Can I attach two bus-powered hard drives to a Mac mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by boffo, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. boffo macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2006

    My iTunes collection has nearly filled up the 80GB drive in my Mac mini, so I'm thinking of buying an external 320GB drive and moving all the music onto that. In order to create a backup I'd want to be able to attach a second 320GB drive from time to time.

    I have a strong preference for bus-powered drives since I don't like the clutter of cables and power adapters. But would two bus-powered drives work with the Mac mini? Maybe one attached to a USB port and the other to the Firewire port?

    This is an original PPC mini by the way.

    Thanks in advance for any advice!
  2. purelithium macrumors 6502


    May 28, 2006
    Kingston, Canada
    There shouldn't be a problem to attach two bus powered drives to your mini, in fact i think you could easily connect them to the USB ports. I've only known laptops to limit the voltage on ports, so your mini should be fine.

    The only problem I see is finding a couple bus powered 320gb drives like you want, the 320gb notebook drives may have a voltage/current requirement that is too much for the USB/firewire ports.
  3. Leon Kowalski macrumors 6502a

    Leon Kowalski

    Sep 20, 2007
    Gondwanaland Reunification Front HQ
    I've found USB bus-power to be very marginal for external drives. Each USB
    port is limited to 500 mA (2.5 watts), and that's on the raggedy edge of what
    most 2.5" drives require. That's why many bus-powered USB externals come
    AC adapters and/or special cables to "steal" power from a second USB port or
    a PC keyboard socket (not useful on Macs). If you want "true" bus-power in a
    USB drive, check the power requirements very carefully before buying.

    Firewire ports can usually supply at least 7-8 watts, so bus power shouldn't be
    a problem. OTOH, the selection of bus-powered firewire drives is very limited.

    Also, 320GB 2.5" drives are rather expensive; you can buy a 750GB 3.5" drive
    for about the same price (at twice the speed). Of course, bus-power is not an
    option with 3.5" drives; they require more power than either USB or firewire
    can supply.

    Here's one minimal-clutter option for the mini -- with "adult-sized" drives.
    (It's not the least expensive, but it's more than just an external drive. It's
    also a USB and a firewire hub.)

  4. FatSweatyBlldog macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2007
    The ministack's are a decent option, and look great with the mini. The problem with them, is the fan in the enclosure is many times louder than the mini's fan. The fan kicks in any time the drive is spinning/being accessed. A simple fan control program would be extremely beneficial here, but NewerTech doesn't seem to have any interest in actually making their enclosures "whisper quiet."

    It's a shame, b/c otherwise the ministacks are great. If your computer isn't in your bedroom, this is less of an issue, but still annoying.
  5. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    I regularly use two Western Digital Passport 250 Gig USB Bus Powered drives on an iMac with no issues. I cannot speak for the Mac-Mini.

    PRICE ALERT ---- Best Buy will be selling the USB Bus Powered 320 Gig 2.5" Passport HDD for $149.99 ( $100 Savings ) beginning tomorrow Feb. 17, 2008 ( this is listed in their weekly ad in our area ) - Online Best Buy price should be the same
  6. boffo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2006
    Belated thanks to everybody for their kind responses.

    In the end I didn't need bus-power for a drive that's going to be plugged into a desktop computer permanently. It would be more elegant for sure, but is not worth the expense.

    I'll be getting a 320G mobile drive to carry around as my off-site backup.

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