Recommendations for an external firewire backup drive

Discussion in 'iMac' started by thomapa1, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. thomapa1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    #1
    Have a (relatively) new iMac 21.5"
    Would like to get a firewire external hard drive for backups only.

    What are some recommendations?
    As I have a 1TB drive - do I go with a 1TB external drive? or should I bump up the space on the backup drive?

    What are the firewire specs I should look for? (is it called Firewire 800 or eSATA or IEEE xxxx)

    What is the benefit of the much more expensive 'Time Machine' or true Apple external drive?

    thanks
     
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #2
    "What is the benefit of the much more expensive 'Time Machine' or true Apple external drive?"

    There are none. Absolutely none. In fact, many people have had serious problems with Apple's "Time Capsule" due to overheating issues because of the poor design of the case (no provisions for adequate airflow and cooling). Buy one of these at your own peril.

    "Would like to get a firewire external hard drive for backups only."

    My advice goes in two directions:

    FIRST WAY:
    Get yourself a good external enclosure and a "bare" hard drive (manufacturer and size of your own choosing).

    Then, assemble the drive into the enclosure. This will take only a few minutes and maybe a screwdriver.

    The reason you want to do it this way (rather than buying a pre-assembled external drive from any particular manufacturer) is that by doing this simple job yourself, you will have learned "how the thing goes together" and more importantly, HOW TO TAKE IT APART if there is ever a problem with the drive or the enclosure. You won't be intimidated by the "innards and workings" of the drive -- you will know what's going on with it.

    It _will_ probably cost you a few bucks more to do it this way. But one other advantage is, if you buy a pre-assembled drive, it usually comes with only a 1-year warranty. If you buy a bare drive (newegg.com is my favorite source), it usually comes with a 3-year warranty, and some drives come with 5 year warranties.

    Here are a couple of enclosures I don't think you can go wrong with:
    http://www.amazon.com/Macally-G-S350SUA-Hi-Speed-FireWire-Enclosure/dp/B000P1NAMO/ref=pd_cp_e_1
    http://www.amazon.com/Macally-Hi-Sp...3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1294327536&sr=1-3
    The first is firewire400 and cheaper. If you REALLY want the extra speed of firewire800, you can pay the extra $$$ for the second (it has USB2, firewire400, firewire800, and eSATA). It's your choice.

    SECOND WAY:
    Don't buy an external "enclosure" at all. Instead, get one of these:
    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer+Technology/FWU2ES2HDK/

    And again, buy a bare drive of your choice. For extra protection, get TWO bare drives. Then do TWO "clones" of your internal -- one to each drive.

    Rotate the backups as desired. If you have a secure place "offsite" (different building than where the computer is) where you can store the second drive, even better.

    The advantage of using a "dock" is that the drive isn't "tied to" any particular enclosure. Also, you have a quick-n-easy way to connect almost any drive you encounter to the computer. A VERY useful tool to have around.

    FINAL THOUGHTS:
    DO NOT use Apple's Time Machine to do your backups UNLESS you know exactly why you need it.
    Instead, use either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper to create bootable clones of the internal drive to the backup drive.

    You will not recognize the importance of having a BOOTABLE backup drive, until the day comes that you have something wrong with the internal one!
     
  3. thomapa1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    #3
    Great info! thanks
    I love the idea of the dock and bare drives, modular - flexible, can use it with other systems. Think I will go that route. Will get a bootable clone going as well as a secondary 'dumping' area for data....movies I don't want in my rotation, electronic versions of installed software, copies of essential documents, etc...
    appreciate the info!
     
  4. getaperspective macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2011
    #4
    External drive

    I have the Newertech dock and various external drives. The only thing that I don't like about the dock is that it is prone to collecting dust and it doesn't come with a cover so it may not be suitable if you want a drive permanently on your desk and I do advise daily backups! Remember a backup is not a true backup if it is in your house! Give one to a (local!) friend to store and swap it now and then for an updated one and keep one at home. Cheap plastic boxes work well to store the drives in if you use a dock. The dock is also useful because it fits 2.5" and 3.5" drives so if you have a MacBook as well, buy a 2.5" drive as a backup for it and if it fails you can put your 2.5" clone into the MacBook. Newertech also do the Ministack V3 which can be bought empty to fit your own drive. Iomega Minimax drives are covered for 3 years if you register your purchase. It doesn't pay to economise on backups.
     
