Portable Hard drive advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Jenko, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. Jenko macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2009
    Can anyone give me advice on which portable hard drive to buy. It needs to be 1tb, I have a mid- 2010 15" MBP, so no thunderbolt. Does it matter if it's FireWire, USB 2.0 or USB 3.0? The models I have been considering are:

    LaCie rugged 1tb
    G drive 1tb
    LaCie Porsche P9221 *1tb
    My passport 1tb
    Freedom 1.5 tb

    Is there anything else I need to consider?
    Basically I am moving to another country and want to back up my MBP, I am also considering selling the MBP before I move.
    Any advice would be appreciated, Thanks Jenko.
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Firewire 800 is 2-3 times faster than USB 2.0. Current Mac models don't support USB 3.0. Any external HD will work with Mac OS X, as long as it's formatted properly, which you can do with Disk Utility. Don't fall for any advertisement that says a drive is a "Windows-compatible" or "Mac-compatible" drive, as that can easily be changed by formatting.

    I've been very pleased with this model in various capacities, from Other World Computing (OWC):

    OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro

    For creating a bootable backup of your drive, I recommend Carbon Copy Cloner.
  3. Jenko thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2009
    Thanks, not sure if or where I can get this model in Ireland or the UK, it would need to be a straight forward set up as I am not that tech minded.
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    It's really simple to format and clone a drive. Also, OWC ships all over the world. There are many reliable manufacturers and vendors. I've just had great personal experience with drives from OWC, mostly from Hitachi-brand drives. Most of the popular brands are quite reliable.
  5. bingeciren macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2011
    I have two WD my passport 1TB disks that I have been using it for the past 2 years. They are slim, very compact and has been reliable so far. My cousin has 3 of those firewire OWC drives. They are clunky, big and heavy. The plastic eventually cracked and he now uses them bare, without the clear plastic cover. Therefore I cannot recommend the OWC drives.
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    I've been using one of those drives for 4 years. It's still like new. It depends on how you care for things. Clunky, big and heavy? While it may not be as small as the WD, it's hardly big or heavy:

    OWC: 5.5"(D) x 3.5"(W) x 1"(H) Weight: Less than 10.1 oz.
    WDP: 4.4"(D) x 3.2"(W) x .7"(H) Weight: Approx. 6.9 oz.
  7. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Sorry to be pedantic, but you can actually get USB 3 on current Mac Models. if we forget about the Mac Pro, then you can get USB 3 on a 17" MBP thanks to the ExpressCard slot and then a USB 3 ExpressCard


    On other macs with Thunderbolt you can get the express card thunderbolt from Sonnet and again use the express card above.

    I admit it is a somewhat convoluted way.
  8. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    All our tec guys at work (who do a lot of off site work with their MacBook pro's) all use LaCie rugged.
  9. radicalcentrist macrumors member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Portland, OR
  10. babens macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2012
    I've been using a LaCie Rugged for the past year and a half. It's used mainly for Time Machine backups, but since I travel a lot it does get tossed into a bag quite often. It has held up remarkably well, and the extra speed the Firewire 800 gives over USB 2.0 for those Time Machine backups is much appreciated.
  11. Jenko thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2009
    I was favouring ever the LaCie Rugged 1 tb or the G tech 1tb. I have heared good things about the G tech, the LaCie rugged might be safer around my children. Not sure, also if I sell my mid 2010 15" MBP will it still be possible to use the LaCie rugged or Gtech on the 2012 MBP, or would I need to upgrade to USB 3 or thunderbolt?
  12. macrominnie macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2010
    (a) No one but insiders knows the specs of the 2012 MBP's. A USB 3.0 port seems very likely. USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0, so a Lacie or Gtech or other drive would still work at the slower USB 2.0 speeds.

    Most portable Firewire drives are multi-interface and include USB 2.0.

    (b) My guess (and guess only) is that the new 2012 high end (15 & 17 inch) models will keep a FW 800 port. Although they did it with the MacBook Air's, it seems too much even for Apple to discard two major legacy things-optical drive & Firewire. A "Pro" model is supposed to be versatile. Retaining Firewire would not add much space or weight. "Power" users who still have FW peripherals will want to keep using them.

    Also, the Thunderbolt (TB) transition has been very slow. There are not many device options and the cables are expensive. Eliminating FW would push some users to USB 3.0 devices (cheaper & wider availability) at a time when Apple would like to see TB take off.

