Questions about External Harddrives

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by daleslass, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. daleslass macrumors newbie

    Dec 1, 2011
    Hi, I'm new to the forum and new to Mac so I hope you don't get too fed up of my questions while I get my new iMac up and running.

    First of all I'd like to sort out backup and storage. I'm sort of aware of the time machine and how it does behind the scenes back ups for you once its up and running, but I'm not sure what to set it up on. Does it have to be on an Apple Time Capsule or will any hard-drive do?

    If I can use a hard-drive other than a Time Capsule would I have to do anything to it to make it work with Time Machine other than re-format it if necessary?

    I've gleaned that I need a fair bit more space than I'll be using for storage. My storage plan is to mainly use an external hard-drive for my photographs (this will be what I have most of). To begin with this will be a 1TB WD external and the 1TB on the iMac. So if I went for a 3TB to backup to would this be enough?

    The hard-drive for storage will be the WD that I already own, once I've re-formatted it for Mac. Would I then be able to daisy chain (she says as though she knows what she's talking about!) this to whatever hard-drive I was using for Time Machine if it was a different type?

    Since buying the iMac last week after years as a PC user I have just become aware how difficult it is to buy for Mac, the choice is very limited. With this in mind and the fact that I'm in the UK I wonder if anyone could recommend what they feel are the best external hard-drives and if it's worth paying the hugh increase for thunderbolt over firewire being as Mac doesn't have USB3?

    Sorry for so many questions all in one go, I'll try to limit them more in future!

    Many thanks
  2. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    Time Machine does not require the purchase of a Time Capsule or Airport Extreme. However, if you use a Time Capsule (or attach a HDD to the AEBS), you can do your Time Machine back-ups over wireless.

    I would suggest that with an iMac, it's not really necessary to do wireless back ups. Just buy a larger external drive and plug that right into the iMac and set it up as a Time Machine drive. I'm pretty sure you can use Time Machine to back up both internal and external drives.

    The plus to this is that the back up process will be much faster. The downside is that your back up drive is in the same place as your primary drives. Suppose you had some major spill at your computer and fried your iMac, photo drive, and your Time Machine drive at the same time. At least with wireless, your drive might be at another location.

    Personally, I don't use Time Machine. I use Super Duper to make an exact clone of my Macs.
  3. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Just get whatever external USB drive you can find on sale. Plug it in and use Disk Utility to format it to Mac OS X Extended and then turn on Time Machine. In Time Machine settings just select your new drive as the destination.

    You can daisy chain Firewire drives but not USB. Firewire 800 is much faster than USB, but after the first backup the subsequent incremental backups are not that large normally so the speed difference will not be as noticeable.

    As far as Thunderbolt goes, it is extremely pricey at this point and unless you have some really huge backups you will be running I just don't think it is worth it.
  4. LeandrodaFL macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2011
    You want to get Firewire drives because they are faster than USB2.0 and you can daisy chain that. For these drives, check Hard Drives from Lacie, G-technology and Buffalo.

    You can use any HDD with time machine, as long as the HDD is larger than your current data size. Simply get a larger external than internal and you will be fine.

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