Best Hard Drive for Time Machine?

MacVault

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 10, 2002
1,144
59
Planet Earth
What would you all recommend as the best hard drive for use with Time Machine? USB 2.0 vs Firewire? Is Firewire that much better? Are there any good RAID options out there? Will Time Machine backup over the network?

Also, since Steve Jobs pissed me off when he said this is an "all in one world" at the last iMac release, when is Apple going to start building a second hard drive into all Macs for Time Machine to back up to??? This is an all in one world, right?
 

psychofreak

Retired
May 16, 2006
9,064
4
London
Firewire is quite a lot faster...TM will only back up to a networked HD if it is connected to another Leopard-running Mac...
 

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
14,834
7,394
The best HD for TM is going to be one that is AT LEAST 25% LARGER than your boot drive, or the drive you are backing up.

I'd go with FW400, but if you have a newer machine USB2 should be fine too for a backup drive.

You can find some nice HD deals @ Newegg.
 

chrisgeleven

macrumors 6502
Apr 28, 2002
466
41
Manchester, NH
Keep in mind after the initial backup, speed really isn't an issue with Time Machine (unless you do changes to multiple documents that are GB's in size). Small changes will sync real quick.

Personally, I'd say go with whatever is the cheapest drive that has the right capacity to fit your needs. USB2 or Firewire.
 

nutmac

macrumors 601
Mar 30, 2004
4,427
2,412
The best HD for TM is going to be one that is AT LEAST 25% LARGER than your boot drive, or the drive you are backing up.
That's assuming your boot disk is 100% full (which would make for very unusable experience). Also, TM will skip over many temporary files (e.g., swap files, cache) and you can set exclusion. For instance, I will exclude Applications folder since I can reinstall them with relative ease.
 

~J~

macrumors 6502
Jul 27, 2007
447
0
3rd Rock from the sun
DEFINITELY FW!! I do backups to both, FW400 & USB drives. the FW is faster every time. besides, if you need to, you can boot off the FW drive... something that you cant do w/a USB drive... both BIG factors for me.
 

wazgilbert

macrumors regular
Jan 15, 2007
188
2
UK South
The best HD for TM is going to be one that is AT LEAST 25% LARGER than your boot drive, or the drive you are backing up.

I'd go with FW400, but if you have a newer machine USB2 should be fine too for a backup drive.

You can find some nice HD deals @ Newegg.
I might go for a FW400 drive, just because it will keep the usb and FW800 ports m/t for something I really need. otherwise I might never use the damn FW400 port at all - what a waste!
 

cavemonkey50

macrumors 6502
Aug 9, 2007
311
27
Allentown, PA
DEFINITELY FW!! I do backups to both, FW400 & USB drives. the FW is faster every time. besides, if you need to, you can boot off the FW drive... something that you cant do w/a USB drive... both BIG factors for me.
Time Machine backups aren't bootable though.
 

DavidLeblond

macrumors 68020
Jan 6, 2004
2,197
286
Raleigh, NC
Another thing to consider is the number of free ports. I would have no problem hooking up a FW drive to my iMac seeing as the only thing I have plugged in now is a small external drive and occasionally a vid cam. USB though, I have no free slots. So its FW for me unless I want to get a hub (I don't.)
 

devman

macrumors 65816
Apr 19, 2004
1,235
4
AU
DEFINITELY FW!! I do backups to both, FW400 & USB drives. the FW is faster every time. besides, if you need to, you can boot off the FW drive... something that you cant do w/a USB drive... both BIG factors for me.
Intel Macs can boot from USB. It is PPC Macs that cannot.
 

iGrouch

macrumors member
Jul 28, 2007
96
0
Off Ramp M50
Actually since 10.4.x (I think around 10.4.7) you can boot PPC with USB drives. It is slow though to start up, but good enough in emergencies. Note: I have come across some instances of USB drive that don't work for some reason.

Can anyone confirm that TM will work with an internal SATA in a Mac Pro/Power Mac
 

elbirth

macrumors 65816
Jan 19, 2006
1,154
0
North Carolina, US
I've got a 1TB Western Digital MyBook drive with FireWire 800 on the way that I'll be using for Time Machine. FireWire 800 is a bit overkill for this purpose, but I'll likely be getting an even bigger drive down the road when prices drop more, and then I can use this as a normal storage drive.

My main concern is that being big enough... I'd like to know a better idea of how much extra space is really needed for the backup plus maybe a couple weeks of the past.
The drives it'll be covering for backup are the 250GB drive that came in my Mac Pro which has the OS and applications installed on it, and a 1TB drive that has my home directory (it's a pair of 1TB drives in a mirrored array). Currently neither drive is even close to being full so the 1TB backup drive will be plenty.. but once the drives fill up, then I wonder how it'll work.. but then again, by that point I may be able to get a 4TB drive or something :cool:
 

email68

macrumors regular
Sep 30, 2007
185
0
Firewire 800 vs Gigabit ethernet drive

I want an external drive for TM but also for video work.

A networked drive would be great (When TM will work with it) for mulitple macs in the house. But I would guess the FW800 would be better for video work.

How does the speed compare on a FW800 and a Gigabit Ethernet drive?
 

devman

macrumors 65816
Apr 19, 2004
1,235
4
AU

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
14,834
7,394
That's assuming your boot disk is 100% full (which would make for very unusable experience). Also, TM will skip over many temporary files (e.g., swap files, cache) and you can set exclusion. For instance, I will exclude Applications folder since I can reinstall them with relative ease.
I think you have to assume that at some point your HD is going to get pretty close to full. It would be folly to by a 300GB HD to backup your 500GB boot drive just b/c you only have 200GB of data on it. HDs tend to fill up over time.
 

mashinhead

macrumors 68030
Oct 7, 2003
2,612
282
listen what i want to know about time machine is, that i have most of media on an external as it is too large to fit on any stock mac hd. So if i get another external for time machine will it also back up the media files on the other external?
 

notsofatjames

macrumors 6502a
Jan 11, 2007
856
0
Wales, UK
DEFINITELY FW!! I do backups to both, FW400 & USB drives. the FW is faster every time. besides, if you need to, you can boot off the FW drive... something that you cant do w/a USB drive... both BIG factors for me.
you can boot from USB. Ive booted from USB multiple times, on mutliple Macs, only on intel macs though.
 

spetznatz

macrumors regular
Jan 5, 2006
167
10
Internal HD?

I haven't seen this addressed specifically (despite searching) -- but can't you use an internal drive as a Time Machine drive? Everyone seems to be talking about external drives...

I'd like to stick a 1TB in my Mac Pro's spare slot (oo-er) to use as a TM disk...

http://vizarch.blogspot.com
 

eme jota ce

macrumors regular
Jul 26, 2005
193
0
Chicago
If Apple brings Airport back into the Time Machine feature, you'll want to consider something that has USB connectivity if you want to connect it to your network and allow multiple machines (espeically laptops) to back up to the new drive.
 

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