Best external HD (2.5") for backups

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by phelix_da_kat, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. phelix_da_kat macrumors member

    Oct 26, 2005
    Dear All,

    SUMMARY: looking to carry a bootable copy of my desktop drive. (Have a rather chunky MAXTOR One-touch 3.5" 350G at the moment that is backing up my iMac using superduper).

    Was planning to make my own, but as I reside in the UK, nice looking external enclosures with FW are expensive or US only.

    Would like to be able to "pocket it" when I travel as my friends use Macs, hence I have been looking at (160Gb seems to be the largest drive the below all do) the following:

    1. IOMEGA Silver Series w/ FW/USB
    (£80 on Amazon but slated)

    2. FORMAC DiskMini USD/FW
    (BTW why is the USB/FW RRP price nearly twice as expensive as the USB only! £95 vs £60 on Amazon)

    3. FREECOM Tough Drive Pro USB/FW

    On intial research IOMEGA is out, so it between the FORMAC and FREECOM.


    1. Does anyone have a favourable recommendation?
    2. Recommendation on a good looking FW enclosure, I would be grateful.
    3. What about buying a "smaller capacity" of the above and sticking a large HD into it (I can give the now spare one to my other half for their Windows machine)

  2. screensaver400 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 28, 2005
    I'm a big fan of firewire myself, but you'll be paying a LOT more. Since I'm in the US, I'll use US prices for comparison.

    That Formac unit you're looking at is £151.58 for a 160GB model. That's about $300USD. NewEgg (a popular American online reseller) charges $165USD for a 320GB USB-only unit. That's about £85.

    So you'll be paying double for half the capacity, just to get firewire.

    Again, I like it too. But its not worth the price.
  3. digitalField macrumors regular

    May 21, 2004

    If your looking for a bootable backup drive.. no real reason you need Firewire. Firewire drives are great if you need the speed for daily activities.. but if your just doing daily backups there is little reason to pay a premium when USB will do the same job.

    As for drives to recommend... i have always been a fan of LaCie's stuff..
    160GB USB2.0 external drive for $109usd

    here is a link to their complete selection of mobile drives.
    Click me

  4. phelix_da_kat thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 26, 2005
    booting off USB

    Hi, thanks you all!

    After your comments I looked further into booting off USB - I did not realise that MacIntels could boot off both FW and USB!!

    That will really save my a bundle!

    Thanks again :)
  5. errol macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2008
    Keep in mind that firewire is less CPU intensive than USB and should have higher sustained transfer rates.

    I have this great 2.5" case by Initio that is FW800. Highly recommended.
  6. petersays macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2007
    Ive got two WD Passport 250GB. They're really great!
  7. Jelite macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    Same, well i have one 250gb £89, didnt realise these kind of drives were so small until i saw it irl, brilliant little things.
  8. Townfan macrumors newbie

    Feb 29, 2008
    Have you tried Storage Depot for an external case. Its the only place I have found in the UK that does a firewire enclosure (uses IDE drives). Around £20
  9. galfromdownunde macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2008
    LaCie Pocket Drive Enclosure

    OK while everyone is going eSATA and so will I eventually, I have to say I love my little 4 year old, 7200 rpm, 60gb Lacie Pocket Drive, which has been my faithful bootable clone even after Carbon Copy Cloner started doing weird things and I switched to Super Duper. It's been worth every cent of the mind boggling $429 I paid for it way back when.
    But now, tests show that the enclosure seems to be failing (the drive no longer mounts on my Powerbook G4, but does so outside the case).
    Can anyone tell me where to get a replacement ATA/PATA board, the all in one kind that will just go in the case - I notice most enclosures these days come with the interface/port part as a separate sliver that just plugs into the end of the drive ... I'd like to retain the cool Pocket Drive case, see, and the drive itself, though only 60gb, is a Hitachi Travelstar and really reliable. Danke!
  10. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    use any of these brands for internal HDs, Hitachi, SeaGate, WD, Maxtor. Firewire 400 (if thats what ur using) is actually slower than USB 2.0. USB is cheaper too.
  11. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    While the theoretical maximum transfer rate is faster on USB2 (480Mbits/s) vs FW400 (400 Mbits/s), in the real world nothing could be further from the truth as FW 400 blows away USB2 in both reading and writing.

    Among the thousands of comparisons on the web one of the most noted is from Barefeats which can be seen here:

    Particularly interesting in the "Insights" section of the comparison is the following paragraph after the Quickbench X charts:

    " Think about it. FireWire 400 is rated at 400 megaBITS per second (50 megaBYTES per second) -- 80 megaBITS slower rating than USB 2.0 -- yet when exact same drive/enclosure is plugged into the FireWire 400 port, it goes almost twice as fast!"
  12. macwall macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007
    Cupertino, CA
    i like the freecom cases. i've had bad experiences with iomega ever since the zip disks.
  13. galfromdownunde macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2008
    McAlly FW+USB2 ATA/PATA 2.5" enclosure

    (Have you noticed typing in this window doesn't work well under Firefox on a Mac?)
    Thanks for the suggestions. Since a replacement HD board is hard to come by, I eventually sprang for the McAlly ATA case:
    It's a bit heavy and kinda chunky for a 2.5" but reeks of toughness, and has 2xFW, 1x USB, and on-off switch and DC power jack. That's a lotta ports for $40 (Eugene Mac Store)! It seems to be the only one that keeps coming up when you search for an ATA FW+USB2 case - everyone's making SATA cases now. Works great. Did you know you can even stretch a LACIE silicone bumper around it and other drives ..

    The old 60gb internal drive from my Mac went into the old LACIE Pocket Drive case OK - firewire port is shot, but with a combination of the original DC adaptor (which defeats the purpose of it being 'pocket') and that squarish USB cable it actually mounts.

    FYI I discovered that if a drive doesn't show up on the desktop it sometimes shows up under Disk Utility waiting for you to format it, upon which it probably will mount on the desktop.

    But you probably knew this already ...
  14. n8236 macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2006
    Another vote for WD's Passports. They're stylish, slim, fast, convenient and cost effective.

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