Need an external drive

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by GreatUsername, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. GreatUsername, Sep 28, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2013

    GreatUsername macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2013
    I'm looking for the fastest, most reliable external drive I can buy for under $300 that has at least 1TB of storage with preferably a Thunderbolt connection simply because I'm out of USB ports. I'm just going to be using it to store all my files (pictures, music, documents, projects, etc.) while my iMac's built-in drive will have all my applications.

    I know it's pointless to get a Thunderbolt drive with an HDD inside since that'll just bottleneck the speeds but the only SSD Thunderbolt drive I found with 1TB is $1000.

    The best external drive I've found is this:

    It's faster than any Thunderbolt drive I've found but it's USB 3. Sadly, they don't make a Thunderbolt version. A USB to Thunderbolt adapter would solve my problem here but it doesn't seem like Apple has one.

    The best Thunderbolt drive I've found is this:

    It's significantly more expensive and significantly slower but because I have nowhere to plug in the Buffalo, I'll have no choice but to buy LaCie.

    Though, I'd guess to say the LaCie is quieter since it has heat sink instead of a fan. I would also think that with less moving parts, it'd also be more reliable.

    Would I really notice the difference in speed between the Buffalo and the LaCie? I'll be using these drives to store and read files off them. This includes playing music off them in iTunes and working with large 10K Photoshop documents over a GB in size.

    So which of these two should I buy? If you say the Buffalo, then how do I get around the USB? Are there any others you would suggest?

    Edit: Just discovered the Seagate Thunderbolt Adaptor which I can use to connect any standard SATA hard drive or SSD to my Mac via Thunderbolt. The first SSD I would consider to connect to this is the Crucial M500 since it's the cheapest SSD I can find for 1TB and it's from a reputable brand. Still, this setup is about $700 since I'll have to buy a Thunderbolt cable separately.
  2. lunaoso macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2012
    Boston, MA
    Why don't you just buy a USB powered hub and a USB 1TB hard drive. That would save you a good 200-300 dollars.
  3. TheBSDGuy macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2012
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Get yourself a decent USB hub. Be careful of what you buy, because USB hubs vary WILDLY in their ability to work with the Mac. Check the threads on this forum to ascertain which work.

    Then, instead of Thunderbolt, get yourself a USB3/SATA "dock". The right one will give you day-to-day drive performance indistinguishable from Thunderbolt. To see what's available, go to and enter "usb sata dock" in the search box -- many options will appear.

    I use and recommend products by (NFI other than being a paying customer). $25 will get you something like this:
    ... will work with SSD's, 2.5" HDD's, 3.5" HDD's.

    Thunderbolt is destined to have the same future on the Mac as did firewire. That is to say, it will be a technology that "looked really good at first". But it will quickly fade into obscurity because folks will choose USB3 (and the upcoming USB3.1) by default. This is already happening -- how many new Thunderbolt peripherals are coming onto the market? Are prices coming down, vis-a-vis USB?
  5. Giuly, Sep 29, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040


    How do you remove (or shift) the bottleneck? You use two hard drive, as in LaCie's LittleBigDisk. The 1TB version is actually <$300.

    Otherwise, the LaCie d2 Thunderbolt costs as much but offers 3TB of storage.

    Otherwise, a Belkin USB 3.0 hub and 3-4TB WD MyBook for Mac or 3-4TB Seagate Backup Plus USB 3.0 for Mac would also fit your budget. If you want fast, get two 3TB models plus the hub and set them up as RAID0 in the Disk Utility, which would still be within your budget ±$10 and gets you 6TB of high-speed disk space.

  6. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    You're probably correct. Was having a casual chat with a sales consultant from an Apple Reseller and he commented his customers often uses USB 3.0 than Thunderbolt. That the speed difference of USB 3 with Thunderbolt is not that far. Here a Barefeats test between a notebook USB 3 and TB:, The test showed that USB 3 is close to the speed of Thunderbolt.

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