External Hard Drive Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by rhythmac, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. rhythmac macrumors 6502


    Mar 29, 2009
    I need an external hard drive for Protools and time capsule....I was thinking about getting separate drives for each ... 500GB or 1TB.

    - 7200rpm
    - 800 FW

    Should I get a HD + an enclosure or get a "complete" unit?

    ....and.....should I get a a Hd with a dock?
  2. TheStork macrumors regular


    Dec 28, 2008
    OWC & Newegg Sales

    Check out yesterday's DealMac on Newegg's sale(s). Newegg also seems to have the lowest prices on HDDs, too. Check both DealMac and Newegg (daily specials) sites.

    OWC has some of the best, if not the best, external HDD enclosures. They have a "Garage Sale" with enclosures including the Mercury Elite AL series with the eSata/FW400/FW800/USB2 interfaces.
  3. Laurencia7 macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2009
    depends on your needs, but research and read reviews on complete hd units. Some get really bad reviews. I stuck with 500gb because no 1 TB unit has gotten any really overall good reviews. But if you build one, there are good deals on enclosures too, and will save you some money. But if you want something small, and less hassle..try Seagate 500GB Free agent go...works well for time machine. I have one.

    Just shop around, and read and watch reviews on youtube, best way to figure out the best drive for your needs.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "....and.....should I get a a Hd with a dock?"

    This might be a very usable solution, IF...
    - You don't need "portability" that a "drive in an enclosure" makes easy
    - You don't need to have the external storage powered-on continuously.

    I have a USB/SATA dock and it's one of the most useful "storage tools" I have.

    It's easy to swap out drives as needed.

    For example, you might keep a "dedicated drive" for ProTools, and another for backups, and then just "swap them" as needed.

    If you decide to go this route, I would suggest that you also consider the Other World Computing "Voyager" which has not only USB but Firewire 800/400 as well. The higher speeds would help out with ProTools and audio files. I've seen a good buy on the Voyager units here:
    (no financial interest)

    The drawbacks to the "dock" scenario are:
    - Not as easily portable (but can indeed be carried around)
    - May not be best suited to periods of "extended use" as they don't have forced-air cooling (I have kept mine running with a drive for a few hours' at a time without problems).

    Again, these can be VERY handy items to have around, particularly if you have several drives to manage.
  5. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I assume the OP means "TimeMachine" and not "TimeCapsule". Since TimeMachine is a background task, there is no need to spend money on a fast drive for it. A USB2 drive is fine for that, plus you get a bonus in that you get a higher combined data rate with a USB2 plus a FW800 drive than two FW800 drives that have to share the same interface.

    As already pointed out, don't get a dock for drives that will be running full time. The dock is great for cloning drives for offsite backup. You save a lot of money just buying a stack of bare drives rather than drives with enclosures (plus power supplies).

    I've settled on the OWC Mercury Elite AL enclosures which are fast, built like tanks, and make it easy to replace the internal drives as capacities increase. Most externals are sealed, so when you outgrow them you are stuck. Anybody want a bunch of 200GB external drives???
  6. reekster macrumors newbie


    Oct 19, 2003
    Big Blue Marble
    Drives are cheap and what seems like plenty of storage today quickly becomes not enough. I'm currently replacing my 200 gig laptop drive with a 750 gig drive. My studio Mac has 5 TB storage. Look at transfer speeds and pay a little more for faster drives. The 2 TB drives I added to my new 6-core Mac Pro have double the transfer speed of the stock drive.

    You also need to consider how you are going to back up.

    I suggets a minimum of a 1TB drive. YOu should buy a second for back up purposes. Or better yet, install a secure back up via NAS with a RAID 5. I back up my files to the RAID after (and sometimes during) a big project. I also bought a Blu-Ray drive to archive to and I can toss the disk in the safe deposit box.
    Synology makes a good expandable NAS RAID device that you can start out with inexpensive, smaller drives and update them as time goes on. It automatically includes the new drive and repopulates it. My Unit is a DS410. Easy to set up, compact size and works great.
  7. lethalillness macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2010
    Long Island, New York
    I second a Mercury Elite AL with the eSata/FW400/FW800/USB2. I picked up one after a long hunt for one perfect for my ProTools rig and this fit the bill perfect. No regrets what-so-ever.
  8. rhythmac thread starter macrumors 6502


    Mar 29, 2009
    Thanks to all that replied....so much info to sift through! I decided on getting two 500GB drives and the Mercury Elite AL dual bay with the eSata/FW400/FW800/USB2 enclosure from OWC and using that for ProTools and another 500GB HD in a separate enclosure for "TimeMachine". None of the drives will run full time.

Share This Page