External Hard Drives


macrumors 604
Original poster
Dec 29, 2006
dallas, texas
Link to the Guide.

Hello All,

I am finally turning that massive post of mine (which can be found here) into a proper guide. All that I am asking is for you to put your thoughts about the external hard drives you have owned and if you could Amazon Links. Please keep it to that, if you are looking for an external hard drive, use mroogle or one of the links in my original post.

For example I would post:
thegoldenmackid said:
I purchased Iomega's UltraMax Pro 2.0 TB Drive. Three months after owning it the drive failed. In addition, the build construction was bad (the front lid was not properly secured) and the 8MB cache made Firewire 800 useless. Here is a link http://www.amazon.com/Iomega-33952-...6?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1258757649&sr=1-6. In addition, customer service was awful. I would never buy it again.
Please keep this on-topic related to the discussion of drives. I also would like you to only comment on drives that you have experience with (preferably more then two weeks). This is a MacRumors reference so posting external reviews and such really aren't helpful.

I apologize for creating so many rules, but I'd prefer to stay on-topic. If done properly I feel that this can be helpful towards the community.



Edit: I am likely to not be around MacRumors much more. It'd be a shame for this resource to die, so if anyone wants to take it over - the community would probably be a better place.


macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
i purchased the Western Digital Elements 1TB USB2.0 HDD about a year ago (my model is silver, not black).

so far i have been extremely happy with my experience from this drive. it connects via USB2.0 to computer. transfer rates are as reasonable as they will get with USB2.0, with ~25MB/s read and write transfer rates. i am not a fan of USB2.0 for a number of reasons, but my experience with this drive justifies WD using USB.

the HDD comes formatted as FAT32, which works with both Mac and PC (however each file cannot exceed 4GB in file size). i have mine formatted to HFS+ and there are no problems what so ever.

the case is very solid! it is a full metal case, with an air vent grill at the front. at the front and back of the case are rubber 'strips' that minimise vibration to the drive, which i think is great!

thats about it really, the drive has been great for me so far. there have been no drop outs or problems. highly recommended.


macrumors newbie
Nov 18, 2009
Bought a separtae docking station and drive.

I bought the KINGWIN EZD-2535 external dock and a WD Caviar Black 1TB SATA drive for following reasons.
1. I have two more spare SATA drives that I can quickly put in the dock and use.
2. The dock is open and the drives run cooler than they do in a small plastic covered book looking box.
3. You have the choice of picking your drive rather than wondering what drive it in the box that is prebuilt.

Now, this setup dont look as pretty, but I am not doing a Home and Garden computer desk piece, so that dont matter to me. I got the drive at Best Buy on sale for $100 and the dock off eBay for $25 shipped, so cost is less than one in is box. i have not tried it, but researched them and will test it when the dock comes in tommorrow.


macrumors member
Oct 7, 2008
Cayman Islands
Personally i use the WD Mybooks I have been doing so for a number of years. Generally i keep them for 12 - 18 months then wipe and sell them as i usually need an upgrade by then.

I like these for a number of reasons:

They start up and shut down with the computer

The Mirror editions are excellent backup option for mirroring your data and are user serviceable if a drive ever does fail.

They are also support dual voltage if you travel

I have always had good experience with WD over other drives

All in all i own 3 drives at present i intend to buy two more and have owned 5-6 prior to the ones i have now all have been good.

Some people have problems with them on a mac but i find once you have installed WD's own turbo drivers your good to go.

They come in various sizes, colours, file formats and connections (firewire, ethernet, esata and USB).

All are pretty quiet too.


macrumors 68040
Oct 3, 2009
I also have a Wester Digital MyBook, it's a 500 GB drive that I have formatted to HFS Plus (Journaled) so that I can use it with Time Machine. I have a partition for Time Machine and another for the rest. I like the drive, I haven't had any problems with it. However, I would like a smaller drive (in physical size) that wouldn't require a separate power adapter, it's not very mobile. It uses USB 2.0.

One thing I really don't like with it is that it goes into standby mode if nothing uses it for about 10 minutes, so basically in Safari or in the Finder (or any application sometimes) I very often get the spinning beachball for a few seconds while the drive spins up, even if there is nothing on the drive that the application I'm using would ever want to use. For example, in Safari, if you go to the menu bar and click "File", everything freezes for 5 seconds while the drive spins up, and then it all works again. Very annoying! I would prefer a drive that would never go to sleep, or it only would after like 2 hours.


macrumors 68000
Jul 12, 2008
I had a Maxtor One Touch II 320GB drive for at least 3 years before it died in a surge. Never had a problem with it. Although they no longer produce this particular model, it is still a positive Maxtor experience.

