External HDD Advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Rogzilla, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. Rogzilla macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2007

    So I am planning on getting an External HDD for use with Time Machine as well as general storage and need some help deciding what to get. Some questions I have are:

    1-I have a 500GB harddrive in my iMac. Should I get at least that in a backup?

    2-What sort of interface should I get, USB, firewire 400 or firewire 800? Is firewire faster than USB?

    3-What other factors should I consider when getting an HDD?

    4-Any good suggestions?

    Thanks, I appreciate it.
  2. Mhaddy macrumors 6502


    Oct 26, 2005
    1. My advice is to buy as big as your cheque book will allow you. You may look at that 750GB drive and say "wow, I'm never going to fill that up!" but just wait, you will. I'm in a similar situation as you right now, save I have a PowerMac and I'm looking to upgrade and consolidate. I'll probably grab a 750GB from Seagate.

    2. FW 800 is the fastest of the connections you've mentioned, so go for that if you have the option. Alternatively, not sure if iMac supports it, but if you can go e-SATA, that's even faster.

    3. For the drive - go Seagate or don't get anything. No other HDD manufacturer matches their 3 (5?) year warranty. For the enclosure - make sure it has a fan in it, those 'drives can get hot!

    4. I've already mentioned Seagate for the HDD... and as long as the enclosure has a fan and supports the connection that you want, I don't think it matters. JMTC. Happy huntin'!
  3. Dimwhit macrumors 68000


    Apr 10, 2007
    I recommend buying a good external enclosure, then putting drives in. You usually get better warranties from the drives that way, and it's easier to upgrade.

    I LOVE my enclosure:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/MEFW924AL2K/

    It holds 2 drives, so there is much greater flexibility. I currently have 1 500GB drive in it (a Seagate). My iMac has a 500GB internal. When prices drop more, I put in a second drive at 750GB or 1TB. The enclosure isn't whisper silent, but all you really hear is the fan. I do recommend an enclosure with a fan, especially if you're going to cram 2 drives in it.
  4. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Feb 12, 2005
    Seagate offer a five year warranty on their drives. Most others offer three years. I wouldn't recommend discounting all others if you come across a good deal on a mechanism other than Seagate.

    Also, for a single drive enclosure, it's not really necessary to have a fan. The vast majority of single external enclosures don't have fans, and there's no evidence to suggest that it's necessary.
  5. motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    And also, for any drive you're considering, go to newegg, epinions and other places and read through user reviews to see if people like it.
  6. motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    Yeah, but most hard drive warranties only covers giving you a replacement drive, not data recovery or anything like that. And most devices will either fail within the first couple of months, or many years later. It's rare for a drive to fail after a year or two. And after 3 years the cost of you buying a different drive with the same capacity will probably be like 1/5th the original purchase price that was already cheap to begin with.

    So the warrantee time is pretty unimportant when considering which drive to buy.
  7. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Feb 12, 2005
    Good points. And the google hard drive study indicates this exactly -- hard drives either die when new, or after many years. Heck, I've got hard drives 20+ years old that still work!
  8. Rogzilla thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2007
    Thanks for all the good input everyone.

    I had been considering the Western Digital My Books as they are the prettiest (I think) but the nerd in me is just as important as the artist so it has to look good and run well.
  9. jameskohn macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2006
    Check out the G-Tech Quad interface. Not cheap, but excellent reviews. I bought one and so far I'm quite satisfied. eSata compatible too, nice feature.
  10. Rogzilla thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2007
  11. motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
  12. alebar14 macrumors regular


    Jul 14, 2007
    Auckland CBD, New Zealand
    I just found that Western Digital MyBook is more expensive than Seagate Free Agent. Are those bells and whistles that they offer is important? I found some other brand like Welland are way much cheaper....!
  13. ophidean macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    Just picked up the WD My Book Studio. So far it's been fantastic....got Time Machine running smoothly and no problems at all. Backed up my 120gig itunes folder as well :)
  14. crazycat macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2005
    You should "at least" get a 500GB external, i would recommend a 1000GB or 750GB model. You can split your hard drive into 2 partitions, 500GB for your Time Machine and the rest for whatever you will need it for.

    Get a firewire 400 or 800, i gave up on USB for storing large amounts of data because it takes to long. I used to take around 4 hours to backup my mac with a USB, with firewire 400 it takes 1.5 hours and firewire 800 takes 50 mins. There is a speed difference and if it is important to you get firewire, you should also note that in the majority of cases a firewire hard drive is more expensive then a usb one.

    Footprint and noise.

    Seagate and LaCie.
  15. timmell macrumors newbie

    Nov 16, 2007
    Redford, MI
    Video Pro with MAC and ton of experience with externals

  16. merryxmas macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2007
    Similar boat as OP

    Hi all,

    I am also wondering what external HDD I should get but my needs are a little bit different because I want the best possible transfer speeds over other features. To give you an idea I will be running WoW and recording video of whats happening on my screen (imac 24") the video will be most likely recording 1024x768 or higher if i can get it simultaneously. Reading and writing to my one hd really slows down my system. I was thinking I might need a 10,000 rpm external drive to write to while my internal is being read from. What do you think? Any suggestions on which hard drive to pick up?

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