External Hard Drive Recommendation

BigG123

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 27, 2013
3
0
Toledo, OH
Hi. I use a Macbook Air and a couple of Windows machines and I'm looking to expand my storage. I want to replace my old WD My Passport 750GB from nearly 6 years ago. Since I'd like to share files between Windows and OS X, I'm thinking whatever drive I get I should reformat to exFAT. My old drive was formatted NTFS, which when I got my Mac, I discovered I couldn't write to. I think I want 4TB as I store large amounts of video and photos. Here's what I'm looking at:

1) Seagate Expansion 4TB
2) Seagate Backup Plus 4TB
3) WD My Book 4TB

Any idea what the difference(s) is/are between the 2 Seagate drives other than the bundled software?

Here's what I'm interested in:

1) Speed (My old drive was USB 2, so anything should be faster. But if one drive is much faster than another, I'd like to know.)
2) Reliability (I realize 6 years can be a stretch for any mechanical drive, but I expect it to last more than a year or two.)
3) Price - Hopefully below $150. The three above can be found on Amazon for cheaper than that.

Here's what I don't care about:

1) Software. I don't need any special backup software or whatever the company throws in. I'll likely just delete it.
2) Size. Although my old drive was a portable model, it pretty much just sits on my desk. I'll take a full desktop size drive if that means faster, larger, and cheaper!
3) Looks. It just has to work.

Any recommendation among these choices or any others?

On a side note, are there any Thunderbolt AND USB 3.0 combo drives in existence? I would imagine that these would be faster (but probably also expensive, unfortunately.)
 

Dark Void

macrumors 68030
Jun 1, 2011
2,614
478
I am sure everyone has their preferences with externals (as with everything of course) but usually when someone asks this question the answer I give is simply to map out what features you want and what matters to you (which you have done), pick your storage amount, and simply go for whichever drive is the cheapest as far as price with the longest warranty. Within reason of course, if one drive is $10 more for a 3yr warranty instead of a 1yr, it's up to you to decide. That's the best advice I can give, rather than just spouting out brand names when none of these brands are proven to be more reliable than the other.

But, if that's what you want, I like and have mostly used Western Digital and Toshiba! ;)
 

MCAsan

macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
4,556
419
Atlanta
The wife and I use LaCie 2Big 6TB in RAID 0 mode for fast library storage of documents, pictures, movies....etc. Local backups are made to LaCie 6TB d2. The d2 does Thunderbolt and USB 3.
 

HDFan

macrumors 68020
Jun 30, 2007
2,275
608
If reliability is your primary concern then then you might want to review the latest Backblaze results:

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/best-hard-drive/

Failure rates range from about .4% to an astounding 35%. Their results have Western Digital at the low end which corresponds to my experiences. I've had 3 or 4 WD failures. HGST remains the best.

At Costco yesterday I saw a 5 TB external drive around your price point. First time I've seen them with a drive larger than 4 TB. Their website shows a

Seagate 4TB Backup Plus External Hard Drive With 2YR Data Rescue Plan*

for $129. The drive is also in their stores. I have two of them and haven't had any failures.

I have learned the hard way that there is never any guarantee that a hard disk will not fail, even well rated ones. Be sure that you have a good backups. For 4 TB of data Crashplan and Backblaze are very reasonable on-line services for less than $100 a year, if you don't have an upload cap from your ISP. Amazon also offers a reasonably priced unlimited backup service, but it does not continuously monitor your files like Backblaze or Crashplan.
 

Badrottie

Suspended
May 8, 2011
4,317
333
Los Angeles
You could not go wrong with Seagate Backup Plus, they have upgradable cable USB 3.0 and they do have Thunderbolt cable too you don't need to ditch external HDD. I first bought Seagate Go Flex Ultraportable it comes with slow USB 2.0 and Firewire 800 for my PowerBook G4 then I bought a MBP so I just bought an upgradable USB 3.0 for small fee.
 

sparkles3020

macrumors newbie
Jul 14, 2013
27
0
If reliability is your primary concern then then you might want to review the latest Backblaze results:

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/best-hard-drive/

Failure rates range from about .4% to an astounding 35%. Their results have Western Digital at the low end which corresponds to my experiences. I've had 3 or 4 WD failures. HGST remains the best.

At Costco yesterday I saw a 5 TB external drive around your price point. First time I've seen them with a drive larger than 4 TB. Their website shows a

Seagate 4TB Backup Plus External Hard Drive With 2YR Data Rescue Plan*

for $129. The drive is also in their stores. I have two of them and haven't had any failures.

I have learned the hard way that there is never any guarantee that a hard disk will not fail, even well rated ones. Be sure that you have a good backups. For 4 TB of data Crashplan and Backblaze are very reasonable on-line services for less than $100 a year, if you don't have an upload cap from your ISP. Amazon also offers a reasonably priced unlimited backup service, but it does not continuously monitor your files like Backblaze or Crashplan.

According to Amazon, HGST is now a western digital company. I wonder if they are still manufactured separately.
 
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