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Discussion in 'iMac' started by Craig McArthur, Mar 5, 2012.
What's my best option for an external drive? USB? Firewire?
Depends on your usage.
FW 800 is faster, but also a bit more expensive.
I use FW800 HDDs and some USB 2.0 HDDs, and I really prefer the FW 800 ones. But I also transfer several dozen of GBs per day.
I'll be mainly using it as a work-file backup drive (ideally the mac will come on early in the morning, back up and turn back off but that's another kettle of fish). So it will be at least 100 GB per day.
It will only ever be used on my iMac and MBP both I believe have FireWire. Can you suggest any particular HDD to use?
I use WD My Book Studio editions (the first generation) quite successfully.
But you can also use an enclosure from OWC/MacSales and then get your own HDDs.
And why do you need to backup 100 GB daily?
Time Machine FAQ
If speed is critical, then you either want to wait for a USB 3.0 iMac or go with a Thunderbolt solution. This is generally only the case if you're going to be working with these files directly or running something off of it.
If not, then either USB 2.0 or Firewire is fine. 800 is generally faster than USB by about 30-50%.
For me Firewire 800 is almost 200 % faster than USB 2.0, as USB offers 30 to 35 MB/s, and Firewire 800 offers 60 to 70 MB/s.
100 GB via USB 2.0 would take an hour, via FW 800 it would be half an hour.
That would be 100% faster, but if that's the case I'd definitely go with Firewire 800.
I've also been told (but I have no idea if it's actually true or not) that data corruption is less likely for file transfers over Firewire than USB.
To be honest, I always confuse percentage, but as 100 % is "1" for me, 200 % is "2" for me, but maybe that is due to statistics an P.
My flatmate I just asked did understand, if something is 100 % faster, than it is double the speed. Hmm. No wonder I had to take math four times.
PS: I just read about comparative percent usage here. Yep, 10 % faster as 1 means, it is 1+0.1 faster, thus 100 % faster than 1 is 1+1. Learned something new today, or old, if you look at it that way.
Probably due to Firewire having its own chip and USB using the CPU.
Firewire 800 is 2-3 times faster than USB 2.0, so I'd recommend that, even though it costs a bit more. Getting a drive with multiple connection options adds flexibility in use.
I've been very pleased with both of these, from Other World Computing (OWC):
OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro..........................OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro
I use aMercury Elite Pro from OWC for my external backup. The one I have has multiple options for I/O (USB, FW400, FW800, eSATA) which is nice.
I just ordered in this in anticipation that the new iMac will support 3.0
Just backing up all my files & work files. They change daily and it's easier for me to just back everything up daily keeping a 5 day history sort of thing. Manually or automatically.
Thanks I definitely think I'll go with Firewire.
I recommend using time machine, it is like magic, copies only the changed files and makes a hard link of files (quite clever actually), read here: http://arstechnica.com/apple/reviews/2007/10/mac-os-x-10-5.ars/14
I make backups of 300GB in a regular basis and the backups don't fill the external hard-drive that often (even if they do, Time Machine asks to delete space of old backups).
Back to the topic:
I am hopefull that USB 3 will be supported on the next iMac (and any other new mac), and also hopefull that it is indeed fast! (because in my case, I find USB 2 painfully slow, even compared to Firewire 400).
I use a Lacie Quadra (USB2, FW400, FW800, eSata) via FW800 and it is worth every cent!
Hopefully with USB3 there will be less cents to be "worth", since the drives are cheaper compared to the FW800 drives!