External firewire 800 drives that play nice with Macs?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by cerulean.blue, Oct 13, 2007.

  1. cerulean.blue macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    #1
    Can anyone recommend an external firewire 800 drive that will work well under Mac OS? Basically I'm looking for an external drive that turns off automatically when my Mac is off, and want the ability to safely power it down when I am working if I want...

    I've read online posts that the automatic power up/power down functionality of some Western Digital drives (My Book Pro - Intelligent Drive Management System) doesn't work on a Mac when connected via Firewire.

    Apologies for the overly general question, I'm a new Mac owner and haven't yet figured out what hardware makers do a good job of supporting Macs...

    Thanks in advance for any helpful recommendations...
     
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #2
    Do you want the enclosure to actually power down, or spin the drive down?

    Icydocks (what I use, available with various combos of USB2, FW400, FW800, and eSATA) do the following, at least with my Seagate drives in them...

    - Go to sleep when told to by the computer, including when the computer goes to sleep or is shut down

    - Are perfectly agreeable to being shut down by their power switch after they've been ejected (i.e. my backup drive is plugged in via FW right now, but off). If they're ejected but not turned off, they will however remount at certain instances when the computer looks for them (i.e. if the computer wakes from sleep, new login, etc). So you do have to turn them off if you want them to stay unmounted.

    Is that what you want? I think most drives do handle that fine... although I can't speak for them, I'd be surprised if Lacie or OWC enclosures have any difficulty with any of that.
     
  3. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Location:
    ~119W 34N
    #3
    I put together a couple of FW800 external drives using CoolGear fanless, aluminum cases. I just leave the power supply on - the drive spins up when I connect/mount the drive, and will spin down when unmounted. It uses very little power when the drive isn't running.
     
  4. cerulean.blue thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    #4
    Thanks for the replies.

    Do most external firewire 800 drives power up/down intelligently these days?

    Maybe I'm just paranoid in thinking that external drives these days don't do this with Mac OS X.

    Saw the Icydock encolusures on Newegg and they look nice. But if they're $100-125 for the enclusure then the enclosure + drive cost gets up around the same cost as the Western Digital My Book Pro (~$185).

    Is the major major advantage of the enclosures over the WD or Maxtor external drives that you can swap in/out the drives? Good for off-site storage I guess...

    Thanks again...
     
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #5
    Well, no, not necessarily. There have been FW enclosures that have been known to refuse to boot Macs. So you should be careful.

    This is a fair point, and pretty generally true when you build your own. I see three advantages of varying sizes:

    1) As far as I can tell (I hope this isn't misinformation...) many of the really low cost pre-built enclosures from the HD manufacturers are so cheap because they're using PATA controllers. PATA and SATA hard drives cost about the same, but SATA controllers are more expensive. There's no real issue in terms of speed you'll get on an external enclosure. However, if you want flexibility in the sense that you may want to swap the drive that's inside a desktop Mac into the enclosure, or swap the drive in the enclosure into the desktop, or buy a new drive for your desktop but set it up from in the enclosure first, etc, etc, then SATA is vastly preferable because all internal Mac HDs are SATA at this point.

    2) You're free to choose a specific drive based on the characteristics you want, including drive warranty and so on. My FW400 enclosure did cost almost that much -- $170 or so for an IcyDock + Seagate 7200.10 500GB SATA drive, so I do see your cost point, though. If this is strictly a workhorse without any illusion of modifying it later, I'd probably also go with the cheaper option. Just find at least one person who can tell you that a Mac can boot from it in case you ever want that option.

    3) I think the OWC, Icy, etc, enclosures look better. :D
     

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