External Hard drive??

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by mrrayrodriguez, Nov 5, 2008.

  1. mrrayrodriguez macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #1
    So i am planning on buyin a external hard drive for my mac book. I have been looking around at certain brands and their compatiblity with macs. I have found some (western digital, LaCie 301313U 500GB Hard Disk Design by Neil Poulton, seagate). All of these have both USB 2/firewire 400/800. I was wondernig which connection would be better for fast transfers of data, and which brands are easier to use. Also i have seen some that also have eSATA what exactly is that and would it be beneficial to have it??? Thanks
     
  2. Halon X macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Location:
    Malibu, CA
    #2

    Which MacBook do you own?

    Being the new MacBook doesn't have firewire, I'm going to have to go out on a limb here and say that USB will probably be your best option!

    If you own one of the older ones, USB or FW400 will work fine.

    eSATA is an external version of the SATA interface found in most new computers.
     
  3. Floris macrumors 68020

    Floris

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #3
    SATA = Serial ATA, there are 2, SATA1 and SATA2.
    The Mac Pro for example uses SATA2.
    SATA is internal.
    the e in eSATA stands for external.

    Meaning a port on the motherboard is used to plug in the cable, which then goes to board on pci-x slot and at the back you get 1 or 2 or 4 eSATA ports. Connect the sata cable from there to the external hard drive in an enclosure. And you have SATA2 speed, external .. so this is the fastest solution (and probably most expansive)

    Firewire is great, you can mirror your osx drive to it as backup, and boot from firewire. Restoring your system quite quickly. Or test upgrades, etc.

    Firewire 400 is slower than 800. Don't get only 400 speed, unless your laptop or imac only has firewire 400 port and not 800.

    Firewire 800 is faster, and f400 compatible. So get firewire 800 support if you can't use eSATA or don't want to expand that way.

    FireWire 800 is faster than USB 2.0

    Most affordable and common is USB. USB 2.0 is faster than USB 1.0 or 1.1

    Benefit of USB is .. almost all computers in the world have USB port, so you can easily take it with you. Less computers have firewire 800 ports. This is kinda limited to Apple it seems.

    So the choice is either, performance and speed, eSATA, for a more expansive investment. Or choice between firewire 800 or USB 2.0

    Cheap? Only USB 2.0 support. I bought an STECH 500gb external and it was cheap. It works great as a backup. it has no fan, so yes it gets warm, but yes, it is quiet. I also got an older usb 2.0 external for IDE ATA drives, which has a fan in it. And OMG what a noise. So consider that.

    Want a variaty of options, and bit better quality? Get one that has USB2.0 and also Firewire 800 support. So you can just use any free port on your system.

    I hope this info helps.
     
  4. UltraNEO* macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    近畿日本
    #4
    Forget eSATA. Your MacBook doesn't have any support for it, it's only useful if you own a MacBookPro!!

    On a newer Unibody MacBook you only have USB2, there's no FireWire, period. On the older MacBooks you do have Firewire!

    In all, a FW400 HD will transfer data almost the speed of USB2.
    The added advantage of FW400 is the current output, it can power up LeCie's Little Big Disk without the additional power brick, via USB2 this is completely impossible!! A typical USB port can only support 500mA at best, suitable for a single notebook USB drive - forget standard desktop externals, if you wanna be mobile.
     
  5. mrrayrodriguez thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #5
    Halo X
    I have a mac book (the version that came out just before the new one) it has a 2.4ghz intel core dou 2, 4gb ram, 160gb hard drive
     
  6. UltraNEO* macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    近畿日本
    #6
    You'll have FireWire!!

    Externally it's the same as this... though yours could be in Black.
    http://www.apple.com/macbook/white/features.html
     
  7. mrrayrodriguez thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #7
    So since i have only a firewire 400, does that mean my laptop is compatible with firewire 800? if not would I really see any difference in speed from a USB 2?????
     
  8. Halon X macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Location:
    Malibu, CA
    #8
    FW400 is faster than USB2.0 however in the real world, I've seen little difference. Unless you really have a need for a high speed external disk, any USB 2.0 drive will work fine!

    Personally... I'd suggest a nice, portable 2.5" USB drive such as the Western Digital Passport series. You can get a monsterous 500GB drive for about $150 online or about $180 from BestBuy. I just picked up a couple and they work great. I've also got a couple 320GB Passports and have had zero problems with them.
     
  9. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #9
    FW800 is backwards compatible with FW400; you won't be able to get the same speeds, but you still use the same connection.
     
  10. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #10
    If I were you'd I'd get FW400/USB combo. Firewire has a separate chip in the computer to handle the data transfer, USB relies on your main processor to keep things under control. USB can also revert back to USB 1.1 which is painfully slow. This happened to me when I was using an external 1TB drive formatted as NTFS. I ended up reformatting as HFS+ to get things cooking again. I don't think firewire has the potential to throttle itself like that. I'd use FW as much as possible and you have the USB for compatibility. Unless you are dying to access the files from windows, I'd format as HFS+. My drive was one of the Neil Poulton Lacies. If you hook it up to a Mac, it automatically tries to format it correctly for you.
     

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