Best External Firewire Hard Disk?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by ryanflucas, Oct 2, 2008.


What is your favorite brand of hard disk?

  1. Seagate

  2. Western Digital

  3. Hitachi

  4. Other

  1. ryanflucas macrumors regular


    Mar 28, 2006
    Milwaukee, WI
    I'm looking for a decent 500GB external firewire hard disk. I know I could build one myself, but I like having the warranty for the enclosure & the drive thru the same company.

    I bought a Seagate FreeAgent Pro with FW400 but had strange issues where files disappeared, but were read fine when I ejected and power cycled the drive. When connected to my Vista machine, I didn't have this problem, but it was connected via USB. For some odd reason it would auto power down the drive exactly 5min after non-use so the drive was constantly going on and off by itself. It annoyed me enough to stop using it.

    I replaced the Seagate with a OWC Mercury Elite AL-Pro. Having FW800, it seemed much faster, but the drive was much nosier. For silent cooling, there's no fan, but the drive itself was very loud. This was a Hitachi model 500GB. I'm preparing to RMA it.

    So here's my problem. I want a drive that runs on at least FW400 (800 if costs are not much more) and is as quiet as possible. I would be storing recorded tv shows & music on this drive.

    How bad are the failure rates on Western Digital? I remember the pc desktop drives dying in a few weeks to a month about a decade ago and have avoided them since. I plan on keeping dvd backups of any important files anyway but would like to avoid any issues if possible.

    I haven't been considering the Time Machine since in my experience it seems to be a really slow performing drive. I have planned on upgrading my network from the DLink DGL-4300 Gaming Router to an Airport Extreme by the end of the year. I wish the AE was mountable to a wall like the dlink was though.

    Any suggestions? :p
  2. loslosbaby macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2008
    Best HD etc. etc.

    Well, I've gone several ways and I'll just report on what I've seen and you decide:

    1) Owned several "book" drives, 5 WD's, and 2 seagates. Warranties are meaningless apparently because they'll always put you back with a 90-day warranty on a refurb, so, its like a "one-shot" warranty.

    2) Owned 3 dedicated RAID boxes...and once they're a year old, the company doesn't exist anymore and you can't get matching disks. Disaster.

    3) My company owns two different version of WiebeTech "sleds" and another Wiebe box. We have two different versions of the ComboDock, and they rip as far as FW drives go....they keep the drives ripping fast. We also have one of the ToughTech boxes with FW800.

    Wiebe is cool because of these observations:

    - If the drive goes poop, the enclosure/sled still works
    - If the sled/box goes, then the drive is good
    - None of the wiebe stuff has died in the 1.5 years we've owned it
    - plenty of drives have crapped out, all brands
    - refurbed drives are no guarantee of anything
    - drives suck! they just seem to break all the time
    - That little toughtech box RIPS, I was surprised...find a good drive and it'll surprise you.

    Along the same lines I know a bunch of photographers with Drobos, and I'm getting one of the new ones. They've proved that they know what they're doing it right and IF you follow the directions (don't take all the drives out and then put them into a empty box while its on--it'll try to reformat it all) you're good to go.

    (All this on mac and linux ubuntu and XP only)

    Good luck!

  3. mathcolo macrumors 6502a

    Sep 14, 2008
    Two words: Western Digital

    They LOOK great, FEEL great, WORK great, and did I mention REALLY COOL?:)
  4. ryanflucas thread starter macrumors regular


    Mar 28, 2006
    Milwaukee, WI
    How is the noise level? The My Book series has a nice enclosure, but I'm concerned about the open air holes. The OWC i'm sending back has open air holes and the drive ended up being really loud, even with no fan.
  5. itickings macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2007
    I have a My Book Pro and a My Book Studio. Both are reasonably quiet, I'm generally not bothered by them when they are running.

    When they go to sleep however, it becomes apparent that it is much quieter without the drives running than with...

    The only external drives I've tried that have been less noisy have all been based on flash or 2.5" drives.
  6. reebzor macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    I've always used WD drives. Never really had a problem until recently. I had it connected to my airport and was transferring a lot of files from both of my macs at the same time and the network went down and it sortof died. Disk warrior fixed it and since then its been working flawlessly, again. I blame it more on the usb hub and the airport than I do on the actual drive.
  7. tcphoto macrumors 6502a


    Feb 23, 2005
    Madison, GA
    G Tech

    I have been very happy with my G Tech drives. I own both G drives and mini drives.

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