Looking for SILENT external hard drive

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Jeff1, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. Jeff1 macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2007
    Two questions:

    1) I'm looking for an external hard drive to use for Time Machine backups on a new Mac. Of course I'd like it to be reliable, etc., but I also want it to be SILENT -- or as close to silent as possible. Any suggestions?

    2) Can I use a single, large external hard drive to do Time Machine backups for two different Macs? They don't both need to be connected to the drive at once -- I'd just like to be able to connect it to whichever Mac I want to backup at a given moment. If it is possible, will that require configuring/reconfigurring each time? If it's not relatively effortless, so that I just connect it to the relevant Mac and Time Machine takes over, then I'd probably go for two, smaller hard drives instead of one big on.

    Thank you!
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    1. Fanless enclosures like the IcyBox range for instance, plus a quiet drive, a long cable and stashing it underneath a desk or bookshelf or somewhere similar... as long as you've got some air circulation.
  3. stekerrod macrumors regular

    Nov 10, 2006
    Macclesfield/Salford England
    ive got a LaCie 500Gb external and i cant hear it over the slight noise my iMac makes, i got it for what i'd say is a dcent price of amazon as well so id recommend it!
  4. un1ty macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2007
    Check out the g-techs. I know people in pro audio who really like those. I've got one myself.
  5. ClassicBean macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2004
    I'm in the same boat as the OP. What's more, I don't like the idea of leaving something powered on all the time. So my question is this:

    If an external drive is firewire, does that mean it's self-powered?

    Or do I need to look for a specific self-powered drive that doesn't require it to be plugged in? Basically, I want something that I can just keep plugged into my iMac - much like an iPod - and not have it externally powered.

    Advice is welcome and appreciated.
  6. KJdanReuben macrumors regular

    May 22, 2007
    The NewerTeck miniStacks from macsales.com are nice. I have one of the v2's and it is super quiet. I put my ear up to it and still couldn't really hear it. It also powers off when it is not connected or when the object that it is connected to (Mac, AirPort) is powered off. It does, however, have to be plugged into an outlet; the computer cannot power it. It also doesn't look too bad.

  7. Mal macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    No, FireWire does not mean self-powered. However, if you're using it with an iMac, you might as well get a powered drive, because self-powered will cost more and usually come in smaller capacities (they're usually 2.5" drives because they're intended for laptops), and they don't always work as well.

  8. je1ani macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2007
    Mine makes a HUGE amount of noise... it's terrible sometimes..
  9. Bambeezer macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    My 500GB Lacie is crazy loud. I won't buy another because of that. It's not the fan either.
  10. noire macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2007
    I use a Western Digital MyBook. I haven't used it with Time Machine, but it's been great otherwise. Only time I notice it is the slight whir it makes when the hard drive wakes up from sleeping.
  11. cubbie5150 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 4, 2007
    I've got a 500GB G-Drive Q, & I love it!!! It's fanless, been rock-solid from a reliability standpoint & it looks good too!!
  12. f1 macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2007
    whatever you get, stay away from the MyBook Pro, they are like hairdryers!!!
  13. D.av1d macrumors newbie


    Apr 10, 2006
  14. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2007
    Best advice: From experience here, get a "kit" and put it together yourself.

    Get a FANLESS enclosure - aluminum is good because it dissipates heat, is nice and sturdy, and tends to shut drives up nice and good.

    Make sure this enclosure has "vibration protection" or AKA Elastomer Mounts.

    Get a NICE QUALITY drive - I'd say a Seagate Barracuda line. (any of the Seagate drives with 5 year warranty)

    Most of the hi-end / hi warranty drives, have better spindle and platter balancing. They also tend to have larger caches - which reduce wiper arm chatter a bit.

    Faster drives WILL be noisier - but most 7200 RPM drives from Seagate are nice and quiet these days. (though a 5400 RPM could be somewhat quieter) Just no 10K RPM drives. ;)

    Depending on speed requirements - a external network drive (or NAS) may be of service. I've got one in my basement - so I hear NOTHING from it. (though it's real purpose is in case of fire / theft - I have a copy stuffed away elsewhere) But they are VERY SLOW compared to USB or Firewire. That said, still plenty fast enough to watch full motion video from them, and for overnight backups, ect...
  15. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Feb 12, 2005
    I completely agree with this. Fact is, the only brands of external hard drives in which you will know what brand of mechanism is inside are Maxtor, Seagate and Western Digital. All other brands don't actually make the mechanisms themselves. This means that a particular LaCie drive, for example, may include different brands of mechanisms, in which there will be audible differences.

    Hard drive reviews seem to indicate that the Western Digital Caviars are the quietest mechanisms on the market at the moment. I have a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10, which is definitely louder than my older Hitachi 7k80. The Samsung Spinpoint mechanisms are also known for their quietness and moderate performance.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that smaller hard drives within a product line tend to be quieter than larger ones. This is due to less moving parts within the drive itself. The extent of which this is true, I don't know.

    Also, remember to use a fanless enclosure. I personally recommend Macally and Acomdata, both of which have superior construction in my opinion.
  16. eRondeau macrumors 65816


    Mar 3, 2004
    Canada's South Coast
    I've got two LaCie d2 drives (160GB & 250GB) that I'm very happy with. If your new Mac has a FW800 port, look for a FW800 drive. It is lightning fast. I use my 160GB for Time Machine and it works well. Actually I've got a 60GB partition that I use for a complete backup of my iBook and a 100GB partition for Time Machine, for my iMac. It currently has 34GB free. I'll be interested to see how Time Machine works, as it fills up the drive.

    BTW some smaller drives are indeed self-powered, either by FW or by USB-2. There are lots of choices out there and most are priced similarly.
  17. Vanilla macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    I personally recommend the brand Freecom
    I have a 500GB network drive of theirs and it is silent and looks good to.
  18. twirps2010 macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2010
    Great topic. I just bought an Iomega Ultra Max Plus and it make a lot of noise. This beast is seriously competing for decibels with my vacuum cleaner. And that's only a slight exaggeration. :D

    I'm going to bring it back to the store and make a fuss. It's just too noisy.
  19. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    OWC Mercury drives are for you. I am using a WD 320 GB HDD in mine, and it is constantly plugged in, just UNPLUG it when you boot, YES IT IS SELF POWERED, no brick required
  20. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2010

    I'd agree build your own, there is really nothing to it, I recently set up a 4 bay NAS drive so before buying 4 1TB HDD's I did a bit or research and opted to by the samsung F3's (not the f1's!!) great reviews and I have no probs, slight noise spiining up and spinning down but thats it

    review here:

  21. pionata macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2005

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