External HDD Question (Noobie)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by cnixon, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. cnixon macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Hi. Hope you guys can help me.

    The screen on my current windows laptop was recently shattered. Not a huge loss, and now I'm looking forward to puchasing my first Mac.

    So here's my question. My broken laptop will still run when attached to an external monitor, so I will be able to save all my existing files. I need to purchase an external HDD to move them to for the time being. I just want to make sure that I buy one that is Mac compatable and will work with Time Machine.

    Any recommendations, or suggestions on what I should buy? Is there anything I am overlooking?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. FourCandles, Nov 17, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2010

    FourCandles macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2009
    Let us know which Mac you're going to be getting. I'd normally recommend a Firewire 800 drive*, but not all Macs have a Firewire 800 interface.

    * ...that also has USB.
  3. mulo macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2010
    Behind you
    a drive is a drive.
    if they say "mac compatiable" its just the annoying software on them that you just delete anyway.

    the only difference is the interface, ie usb2 usb3 esata firewire400 firewire800 yada yada.
  4. cnixon thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2010
    I'm going with the MacBook Pro 13inch. That version doesn't have the firewire port, correct?
  5. GGJstudios, Nov 17, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2010

    GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Any external hard drive will work with PCs or Macs, as long as the connectors are there (Firewire, USB, etc.) It doesn't matter how the drive is formatted out of the box, since you can re-format any way you like. Formatting in HFS (Mac OS Extended) or FAT32 or NTFS-3G can be done with the Mac OS X Disk Utility.

    FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
    • Maximum file size: 4GB.
    • Maximum volume size: 2TB
    NTFS (Windows NT File System)
    • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
    • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X
    • To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X: Install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free)
    • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx 33USD).
    • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard, but is not advisable, due to instability.
    • Maximum file size: 16 TB
    • Maximum volume size: 256TB
    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended)
    • Read/Write HFS+ from native Mac OS X
    • Required for Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner backups of Mac internal hard drive.
    • To Read/Write HFS+ from Windows, Install MacDrive
    • To Read HFS+ (but not Write) from Windows, Install HFSExplorer
    • Maximum file size: 8EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 8EiB

    If you want more information, here are just a few of many threads on this topic, found by searching the forum with MRoogle:

    Mac Guide on External Hard Drives
    Mission impossible: Finding a good simple external hard drive for MAC
    Portable External Drive / Storage Recommendations
    What type of external hard drive is best?
    Can anyone Recommend a good 1tb External Hard Drive?
    looking for a 2 tb external Hard drive with firewire
    Suggestions on an External Hard Drive
    anyone could recommend a good external hard drive for the imac?
    Segate Expansion External Drive 1TB - Need Help!
    Which external hard drive should I buy - Seagate vs. LaCie vs ????
    Looking to purchase a 1TB external hard drive
    ... and many, many others.
  6. FourCandles macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2009
    If it's the Pro, it has a Firewire 800 port. Specs here:


    A Firewire 800 drive will offer much faster throughput than USB, but as your PC presumably doesn't have Firewire 800, get a drive with a USB interface too. Many offer multiple interfaces e.g. 2 x FW800 (for daisy chaining more drives/devices), FW400, USB, eSATA.

    Also see the links from GGJStudios, above.
  7. cnixon thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Thanks to eveyone for the assistance. This is by far the most friendly, and knowledgable forum I have been part of.


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