External Drive Recommendations

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by thesimplelogic, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. thesimplelogic macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2014
    Hi everyone,
    At the moment i am looking for a new external drive as I will be ordering a new iMac within the next few days and need to get something with more storage.
    If you guys can help me, hopefully I'd like something that
    - has 1-2TB of storage
    - and is under $300
    - USB 3 (Thunderbolt is nice but not a big deal)

    I like the look of the Ministack MAX by NewerTech since it has a superdrive in it, as well as more USB ports. Does anyone know anything about this model?

  2. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Look online at the external drives at Newegg www.newegg.com and read the reviews. The same goes for Amazon.

    You may get a better value in the 3-4TB range from Seagate or WD.

    Don't forget a backup drive that is larger than both the internal drive plus the external storage drive. We all too often see folks with crashed drives and no backup from which to restore a replacement drive.

    Personally, I use LACie 2Big 6TB for my external library and a Lacie 2d 6TB drive for my TM backups. Both are Thunderbolt.
  3. thesimplelogic thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2014
    Thanks a lot. I'm a bit wary of WD drives - the past two I have had have not been good drives, but that could just be bad luck.

    Of course. I'll be getting a 1TB fusion drive, so I'm hoping to partition the drive and use half for backing up, the other half for old stuff/stuff that I don't need.
  4. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    From personal experience over the years, I'm not a fan of WD desktop drives, yet I've had no problems with their portable ones...

    You DO NOT want to use your internal fusion drive partitioned for a backup volume, because it's not a true backup if you're backing up your system volume to the same device the system volume resides on. You really should buy an external drive twice the size of the internal drive you're backing up, so 2TB should do nicely.

    I have a 27 inch iMac and one of my Time Machine backup drives is a solid Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB drive.

  5. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    What follows is my opinion only.

    First, don't get one of the Ministacks. Just get (or build) a standalone drive.

    Second, I strongly urge you to "build your own" drive, rather than just buy one off-the-shelf.

    Because, when you do it yourself:
    - You control what the components are
    - You may get a better warranty on the drive itself (if this matters to you)
    - Because YOU put it together, if there's ever a problem, YOU know how to take it apart and diagnose.

    If you'll be satisfied with USB3, I'd suggest that you shop carefully for a USB3 external enclosure (or dock) that is specifically stated to support UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol).

    Here's one that might do:
    (no financial interest in the above item)

    Then, browse online vendors such as amazon.com, newegg.com, etc. to find the 2.5" drive of your choice to go inside. You can keep track of sales at dealmac.com.

    Putting the drive into the enclosure takes 30 seconds, and doesn't even require a screwdriver.

    Here's another approach:
    Get a USB3/SATA docking station. Here's one:
    This one accepts both 3.5" and 2.5" drives, and also has UASP support.

    The great advantage of using a dock is that you can swap "bare drives" around at will, like bread in and out of toaster. You can boot from these, as well, if needed.

    The DISadvantage of a dock is that it doesn't look as snazzy as a pre-packaged drive sitting on your desktop. This may or may not be important to you..
  6. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    I agree - that's something I've been doing with the vast majority of my storage over the past 20+ years, back to a time when Mac drives were SCSI & held much less data :)
  7. thesimplelogic thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2014
    Thanks a lot for your thoughts.
    Are docking stations as fast as typical enclosures? :)
    And what are the benefits of UASB? I haven't heard of that before. :)
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    The OP wrote above:
    [[ Are docking stations as fast as typical enclosures? ]]

    In most cases, yes.
    In a few cases, perhaps not.
    In a few cases, they will be faster.
    Depends on what you buy.

    [[ And what are the benefits of UASB? ]]

    You mean UASP.
    That's "USB Attached SCSI Protocol".
    Older versions of USB relied on the computer's CPU chip for "handling stuff over the bus".
    With UASP, the CPU chip is greatly relieved of these duties, resulting in faster data transfers.
    You need a UASP-equipped drive in order to achieve the full 5gbps speeds that USB3 is capable of...
  9. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    If you mean the external drive then you won't have a backup of that old stuff since it's on the same drive as your backup. It's fine to configure it like this but just be aware that you need to have another copy elsewhere.

    In the backup area I'm in the belt, suspenders, glue, duct tape, and whatever else. Hard to have too many. I currently backup to 2 TM and 2 CCC destinations along with Crashplan for offsite. I feel very secure that I can get everything back in the event of a major disaster. All this costs me far less than recreating all that data.
  10. inscrewtable macrumors 68000


    Oct 9, 2010
    Every desktop drive I've had has been dodgy, I've used raw drives and separate enclosures. All rubbish.

    But I recently bought a 2TB WD mypassport Ultra 6 months ago for 180 bucks, and I can't believe I've wasted so much time money and heartache with desktop drives.

    Most surprising was the read/write speeds at 90mb/sec, which is about what my internal drive on my ex 2011 imac used to get, and that ran at 7200!. It's Fanless, noiseless, fast, small, USB 3 and with a nice quality solid feel about it and it's bus powered. I just bought another one for $100, and I'll be getting rid of all my clunky drives.

    You can even get a WD utility that can check its smart status and also set it to be always on.
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    That idea will absolutely NOT work. Ok it might work but it would be pointless.

    The backup drive MUST be a totally different physical media that you use ONLY for backup. You are going to need a second larger external disk drive.

    As an analogy, let's say I have the phone number written on a posit note and I don't want to loose it. So I copy the number to the back side of the same posit note. That is almost exactly what you were proposing.

    Next question is how important the data is? Maybe you don't have anything you can't replace. If it is just music and downloaded movies then you can replace it easy enough. If this is business records, your own photography or research then you need more then just the one Time machine backup. You need much more redundancy and at least one off-site backup.
  12. thesimplelogic thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2014
    Thanks for clarifying.
    I actually found an old (well, by old I mean 2 year old still in packaging) 1TB WD desktop drive in an enclosure. That'll probably become the old documents etc type thing, and I'm still looking at a drive for backup.

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