External Hard Drive for iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Soulflower, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. Soulflower macrumors regular


    Jul 17, 2011
    I needed a new external hard drive for my iMac. I'm running Lion 10.7.3. I was in Best Buy and they had a LaCie minims 2TB, usb 3.0 on clearance for $113. I picked it up but before I open it, I wanted to ask opinions.

    Is this going to be compatible with my iMac (newest model) and is it a good choice? Do you have better recommendations?

    Thanks so much.
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Any hard drive is compatible, as long as it has the proper connections and is formatted properly, which you can do when you buy it.

    Format A Hard Drive Using Disk Utility (which is in your /Applications/Utilities folder)

    Choose the appropriate format:

    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive)

    NTFS (Windows NT File System)
    • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
    • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X
      [*]To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X, here are some alternatives:
      • For Mac OS X 10.4 or later (32 or 64-bit), install Paragon (approx $20) (Best Choice for Lion)
      • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
      • For 64-bit Snow Leopard, read this: MacFUSE for 64-bit Snow Leopard
      • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36).
      • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and Lion, but is not advisable, due to instability.
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
    • Maximum file size: 16 TB
    • Maximum volume size: 256TB
    • You can use this format if you routinely share a drive with multiple Windows systems.

    exFAT (FAT64)
    • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
    • Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages.
    • exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
    • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB
    • You can use this format if it is supported by all computers with which you intend to share the drive. See "disadvantages" for details.

    FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
      [*]Maximum file size: 4GB.
    • Maximum volume size: 2TB
    • You can use this format if you share the drive between Mac OS X and Windows computers and have no files larger than 4GB.
  3. Soulflower thread starter macrumors regular


    Jul 17, 2011
    Thank you.

    Is is a good reliable hard drive among Mac users? In the past I've used Western Digital My Book. I was wondering how the two compare.

    I picked it up because of the clearance price and they only had one. I'd rather pay more if it's not reliable.
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    When it comes to recommending specific drives, I can only recommend what I have personal experience with. I haven't used WD drives. I've used and have been very pleased with both of these models in various capacities, from Other World Computing (OWC):

    OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro..........................OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro™
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  5. Spike88, Mar 28, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012

    Spike88 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    Remember your iMac only has USB 2.0 ports. Therefore, that external HDD will need to convert from USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 (via adapter cable). At best, that drive will only work max at USB 2.0 speeds. And, this is assuming a direct port connection (not being "hubbed" with other USB 2.0 devices).

    If your iMac has a FireWire 800 port (like many modern iMacs), it would be best to get an external HDD that uses Firewire 800 cable connection. FW800 is much faster than USB 2.0.

    If wondering, my iMac has FW800 WD drive (preformatted for Mac OSX). It works great. Simply plug in and use it, or configure with iMac's Time Machine backup software. It's that easy.

    Personally, I'd get FW800 or Thunderbolt drive. With today's technology, I no longer waste my time (or money) on USB 2.0 external drives....

    Hope this helps...

  6. Soulflower thread starter macrumors regular


    Jul 17, 2011
  7. Spike88 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
  8. Mr Rogers macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2003
    Hong Kong
    WD My Book Studio

    I've used duel interface WD My Book Studio's for the past three years - no failures to date and now using two 3T beasts picked up from Apple before price increase last November.

    I've had loads of issues with Lacie, particularly HDD failure and power supply failure - 4 times this happened.
  9. Soulflower thread starter macrumors regular


    Jul 17, 2011
    Very dumb question but could someone please explain "dual interface" ?
  10. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    Two interfaces...USB 2.0 and another. Some drives are triple interface, others are quad.
  11. Yury macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2011
    founded at product info page: http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?id=10518

    PS: you only will be limited in transfer speed due to USB 2.0 interface used in iMac.
  12. Philly macrumors member

    May 21, 2007
    My computers display broke down today so I'm searching the forum via my phone, which isn't easy. For that reason I'm going to just ask my question without doing a thorough search first.

    Can a usb3 drive be plugged straight in to a usb2 port, or does it need an adaptor?

    If it can be plugged straight in, will it work at usb2 speeds?

  13. Rich2Putt macrumors member

    Dec 27, 2011
    Can I purchase one external 2tb HD and partition 1TB formatted in HFS+ and format the other 1TB in NTFS?

    I plan on installing Windows 7 in Bootcamp and have one external HD for back up.

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