Help Choosing External Drive to Share Between Two Laptops

Over Achiever

macrumors 68000
Original poster

I'm looking for a good 3.5" external drive with decent capacity (400-500 GB) that I can connect two laptops (my old powerbook with USB 1.1/FW400/FW800 and my new blackbook USB2.0/FW400) to at the same time. I'm looking at using the HD as a media server (TV, movies, music) that I can share data between laptops.

What should I look for in such a drive? Any suggestions? There's so many drives out there, just not sure which one would fit the bill.



macrumors 603
Jan 28, 2005
American Riviera
I have a Lacie external drive, with the triple interface (USB2, FW400, FW800), connected to my powerbook. I've been very happy with it. As far as connecting multiple laptops at the same time, I think this won't be possible. You'll likely need something more sophisticated than a simple external drive, if I'm correct. If you just want something that can be unplugged from one to the other simply, the Lacie is fine.


macrumors regular
May 17, 2006
Maryland, USA
Even if an external drive has a Firewire port and a USB port, the drive will come with a warning not to use (or try to use) both at the same time. I've never seen it explained what will happen if you try. HP's Firewire/USB external drive even has a sliding panel that will block whichever port is unconnected.

Having said that, my Maxtor 200GB Firewire/USB drive includes two Firewire ports. Presumably this is so you can daisy chain the drive in midchain. But can't I just connect two computers directly to the drive, using both Firewire ports?


macrumors 68030
Nov 17, 2004
The Msp
I would look for a good NAS drive that you can plug in to a router and access from all your computers. I used this method to share my media library in the past. The only downside is that anything you add to your iTunes library will only be visible on the computer that added it until you completely refresh it all on the other one. Plus, NAS storage is expensive.

On Newegg, a good 400GB drive will run you $299: