external hard drive reccommendations

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by iaddict, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. iaddict macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2007
    I need to add an external hard drive to my iMac for backup of business information. I don't know anything about them, so just curious what type would be best for this use, USB or Firewire? Also, are there certain brands that I need to look for that will be compatible with the Mac?
  2. MM07 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2008
    I have 2 WD My Book 320g for my MacBook and iMac for Time Machine and other back ups.

    They work great an the are eSata, USB, and Firewire.

    I got mine at circuitcity.com for $110 each.
  3. Snips macrumors regular

    Jan 9, 2008
    Suffolk, UK

    A little less versatile as there are few host machines that support firewire, but if you're confident you'll be using Apple kit, then you'll get higher transfer speeds than USB.
  4. ChrisRo macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2008
    To get you started...

    Go to the Apple Store Online...and go to Mac Accessories > Storage.

    You can read about different external drives...and obviously buy them from the store if you like them.

    I personally have the Western Digital MyBook 500G...and I give it a thumbs up, but you have to make the decision based on your personal situation.
  5. iaddict thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2007
    what about setting them up?

    Do I have to do anything to set them up to work with the iMac like installing software or something? Sorry, but I am unfamiliar with these things.
  6. MM07 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2008
    Plug and play. ;)
  7. treehorn macrumors 6502


    Aug 21, 2007
    You can just plug-and-play, but it would be better to re-format the drives with Disc Utility (just run it and erase the disc, and format it to Mac OS Extended (Journaled)). If you plan on using it with Windows and Mac, don't bother re-formatting as Mac will work, but if it's going to be used just with a Mac, you'll get better results if you re-format it.

    I have 2 WD drives and had one die on me, but WD was great about replacing it, so I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them. LaCie is...slipping...it seems.
  8. iaddict thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2007

    Thank you to all that responded. I appreciate your help.
  9. erummel macrumors member


    Jan 5, 2007
    York, United Kingdom
    My WD Triple Interface MyBook 500GB is ace. I've never had a problem with it. I've always used the FW800 connection and data transfer rates seem very reasonable. I'd recommend it to anyone.
  10. Hmac macrumors 68020

    May 30, 2007
    Midwest USA
    I bought a 500 gig Western Digital OEM bare drive from NewEgg for about $125 and put it in an OWC Mercury Elite Pro enclosure that does Firewire 400/800 as well as USB and direct SATA. It's a really nice unit, works great.

  11. iriejedi macrumors 6502a


    Oct 4, 2000
    Nor Cal
    Seagate Freeagent Pro

    The Seagate Freeagent Pro 500 or 750 have dropped in price significantly. 500 was $130 at Costco.

    This Firewire drive can also be used as a BOOT Drive. And they have a 5 year warranty.

    Finally they are Sooooo quiet, I often wonder if mine is working.


  12. BlackMax macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2007
    North Carolina
    Were you able to buy just the OWC Mercury Elite Pro enclosure from OWC or did you purchase the enclosure with a smaller drive and then replace that drive with the 500 GB WD drive from NewEgg?
  13. Hmac macrumors 68020

    May 30, 2007
    Midwest USA
    I bought just the enclosure empty and installed the 500 gig drive. It's really a high quality unit, matches my system well, and works great. It came with USB, FW400, and FW 800 cables, and the power supply.

    Here is the link for just the enclosure. http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/MEFW912UAL1K/

  14. psingh01 macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2004
  15. mzd macrumors 6502a

    Jul 25, 2005
  16. iMinnesotan macrumors member


    Sep 13, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    Instead of a recommendation I thought I'd throw out a warning.

    I've been kvetching online for months about frequent disconnect issues with my AEBS. I even took my MBP and AEBS to the Genius Bar at my local Apple store and after examining logs and console output they swapped out my router. Turns out the disconnect issues were due to my miniStack USB drive from Newer Technologies sitting under the router. The miniStack has the Mac Mini and AEBS footprint so I naturally stacked the router on top of it. Once I moved the miniStack out of range my Airport and Air Tunes were rock solid.

    So, watch out for those stacking square USB drives!
  17. yojeandub macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2008
    external hard drive recommendation

    I wouldn't consider myself to be an expert on the subject, but I have a Maxtor OneTouch III, and it works just fine for these purposes. It has both firewire and USB, and I got the one that works with both Mac & PC. You might also want to go look at a store for yourself, i.e. if you want something smaller or sexier-looking.
  18. PodPacker macrumors regular


    Oct 23, 2006
    Best Damned Drives Ever!

    RocPro 800 AV: G212M6-01 750GB Desktop and Mobile 3.5” FireWire & USB

    Buffer size: 16MB

    Rotational speed: 7200 rpm

    Interface: FireWire 800/IEEE 1394b, FireWire 400/IEEE 1394a/iLink, USB 2.0 (1.1 compatible)

    Connectors: 9-Pin FireWire 800 Connector x 2, 6-Pin FireWire 400 Connector x 1, 4-Pin USB Connector x 1

    (HxWxD) 5.8” x 8.7” x 1.6”

    Weight: 2.9 lbs.