Western Digital MyBook Essential 500GB Three years old now and going strong. Never had a problem. My brother uses it now. He says that if he tries to move other files around while something is transferring, it can screw up the transfer on occasion, but the drive itself still works fine.

Western Digital MyBook Studio 500 GB. I bought this 10 Jan 08, and it has been very reliable. It runs constantly as a Time Machine backup on my mom's iMac.

Time Capsule 1TB. I owned the original 1TB TC for about a year before I sold it to get the dual band version a few months ago. Each was/has been flawlessly reliable.

G-Tech G-Drive Q 1TB. Horrible. I bought this drive around a year ago for reliability, and it has never worked consistently. I hardly used it, and I've always had trouble with it mounting. You have to pay for shipping to send it in for repair. The second time I went to use it after the repair, it failed to mount again no matter what way I tried. When I called them they said it was repaired with a faulty part (widespread problem) and would email me the info to ship it back again. Never received the email, and I have been unable to get it resolved so far. I will never be able to trust this drive even if they do repair it again.

I just bought the Western Digital Elements 1 TB to replace my G-Drive. I'll post back after I get some experience with it.


macrumors newbie
Aug 13, 2009
I bought a SeaGate FreeAgentPro 750GB External HDD about 1 year ago, and it claimed durability and other stuff like that, but when it tipped onto it's side, and was picked up in just about a minute, it internally broke, when I called customer service, they told me nothing was wrong, and on their forums they said that it was nothing, but just recently, they are now refurbishing them.

Final Verdict : SeaGate my have good prices, but durability is very bad.

But I bought one of those portable iOmega 500GB Portable HDD for my TimeMachine and it works like a dream.


macrumors 65816
Mar 3, 2004
Canada's South Coast
I have had bad luck with Lacie brand external HD's. I've owned three, and two failed just out of warranty. In both cases the actual drive mechanisms were just fine, but the interface electronics failed. Not impressed at all, especially considering one was a 1TB media drive that held over 800GB of files (not necessarily irreplaceable, but definitely inconvenient.)

I replaced it with a FW800 drive from OWC and so far I'm very happy with it in all respects.


macrumors 6502
Aug 17, 2009
I'm not a fan of any of the brands that don't let you go bare-bones, if you so chose.
It's just price gouging, plain and simple....
If one researches properly they can find a drive that's perfectly compatible with the bridge chip their enclosure uses.


macrumors 65816
Dec 31, 2008
I regularly use a Western Digital 320GB external drive and have been using it for about 2 years now. Its an older IDE model and it runs great - not terribly fast, but good enough for Time Machine on my old 17" iMac. :)

It automatically powers on and off, and doesn't look too bad.



macrumors member
Jul 23, 2009
I purchased a Lacie drive on December 2006
product name: BigDisk Extreme II triple interface 640GB
purchase date: December 2006
interface: tripe interface USB2, firewire800, firewire400

I had been using the device for 8 months without any problems.
Suddenly there was a problem with it being mounted and recognised. I could hear the hard disk spinning as if it is making some effort and then going quite but without hearing the particular change in the noice that it makes when it gets mounted. I had to turn it off and on a couple of times till it would finally mount. Also when it had mounted and would not be used for some time and i would try to access it it caused my system to freeze and i could only unfreeze it by pressing the power button (the blue botton in front of the lacie HD). I was getting an error that the device was disconnected improperly but my computer was getting over the freeze and was functional again. I had used many disk utilities like Apple Utility, Tech Tool Pro and Disk Warrior and they showed no problems. The same thing was happening no matter is i would connect it through firewire 800, 400, or USB 2.0
The support from Lacie was good and the fault was the power adapter. I had to go to an electric shop and check the voltage to verify it.
Unfortunately there is no Lacie service in Greece and i had bought it from Germany so i had to send the problematic power adapter by post to Germany and they sent me a replacement. This took a while and also i had to pay for the postal service so ultimately it would be cheaper to buy it. (but i could not find a spare part in Greece).
Since then the drive works perfectly and i have to complains. It s been 3 years now that it has been used in daily basis.
I am sorry for the long post but i have heard that the problem with Lacie adapters is common, and unfortunately many people blame the drive and through it while it is the power adapter that is causing the problem. So i hope that i will save them some money by writing a detailed explanation of the problem.

