saw an internal WB Velociraptor (SATA, 3 Gb/s, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB cache) for $269. Is it worth it?

For the external HD, I am interested in partitioning it into two parts: one to have backups of portions of my HD (image and music libraries) and the other one for Time Machine. Is that possible?

For external, somebody suggested the WD Caviar Green. However, all I can see is "My Book Studio", "My Book Studio Edition II", and "My Passport Studio". Any suggestions/ideas?

Thanks!
 

GoCubsGo

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 19, 2005
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Nah don't worry about it. Buy what you want (external) and format for Mac. Windows users need that sticker to comfort them that something actually works out of the box with Windows. :)
 

UltraNEO*

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I am looking at the WD Caviar Black (SATA, 3 Gb/s, 7200 RPM, 64/32 MB cache) for internal. However, I also saw an internal WB Velociraptor (SATA, 3 Gb/s, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB cache) for $269. Is it worth it?
Depends what you value more, speed or space.

Those WDC Blacks are good drives offering a minium of 1Tb of unformatted space. However, when it comes to speedy mechanical drives those WD Velociraptor are limited to a maximum of 300Gb (unformatted capacity) but they are really fast!
 

fernande-mac

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 31, 2009
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Nah don't worry about it. Buy what you want (external) and format for Mac. Windows users need that sticker to comfort them that something actually works out of the box with Windows. :)
So, basically, any 2.5" HD will work on the Mac? What about mountin grails/screws? Can I reuse the ones from my existing HDs?

One thing I forgot to mention is that this will be a replacement/upgrade disk from my existing setup. So, I will basically install Leopard on it as soon as I turn the machine on.

I guess, from what you are saying, that I will just ask the installation disk to format it as needed and perform the installation. Right?
 

cube

macrumors P6
May 10, 2004
16,432
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You need to get a drive with the right interface and physical size.
 

cube

macrumors P6
May 10, 2004
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For external, I still make sure to get a case that has been tested to work well with the mac, just in case (by buying from a Mac-oriented vendor).
 

Chaszmyr

macrumors 601
Aug 9, 2002
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Not only are HDDs not made specifically for the Mac, but Apple often changes which manufacturer they go with, which I'm guessing has to do with whoever is offering them adequate supply at the lowest price. More than once, I've gotten a Mac that came with a HDD that I disliked because it was loud and/or slow. Plus, Apple never seems to offer the highest capacity HDDs available.

I have gone through a LOT of HDDs over the years, and have decided that Western Digital is the best buy. Seagate drives are often very loud, IBM drives I think have a slightly higher failure rate than WD drives and are usually a bit more expensive. With Western Digital you can get top quality drives at very reasonable prices. Right now, I'm using a 2tb Western Digital Caviar Green drive that cost $199.

As far as external drives go, I think Western Digital is still the best route. External drives across the board tend to have fairly high failure rates, presumably because they are not adequately cooled (heat is the biggest contributor to drive failure) and Western Digital MyBook drives are not only competitively priced, but they have a very low failure rate.
 

fernande-mac

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Original poster
Aug 31, 2009
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Depends what you value more, speed or space.

Those WDC Blacks are good drives offering a minimum of 1Tb of unformatted space. However, when it comes to speedy mechanical drives those WD Velociraptor are limited to a maximum of 300Gb (unformatted capacity) but they are really fast!
Space right now is not an issue. I still have 127 GB available.

My driving forces have always been speed, reliability and quiet operation. Low power consumption is a plus. Both the WDC Black and WD Velociraptor seem to meet the expectations.

Right now, I am upgrading two 160 GB HDs set as RAID-0 (297,83 GB formatted). So, I don't want to lose my current performance.

I was originally looking at two WDC Black in a RAID-0. But 2 TB seems so massive and I don't think I would gain any performance benefit from the RAID-0 setup. I would probably use 1TB as the main disk and the second 1TB as the backup disk for Time Machine and forget about the external disk.

If I get a single 300 GB WD Velociraptor, it should not be any worse than what I have now. If fact, wouldn't I get better performance due to the higher RPM, transfer rate and cache?

Would a RAID-0 with two WD Velociraptor be too crazy? Just thinking out loud...
 

Chaszmyr

macrumors 601
Aug 9, 2002
4,265
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WD makes junk. I have gotten several DOA drives in a row before.
At the moment I have 4 WD internal drives and 4 internal WD external drives, and I've had others in the past. I've had 3 drives fail, but none of those were WD.
 

Chaszmyr

macrumors 601
Aug 9, 2002
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Would a RAID-0 with two WD Velociraptor be too crazy? Just thinking out loud...
I wouldn't recommend this. Not only would the performance probably be overkill, but RAID0 is notoriously unreliable. It is almost certain that it will fail before the drives themselves do.
 

fernande-mac

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 31, 2009
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I wouldn't recommend this. Not only would the performance probably be overkill, but RAID0 is notoriously unreliable. It is almost certain that it will fail before the drives themselves do.
Well, this in interesting. I have always heard about the "risks" of using RAID-0. However, I have had my setup running for four years and haven't seen any signs of failures. I am even mixing a 160 GB Maxtor with a 160 GB WDC SE.

I would expect that a RAID-0 with two WD Velociraptors would even be better as the reliability of the HDs is higher.

I was more concerned about the actual performance improvement. Since the HDs are so fast, would the RAID-0 provide any additional speed boost? And if so, when would you see the benefit?
 

