External Hard Drive suggestions?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by GabbyRose28, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. GabbyRose28 macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2012
    I want to get a good quality external hard drive for my mid-2011 macbook air version 10.7.5. I want to use it with time machine to back up the files on my computer but also want to be able to use it as external storage for files that will not fit on my macbook air. suggestions of what will work??
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Any external drive will work for your purposes. You can partition and/or format the drive to suit your needs. If you only intend to use the drive with your Mac, format it as HFS+. If you intend to also use part of the drive to share files with a Windows PC, you can partition the drive, with one partition in HFS+ format for Time Machine backups and one partition in NTFS or exFAT, for shared use with Windows.

    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 ($19.95) (Best Choice for Lion and Mountain Lion)
      • For Mac OS X 10.5 and later, including Lion, FUSE for OS X
      • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
      • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36), which is an enhanced version of NTFS-3G with faster performance.
      • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and later versions, 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.

    I've 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]
  3. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    For backup purposes USB is fine, you have USB 2.0 on that model but that's plenty fast for Time Machine. I would get a USB 3.0 drive just for "future proofing".

    For external direct file access, though, more speed would be helpful. I'd suggest you look at Thunderbolt compatible solutions. They'll cost a bit more but the performance is much better than USB 2.0.

    Here's OWC's Thunderbolt page:

  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Many forum members use the WD My Passport series. You can get whatever size you need and they are reasonably priced.
  5. Giuly, Mar 27, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040


    That's the regular one, there's also a My Passport for Mac. Has an aluminum look rather than the black and comes formated in HFS+. They cost the same.

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