External Hard Drive Reccomendations

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bbhs69, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. bbhs69 macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2010
    Hello this is my first post in the forum. I realize this question has been asked multiple times but some of the posts are older and I am just making sure Im getting the correct info for this point in time. I am wanting an external hard drive because the one in my MBP has gone out twice and I dont want to loose my stuff so i think a back up drive would be a good idea. I guess it would be nice if it worked with time machine but its not that important because if its wired i honestly dont think Ill update it all that often (maybe once a month). Which brings me to drives like the timemachine which are wifi. That sounds really nice to me but I honestly dont know that much about this stuff. If I get a wired one I would like one with firewire so it goes faster. I was hoping to spend $100 or less but if its more I can deal with it. I just want a reliable hard drive. I dont really see any need for any more that 250gb because my hardrive in my MBP is only 250g. Any reccomendations would be really appreciated thanks
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    "Reliable" platter-based hard drives do not exist. All are equally likely to fail.

    That being said, generally the best way is to buy an enclosure and a drive separately. If you are uncomfortable doing that buy one of the pre-assembled drives that has a 5-year warranty.
  3. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

    Oct 14, 2010
    Most external HDs will still work with Time Machine ... I use a 500GB Western Digital My Passport and backup with TM once a week. I paid $89 for it at Best Buy.

    You can even use one that is made for PC ... just re-format it with your Disk Utility (re-formatting is also easy to do) :cool:
  4. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    OP, you are confusing "Time Machine" (the back-up program) and "Time Capsule" (the wifi router/HDD combo).

    That being said, HDDs are becoming a cheap enough commodity that you can buy just about any model and it will work for you to make a back-up...replace this drive in a 2 years or so to keep a continual update cycle going. Hard drives do and WILL fail, so a consistent replacement program is prudent. And with prices as they are, this is not hard to do.

    And don't limit yourself to 250GB...go with at least a 500GB model so Time Machine can do its job as designed (multiple backups...allowing you to go back to a date in the past and have your machine appear as it did on that date...or be able to find files you deleted months ago). If you go with a hard drive that is only as larger as your drive, you will lose the ability to recover some of these older file and only essnetially have a backup of what is currently on your system.

    500GB...even 1TB drives are below $100 these days. www.buy.com often has great sales on externals. For back-up purposes, it won't matter if it's USB or Firewire...speed of drive access is not essential for Time Machine to do its job.

    If you need a new wireless router too, then you might want to consider looking at a Time Capsule which will allow wireless access to your backup routine.
  5. bbhs69 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2010
    thank you for all the info. I will go for at least 500gb because i understand what you are saying and that does make sense. But if im understanding correctly i basically cant go wrong? Theirs no god awful brands or anything to avoid. I was thinking western digital or seagate or the time capsule but i am content with my current router so i guess the time capsule isnt exactly what i need.
  6. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    I have been happy with my WD externals. I haven't had major issues in years. My last 'bad' batch of drives were Maxtor in the late 90s.

    Like I said, I look at a HDD purchase as something I will be doing every 2 years or so...at that point, the drives will be bigger and cheaper...so it would behoove me to upgrade anyway...even if I had no issues with my current drives.
  7. Heath macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2005
    I would look for an enclosure with a fan, every fanless one I've had has cooked drives.
  8. shiekh macrumors member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Green drives run cooler, and would survive better in an enclosure without a fan.
  9. Gaelic2 macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2007
    Mountains of N. California
    I have had early failures with Seagate and LaCie and I'd never buy another. I am quite satisfied with the Iomega 1 Tb which has been in use for 6 months without problems. I can probably pull the LaCie out of it's enclosure and use it in another enclosure since I don't believe the platter is the problem. You have had excellent advice in replacing your drives every two years. This forum is a great place to ask questions. Good luck.:)
  10. scottt macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2010
    I have read most of the reviews on this item and find it hard to understand the problems that some people have experienced. I own a 750GB Free Agent ultra portable and a 500GB Free Agent ultra portable Pro. They are both fantastic. I have had no problems with either drive and they do exactly what they are intended to do. I also own the USB 3,0 upgrade cable. Regardless of the claims of others who have not used the cables, they are indeed much faster. I cannot tell you if they give the rated USB 3.0 speed, but they are considerably faster.
  11. Nachos macrumors member


    Dec 1, 2010
    Lynge, Denmark
    I have 4 WD Externals, 3 My Books and 1 My Passport. They have been on practically 24/7 for almost 2 years and none of them ever crashed. WD is just really good quality.
  12. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    I am starting to see 2TB drives at places like buy.com for $100 or less! Give it a year and 3 and 4TB options will be as cheap.:D
  13. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    Last month, I RMA'ed a 2TB WD Green drive that was in use for less than a year.

    Last week, I RMA'ed a 2TB Hitachi that was in use for just about 1 year.

    Drives die... Just try to protect yourself from that with redundancy and backups.

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