External Hard Drive Help

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by japresl, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. japresl macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2007
    I'm looking to buy an external hard drive for my Macbook Pro. I'm not really sure where to start with the research or what type of hard drive to look for. I'm a student just wanting to back up my music, pictures, and school files so I don't need anything extremely fancy. Looking for something affordable - any tips on where to start looking or what to look for?
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    The best thing to do is to buy a separate (bare) drive and an enclosure for it. When the drive inside fails you can pull it out and replace it with a new one.
  3. deadwulfe macrumors 6502a


    Feb 18, 2010
    I support miles's suggestion, but you'll need to know that SATA is the new standard interface and ATA is the old interface for hard drives. You should get an enclosure that supports SATA hard drives and a hard drive with a SATA connection.

    As for a ready-to-go external drive, it really doesn't matter which brand, Western Digital, Seagate, Hitachi, whatever. Just make sure you get one of the appropriate size. For instance, if you're looking to use Time Machine to do the backups for you, you will probably want a hard drive at least the same size as what's in your laptop or a larger size.

    Most of those ready to go ones offer a USB and eSATA connection to your computer. I prefer FW connections, but those can be harder to find and cost a little more.
  4. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    Media Markt had 2TB USB drives for 90 euro...which means there probably $80 in the states...
  5. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    LOL when did you buy your last external drive? It would really be an accomplishement to buy an ATA drive.

    If you are still on an 2010 MBP. The fastest IO is FW800. Unfortunately FW800 drives are usually way to expensive.
    The cheapest I know of is getting the Seagate Goflex Fw800 adapter. It works with a bare 2.5" drive which you can carry in pretty much anything. Or you get a goflex 2.5" drive that comes with USB standard.
    Or you just get some USB3.0 drive which not really much more expensive than USB 2.0 drives. Very fast but the MBP has no port. You would have to wait to get some thunderbolt dockingstation to use it once such a thing is available (and will probably be expensive) and you'd have to have a 2011 MBP. Or you cannot use anything but USB 2.0 until you buy a new MBP. Next year they all should come with USB 3.0.
  6. deadwulfe macrumors 6502a


    Feb 18, 2010
    No, it wouldn't be an accomplishment. Newegg still sells ATA drives and I'm sure plenty of other online vendors do, too. They also sell IDE external drive enclosures for ATA hard drives.
  7. Nameci macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2010
    The Philippines...
    There are still lots of IDE or PATA drives hanging around, they are not hard to find.

    As for the external, I agree with them, external drives or drive enclosures with FW800. Though they are priced much higher than the USB2 ones.

    I always go for quad interface, USB2, FW400, FW800, eSATA. I have a Bufallo Drive Station with quad interface, and I never regret it. You can try OWC they carry selections for recommended bus powered external drives.
  8. japresl thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2007
    I guess I'm just not very tech savvy because I'm not really following any of these recommendations. Is there not something that I can buy that connects via USB or something to my current macbook pro that I can make copies of all of my important files to so that I don't lose them if this machine crashes? That's really all I'm looking for - to back up my music and school documents.
  9. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Maybe you should educate yourself on how those things work if you want to save a bit of money.

    If you are not tech savvy at all and have no interest in being tech savvy, you can buy any ready-made external hard drives and enclosure by a number of manufacturers such as seagate, western digital, lacie, etc.

    It's the easiest thing to do, and also usually the most expensive.

    If all you do is backup important files, any external drive will do really.

    If you want to save some money, you can buy an external drive enclosure, and buy a hard drive that fits inside it and install it into the enclosure yourself(it's really easy, even a caveman could do it). That could save you a bit of money.

    One thing to consider is the speed you want your external hard drive to run at.(which is probably where the geek gibberish lost you). If all you do is backup some files once in a while, and have no intention whatsoever of "working" with your external hard drive, USB 2.0 is just fine and will suit your needs perfectly. It is the cheapest type of enclosure available as well. If you use your external as a scratch disk for photo/video editing and such, then, perhaps a FW800 (aka IEEE 1394b) enclosure would probably suit the bill better as the data transfer speed will be much, much faster.

    If you intend to use Time Machine, you have to have a hard drive that is at least as big as the internal hard drive in your computer to be able to properly back everything up with room to spare.
  10. japresl thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2007
  11. rowley macrumors 6502


    Dec 16, 2008
    London, UK
    looks good - and has enough for your backup needs.
  12. japresl thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2007
    Thanks for your help!
  13. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Like I mentionned, any external hard drive will work perfectly with your computer, it doesn't have to be a "Mac" hard drive either, any off the shelf one will be just fine.

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