    No additional adapter brick needed. Fanless, silent operation

    Includes: Free carrying case, Firewire 400 cable, Firewire 800 cable, USB 2.0 cable, Stand for vertical operation

    I'm not just saying this cuz I sell them and can offer the lowest price on the 'net but these drives kick A55.

    You try firing up a WD MyBook and have that running for a while and see how loud that fan is, and don't get my started on the flimsy Seagate drives, with that "secure" foot base. These drives have them all beat in every way, especially if you value space. They plug in using a standard power cable, so unwieldy brick or special connector. If you are using this store media for playback you will appreciate the silent operation, let your subwoofer make your ears ring, not a droning fan.
  19. jason999 macrumors member

    Apr 10, 2008
    Stay clear of Seagate free agent drives. They are of a really poor design with loads of complaints with their free agent ext drives.

    Western Digital ones are a bit annoying because they have no on/off switch. The ext drives come on when the computer is turned on and only turn off when the computer is shut down. The problem with this is all ext drives can get quite hot. When not in use I like to be able to turn drives off and in case of virus attack on the computer my ext drive won't be affected because it will be turned off.

    Aluminum cases with fans are the only real choice to make. Then pop a WD or Seagate drive in the casing and backup the computer. Ext cases must have an on/off switch otherwise do not buy would be my advice.
  20. jason999 macrumors member

    Apr 10, 2008
    I disagree. The best cases now are the ones that do usb2, ethernet, and esata. Firewire is a waste of time. Usb2 is faster and esata is nearly 4 times faster than usb2.

    Seagate hard drives are very reliable. I use them in my computers and all the computers at work all have seagate hard drives and never ever seen one fail.

    Seagate only problem is the free agent ext cases which are of a very poor design.

    For me an ext case must be usb2 and have an on/off switch with an in built fan to cool the drive. Some newer ext cases have usb2, ethernet and esata.

    Often things that are super cheap are rubbish and a waste of time.
    Get what you pay for in life. I go for the expensive things which are often expensive for a reason. Cheap and its usually budget parts with not much support if things go wrong.

    I won't touch fanless ext cases with a barge pole. With no fan in the casing to keep it cool may result in hard drive failure. For me no fan no buy.

    I've been using the same ext 80gb drive for the past several years.
    The drive is a seagate. And own a new ext drive with a 500gb seagate which are dead quite even with a fan spinning around in the casing.
  21. sailon macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2008
    I think iaddict had his/her question answered. But, for what's it worth...
    I went to Staples for that $119 Maxtor 500 GB drive (OneTouch 4 Plus) and found that they currently have the 1 TB OneTouch III Turbo on clearance for $279 (regularly $399). I bought both - the 500GB to connect to my Airport Extreme and the 1TB for direct connect to my iMac.

    The OneTouch III Turbo is actually an enclosure with two drives, configured by default as Raid 0 striped. As a bonus, it is already formatted for the Mac. The RAID striping helps with speed. If you have an iMac with a Firewire 800 port, this drive is FAST. RAID 1 Mirroring can also be selected with the installable software.

    I connected the OneTouch 4 Plus to my iMac to prepare it for connection to the Airport Extreme. In a non-scientific comparison, I'd say the OneTouch III Turbo is substantially faster than the OneTouch 4 Plus.

    WARNING - PC users have reviewed this drive poorly on CNET. The grips are about the FW800 port (does not work with some PCs) and the software being bad. But, you really don't need the software on the Mac if you use it with TimeMachine and the FW800 worked like a charm on my iMac.
  22. numbersyx macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2006

    USB2 is faster than Firewire 800? Since when?
  23. Hmac macrumors 68020

    May 30, 2007
    Midwest USA
    In practical terms, USB2 isn't even faster than Firewire 400.
  24. PodPacker macrumors regular


    Oct 23, 2006

    Yes, that's true, but FW800 is built into MacPros, MacBook Pros, PowerBooks, G5 PowerMacs, G5 iMacs. So there's no extra expense.
    I don't know if you live in the only place on earth with ideal USB connections, but in my daily experience, USB 2.0 real world is still slower than FW400.
  25. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    This is a triumph of paper specs over real world experience.

    USB 2 < Firewire 400

    I benchmarked USB 2.0 with the same machine, same drive, at just over half the speed of FW400 when writing a 1.3 GB folder (the Garageband library folder)

    At the other end ... eSATA on paper is 300 MB/s vs FW400 at 40 MB/s and FW800 at 80 MB/s. But you will never, ever see 300 MB/s throughput on SATA. If you are attaching a single hard drive, you are limited to the drive's throughput. The Samsung F1 1 TB drive is the first SATA drive that has broken the 100 MB/s mark in raw throughput.

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