    (c) I really like Firewire. If there's plenty of cash, by all means get a nice Lacie or Gtech or Wiebetech or other good quality portable FW/USB 2.0 drive. But...
    understand it's a transitional time. USB 3.0 will be generally faster than FW. It will be good enough in the near term for non-intensive data transfer uses.

    Portable enclosures with Firewire + USB 2.0 are priced higher (roughly $40 more) than USB 3.0 enclosures without FW. Portables with FW & USB 3.0 are very hard to find.

    If you are moving to a 2012 MBP soon, you'll pay a premium for FW, slower than the updated USB 3.0.
    [You can find many analyses of performance. Here's one:
    http://barefeats.com/hard145.html ]

    For someone on a budget, I'd suggest to either or both:

    (i)get a USB3.0 enclosure/drive and make do in the short term with USB 2.0 speeds
    (ii) Buy a less expensive FW400/USB 2.0 drive as a transition. I've used Lacie Rugged, Gtech and MacAlly portables. I find the MacAlly enclosures pretty good & have certainly dropped & bumped them repeatedly with the drive being preserved. (You'd need a FW800 to FW400 cable, just a few dollars at Monoprice)

    The MacAlly PHRS 250cc [FW & USB 2.0]is useful and much cheaper ($40 to $80 less) than the Lacie Rugged/ Gtech/Wiebetech. You would have to buy a hard drive separately & slip it in. However, you have more choice of the price, speed and quality of the hard drive.


    You could get both USB3.0 & MacAlly FW enclosures and add budget HD's for only a bit more than the price of a Lacie Rugged.

    (d) Eventually, there will be Thunderbolt hubs that can handle USB, FW, & eSata as well as TB. But there's no device with all these capabilities on the market now, and low prospect of such a device plus cables being cheap within a year or two.
  13. davidg4781 macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX
    A couple of years ago I bought a WD passport (or whatever their portable is called) and I love it. I had a Seagate before that but didn't like the newer models with the switchable cables. I also had read Seagate was having quality issues and my Seagate internal hard drive had started to give me issues.

    I did get the black WD one and it does show scratches. I keep it in a WD case and just take it out for a TM backup every few weeks or so. For that amount of use, I would expect it to look a lot better than it does. Maybe get a different color or material. I think they have a Mac version that's aluminum.
  14. Medic278 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2012
    New York
    I use a passport 1TB external and have been really happy with it and would recommend it. You can find them pretty cheap which is always a plus.
  15. jaybar macrumors 6502a


    Dec 11, 2008
  16. Rizvi1 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2006
    Laurel, MD (Baltimore, MD / Washington, DC area)
    +1 on this recommendation. I bought the 1TB OWC On The Go portable hard drive back in September and it's been working great. I have the same computer as you OP - the mid 2010 MBP.

    I'm on the hunt now for a non-portable firewire 800/FW800 Hard Drive to keep off site back-ups. going with a non-portable because I'm assuming dollar-for-dollar I should be getting more space in the hard drive. Looking for at least 1TB.

    Also need some enclosures for the hard drives I have lying around which were from MacBook Pro laptops and a Mac Mini so I can start using those too.

    I struggled w/ using Carbon Copy Cloner recently with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. The problem is that you can't just simply put the files on otherwise you lose the recovery drive. So I had to install Mac OS X Lion first and then move all the files over with CCC, while temporary archiving the files that already existed. The problem was that the drive was really unstable and I always had to go into a secondary partition to do disk utility repairs on the primary. After a few events dealing with this, I just got rid of the partition, did an clean install of Mac OS X Lion, and then just moved files over not using CCC. Just dragged and dropped them.
  17. Mal macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    Perhaps you hadn't updated Carbon Copy Cloner to it's latest version, but it allows you to copy over a Recovery Partition to any disk, and will actually warn you if you are cloning a disk that has Lion installed and tell you how to transfer the Recovery Partition first.

  18. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Cloning Lion's Recovery HD partition
  19. sweetie81 macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2007

    well it depends. Is it just to quickly move data or to permanently store it? If so I'd recommend the G-Raid mini or G-Raid. Having at least Raid1 would give you piece of mind that one drive could fail.

    Would go with Firewire if you're a speed junkie like myself. I work off external drives and appreciate fast read and write speeds. Hope that helps. From those drives would get the G tech one.

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