Mac and Bus Powered External Hard Drives

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by rest, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. rest macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2011
    I am thinking of getting this hard drive:

    However, I have read mixed opinions online about Apple's USB port design and bus powered external hard drives. Some say that macbook pro (and macbook air/mac pro) do not have enough power directed to USB ports to power a bus powered hard drive.

    My concerns are mainly if the drive would not work, and most importantly, would it harm my macbook pro 15"?

    Does anyone here have experience with this issue?
  2. Sam2lucky13 macrumors 6502


    May 26, 2011
    i have a usb powered enclosure that works great....
  3. xlii macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2006
    Millis, Massachusetts
    I've used bus powered hard disk drives on both the usb 2.0 bus and the FW800 bus on my 13" 2009 MBP many times and have never had a problem.
  4. simsaladimbamba, Aug 3, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2011


    Nov 28, 2010
    Buying an external 7200RPM HDD in an enclosure with a USB 2.0 interface is not really having any advantage, as USB 2.0 only offer 35 to 37 MB/s and 5400RPM HDDs are faster than that.

    Btw, I have several external USB 2.0 HDDs and I can power three at the same time on all my 3 USB ports on my 2009 17" MBP, but using a USB hub to power two HDDs via one port is not always working, depending on the HDD, as some need more power than others.
    As I have 6+ external 2.5" USB HDDs, I also use a powered hub (10€).

    PS: I never had a problem with one of my USB ports powering a 2.5" HDD in an USB enclosure.
    PPS: Why not spend a bit more to get a 500GB HDD, unless you don't need it? They should not cost more than 75 USD, and have 6 times the capacity for three times the pice.

  5. Sam2lucky13 macrumors 6502


    May 26, 2011
    I was also curious as to why youd want just an 80gb external?
  6. rest thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2011
    Sadly, money is very tight right now, and the difference between $30 and $70 is alot. I am planning on mainly using this drive to back up photos in cs5 and 80gb is enough space for now. I know I sound like a cheapskate.

    Someday I would love to get a G-tech 1tb HDD. It seems fairly reasonably priced and I have heard really good things about them.

    Thanks for everyones input
  7. DewGuy1999 macrumors 68040


    Jan 25, 2009
    I don't know if this is still available or not, but recently Target (in store) had Western Digital My Passport Essential 250 GB portable USB hard drives for $29. I think they may have been clearing old stock, but it would be worth checking since they're definitely bus powered an work with MacBook Pros.
  8. RWil85 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 2, 2010
    just wanted to add that i have a G-tech 500gb, FW 800 hard drive that i use with time machine on my 13" MBP and love it! you won't be disappointed with G-tech!

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