Full time external HDD setup?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by 2Turbo, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. 2Turbo macrumors 6502


    Feb 18, 2011
    I'm getting a mid-2012 MBA and plan on always keeping an external 1TB USB 3.0 HDD plugged in at my desk (USB Powered). Could this cause overheating or other issues?

    Anyone out there run an ext. HDD full time with a MBA? Since I got the base 128GB SSD, I will be using the ext. HDD for large downloads, work files, etc.

    Just checking if this is a bad idea or not.
  2. Jb07 macrumors 6502

    Oct 31, 2011
    I don't really know about heat issues but keeping it plugged in all the time will significantly reduce the life of the hard drive.
    But from personal experience, every time I plug in my external hard drive and begin file transfers, the fans speed up and the computer gets very warm.
  3. 2Turbo thread starter macrumors 6502


    Feb 18, 2011
    As far as reducing life, isn't it the same for an internal HDD thats always on?

    Anyone else's fans start up just from normal use w/external HDD's?
  4. dcorban macrumors 6502a


    Oct 29, 2007
    I have yet to hear anything in regard to fans, or notice any heat from my regular Time Machine backups (directly to USB) as well as copying hundreds of gigs around on my USB drives. My drives are "only" USB2, so maybe the faster speed of USB3 would take more CPU power.

    As for shortening the life of your drive by keeping it on at all times, this is a debate that has been going on for decades. Basically, there is approximately as much wear and tear on the mechanisms during spinup/spindown as keeping the drive spinning constantly, so it doesn't matter in the long run.
  5. LYFK macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2007

    I was thinking of also doing something similar, basically storing all of my files & media externally on a USB-powered drive, and opting for the low-end 128GB 13" MBA to save money. You could basically get a 1TB external and still save about $200 over the 256GB MBA.

    Aside from long-term reliability, and general ugliness of setup, does anyone think this is a bad idea?
  6. wethackrey macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2007
    Redondo Beach, California
    My only concern with the setup is that it's likely to be brutal on battery life.
  7. Scooter53e macrumors newbie

    Jul 2, 2012
    I have a Seagate 1TB HD connected to my Airport Extreme Base Station via USB forming a Network-Attached Storage (NAS) device. My MacBook Air connects via wireless to the AEBS and I have my iTunes library, my iPhoto library and my Time Machine backups all connected to the NAS via the wireless network. I have had zero problems with this set up. Easy to set up with the AirPort Utility.app. Like most other things Apple, it just works!
  8. 3lite macrumors 6502a


    Nov 7, 2011

    Why is this bad for long-term reliability? And how long is "long-term"?

    Also, is it safe to leave your HDD plugged in all the time?
  9. Acorn, Jan 13, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013

    Acorn macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2009
    I dont really have anything to add other then if you want to use apples built in drive encryption so it asks for a password whenever it is mounted make sure you format it as a secure drive from the very beginning. you cannot change it later without erasing the data since it formats the drive.

    Im just bringing it up because i know you are getting a new drive and nobody ever told me when i first got my drive. it was a pain to shift all my data around because i wanted encryption.

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