Choosing an external hard drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by hokietoner, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. hokietoner macrumors newbie

    Aug 7, 2007
    I'm going to be purchasing an external hard drive soon as a time machine HD. I have one of the new iMacs, so I'd like to get a drive that supports Firewire 800. I'll probably get one that's 500GB or 750GB. I like Seagate, but I don't think they carry Firewire 800. The apple store recommended the LaCie d2 quadra 500GB, and I like that it's stackable, but I'm concerned by the c-net reviews. Many people (including the official review) are saying the customer service is bad, and the hard drive itself doesn't have a high rating by many users. I've never heard of LaCie, but the apple store says they have primarily made HDs for graphics professionals. However, PC World thinks it's the #3 external HD and has great user reviews.

    Fantom Drives look good except for a below average 1 year warranty which is not acceptable when compared to the competition.

    The salesman at the apple store said he hasn't had great experiences with any of the Western Digital drives. And I just don't know about Iomega. So what do you guys recommend?

    Edit: or should I consider an external enclosure?
  2. iPhil macrumors 68040


    it's cheaper by GB wise to go with build your own for external drives...

    I've been build my own since i bought my mac.. thats for 2yrs +.. :eek:
  3. hokietoner thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 7, 2007
    Can you recommend an external enclosure that supports Firewire 800? I'm having trouble finding very many.

    edit: I found 2 really nice looking enclosures, from icydock and wiebetech, but nothing that supports Firewire 800 is under $100. For that price pre-assembled external HDs are cheaper.
  4. EddieZ macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2007
    USB Drive

    Not a FW drive, but I have had a Drobo for months and I love it to death. Easy, safe - but not FW800 speeds if that is what you are looking for. Drobo also has good reviews at CNet, MacWorld, etc...

  5. terriyaki macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2005
    Go with OWC's Mercury Elite Pro dual hard drive enclosure. $119 for the SATA FW800/FW400/USB enclosure. I've got one and recently stuck in two 500GB Western Digital drives in myself. Other than the annoyingly bright blue light in the front, I'm quite pleased with this enclosure.
  6. iPhil macrumors 68040


    Any from here and Google results ..

    The SATA fw 800 external cases are like $20 to $30 more over IDE version.. :eek:

    If you go to Google results way, just make sure you're buying from a reliable seller.. But the 1st link is the one i use if i can't find the item locally...
  7. hokietoner thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 7, 2007
    I found an icy dock enclosure for $80 from newegg (down from $145) which supports FW800. If I get an internal 750GB HD from newegg for $180, then for $260 I'm saving money.
  8. Hmac macrumors 68020

    May 30, 2007
    Midwest USA
    OWC (MacSales) has several. I have one with the cheese grater front (Mercury Elite Pro) and put a $110 WD 500 gig SATA drive in it -- Firwire 800/400 and USB 2.0. Works great. Despite your conversation with the salesman, my experience with over 30 Western Digital drives has been good. OTOH, Seagate not so much.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  9. GregE macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2007
    I went with this one from OWC and put 2 WD 750GB drives in it. It's a little more but it's a RAID 1.


    I haven't connected it yet. Still trying to figure out the best way to use it since I was thinking of using it for Time Machine and to store videos I will be importing and working on.
  10. filmgirl macrumors regular


    May 16, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    Newegg has the My Book Studio drives (which support 1394b, along with standard firewire, USB 2.0 and eSATA) for $200 for the 500 GB and $286 for the 750 GB respectively. Amazon has the 500 GB version for $180 and free shipping. This series also has a 5-year warranty, which is as good as you are going to get from any vendor - so despite what the Apple Store guy said, I would consider giving them a look.

    I work on LOTS of computers (PC and Mac) and have had failures with all hard drive manufacturers, for both 2.5" and 3.5" drives, SATA and IDE (and even SCSI back in the day) and aside from some IBM Deskstar drives (AKA the DeathStar) that were really problematic (and that's going back a few years), between Seagate/Maxtor (because they are now the same company) and WD, I haven't been able to see a tangible difference in quality between the manufacturers. The only thing I will say is that I prefer WD's ARO (advance replacement option) over Seagate's because WD doesn't charge a $20 surcharge and Seagate does. They both make you pay shipping on the return drive, but I'd assume save my $20. But both are automated and can be taken care of online, so that's not really a big deal.

    I cannot remember the exact drive that they use in the 500 GB unit (that's the only Studio edition that I've played with), but I do remember that it was a very well regarded drive.

    But that's just my two cents - the enclosures OWC offers are fantastic.

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