  5. xlii macrumors 68000

    xlii

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    Millis, Massachusetts
    #5
    Firewire 800 is also know as IEEE 1394b

    Firewire 400 is also know as IEEE 1394a

    Some sites only reference firewire by the above numbers...

    If you have a 1TB internal drive I would recommend getting a 2TB external drive to use as a backup. For myself I bought a internal 3.5" 2TB WD Green drive and an OWC FW800, USB2, FW400 external enclosure. I own a couple of them. I like that combination and they have worked really well for me.

    Getting a 2TB backup drive will allow you to save multiple versions of your os and files. Right now I have every from July 2010 to now backed up on my time machine drive. Time Machine handles it all so well and is very easy to use.
     
  6. xlii macrumors 68000

    xlii

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    Millis, Massachusetts
    #6
    "What is the benefit of the much more expensive 'Time Machine' or true Apple external drive?"

    There are none. Absolutely none. In fact, many people have had serious problems with Apple's "Time Capsule" due to overheating issues because of the poor design of the case (no provisions for adequate airflow and cooling). Buy one of these at your own peril.
    -- Fishrrman

    Great post by Fishrrman. Time Capsule is hardware that you shouldn't buy. I agree with Fishrrman on that. Just need to point out that Time Machine is software that imho is great.

    Now Carbon Copy Cloner vs Time Machine... both are software... both back up your drive. Both have value.

    CCC will make a bootable backup of your drive. If you think you have a problem with your hard drive you can boot off the CCC external drive you made.

    CCC weakness is it doesn't save multiple copies of your files over time. You have one copy of your boot disk... the last time you backed it up. Lets say you delete a file (document whatever)... 2 months later you find out you need that file. If you have backed up using CCC 1 month ago... that file is gone.

    CCC will also take longer to backup because each time you run it, it will erase the disk and take a current snapshot of your internal drive.

    Time Machine... the first time you run it it will backup your entire drive. It is not bootable. Every time after the first that you run time machine it will backup only the things that have changed since the last time you backed up. So the first backup will take a long time... the backups after that will be much much shorter depending on how much has changed. Time machine will continue to add backup depth until the disk is full. Then it deletes the oldest backup. Right now I can restore from any backup between July 2010 to now.

    If your disk goes bad you insert the DVD that the OSX that you are running came on and boot from the DVD. You then select restore from time machine backup. You can dial up any date. You can go in and grab 1 directory, 1 file, or do the whole disk.

    Time Machines big advantage over CCC is that you have multiple versions of your machine over time and you can restore from any of those versions or go in and grab a file that you deleted several backups ago. It's other advantage is after the first backup... each following backup will be much quicker than CCC which erases and copies all files each time you run it.
     
  7. GoDuke1 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2011
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #7
    I like the concept of the Time Capsule from Apple, Wireless router and Wireless HDD at the same time, but as others have said, too many issues with failures for me to get one.

    I have a 1TB USB 2.0 External that I use for extra storage and a Time Machine backup. I partitioned it into 2 500Gb drives and it works fine. To give you an idea on how much storage you'll need, I have over 20k photo's varies from 2mb to RAW formats, and 20gig Music collection, with 7 years of saved documents. My current total system back up is about 200Gb. Unless you have a huge collection I think 1TB will be good, but when it comes to memory more is always better.
     
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    "CCC will also take longer to backup because each time you run it, it will erase the disk and take a current snapshot of your internal drive."

    A correction is in order...

    CCC is perfectly capable of doing incremental backups. All you have to do is "set it up". You even have the choice of "archiving" older, changed files (though I don't set mine up to do it this way).

    I don't believe the earlier versions of CCC did incremental backups, but the current version certainly does.
     
  9. joonyaboy macrumors regular

    joonyaboy

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Location:
    FL
    #9
    I posted elsewhere but with no response.


    Any recommendations on an external with a FW that has an on/off switch? The current Seagate I have doesn't have one and it is constantly sleeping and awaking even though I only backup once a week.
     
  10. mjsmke macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    I use a 2TB WD Green in a FW800 case.

    It has 3 partitions..

    1TB - Time Machine
    160GB - CCC boot drive
    840GB - CCC Home folder/iTunes

    Any work that i dont access often is backed up on other external drives and kept somewhere else.
     
