External Harddrive?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by W00DI, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. W00DI macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2009
    Anyone have a good external harddrive? I need one and i dont know what to get for my macbook pro. I need from 500 to 750 gb but a a terabyte wud be nice :) I will be using firewire 800 to transfer data.
  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    Only some of this will be applicable:

    After Taking Part in Numerous Threads and Purchasing Numerous Drives after Research, I have come to a couple of suggestions and a massive "guide."

    There are three (basic/main) parts to the speed of your external drive:
    1. Connection Type – This is the one most people will know about, if they know one. Things like Firewire 800, Firewire 400, USB 2.0, eSata, etc. It comes to how your drive connects to the computer, in general (fastest to slowest) eSata, Firewire 800, Firewire 400, USB 2.0. Firewire is preferable because it is not only faster then USB, but it transfers at a constant speed, whereas USB is variable. eSata is the fastest but it requires a port that is not available without an adaptor, and those adaptors are hit and miss in terms of quality. Chances are most users will do fine with Firewire 800 and have no need for eSata.
    2. Hard Drive Speed – For some reason people seem to forget that if you have 4200 RPM Drive inside your enclosure, it's going to be slow. This depends on the physical drives inside your enclosure. Speed from fastest to slowest: SSD, 7200 RPM, 5400 RPM, 4200 RPM. The higher the revolutions per minute, the faster, unless there are no revolutions at all ;).
    3. Cache – The one people forget. The cache is just like your computer stores the information temporarily. It is important that if you look at this, especially if you are going to try to play files from your drive. Even if you are using it is a back-up, you don't want a 4MB Cache. Higher the cache the better; 64MB is the general highest speed for most stock drives.

    Or you could be OCD, anal and paranoid like me and have two back-up drives...

    Other User's Recommendation's:
    Buffalo: techfreak85 (DriveStation Combo4 1TB)
    Build Your Own: uberamd, kufford, SaSaSushi, nanofrog, Ti_Poussin, bigdaddyp; Cave Man, chkdg8, kdp.slider, mahen, alphaod
    Drobo: gatepc recommends it, further mixed discussion here. A Drobo v. alternative discussion was had here.
    EZQuest: LizKat has owned a variety of Monsoons
    G-Tech: RebornKillah recommends the G-Drive Quad 500GB, but it's currently out of production; Bill Gates (500GB Mini); Digital Skunk notes the great warranty; jaysmith & tcphoto recommend G-Tech
    Hitachi: Trag (SimpleTech Signature Mini 500GB); J&JPolangin (SimpleTech 2TB SimpleDrive Pro Duo); BlizzardBomb recommends the Go; bigdaddyp recommends the Signature Mini. Thedesolateone also recommends Hitachi. Also of note is that Hitachi acquired G-Tech recently.
    Iomega: mc3s (Ultramax 34495 1.5 TB); Justin Lee & quantum003 (eGo 500GB Portable Mac).
    ioSafe: Tterb recommends.
    LaCie: Note: there is an entire thread dedicated to LaCie, I have summed up support from users below, but simply a tally
    jrotunda85 & Kronie (d2 Quadra 1 TB); RedTomato, gatepc & eVolcre, Cousin Dirk {although eVolcre owns the one with eSata and Firewire 400}(Hard Disk, Design by Neil Poulton 1 TB); iGary (LaCie Rugged); Gymnut (F.A. Porsche, out of production); VanMac (BigDiskExtreme, out of production); Digital Skunk (2Big Triple, out of production)
    Users expressing general support: cmcbridejr, dpaanlka, LethalWolfe, mpsrig, UltraNeo*, iPhoneNYC, chocolate632, Hellhammer, romanaz
    Users not so happy with LaCie: surfmadison (not a big fan), accacc57, dave12345 (Little Disk), jaysmith, Jerkfish, auero, mperkins37, dfs & jessica.
    cluthz has mixed reactions regarding the (d2 and Neil Poulton)
    Maxtor: adamvk purchased a OneTouch 4 1TB (not sure what version)
    OWC: GGJstudios (1TB Mercury Elite-AL Pro) & (On-The-Go 200GB)
    Seagate: steeler (FreeAgent Desk 1.5 TB); MacMini2009, rick3000, cluthz & soo (Seagate FreeAgent Desk 1 TB USB Mac); suekitch recommends Seagate because of its warranty; Acid303 does not recommend the (new) Seagate FreeAgent Desk series
    Western Digital: MacMini2009, xpress1, patrickdunn, iphonematt & MacDawg (MyBook Studio 1TB); Thiol notes purchasing an incredible seven Western Digital MyBook Studio drives all working flawlessly; pprior (MyBook Studio Edition 2TB) Acid303 also notes a positive experience with a non-Studio Edition Western Digital drive; terp2007, odinsride, Samuriajackon, cluthz & matthewscott661 recommend the Passport Series; munkees notes a failure with one of the drives purchased, but a positive experience overall; rikdiddy, RebornKillah & Jerkfish also recommend Western Digital. chrono1081 does not recommend Western Digital & romanaz was also not happy. NT1440 is also not a big fan.

