Does anyone work with strictly portable hard drives when it comes to iMacs?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by AR86, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. AR86 macrumors member

    Dec 7, 2014
    So i'm planning my storage for the purchase of my riMac, and honestly looking at some of the external hard drive options they just look so bulky and ugly these are mainly the powered external hard drives but I was wondering would it be possible to use maybe a smaller 2TB Western Digital like this;

    As a permanent external hard drive option as opposed to one that needs plugging in to a mains power source? would it work ok in the long run? as I know they are normally intended for portable use but I worry about their reliablity in the long term when compared powered external hard drive like a lacie, it's just that I prefer their small footprint and was wondering if anyone else uses this option as opposed to a big external hard drives that have a power plug.
  2. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    It doesn't really matter which hard drive you buy, you need to keep backups as well so as you aren't relying on the single hard drive to keep your data safe.

    I've used plenty of portable hard drives and while they last a few years, I've always kept backups when they fail.
  3. AR86 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 7, 2014
    See I think i've got it covered (I think) i'll get two of those 2TB WD passport drives, use one as my primary storage and it'll be plugged in pretty much all the time into the back of the iMac while the other will get used to perform weekly backups of data from the first drive giving me an up to date copy of all my files just incase the first one dies on me.
  4. /V\acpower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2007
    The biggest difference will be mainly speed. Normally desktop HDD are faster. (and not just in numbers, it will be clearly noticeable when dealing with large files).

    So it depend on how do you plan to use your external drive and if speed is important enough for you.
  5. Cape Dave macrumors 68000

    Nov 16, 2012
    I think an external SSD may be worthy of your consideration. They are fast.
  6. AR86 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 7, 2014
    Yep I noticed that when doing research but this may be what i've been looking for
  7. cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502


    Apr 2, 2012
    Somewhere In Time
    Portable HDD

    I have two, a 1TB Seagate and a 2TB Western Digital, plugged into my iMac. I've had them for over a year and neither has had a problem — so far. Each drive is partitioned, so that I can direct different file types to each. Examples: the WD has 1.3TB for my photo library and .7TB for Time Machine. The Seagate has .5TB for Carbon Copy Clone of the SSD and .5TB for photo backups.

    All the above are backed up to a WD MyCloud NAS. iMac SSD and photos are also backed up to BackBlaze. I'm paranoid.

    To answer your initial question, portable HDDs are good. I access my photo library on one to do post processing in Lightroom. I have virtually no lag. I'd say for normal daily work you should have no difficulty. BUT, they're HDDs so be sure to implement additional backup options.
  8. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    The main problem is bus-powered portable hard drives are usually slower than externally powered drives. There are some exceptions: the HGST Touro S is a 7,200 rpm drive that does about 130 megabytes/sec:

    The previously-mentioned Seagate Backup Fast is a 4TB bus-powered drive that internally uses two 2TB drives in RAID0. It's very fast but sometimes may require two USB connections to source enough power. I think a single connection is OK on an iMac.

    There are nice-looking externally-powered hard drives from companies like G-Technology that are aesthetically matched to the iMac:

    If you only need 1TB and want a bus-powered drive, I'd get the Touro S -- it is inexpensive and very fast.
  9. Coldmode macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2010
    They're fine to use when left plugged in, but any external drive is going to be less reliable than an internal drive just because you might smack it when it's reading data or something crazy like never know what might happen. I'd use BackBlaze to back up your machine and external drive offsite, and then a really big plug-in hard drive that you keep hidden for local backups.
  10. seroposi macrumors member

    Mar 7, 2013
    Herts, UK
    Using 2 Seagate 1TB USB2 Portable Hard Drives. One used solely for Time Machine and the other is my ' working ' hard drive. Will upgrade to 2 or 3 TB USB3 as and when.

    Perform a monthly copy to a Seagate Desktop Drive.

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