Best budget external drive for Time Machine?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Mark., Jul 23, 2017.

  1. Mark. macrumors member

    Jan 26, 2011
    London, UK
    Hi all,

    I'm relatively new to Macs and have a Macbook Pro (Retina, 15 inch, mid-2015) running OS X Yosemite.

    I'm looking to upgrade to macOS Sierra and it's made me realise that I should be making regular backups using Time Machine.

    Can anyone recommend a good, reliable but cost effective external hard drive? It's purely for backups so doesn't need to be bigger than my Macbook's 512GB.

    --- Post Merged, Jul 23, 2017 ---
    For what it's worth, I'm currently looking at purchasing the Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB.
  2. TonyK macrumors 6502a


    May 24, 2009
    Western Digital makes a nice USB3 drive that should work. I've used them before and like them.

    Seagate has a 4TB USB3 port powered drive I purchased from CostCo which was what I used after the 3TB Western Digitial units were given to my father. Used them for TM until I purchased a TimeCapsule. Still use them for other backup purposes. Being port powered is a plus. No extra cords and they travel with me.
  3. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    That would work just fine. Pretty much everybody got bought up by WD or Seagate and there is little difference between USB3 drives. Just grab whatever size you need at the best price you can find.
  4. sboychuck macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2014
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    I have four Mac's in my house and we use these. They also have two USB ports for jump drives and one card reader. Very handy device that has never failed me. It will accept regular HD's and SSD's for backing up. I use some 4TB HGST NAS HD's to back up with Time Machine (daily scheduled), and CCC a couple time per month for cloning. This way, if the drive goes bad, I just put a new one in, instead of having to buy a whole new device, or try and get the HD out of the device. It is also good for formatting new drives. If your HD in your computer fails, you can always use the CCC clone as a boot drive. As the HD's are easily portable, you can also store them offsite, just in case. This is my backup strategy that has worked well for me and my family.
  5. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    What about a 2.5-inch WD Black 1 TB and a cheap $7-10 USB enclosure? It's a much faster drive, and it has more than twice the warranty. I'd argue it is a more reliable product as well. For $15-20 more, IMO you are getting a much better product that will probably last longer with a much better warranty.
  6. sboychuck macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2014
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    I agree a 4TB HGST NAS drive is a bit of overkill, but I had them laying around from an older NAS that I no longer use. If you have a lot of data to backup, which I do, then maybe the larger drives are better. It also runs at 7200 rpm's and they just seem to keep on going. The USB3 external I chose is a bit more expensive than the rest, but I also have two jump drives and a card in it as well. At the end of the day, back up your stuff and CCC is also a good idea for a bootable drive in case you need it.
  7. seagate_surfer macrumors newbie


    Mar 31, 2017
    Cupertino, CA
    Hi Mark,

    as mentioned, a NAS drive would be a bit of an overkill since you are just looking to backup your files...
    Although you could basically utilize any external drive, in case you are looking for slim and stylish, we do offer some external drives that are designed to work very well with time machine backups. In case you are interested, please take a look HERE and you will find those drives on the bottom of the page.

    Whichever brand or model you might pick, enjoy your new drive!
  8. Audit13 macrumors 68040


    Apr 19, 2017
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I personally recommend staying away from portable hard drives that have the usb port soldered to the drive motherboard because getting data of a drive with a damaged usb port is difficult.

    For external drives, I buy a bare 2.5" drive and usb enclsoure. Since the bare drive has a standard sata connection, this makes it easier to recover data from a drive if the usb port becomes defective.
  9. Macgyver1 macrumors member


    Oct 18, 2016
    Reliable and affordable you say...tough one. G-drive 4TB usb(not the expensive Thunderbolt). Hitachi, very reliable. It is a desktop unit(better reliability).


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