Portable external hard drive advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jelloyacket, Nov 16, 2007.

  1. jelloyacket macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    #1
    I've got a 12" Powerbook. I'm looking forward to the rumored new ultra-portables, so I doubt I'll upgrade my current machine internally. I need more space (I want to run Time Machine, too). Thus, the external hard drive becomes my preferred choice.

    I'm thinking of going the case + drive route. OWC cases look pretty good, but I'm questioning which interface to get. Do you think the slight speed increase of FW800 (which I couldn't use unless I upgrade computers) is worth the money? Is eSATA + USB a better option for future-proofing myself?

    Are there any hard drive brands to avoid, as a rule? How about buying the "OEM" versus Retail box units?

    Going a slightly different route, would I be an idiot to buy the WD Passport 250 GB unit that Best Buy has for sale for $150? It's USB only, and I'd really like Firewire, but that price is pretty hard to beat.
     
  2. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #2
    I would personally suggest avoiding a Western Digital hard drive if possible, I've had them fail on me before and know other people who have had similar experiences. I would recommend getting a Seagate, Maxtor, or Acomdata external hard drive, as I've had very good experiences with all of those. And frys is having a great sale right now on a Maxtor 500GB triple interface external hard drive, so I would get one of those if I was in your position.
     
  3. jelloyacket thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 22, 2007
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    #3
    Thanks for the advice, though I should qualify my need for more space by saying that I want a notebook-sized external, not the larger desktop models. That's why it's more difficult to find the right enclosure.
     
  4. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #4
  5. wakerider017 macrumors 68000

    wakerider017

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Location:
    US of A
    #5
    All makes and models of hard drives fail... You have a personal experience with a WD failing so you have a prejudice.

    I have seen Maxtors, Seagates, Western Digitals, etc, FAIL. It happens... They have moving parts..
     
  6. Mattman84 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    #6
    Wow...that's a pretty good deal. Does anyone have any experience with this drive? Amazon has mixed reviews, can't really find reviews anywhere else. This may be just what I'm looking for...even if it's not too aesthetically pleasing.
     
  7. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Location:
    VA
    #7
    Sorry to say it, but your personal experience with Western Digital is irrelevant. Fact is, there are examples of failure from every hard drive brand available. I've had a Maxtor drive fail on me. It happens, but it doesn't mean they all suck. The drive in my iMac G3 from 2001 is a Maxtor and still works.

    BTW, Acomdata use Western Digital mechanisms (and others).
     
  8. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #8
    I was just saying that I have personally seen a higher fail rate with Western Digital hard drives than any other, so I was giving them my opinion and my experience with the different hard drive manufactures. I am fully aware that anything with moving parts fails, that's what warrantees are for, but I am also aware that some hard drives are more reliable than others. I've had over 3 Maxtor hard drives and they all still work fine, some are 2+ years old, and I also have a couple Seagate hard drives that are a couple years old and they still work fine.
     
  9. wakerider017 macrumors 68000

    wakerider017

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Location:
    US of A
    #9
    A couple of years or 2+ years is really not that long.

    It is NOT common for a HDD to fail. I have hard drives that are over 10 years old that still work fine...
     
  10. jelloyacket thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    #10
    Okay, I did a little bit more research, and here are a couple USB + FW rigs that I came up with:

    LaCie - Little Disk Sam Hecht - $140 - here
    OWC - Mercury On-the-Go - $150 - here

    The prices are for the 160 GB size. Which means I could get a USB-only device for $100. I really want Firewire, because I'm doing some audio recording and my recording interface is Firewire; that way I can daisy chain. So I'm willing to bump up the price a little for that. I also like FW because my computer doesn't have too much extra CPU capacity to run the USB port. I'm tempted just to get the FW-only from OWC, since it's got two 6-pin ports so I don't have to mess with 4-6 cables.

    Any thoughts on these units? I know the OWC unit has a Hitachi drive in it, but the LaCie's I'm not sure of. The LaCie is a little smaller, although I'm not sure of the funky port cover on it. The OWC uses parallel ATA, which is the same as my laptop's internal drive, but won't be the same as any future computer I buy (thinking of swapability here).
     
  11. Pandaboots macrumors regular

    Pandaboots

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #11
    [Hello Fellow Mac Users - First time post for me...been a fan of the site for a while now, but on to the topic.]

    Have you looked at Iomega hard drives? They seem to fit what you are looking for. Style, portability and USB/Firewire options. The two models I have been looking at for myself are:

    the USB eGo which comes in an assortment of colors and looks like a whiskey flask.:rolleyes:
    [​IMG]

    and the USB/Firewire model which is more industrial looking, but nonetheless very stylish.
    [​IMG]

    Iomega also reassures us on their website that all of their drives are Leopard and Time Machine compatible. The other selling points that I like are: The drives are USB/Firewire powered(depending on the model), so no need for another wire or plug outlet, have shock absorption built in, come in 3 different size configurations (120G, 160G or 250G) and are priced right for the features and design elements. I've used Iomega products in the past (ex. Zip Drive) and was pleased, but if anyone has input on these hard drives based on your experience with them, please share.
     
  12. jelloyacket thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    #12
    I'm not too keen on Iomega's 1-year warranty. Seems pretty sub-standard compared to the usual 2-3 year warranties.
     

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