    Other Threads:

    1TB is prbly a good size to start at it, I would say most people looking for non-mobile externals start at that size, here is a (not-so) recent thread about that...
    More literature found here.
    Here, is another thread on 1TB Hard Drives
    This one is about LaCie...
    Here is another, there is some more discussion about LaCie in there...
    Here is one on USB 1TB, I'd stick to Firewire...
    Speaking of which, we had a thread about Firewire drives.
    Just for kicks, we had a random thread.
    And if all else fails, MRoogle
    If you wish to have your name added to the list, PM Me.​
  3. bmcgrath macrumors 65816


    Oct 5, 2006
    London, United Kingdom
    500 gig Lacie rugged drive is pretty good overall!
  4. Gatteau macrumors 6502a

    May 23, 2009
    The orange in it is a big no-no.

    I'd stick with either the My Book Studio or the LaCie Starck.
  5. W00DI thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2009
  6. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
  7. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Here's the problem with canned drives:

    If they fail inside the warranty period, you cannot disassemble them without voiding the warranty.

    My experience is that the enclosure's controller fails more often than the drives themselves. If this happens, then you cannot pull the drive from the enclosure to retrieve your files. You must send the drive in for repair or replacement, and they will not ensure they can recover the data, plus any secure files are now compromised.

    I advise anyone wanting an external drive to assemble their own. You should think about a Rosewill or Macally enclosure (there are other good ones, too) and a SATA hard drive (my favorites are Samsungs, then Seagates, but I never buy WD drives because of failures and the worst customer service I've dealt with from any company). These drives and enclosures are all easy to assemble and if something goes wrong, you're free to disassemble the enclosure without voiding warranties. If the enclosure is the culprit of a failure, you still have your data.
  8. jalyst macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2009
    I see you're putting together a beginners guide, mines more like a product list.
    I already know what critical elements I need/want...


    Feel free to draw from mine if you want.
    I will from yours if I find devices that I don't already have on my list.
  9. jalyst macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2009
  10. jalyst macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2009
    Yeah I agree with most points; not a fan of having no option to BYO.
    The best hard drive for whatever need/purpose changes all the time.
    So I need the option to swap in/out whatever I want according to that.
    I don't agree that WD are as bad as yo feel, my experiences have been fine.
    They have been with most other brands too....

  11. neilhart macrumors 6502


    Oct 11, 2007
    SF Bay Area - Fremont
    All very interesting and mostly valid... however...

    Of interest if you have to be mobile, then and portable external firewire drive is as good as anyway to go.

    However, if you have a home base of operations then mass storage on the network is the way to go (my opinion). Given a Linksys (or equiv) home internet router (most now have WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, a routed port towards the internet, and 4 switched Gig-Ethernet ports). With Gig-E ports on your Apple and 802.11 n wireless you have plenty of bandwidth to move files around.

    My favorite solution is a LINUX server running SAMBA with TerraBytes of storage cheaply available. An older machine can be repurposed as a LINUX server and a Gig-E interface is under $15. IDE and SATA drives are just plain cheap. And best of all the OS is free and legal as is SAMBA and it is near bullet proof. My Apples, PCs, LINUX machines, iPhone ect are all happy on this network. I even run a Vista MiniPC to wirelessly stream video from the SAMBA file server to my HD TV.

    So if you have a home base, look at your options. Firewire is nice but is just one of many choices and all have trade offs.

  12. Wotan31 macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2008
    TCP/IP is an absolutely horrid transport for bulk data transfer. You cannot do anything at all that is I/O intensive like audio or video editing. It simply won't work, or it'll be so slow to the point of being unusable. Throughput isn't very good (similar to USB2) and the latency is absolutely horrible. Not to mention that TCP/IP is very CPU intensive when you're moving large amounts of data.

    Firewire 800 on the other hand, is fast and very low latency. It is a great solution for I/O intensive tasks. Unlike USB or LAN based storage, Firewire uses DMA transfers to bypass the host CPU and give you great performance. Fw800 also provides enough power through the port, that you can run a 500 GB or 750 GB 2.5" drive off it, without needing any power cords or A/C adapters. Great for on-the-go.
  13. neilhart macrumors 6502


    Oct 11, 2007
    SF Bay Area - Fremont
    I agree that I/O intensive tasks might be better served on local media or close in external media. But that was not the Ops question was it. My point was look about you and don't be closed to available options. This technology is changing so fast and costs are dropping that the best solution is a moving target.
  14. panzer06 macrumors 68030


    Sep 23, 2006
    This is not necessarily true. The issue is related to the consumer level products not supporting any sort of qos and other high performace options available to businesses using ip-based storage connectivity. It it certainly outside the scope of thus thread go into detail about Ethernet switching, iscsi (block vs file), nfs and business class San technologies. Just want to make sure we don't make blanket statements about ip-based storage being unable to handle high performance.

  15. jalyst macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2009
    If the OP intent is to have a single drive that is purely for back-up...
    Then connecting it to an always on machine that become a centralised backup point, is fine.

    Tis even better to use an internal hard disk (ideally more in an array) on a machine more suited to being a NAS.

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