External HDD help!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by hurricanekate2, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. hurricanekate2 macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2007
    Hi all,

    I am thinking about upgrading my external hard drive setup. Right now I have two external Seagate drives, a 400 GB for media (movies and TV shows) and a 160 GB that's a copy of my 160 GB internal drive.

    I'm rapidly running out of space on the 400 gig drive, and was thinking about getting a 1 TB drive to replace both externals (making a 160 GB partition for backups of my internal drive, and leaving the rest for media storage). This would also reduce desktop clutter (and let's face it, I'm a sucker for an uncluttered desk). Is there a reason that this would be a particularly dumb idea? The drive I am looking at in particular is the Lacie Big Disk Triple interface 1 TB disk. The online reviews aren't great, but let's face it--how many people write reviews when their hard drives *don't* fail?

    An alternative would be to build my own, but I don't know how to do that with more than one drive.

    (Also--I know my current setup doesn't have a backup of my media...the stuff I want to keep permanently I burn to DVD periodically.)

  2. ironjaw macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2006
    Cold Copenhagen
    There are alot of people out there that have said that Lacie drives aren't good, one of my friends lacie mobile just died.

    I would recommend Seagate which gives 5 years guarantee when others give 3 years. I just bought a 750GB Seagte Baracuda 7200.10 and an external drive: Ministack v3 with USB2, Fw400 and Fw800.

    WD Mybooks are also good.

    Check Newertech's website they have a Raid model for 2 drives it's really good - I might actually buy one.

    If you want to keep your data on drives all the time then get a NAS system that supports RAID5 or you can build your own with a cheap computer cabinet, 4 drives, gigabit and hardware raid. Try searching CNET I think they did an article.
  3. Objectivist-C macrumors 6502

    Jul 1, 2006
    Pretty sure the Big Disk is two 500GB drives in a striped array, so reliability is an issue.
  4. konkon macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2004
    Im interested in similar setup with my imac "24. One thing I would like to know: Which port do I use on the ministack to connect to the mac ?
    There is one USB (B) port for uplink but its pretty useless to connect FW800 and eSATA drive to the ministack if the ministack is connected to the mac with USB cable.
    Can I use one of the FW800 port to connect the hub to the computer?
  5. ironjaw macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2006
    Cold Copenhagen
    Konkon: It depends which version do you have? v2 or 3, only v3 has FW800 and eSata (which the iMac does not support), I use the FW800
  6. Heb1228 macrumors 68020


    Feb 3, 2004
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I've had no problems with the LaCie drives I have, though I personally would stay away from raid arrays just because there are single drives large enough IMO not to have twice the likelihood of data loss due to drive failure.

    Last week I got a 750GB Maxtor FW800/400/USB for $199 at www.jr.com. I just couldn't pass it up for that price when I had been looking for a hard drive for a few months. See how that compares to the LaCie Big Disk you're looking at.
  7. konkon macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2004
    I was looking for v3. I have the new imac 24" 2.8Ghz and one external firewire400 drive and one external drive with both eSATA and FW400. Wanted to buy v3 with 500-750gb, connect it with FW800 to imac and the connect both external drives with FW400 and eSATA to the v3.
    This way I could have all 3 drives connected to the imac and also one FW400 port free on the imac for camcorder.
  8. MikeTheC Guest


    Apr 26, 2004
    Gallifrey -- Capitol City, Prydonian Sector
    A few thoughts on this...

    The short answer to your question is that no, it isn't a silly or a difficult process to migrate all your user data as you propose. But yes, there are details here to work out.

    In the main, most of the external hard drive rigs I've seen (that is, pre-manufactured external drives of some kind of capacity) use standard IDE hard drives inside the enclosures. Now, I'm certain this is in the process of changing, but just so you understand, you're more likely than not to be buying an IDE -- and not a SATA -- hard drive mechanism inside one of these things.

    Now, that's an issue for a couple reasons. First, your internal hard drive is probably SATA on your computer, so why would you want to intentionally buy an external hard disk that's slower than your internal? Also, you're in no way benefitting from any of the data throughput capabilities of your computer by doing so. SATA is faster, plain and simple.

    Moreover, besides doing data backups, don't you do any creative work using this hard drive? Work on images? Capture video to it? Anything? I mean, any task at all -- and these in particular -- all benefit from having a faster drive.

    So, what to do, what to do...

    You also said you know that external hard drive setups can be built, but you have no clue how it's done. Well, I'll tell you. You buy a hard drive mechanism. You buy an enclosure. Take the screws out of the bottom or sides or back of the enclosure and slide (or pop?) it apart. There's typically either a bracket or a section of the case which the hard drive will be secured to, and it'll be secured to it with four screws. At the back (typically) of the case is a little circuit board with a power connector and a data connector. These get plugged into the back of the HDD. Now, with SATA, there's no need to worry about jumper settings of Single, Master or Slave, so that's one less thing to worry about. The rest is just putting the case back together and re-securing it as appropriate with the requisite screws.

    Now, some external hard drive solutions (pre-manufacturered or user-built) have internal power transformers, and some come with a power brick. Plug that in. Then, with SATA cases, they'll usually come with a SATA connector and any of the following possibilities: USB connection; USB & FW400; USB & FW400 & FW800. As Macs don't come with external SATA connectors, you'll want to pick whichever is the fastest available bus on your computer and connect that data cable from the enclosure to the computer. Then (and here's the really hard part) turn it on.

    Literally, that's all there is to it. After that, you'll go into Disk Utility and nuke it and set it up however you want to, let it format the thing, quit back to your desktop, and -- voila! -- there's your drive icon(s) and you're ready to get on with your life.

    Now me, personally, I'd suggest you look at CoolDrives since they have a number of attractive external cases, and also have some of the nicer SATA ones out there.

    And as for my own experiences with external HDDs, I have two of them. One's a 160GB LaCie Porche FW400 drive (yeah, that means the HDD inside is "just" an IDE, not a SATA, drive mech). The other is an self-built SATA & USB enclosure with an 80GB SATA drive inside. This and another (un-attached) 80GB SATA drive are ones I salvaged from a self-built PC I used to own which I gave to a friend as a hobby project.

    Good luck! Further comments or questions, just ask!
  9. Kaiser Phoenix macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2005
    I second that, I have 2 lacie triple and quadruple interface drives and it works perfectly.

    What i like about lacie is that the product is made of metal and is solid and very quiet. Sound is always an issue with external drives unless you arent very picky.
  10. Maccleduff macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2007
    If you happen to live in the UK, Freecom drives are rly gd, Ive got a 400gb one, a small transformer built into the plug, a metal enclosure so no need for fan and it runs cool too. SATA inside and the 400gb and 500gb options come with 16mb ram, USB connections outside.

    Freecom 500gb at Amazon UK

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