Need advice about buying 500 GB external portable hard drive for MBP

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Mrs HBF, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. Mrs HBF macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2010
    From the research I've done, I want one that doesn't get hot, that has the power cables, that's light and easy to use, doesn't disconnect in the middle of saving, and is not too expensive.

    My Passport for Mac has mixed reviews:

    Iomega eGo Portable Hard drive didn't have glowing reviews from users: too hot and the top pops off? CNET's review was glowing yet the writer didn't mention the problems the users had.

    I'm not familiar with external hard drives so it's got to be easy to use, not heat up, stays in tact, comes with cables, and perhaps has a manual?

    Thanks in advance for your assistance.
  2. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    I'm guessing you want a portable hard drive, not a desktop one... what type of connecter(s) do you want? USB 2, USB 3, FW400, FW800?

    every hard drive will get hot if you use it long enough. if it gets "too hot" is subjective, but you should buy one with vents, like a G-Drive Mini.
  3. Mrs HBF thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2010
    I have FW 800 port and of course a USB port. Is it better to have a hard drive with FW800 connector? Yes, I'm looking for portable.
  4. Barnzee macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2010
    Oak Harbor, WA
    FW800 will give you much faster read and write speeds vs. USB.
  5. galstaph macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2002
    The Great White North Eh
    the seagate goflex family is supposed to be good. They come with usb2, but you can change the adapter to firewire or even usb3, they come in a variety of sizes as well, a little more expensive though.

    in terms of a fast usb2 drive, the toshiba canvio is really good (I have a 1tb one)

    or you can head over to OWC and get a mercury on the go pro (or express) external case and add your own drive (or buy one of theirs)
  6. jsm4182 macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2006
    Beacon, NY
    I use the seagate goflex with my mbp. The ability to change the connection type is a great feature(comes with the usb 2.0 module and I bought the firewire 800 module). And seagate drives have always been the most reliable for me.

    If you go with the goflex, go to Best Buy for the upgrade modules, they have them for half the price of everyone else.
  7. Andronicus macrumors 6502a

    Apr 1, 2008
    Usb 3?

    This might e a stupid question, but if it's a mbp, why is anyone even mentioning USB 3.0?
  8. tkermit macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2004
    Because the drive might outlive the laptop

    Anyway...I like the look of these [1,2] :):

    No idea how they actually perform though, but Lacie's known to make good enclosures :p

    Attached Files:

  9. Mrs HBF thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2010
    I'm not savvy on computer proficiency but how do you change connection type? Given what I'm readin, I'll want to use the Firewire 800.

    So I need to look at the goflex 'upgrade modules'? Is that how they're called....upgrade modules? Again, my apologies for not knowing this.

    As an aside, on my 13" MBP I bought in June, do I have USB 3?
  10. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I have a couple of Goflex drives too. When you buy one, it comes with the USB2 cable. If you want a different cable you buy the type you want. I think this is called the "upgrade module". It is a a specific connector made by Goflex, and it should be right there with the Goflex drives, and packaged similar to the drives.

    To change "up" from USB2 to FW800 (for example, and it's what I have) you simply pull the USB end off the drive, which reveals the connection slot. You then just put the FW800 end into the slot (it will only fit the correct way) and you're done. I haven't tested to see what kind of numbers I get, but I can tell you that the USB feels like it is running at USB speeds, and the FW800 is absolutely faster, by several times.

    The Goflex system is really only an advantage if you have several computers with different connectors (one HD can be connected regardless of the connector on the computer) or if you want several HDs. You can buy several of the basic USB model of Goflex, and use only the one FW800 connector.

    It was explained to me that the HD has an eSATA interface (the fastest way to connect, generally), and the Goflex cable/adapters plug into this eSATA interface. The speed of transferring data is then limited by the interface on the computer. USB2 is the slowest.

    Your Mac does not have USB3 - no Macs do, at least natively. And if you don't know then you haven't installed USB3 as an aftermarket thing. But if/when Macs do support USB3 you will be able to get the Goflex cable for your Goflex HD.