  11. sportster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2010
    Location:
    Katy, TX
    #11

    Thanks for the tip on the drive enclosures. I will be in the market for another external drive soon, I will have to start my search with one of these.
     
  12. joonyaboy macrumors regular

    joonyaboy

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Location:
    FL
    #12
    Nice. Which case are you using?
     
  13. iPostpone macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2007
    #13
    Yes, check out the OWC Mercury On-the-Go Pro bus-powered hard drives. They are available in many sizes and interfaces, including FW400 or FW800, and all have a power switch. You can even get an optional power supply in case your computer port doesn't provide sufficient power on it's own, or in the event that you want to daisy-chain several FW hard drives together.

    I have a 640GB triple interface model, and have been very happy with it. I would have bought the 750GB 7200 RPM model, but they didn't have that one at the time.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/on-the-go
     
  14. joonyaboy macrumors regular

    joonyaboy

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Location:
    FL
  15. mjsmke macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #15
    It's a WD My Studio case. FW800.
     
  16. oriol4 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2010
    Location:
    Hondarribia Gipuzkoa Spain
  17. bombertaylor, Jan 23, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011

    bombertaylor macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2010
    #17
    Hi

    I just want to ask ,if my HD is fail .Can I use SuperDuper to bootoff my HD and then use time machine to restore any lost files ?

    And how much storage is enough for 1TB of data ? Now I have 2TB external harddrive I partition it into 500GB for Timemachine and 500Gb for SuperDuper! and 1TB for data storage like photos and music. How does it look?

    Thank everyone,

    Jack
     
  18. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #18
    @bombertaylor

    Yes, if your internal HDD fails and is replaced/reformatted, you can copy back a clone (SuperDuper or CCC) then restore any very recent changes from a Time Machine archive.

    With the external drive situation you describe to us though, you have exposed yourself to a risk. While it is fine to have a Time Machine archive and a Clone on the same external drive, your 1Tb data partition does not appear to be backed up. If your external drive fails, you would lose your Time Machine and clone which is not an issue because you have your original files on your internal HFF, but you would also lose your 1Tb partition at the same time.

    You really should look at separating the drive which holds your data from the drive which holds your backups.
     
  19. bombertaylor macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2010
    #19
    Thank DanielCoffey,

    Yeah, I should buy another external ,but I don't have money for now ( thinking should sell my body to get one though :p , anyone buys ?).

    Just another question, do you guys know how to exclude movies files or document files (I want to backup system files for bootoff only) while using Smart Backup with SuperDuper! ?

    Thank
     
  20. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #20
    I suggest you start a fresh thread for that question so it doesn't get lost in discussions of external drives, plus you may find that SuperDuper has a forum or faq that has answered your question.
     
  21. bluemonkeyguy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    #21
  22. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    #22
  23. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    #23
    I'd like to add one reason, why it is to better to buy an enclosure and the drive separately from one another.
    Many manufacturers tend to make the internal connections fix to the drive, so you can not swap it, if you want to do this later.
    A second reason to buy a drive of your choice and not just one enclosure+???TB where you do not know what you get, is, that you can choose the drive manufacturer of your choice (most cheap ones have Seagate Drives in them, so if you do not like them...)

    I am wondering how cheap these things are in the USA. The Macally one costs 63,-EURO (that is about 85USD!) with firewire400.
    There is a manufacturer InXtron/Macpower, who produces enclosures with Mac Pro/PowerMacG5 look for Raidsonic and Hitachi (G-Drive), though the InXtron/Macpower comes with SMART-APP (which I find quiet handy).

    http://geizhals.at/deutschland/a526308.html
     
  24. kellen macrumors 68020

    kellen

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #24
    Does seem cheap. Anyone know what lacie puts inside for a drive?
     
  25. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #25
    I've got a couple of older 500GB Lacie drives in the same style.The housing is sealed plastic so you can't get at the drives. I no longer buy external drives in cases that can't be opened (I've got nine of them in different sizes and manufacturers). I've now switched to the aluminum cases from Other World Computing with drives I buy separately from NewEgg. That way I know what I'm getting and can switch out drives for higher capacity units. For temporary backups I use a "toaster" that I can put bare drives into. But I don't use it for drives connected all the time (expansion and TimeMachine).

    OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro
     

Share This Page