Need a new External for Time Machine

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Melodeath, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. Melodeath macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2009
    My current Time Machine drive connected to my iMac has died (my second one to die in 6 years, first one WD, second one Seagate). Ironically, so far it's been my TM drives that need replacing, as opposed to me ever needing to use TM for a failed Mac. Is there any reason to buy a a WD/Seagate external drive instead of buying an internal HD and putting it in a cheap enclosure other than price? Pre-configured externals tend to have software pre-installed, and strange firmwares installed (like parking the drive too often). Internal HDs are slightly more expensive than pre-configured external solutions, but tend to have longer warranties, and I imagine them being slightly higher quality and lasting a little bit longer. Am I wrong in thinking this? What factors do I need to consider? I've always gone for 7200 RPM drives, but I figure 5400RPM should be fine for Time Machine, right?
  2. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    A lot of us use a NAS which use internal drives. I believe most NAS rated drives (WD Red, Seagate NAS) are 5400 RPM and tend to be more reliable (and more expensive) than standard HDD. 5400 RPM HDD is fine for TM.
  3. Melodeath thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2009
    Thank you. Yes, I'm considering a NAS RAID 1 so that I can (sort of) stop dealing with this issue of Time Machine drives failing, but NAS enclosures seem pretty expensive
  4. toddzrx macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    I have a 2010 iMac that i pulled the HD from and replaced with an SSD. The original HD now serves duty in an enclosure as the Time Machine backup drive, and I only turn it on a couple of times a month to do backups. I also have a small 1TB Seagate portable drive that is powered via the USB connection, and it stays connected and turned on all the time; it contains all our songs and pictures. It's actually a great little drive, and is considerably faster than the firewire drive it replaced. I figure I would be just fine using it for a backup drive for my setup, but it sounds like you keep your TM drive on all the time and might want something more reliable than just a single spinner?
  5. cynics, Jun 30, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016

    cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    That depends on the NAS. If it's mainly for back up and storage they can be fairly inexpensive. It's when you want/need more than two bays and/or better transcoding capabilities that they start getting pricy.

    I have a Synology DS216j with 2x3tb WD Red drives. The NAS on Amazon is currently 169 and the HDDs are 109 each. It's been working great. I really enjoy Synologys UI. If I had to do over again though I would probably go all out with a 4 bay Plus or Play model to better future proof myself and more of a media center setup.
  6. Melodeath thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2009
    Yeah I leave Time Machine on all the time, which I guess puts extra wear and tear on the drive? I imagine that is Apple's intended usage, but they're not necessarily designing software with drive health in mind.

    Thanks for the tips. I'm still trying to decide on my best course of action. I have one active mac, a macbook pro (which I'd like to be backed up, but I don't use often), as well as a couple of windows PCs (again, which I don't use often, but would love for them to be backed up for peace of mind)
  7. Dubadai macrumors regular


    Jun 16, 2015
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    Go and get a WD My Passport Ultra 2TB. They got a 3 year warranty and doesn't require extra power except for the single USB connection.

    If you want to backup multiple computers with the same drive, just partition it!
  8. AppleNewton macrumors 68000


    Apr 3, 2007
    1 Finite Place
    No need to partition the drive to back up multiple computers, just let it sort itself out.

    Drives are not always spinning with time machine only when they're performing backups or restorations and sometimes for maimtainence
  9. deviant macrumors 65816

    Oct 27, 2007
    bad advice. you have to partition it, otherwise sooner or later 1 computer will eat up all the space and the second computer won't be able to backup anymore. if you partition (let's say 1TB in 700GB+300GB) when 700GB is full it deletes the oldest backups and doesn't eat up the 300GB reserved space of the another computer.
  10. komatsu macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2010
    Good advice there.

    Do you solely use Apple's TM backup software with your Synology or do you use something else as well in case a bug develops?
  11. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    I also have a 750gb external drive I keep in a fire resistant safe. And some stuff in the cloud.

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