Is Firewire 800 Really That Important For Time Machine?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by joshmv, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. joshmv macrumors member

    joshmv

    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    #1
    I am in the market for a new external hard drive to use with Time Machine since my last one just bit the dust. I'm looking for a 1 TB, and am noticing there are USB 2.0 drives like Western Digital that are pretty cheap, but most that have up to Firewire 800 are quite a bit more expensive.

    Not surprising obviously, but my question is, does it really matter when it's just being used for Time Machine? The speed doesn't really matter as far as I can tell other than if it's a loud drive and becomes annoying each hour as it backs up a little more data.

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. aibo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Southern California
    #2
    It's a speed thing, and it's pretty significant. If you really don't care about speed, then by all means go cheap.
    USB 2.0 vs Firewire 400 vs Firewire 800

    Also, if you've got a Mac Pro you have the option of eSATA which demolishes FW800.
     
  3. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #3
    USB2 will be fine for backups. You only really need FW800 if speed is of the highest importance (video editing for example).
     
  4. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #4
    If you backup every 10 days then USB is perfectly fine. Though if you want something reliable go with OWC. If you are spending the cash on 1TB you are really going to want F800 if you ever plan on filling that up.
     
  5. AAPLaday Guest

    AAPLaday

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    #5
    I use a 500GB external via usb and its fine once you get that first back up out of the way (when most of the data is transferred).
     
  6. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #6
    What?? Why??

    Time Machine is incremental, it only backs up changes after the initial backup. Hell, you'd probably get away with USB1!
     
  7. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #7
    I know. However USB will strain the CPU during backups (though you shouldn't really be doing any HDD writes during a backup anyway) whereas Firewire doesn't. Though oddly enough using CarbonCopyCloner on my iMac G3 with F400 is exceedingly slow when copying all the individual files stored up over the many years (though only 12.8GB). I think that is a processing issue of the program telling the HDD what to copy rather than the firewire so obviously the CPU is the bottleneck as I upgraded the internal to 7200 RPM a while back.

    I wasn't saying it would be painful I was just saying that if you spend the money on such a large drive you might as well get one that is reliable and high quality (includes firewire). In fact, I am forced to use USB on my external though it isn't that slow on my MB compared to the F800 on my iMac. So I'd say if you have firewire you might as well take advantage of the benefits.
     
  8. tamasvarga67 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    #8
    I have a naked 1TB Hitachi connected through a BlacX USB dock and that's just fine for me. I splitted it in half - one partition is for the Mini the other for the MBP.
     

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