Question about External Drive & Time Machine

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by ryanflucas, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. ryanflucas macrumors regular


    Mar 28, 2006
    Milwaukee, WI
    I'm on a 24" early 2008 iMac with a 500GB hard drive. I'm thinking of getting an external drive of some sort to run Time Machine backups. I already make DVD-R DL disc backups about once a month, but I want to have something to backup my data inbetween those burns just in case.

    So far I'm looking at the Western Digital Passport 500GB USB 2.0 (previous model, not the new one with non-removable software partition). I figure it's big enough since I also use bootcamp (don't need this backed up) and my Mac OS X partition is 445GB with around 300GB available. There really isn't alot to be stored here, but I like having a drive bigger then what I need. I may store large files in the future.

    Would a Firewire 400 drive improve things quite a bit in my situation? FW800 enclosures are out of my price bracket (looking at OWC) and I could get a FW400\USB 2.0 enclosure and do it myself. I don't plan on using this drive except for Time Machine, and I'd like to set it up (if possible) to do backups at night when I'm not using the computer. I've heard the initial TM backup takes a long time.

    What would you suggest I do? :confused:
  2. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    I would suggest FW (any, 800's best but 400 is good too) and a 1TB HDD. The reason I say 1TB is because it's suggested to have twice the storage space of the drive you're backing up. 500GB might do for now, but you may need to increase the size in the future.

    FW400 will be more reliable with a higher sustained transfer rate (not theoretical maximum) than USB, often times making backups faster with FW400.

    Yes the initial backup will take a long time, but if you leave it running overnight it shouldn't pose a problem. Subsequent backups are considerably faster since you're only backing up the data that's changed since the last backup. Also, Time Machine backs up automatically every hour. You can change the intervals only by hacking AFAIK.

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