UltraNEO*

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Well, this in interesting. I have always heard about the "risks" of using RAID-0. However, I have had my setup running for four years and haven't seen any signs of failures. I am even mixing a 160 GB Maxtor with a 160 GB WDC SE.

I would expect that a RAID-0 with two WD Velociraptors would even be better as the reliability of the HDs is higher.

I was more concerned about the actual performance improvement. Since the HDs are so fast, would the RAID-0 provide any additional speed boost? And if so, when would you see the benefit?
I have two Velociraptors in a RAID0 configuration for my System and Application drive only and so far, it's been faultless... But I wouldn't use it for storing personal documents or projects.

I suppose if your really paranoid, you could always buy the drives from two different vendors this way there's a higher chance of getting two drives from two different batches.
 

CaptainChunk

macrumors 68020
Apr 16, 2008
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Phoenix, AZ
With hard drives, you'll always get varied opinions from users on what hard drives are the best and for what applications. And you'll always get horror stories about a particular brand from one person, while several others report nothing but good things. The point is, buying hard drives can be bit complicated...

Currently, WD and Seagate are my choices. They consistently make fast drives (especially WD, these days) and at least in my case, they've been pretty reliable with very minimal failures. One plus with Seagate is that virtually EVERYTHING they make has a 5-year warranty. I think WD only does the 5-year on the Blacks, Velociraptors and Enterprise drives, but I could be wrong.

Two years ago, IBM/Hitachi made the fastest consumer 3.5" SATA drives (the 7K series), but now they've got some pretty stiff competition and they've clearly lagged behind. Now, it's really hard to me to justify paying a significant premium for a Hitachi drive that essentially has 2-year old tech under the hood.
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,888
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St. Louis, MO
WD makes junk. I have gotten several DOA drives in a row before.
I've owned many WD drives and none have ever failed. Seagate on the other hand....I think every Seagate I've owned over the past several years has failed.

I wouldn't recommend this. Not only would the performance probably be overkill, but RAID0 is notoriously unreliable. It is almost certain that it will fail before the drives themselves do.
That's what backups are for.
 

fernande-mac

macrumors regular
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Aug 31, 2009
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I have two Velociraptors in a RAID0 configuration for my System and Application drive only and so far, it's been faultless... But I wouldn't use it for storing personal documents or projects.
The PowerMac only has two internal bays. If I use two 300 GB WD Velociraptors only for System and Applications, that's dedicating 600 GB to hold no more than 50GB of data. It seems like a waste.

What's your solution for personal documents, libraries, projects, etc.? An external disk? And why aren't you confident with the RAID-0 setup? If you have a backup of the personal data, then you should be fine if any of the internal disks in the RAID-0 fails.

I suppose if your really paranoid, you could always buy the drives from two different vendors this way there's a higher chance of getting two drives from two different batches.
Heh. Paranoia. The best companion to make electronic purchases. :)
 

UltraNEO*

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The PowerMac only has two internal bays. If I use two 300 GB WD Velociraptors only for System and Applications, that's dedicating 600 GB to hold no more than 50GB of data. It seems like a waste.
Well... If you need, you can install this...



What's your solution for personal documents, libraries, projects, etc.? An external disk? And why aren't you confident with the RAID-0 setup? If you have a backup of the personal data, then you should be fine if any of the internal disks in the RAID-0 fails.
Well... I currently use a MacPro with a two 300 GB WD Velociraptors installed on a blank PCB sitting in slot 4.
There's a 1Tb WD Black in the second optical bay for personal **** and a RAID5 array for all my work stuff.. Though it's gonna be replaced soon, I need more space and more speed.

Heh. Paranoia. The best companion to make electronic purchases. :)
Safety is better than regret.
 

UltraNEO*

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I've owned many WD drives and none have ever failed. Seagate on the other hand....I think every Seagate I've owned over the past several years has failed.
Same here... All three of my systems are populated with WD drives and I've never experienced any issues with them. Seagate however, are OK and a sh*t load more reliable compared to Hitachi...but my money's on WD.
 

cube

macrumors P6
May 10, 2004
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Many ready-made externals are difficult to open in order to swap the drive.
 

fernande-mac

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 31, 2009
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Many ready-made externals are difficult to open in order to swap the drive.
Yes. That was plan B. Get a quad interface case and put a WDC Green inside it and potentially replace it in the future.

I found the OWC-Mercury Elite Al Pro Dual Bay "Quad Interface" here. It looks nice. Any opinions about this case?
 

CaptainChunk

macrumors 68020
Apr 16, 2008
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Phoenix, AZ
Yes. That was plan B. Get a quad interface case and put a WDC Green inside it and potentially replace it in the future.

I found the OWC-Mercury Elite Al Pro Dual Bay "Quad Interface" here. It looks nice. Any opinions about this case?
I have a couple of those and their 4-disk RAID box. They're well-built, good pieces of gear for a reasonable price.
 

psingh01

macrumors 65816
Apr 19, 2004
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Any drive will work so long as you have the right interface. Generally this means SATA for internal which most PCs/Macs use and either firewire or usb for external. In all cases just format it and you're set to go :)

In some cases when the box says mac compatible, all it means is it's already formatted in HFS+ or FAT32 (which both macs and windows understand).

A long time ago macs came with SCSI drives and pc's generally came with cheaper IDE drives. Now they pretty much use the same components.