External HD opinions needed

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by pb1300, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. pb1300 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 29, 2008
    Aigio, Greece
    So I have a 500gb Lacie external drive, and Im looking to get a 1TB one as well, and Im interested to see where people would steer me to? I am mostly going to use it to back up my iTunes and iPhoto, and TM my MB and iMac. I was thinking about a Time Capsule, but is it that much better for the obvious difference in price? I am sure that the backup over the air is a nice feature, but like I said, is it worth the price? I was also looking at the WD 1TB My Book, and a G-Tech 1TB SATA drive. Any opinions?

    Also, I have Google'd the following question, but I was hoping someone to explain the following like you would to your mother:

    What is RAID and would that benefit me?

    Thanks for the help!
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    RAID basically makes multiple drives look like one drive plus adds speed.

    RAID 0 is the most popular IMO. You can use two or more drives and they will look like one drive but the speed is from all drives (using X amount of Y sized drives will give you total size of X x Y and read and write will be X times faster (4 times faster than one drive with 4 drives etc))
    RAID 1 is for backing up. If you write something to drive 1 it will write it to drive 2 as well, so if drive 1 fails, data will be in drive 2 as well.

    For other RAIDs you needs more than 2 drives so they are usually not an option for single person. RAID is quite expensive way though.

    I have 3 LaCies and I can recommend them.
  3. pb1300 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 29, 2008
    Aigio, Greece
    Can you do that with any drive, or do they have to be RAID compatible? I have a Lacie 500gb now, and figured I would get the Lacie 1TB as an add on, then do what you said. Is that possible?
  4. Poncho macrumors 6502


    Jun 15, 2007
    If the point of buying external hard drives is back up then it makes most sense two buy two of the cheapest drives you can find and have two copies of your stuff rather than buy one larger drive for a little bit less money overall. That is, you should buy two 500g drives rather than one 1TB.

    That's what i do.

    Every hard drive will fail one day. You'll be safer this one.

    RAID stripes your data across two drives; mirroring makes a mirror copy of drive A on Drive B so both are identical.

    So say you had four pictures. Mirroring would put the four pictures on Drive A and copies of those pictures on Drive B.

    Striping data would put (to make it simple) half of the data making up picture one on Drive A and half of it on Drive B, half of the data making up picture two on Drive A and half of it on Drive B, half of the data making up picture three on Drive A and half of it on Drive B, half of the data making up picture four on Drive A and half of it on Drive B.

    The idea is that if you lose Drive A or B there is enough information on the Drive still working to re-build the data lost on the failed drive.

    Now, I know it's not as simple as this (see Hellhammer's post), but this is the simplest way of describing it.

    PS: If my Lacie NAS is anything to go by, the Time Capsule should be avoided (yes, that does make sense even if it does sound illogical).
  5. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    (raises hand) Oh...I Know, I Know. What has been said regarding RAID and reliability has been spot on so far.

    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:
    Build Your Own: uberamd, kufford, SaSaSushi, nanofrog, Ti_Poussin
    Drobo: gatepc recommends it, further mixed discussion 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; Digital Skunk notes the great warranty; jaysmith recommend G-Tech
    Hitachi: Trag (SimpleTech Signature Mini 500GB); Thedesolateone also recommends Hitachi.
    Iomega: mc3s (Ultramax 34495 1.5 TB); Justin Lee (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, (d2 Quadra 1 TB); RedTomato, gatepc & eVolcre, {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.
    Maxtor: adamvk purchased a OneTouch 4 1TB (not sure what version)
    Seagate: steeler (FreeAgent Desk 1.5 TB); MacMini2009, rick3000 (Seagate FreeAgent Desk 1 TB USB Mac); Acid303 does not recommend the (new) Seagate FreeAgent Desk series
    SimpleTech: J&JPolangin (SimpleTech 2TB SimpleDrive Pro Duo); BlizzardBomb recommends the Go; suekitch recommends Seagate because of its warranty
    Western Digital: MacMini2009, xpress1 & MacDawg (MyBook Studio 1TB); Thiol notes purchasing an incredible seven Western Digital MyBook Studio drives all working flawlessly; Acid303 also notes a positive experience with a non-Studio Edition Western Digital drive; terp2007 & 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.

    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...
    And if all else fails, MRoogle
  6. highertechnology macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2009

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