I need an external drive for backups.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Tom Schrier, Jul 27, 2015.

  1. Tom Schrier macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2014
    Location:
    Norway
    #1
    Hello.

    Me and my mother both have macs. My mother has a MBP with 500GB and I have a iMac with 1TB.
    I am looking for an external drive that we can simply use with Time machine and then recover files when we need to. How big should the drives be? 2TB for me and 1TB for my mother?
    Any tips or drives you recommend?

    Thank you for the help, I appreciate it! :)
     
  2. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #2
    Those are the standard amounts (2X the computer's storage).

    Consider getting your mother a 2.5" USB3 drive, which will be bus-powered, and she won't have to do anything except plug in into her MBP. No need for wall power, which means she can do her backups any place that's convenient for her.

    I don't know what the electronics parts situation is in Norway, but in the US if you buy your own parts (the drives and the enclosures) it can be significantly less expensive than buying pre-assembled. There's almost no technical skill required to install a drive in an enclosure.

    Whatever you do, remember that there's no need to pay extra for a "Mac formatted" drive. Buy any drive you want, and then use Disk Utility to format it as a Mac drive.
     
  3. LOLobo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2014
    #3
    We use a bus-powered WD 2TB USB3 drive (bought from Costco, so can return at anytime if any failure occurs).

    What I have learned (after returning the first one), is that I do not want Time Machine back-ups every hour. So typically (since the drive is used to backup two Macbooks and a Mac Mini) is to simply plug it in once a week.

    The returned drive was consistently plugged in, and I believe the excessive writing contributed to a hardware failure.
     
  4. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #4
    A few alternatives:

    Assuming you are both in the same house: Consider buying an Airport Time Capsule. Advantage: It backs up both computers. It doesn't need to be plugged in. And you can hide it in the loft, so if burglars steal your computers, you still have the backup (and once the insurance pays for new Macs, you can restore everything). That's the biggest disadvantage of an external hard drive; it could be stolen with your Mac.

    The same thing cheaper if you have someone knowledgable: Buy a newish Airport Extreme used on eBay, and attach a big hard drive to it. They go quite cheap (at least in the UK).

    Another alternative, depending on how much space you really use: Some people with 1TB hard drive only use 50 or 60 GB. In my work computer (no music, videos, audiobooks) I have a tiny 128 GB SDXC card that is permanently plugged in for backups. Less than £30. No cables. It sticks out a little bit on the side of the MacBook, but it keeps you safe very easily.

    That shouldn't be a problem. Time Machine only backs up what is changed. So these hourly backups are usually tiny, while a weekly backup with all the changes in a week is much bigger.
     
  5. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #5


    That was quite the opposite for me in the UK. The cheapest 500 GB hard drive that I could find (to put into a friend's MacBook Pro) came in a case. Cheaper than any internal drive I could find!
     
  6. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a

    Pharmscott

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    #6
    I did this exact thing for my mother. Good advice!

    OP: Time machine automatically deletes the oldest backup info when the drive is out of space and a new backup is created. So, the bigger your drive, the longer of a back up history you'll have. I have a 500gb external for my 256gb rMBP and my wife's MBP and there is months of history (I'll never go back that far anyway).
     
  7. nfable macrumors regular

    nfable

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2007
    #7
    And depending upon on techy you're willing to learn to be, you can get a Synology disk station and use one drive as TM backup and the other bay for RAID redundancy or as a repository for torrents / media server. I have the DSJ and got 3 macs TM'ing back up to it. It's like an Time Capsule, but is more customizable with your own supplied drives and has more functionality as it is a NAS running it's own.

    DiskStation makes diffferent versions featuring diff specs, the more robust of which allows more complex stuff like transcoding / plex media serving, etc... But you can get a great diskless one for about $150 and drop in the drives you'd like.

    Nf
     
  8. Tom Schrier thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 7, 2014
    Location:
    Norway
    #8
    Some great tips/pieces of advice/recommendations! Thanks guys! :):):)
     
  9. Tom Schrier thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2014
    Location:
    Norway
    #9
    I have 1TB of space on my iMac, after 1,5 years I have used 90GB. Should I be ok with a 1TB external hard drive? I dont need to go back several months...
     
  10. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #10
    You don't even need close to that.

    Even if you got a 250GB drive that would give you almost 3X the space you need for versioning. The size of your internal drive is really irrelevant. All that matters is how much data you expect to have on internal drive. So, for example, if you think you will only ever have 250GB of data on there, a 500GB drive would still give your 2X for versioning.
     
  11. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #11
    Over the years I've learned the most important backup is the one you failed to make. Personally, I'd much rather have a "premature" backup drive failure than lose (and reconstruct) up to a week's worth of work in the absence of a recent backup. When the drive is constantly plugged in, I don't have to remember to connect the backup drive. My memory (and ability to stick to a routine) is not nearly good enough. Once a week would slip to once a month, or even worse.

    No matter what, the backup drive will not be working as hard as an internal drive (assuming an internal HDD rather than SSD/Flash), so if I was going to place bets on which would fail first, I'd put a priority on defending against failure of the internal disk. To my mind, backup drives are disposable. If I spend $100 every two or three years for a new backup drive... cheap insurance (and cheaper than most cloud-based backup services, not that a local backup is a substitute for off-site backup).
     
  12. LOLobo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2014
    #12
    Well my two WD HDs that failed did not last a year.

    Also OSX reminds you in about a week that you have not done a back-up, and again in 14 days.
     
  13. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #13
    True enough, but considering the number of people who just click to dismiss warnings.... and even a week can turn out to be too long a gap. As far as I'm concerned, for something that can be as critical as backups, the less voluntary behavior on the part of the end-user, the better.
     
  14. ocabj macrumors 6502a

    ocabj

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    #14

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