Recs for external HD?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Macinthelou, Sep 29, 2017.

  1. Macinthelou macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2011
  2. macs4nw, Sep 30, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017

    macs4nw macrumors 601


    If you're looking for a desktop model rather than an ultra-portable, the G-Tech 4 TB USB-C G-Drive at $199 in the Apple Store is a unit you might want to check out. The G-Tech units have 3½" HGST drives in them (formerly Hitachi) but are currently part of WD. BackBlaze rates these drives consistently as amongst the most reliable of all the thousands of drives they use, and have reliability Data on. HGST's overall BackBlaze failure rate for 2016 was .6%, compared to Toshiba @ 1.27%, Seagate @ 2.65%, and WD @ 3.88%.

    Anecdotally, my 4TB USB3 model which pre-dates the current USB-C model, although a bit noisier than I expected, has not given me any trouble so far for the year I've used it as a secondary TimeMachine drive, fwiw.

    But there are tons of options out there, and at lower cost than the one mentioned above, however the reliability ratings show mixed results for the smaller pocket-sized units. I opted for the larger, more expensive (USB) unit for the excellent reliability rating, and also for the significantly lower cost than the otherwise identical drive's ThunderBolt sibling at $399.
  3. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009

    The best advice I can give:

    Get a "bare" hard drive, and the enclosure you need.
    Then... put the drive into the enclosure, initialize it, and you have "rolled your own".

    I recommend doing it this way, instead of buying a "pre-packaged" drive.

    I'd look for either an HTSC (Hitachi) or Toshiba drive.

    These days, I prefer the 2.5" form factor for external drives, but I don't know if they come in 4tb capacity yet (2tb, certainly).

    Actually, do you really need 4tb "all in one drive"?
    Might be better to use 2 smaller ones.
    "All your eggs in one basket", you know?
  4. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    Could you tell us a little more about your usage?
    • Is this a backup drive only?
    • Will you have data on this drive that you will NOT have on the local Mac? (if so, how will you back up the unique data on this drive?)
    • How important is speed?
    • How important is sound level?
    • If you had to choose a faster drive or a quieter drive, which would you favor?
    • Will this drive be on constantly and used frequently?
    • Do you have a budget in mind?

    IMO, LaCie is not a very good value, and I can't say I am a huge fan of the hard drives they use.

    If you favor speed and reliability over noise level, and you are OK with spending a few bucks more, my go-to drive is the Hitachi GST Ultrastar. My 7k6000s can hold around 270 MB/s read and write. They are very loud, and louder than most other 7200 RPM drives. They are stupidly reliable. This is a bare 7k6000 (even though it is labeled as a 7k4000).

    Many of the higher end G-Drives use Ultrastars (the lower end ones use WD and HGST consumer drives, like the WD Red and HGST Deskstar, which are both good drives.)

    I just purchased a 4TB G-Drive Pro (gen 6) from Micro Center for $175. This model contains a 4 TB Ultrastar, and its original retail was something like twice what I paid (the product generation was discontinued). As its a previous generation Ultrastar, its write speed is only around 170 MB/s, but that is still plenty for my use. The enclosure weighs a crap ton and does a pretty good job at quieting the drive down.

    Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 9.24.02 PM.png
  5. Macinthelou, Oct 3, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017

    Macinthelou thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2011
    Thanks for the replies! I got the G-Tech 4 TB USB-C G-Drive but realized that the horizontal orientation doesn't fit well on my desk. I have an older WD drive that sits up vertically. Any recs from something like that? Is it preferable to have the drive sitting horizontally?

    EDIT: I should also mention that I primarily intend to use this HD as a Time Machine backup for my 2017 MBP. As far as budget, I'd prefer to keep it close to $200 or less.

  6. macs4nw macrumors 601


    Get yourself an internal HGST drive, and stick it in any vertical enclosure of your choice, and you'll have the form factor you desire, with the proven reliability of one of the best platters on the market.

    With or without fan, for best possible heat dissipation, an aluminum enclosure would be desirable though.
  7. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    I have that same G-Tech drive, snagged from a nearby Fry's @ $149. Nice drive. For a decent price you'll find Best Buy's WD easystore drives a steal IMHO - WD drives (mine are all Red NAS drives, 8TB but with a 256MB cache instead of the bare drive's 128MB cache) and they're regularly on sale. $170 for the 8TB version, lower prices on sale for the lower-capacity drives.
  8. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    I use three of these, including some of the older USB 2.0 models that are now nearly a decade old, and they all still work flawlessly. This one is a fan model that you can turn the fan on/off independent of the hard drive on/off switch. These work great when vertical. I recently purchased an updated version, with a fan that only runs when the temperature reaches a said point, and am very happy with its performance. Drive spindown works well with all of these enclosures IMO. If you are looking for a fanless vertical enclosure, this Inatek works well. IMO these are all a good bit noisier than the G-Technology models made of thick aluminum.

    After getting the enclosure, you could then purchase a good quality internal drive. If you are only using this for Time Machine and nothing else, an inexpensive-but-solid drive, like a 4TB Hitachi GST DeskStar.
  9. LorenK macrumors 6502

    Dec 26, 2007
    I agree that getting a bare drive and a case to stick it in is probably the best way to go. I recently had to remove a still functioning harddrive from a Seagate case because the card in the case failed. What made it worse was that there was proprietary firmware on the card to allow the external drive to be used with Windows that prevented the drive from being read by my Mac. I have three four drive boxes from IcyDock and half of the drives are from external drives where the case failed, but the drive didn't.
  10. macs4nw macrumors 601


    In your (non-Raid) Seagate case, if all else fails, recovery software may do the trick, but that could be pricey.

    Proprietary firmware/software in storage solutions: my pet peeve. Storage of all the stuff that's important to you is definitely not the area where one wants to experiment, or depend on one single company to safeguard you.

    Another good example is hardware Raid. If the enclosure fails after a few years, your Data is lost for good UNLESS you can procure an identical, but functioning, enclosure to mount your drives in.

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