External Hard Drives in the UK

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by brianp, May 16, 2008.

  1. brianp macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2008

    I'm looking at getting an external Hard Drive for my alu iMac (320 gig internal) for time machine, logic and possibly playing movies off. I'm looking at around 500gig capacity. In the UK, the best bets look like Lacie and Iomega, what are peoples experiences with these brands?

    Also, is it worth spending an extra £20 on a drive with firewire 800? will it be around longer than firewire 400 because i don't want to have to buy another drive if i upgrade in a few years?

    Thanks for your help.
  2. gazfocus macrumors 68000


    Jan 3, 2008
    Liverpool, UK
    I can't comment on differences between FW400 and FW800, but have you considered Seagate FreeAgent drives? I recently purchased a USB2 500GB external and it was cheaper than their 500GB internal drives.
  3. Maccleduff macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2007
    I have the Freecom alu 500gb external, and would recommend it. Got it from amazon uk. it runs slightly warm, but it is very quiet (no fans) and the aluminium shell dissapates the heat away from the hard drive. It also has a power switch on the back (some brands don't).
  4. bentoms macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2006

    FW800 runs around 800 Mbit/sec so is twice as fast as FW400 & almost twice as fast as USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec).

    If you have the £20 i'd spend it on an 800 drive, & then you have other ports free.

    Whilst USB 2 is more than fast enough for what you want, maybe you'll change your use for the Hard Drive later so i'd spend what you can to get the faster connection possible.

    Also, most FW800 drives have USB 2 too so you get two options!!
  5. .mark. macrumors 6502

    May 28, 2007
    Jersey, C.I.
    I was in a similar position to yourself a while a go - buying an external HD, but I was looking for ~1tb. I ordered a few but returned them all for various reasons. I ended up buying an enclosure and the HD and building my own. I'd recommend this because you will have a much bigger choice, and you can buy the HD that exactly meets your specification. I went for a 1tb seagate enterprise class HD and so far it's been great. I also got an Icy Dock enclosure.

    FYI I used www.scan.co.uk to buy the bits
  6. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    I bought a 1TB Lacie bigdisk with the intention of using it for my iTunes movies. Within a month it died and I had to send it to a specialist to recover the data (300GB worth). The guy told me that Lacie have had no end of trouble with the BigDisks and pretty much dont want to know when it comes to solving the problems they have with them and offered no help whatsoever to the recovery team I took it too. They also didnt reply to my requests for them to replace it as it was still only a month old. Apparently there is a design fault that causes them to fail quite often and in spectacular fashion (like mine) and Lacie just want to wash there hands of them once they have been sold. The probability of the design fault occurring is doubled because the 1TB drive is actually 2 500s raided/striped together. Thats why so many are going tits up. It also costs twice as much to recover any data!

    To get a refund I had to send the drive back to Amazon because Lacie refused to take it like they should of done because it was faulty and not just being returned. Anyhoo...

    I managed to get my data back at twice the amount the drive cost me. I did get a refund but I was still £100 or so out of pocket and still needed a drive. So I went for a 500GB (avoiding raid configs) Minmax from Iomega. I already had a 250GB Iomega MiniMax and knew how good it was.

    So to make a long story a little bit longer. I used the 500 for my iTunes, the 250 for Time Machine (previously iTunes) and only back up my G5 not iTunes. I will eventually get another drive to allow me to back up everything.

    So in my opinion avoid Lacie and go Iomega. My preference are the MiniMax.

    The minimax also works as a FW400 and USB2 hub. The new ones maybe FW800 now I'm not sure. So they will add a shed load of ports to your setup too.
  7. alFR macrumors 68020

    Aug 10, 2006
    Just to throw another suggestion into the mix, I have 3 WD MyBooks (2 x 500Gb, 1 x 1Tb) and all have been trouble-free so far. The oldest is about 18mo old now.
  8. brianp thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2008
    thanks for the replies.

    ive decided on this icy dock firewire enclosure


    and one of these two hard drives :



    is this enclosure compatible with these drives, and why is the samsung drive £30 cheaper? if it is because it will be newer, is it likely to be released before the end of june? if not, i'll just go for the seagate.

    edit: also seen this seagate one which seems better value for money


    will i notice the 16mb cache being slower than the 32mb of the 1tb drives? and is it compatible with the enclosure?

    oh, and will i be able to use hfs+ format with it?

    sorry about all the questions, as you can probably tell im new to all of this.
  9. Maccleduff macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2007
    I would go for the samsung F1 drive its gotten good reviews http://techreport.com/articles.x/14200/15
    and its good value for money.

    As for HFS+ , you can format any hard drive to this. Use Disk Utility.
  10. .mark. macrumors 6502

    May 28, 2007
    Jersey, C.I.
  11. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    In terms of Firewire, one thing that you need to remember is that if the drive is FW only (especially if it's 800) then it is unlikely that you will be able to connect it to other machines. My MacBook, for example, only has a 400 port and I've never owned a Windows computer with any sort of FW port.

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