Conclusion: Good support from Lacie, but long delay and i had to pay for the post office expenses in order to send and to receive a new adapter, big problem to have a device with a proprietary connector even if this is a power connector, or a USB connector (eg Nokia micrUSB in some mobiles) or whatever. If they wouldn't have the proprietary connector i would just replace it with a similar one without problems.


macrumors 6502
Jun 5, 2008
Firewire 800 of course. USB is incredibly slow for hard drives, it's nearly useless. My favorite Fw800 enclosures are the 2.5" OWC On The Go enclosures. They are self-powered from the firewire bus so no A/C adapter hassles, even for the largest and fastest 7200 rpm drives. They also accept the larger 12.5 mm laptop drives so you can use 750 GB and 1 TB drives inside.


macrumors 6502
Aug 17, 2009
There's no enclosure that powers the fastest/largest 7.2k 3.5" drives via FW800 is there?
I'm pretty sure the BUS doesn't have enough juice....

Firewire 800 of course. USB is incredibly slow for hard drives, it's nearly useless. My favorite Fw800 enclosures are the 2.5" OWC On The Go enclosures. They are self-powered from the firewire bus so no A/C adapter hassles, even for the largest and fastest 7200 rpm drives. They also accept the larger 12.5 mm laptop drives so you can use 750 GB and 1 TB drives inside.


macrumors 65816
Sep 6, 2007
Foothills to the Rocky Mountains
I have been using WD Mybook 500 and 750 GB USB and Firewire drives for ages.

I am using a 500GB MyBook as a Time Machine via Firewire800 on my Mini2009.

I used to use a G-Drive Mini 7200rpm 100GB as my boot drive via Firewire400 on my Mini G4. It has worked for 3+ years very nicely. When I moved over to the Mini2009, I decommissioned it. I will probably set the poor guy up as a Windows backup HDD on my mom's computer.

Hope that info helps.

No links since they're all so old, nobody would buy one anymore. I just bought 2x Seagate 1TB 7200rpm internal drives for $80 a piece. They're going to go into a new array with 2x 1TB 7200rpm Western Digitals. It's incredible what storage prices are like for the desktop.


macrumors 68000
Jun 7, 2002
About two years ago I bought an OWC Mercury Elite-Al Pro dual drive enclosure (Amazon link). I also got two 1TB Seagate 7200.11 Barracuda drives (Amazon link) to put in it. I used it as a backup drive in a software RAID1 setup. It was connected to my iMac by FW800. I have since sold my iMac and now use it as a backup drive for my MacBook. With a software RAID1 setup, my MacBook wouldn't boot from the drive, so I'm using it in the default JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) setup, which makes the two drives mount as, well, two drives. Very convenient, as I now have one set up as a backup drive and the other for external digital media storage.

It's a really nice enclosure. The drives themselves are very good, too. Extremely fast, especially when connected by FW800. My MacBook doesn't have FireWire, though, so when I run a backup, I connect the two by USB2. A shame, but for backing up it's sufficient.

I've had a problem with one of the Seagate drives once, but wanted to be sure if the OWC enclosure wasn't (also) faulty. MacSales was very cooperative and that's when I found that all the claims about their excellent customer service were true. A pleasure to do business with them, really.


macrumors newbie
Dec 1, 2009
Im looking for a cheapish External HD.(Plug in)
Around 320-500GB Ideally..
Any ideas?


macrumors 68040
Jan 25, 2009
LaCie D2 120GB Firewire Hard Drive (circa 2003)

I know that in the last few years LaCie has gotten a lot of bad press and has a less than desirable reputation concerning their external hard drives and the failing power supplies. However, I'm here to tell you it hasn't always been this way.

In November of 2003 I purchased a LaCie D2 120GB Firewire external hard drive. This drive only has Firewire 400. Internally it has a Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 3.5" Ultra IDE drive. It mounts, sleeps and wakes flawlessly. It powers on and off with the iMac. I've used it daily with Carbon Copy Cloner to clone my G4 iMac's internal hard drive. It's now December of 2009, after more than 6-years the drive is still working fine.


macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2002
APS Tech (later acquired by LaCie) 80GB FW400+USB2 purchased in 2001
Large, loud industrial strength case with internal power supply (that never failed woo). Still runs well today.