    Good Luck
  11. Mrs HBF thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2010
    So if you buy the Goflex, does it come with the FW800 cable or must I buy it separately?

    I just have my MBP. So is Goflex not really made for that one computer?

    One thing I've learned is to use my FW800 for backing up to my external hard drive.


    Good Luck[/QUOTE]
  12. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
  13. tmagman macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2010
    Calgary AB
    +1 on the Freeagent GoFlex... Seagate makes the best drives in the business IMO... The goflex interface also gives you a lot of options for the future, not to mention the software on the drive allows you to use read AND WRITE to NTFS drives on your mac. I've had incredibly poor experiences with Western Digital Hard Drives in the past- I've had several of the actual drives fail on me, losing a couple hundred gigs of data. Never had a problem with a Seagate ever!! (To back up my case, I currently use 4 of the FreeAgent Go's)
  14. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    If you just want a FW800 HD, then the Goflex may not be the cheapest. There is probably a price premium for the flexibility. If you want an external HD that has some flexibility for adding more HDs, or if you think you will keep this particular HD for longer than your current laptop the perhaps the extra cost for the flexibility is worth it. I had particular reasons for going with the Goflex, and flexibility was one of them - we have several computers in the house, plus I expect that I will be adding more external HDs. One of the issues I'm dealing with is an efficient way to get my backups off-site. This will solve my problem, not necessarily yours.

    I don't do NTFS, so I can't comment. I probably just formatted that software when I converted it to HFS. Oh well. :)
  15. Mrs HBF thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2010
    For me, we have this one computer. Maybe in a few years we'll get another Mac but not for a while.
  16. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    If your needs are modest, then just go and get the cheapest 800FW HD you can. They are all reliable, remember that the only people who post about unreliable drives are those who were unlucky, and that 99%+ people have no issues whatsoever and consequently don't post messages.

    If you are going to partition the new drive, do so before you start using it. Adding content and then deciding to partition complicates things.

    What partitioning does is make the single physical HD look and act like 2 or more HDs attached to the system. This is a simple explanation, of course, but that is essentially what it does. It is easy to get carried away with partitioning, when you new to it. Avoid the impulse.

    However, if you are going to be using the HD for a program that does automatic backups (Time Machine, SuperDuper, etc) and for general extra space it would make sense to make a partition for the Auto Backup stuff and another for your general use. There is no reason, imho, to partition a drive just to organize things (i.e. one for music, one for photos, etc). I tried it once and it just makes things more complicated.

    You could partition however for different users. Each family member could have their own partition. I did this for a HD shared by my wife and I. They're not password protected, so we each have full access - but I like my stuff organized in my way and she likes her stuff organized her way. It's like his & her closets. You can go into the other's closet when you need to, but you generally just leave it alone.

    Definitely get a FW800 drive. I hadn't realized how much nicer the experience is with a faster drive. I've only lately started using one, and I'm sorry I went the cheap USB way for so long. I think it's worth the small price premium. HDs will be on sale for a few days at least, so go crazy!

    Good Luck.
  17. urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    I apologize for making assumptions, but if you don't know WHY you need FireWire or USB3 then you probably are better off shopping for price than for features.

    This is an amazing deal at best buys early black friday sale. It's a portable drive with more storage than you'll probably need.
    Best Buy 1tb Passport Drive - $89
  18. jsm4182 macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2006
    Beacon, NY

    The firewire 800 cable is sold separately, like i mentioned before BEst Buy sells it for half the price of everybody else.'+FireWire+800+Upgrade+Cable/9940521.p?id=1218198441053&skuId=9940521&st=seagate%20goflex&cp=2&lp=7

    So it would be $84.99 for the drive and $19.99 for the firewire 800 so $104.98 to get a 500GB drive with firewire 800
  19. Mrs HBF thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2010
    I ended up getting a Western Digital portable hard drive for Mac. There was a big sale on Black Friday (imagine that ;)). It's got more room than I'll ever need 1 tetra....but it was $75.

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