OWC Mercury Elite 250GB ATA/IDE drive 8MB cache, FW800x2+FW400+USB2 purchased in 2002.
Had an issue with loose FW800 ports on the back that was fixed free under the warranty. Fast and quiet, has worked flawlessly since then.

LaCie d2 Quadra 500GB SATA, eSATA, FW800x2, FW400, USB2 purchased December 2007. 3 Year warranty.
Power supply died and was replaced under warranty (a friend with the same drive also had a power supply replaced free). Otherwise solid fast, relatively quiet, performance.

WD My Book (a model not currently made: grey with round button) 750GB SATA, FW800x2, FW400, USB2 purchased some time in 2007. Inherited this drive from a coworker in 2008, used as a time machine drive. Does not currently work. Tried replacing the power supply and it worked for a few days and then died again. Not sure what exactly is wrong.

Apple Time Capsule 500GB SATA deskstar, 802.11n, Gigabit Ethernet Purchased August 2008.
No problems yet.

OWC Mercury Elite Pro AL bare case SATA/ eSATA, FW800x2, FW400, USB2.0, 1 year warranty.
Very small, silent, easy to install/replace drive mechanisms. Currently running with a 2TB/32MB cache/3 year warranty WD Caviar Green. The whole setup is very quiet and fast enough for backup work.

I would recommend LaCie's professional d2 Quadra cases for their speed, build quality, and long warranty (note the latter is only on their professional line) and OWC's Mercury Elite cases for 7 years of solid performance. Also watch out for power supplies, they are the weakest link that I have found in external drives.

Buying an empty case and supplying your own mechanism (very easy with the right case) can provide several benefits. Bare drive makers usually provide better warranties than cases (don't have to replace 1000s of power supplies). You can also pick a drive with stats that work for your situation, ie a high power high performance drive for video editing or a low power/quieter, lower performance drive for every day backup. It also lets you swap out the drive later for a bigger/different one without buying another $50-100 case.


macrumors 6502
Dec 6, 2009
This may be a dumb question, but can Macs copy data that is stored on a NTFS formatted drive? I know that they cannot write to it, but can it at least copy data from it? This is because I have a SimpleTech Signature mini that I would use interchangeably between my Windows computers and my upcoming Mac.


macrumors 6502
Aug 17, 2009
If you mean read from NTFS and write it to HSF+, yes this is possible.
If you install MacFUSE + NTFS-3G you can also write quite well to NTFS.

This may be a dumb question, but can Macs copy data that is stored on a NTFS formatted drive? I know that they cannot write to it, but can it at least copy data from it? This is because I have a SimpleTech Signature mini that I would use interchangeably between my Windows computers and my upcoming Mac.


macrumors 6502a
Jun 12, 2006
Bought a 500GB OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro last year as a Time Machine drive.

Excellent drive, speedy FW 800 transfers (I got the quad version)
Only a few quibbles:
the power cable comes out very easily, so if you move it about, it will fall out.
Included cables are rather short.

I also have a G-Drive from like 2004 that I absolutely love. I would recommend G-Tech drives in a heartbeat, despite the extra cost
In hindsight, I wish I would have spent the extra money on another G-Drive. Their customer service (at least when I bought mine) was excellent. First drive I ordered had a faulty AC adapter; I told them about it and they sent me a whole new drive (before I sent mine back lol).


macrumors regular
Oct 12, 2009
Somewhere on Earth
E-HDD for mac and PC?

Hello Everybody,

I have a question on the External Hard Disk.

I currently have a WD "My Passport" 500GB with USB interface and I'm using it with a PC.

I'm gonna give this to my bro and I'll be buying one more for self. I'll be purchasing a Mac sometime soon (should be around first quarter of 2010), and I want to have a E-HDD that should work with both Mac and PC, reason being sharing movies/photos between my two laptops.

Is there anything that I could do for having this option?

Could you guys help me?

Advance Thanks,


macrumors 68000
Jun 7, 2002
As long as you have it formatted as FAT32, both sides can read from and write to it. Many external hard drives have multiple connectors. This allows you to connect it to your PC with, say, USB and to your Mac with, say, FireWire. While you can't use the drive from both your PC and your Mac at the same time, you do eliminate the need to disconnect and reconnect cables. That works only if you don't use them at the same time, that is. (But then again, you use laptops, so this probably isn't such an issue for you.)
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