Seagate FreeAgent 320GB Vs. Western Digital MyBook 320GB

rockthecasbah

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 12, 2005
2,395
2
Moorestown, NJ
I'm in the market to pick up an external hard drive to back up all my data. Though I really don't need it until I go to college (for fall '08), I figured I'd start looking now to spread out my spending. I came across these two drives. If you've had experiences with either, please let me know (or merely just brand [dis]satisfaction). I don't want to pay over $99 and would like as much capacity/performance as possible without compromising quality. The $99/ 320GB ratio seemed to be the best I saw. Please let me know what you think and which you'd choose over the other.

Thanks.

Seagate - FreeAgent 320GB

Western Digital My Book Essential 320GB
 

Tsurisuto

macrumors 6502
Jun 13, 2007
343
0
I bought a FreeAgent 500GB external drive because of the excellent reviews and reputation that Seagate has, but although I am extremely happy with my purchase, I do have one thing about it I do not like: If the drive has been off for more than a few hours, then the only way to turn it back on is to switch it off and on via the mains power (or unplug and re-plug the drives power cable).

As I have never owned an external drive, I don't know whether this is normal for all external drives? But nevertheless, I am still happy with my purchase.
 

Gandhi

macrumors regular
Jun 27, 2007
160
0
TX
I have the MyBook Pro 500 gig and am very happy with its overall performance. Mainly use it as boot device with Leopard installed and back up purposes with Time Machine. It is quiet, fast, and looks good.
 

rockthecasbah

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 12, 2005
2,395
2
Moorestown, NJ
Thanks so far, so it looks like we've got a tie! They're virtually the same price too so I can't exactly just go for the cheaper one :)

Anyone else who has experience with either drive or the brands keep it coming!
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,888
2,480
St. Louis, MO
I bought a FreeAgent 500GB external drive because of the excellent reviews and reputation that Seagate has, but although I am extremely happy with my purchase, I do have one thing about it I do not like: If the drive has been off for more than a few hours, then the only way to turn it back on is to switch it off and on via the mains power (or unplug and re-plug the drives power cable).

As I have never owned an external drive, I don't know whether this is normal for all external drives? But nevertheless, I am still happy with my purchase.
Damn, that is annoying. Every external drive I've owned has a switch on the back.
 

moez

macrumors regular
Jun 6, 2007
109
0
Couple of things you should know:

Dont go for price comparison to save 5-10$ on the cheaper model. The thing is with your hard drive you would be storing valuable stuff like say homeworks, notes, pictures etc. which would be difficult to replace if the hard drive crashes so go for the one which has better quality.

Seagate has a 5 year warranty compared to WD which only has a 3 year warranty. However, Seagate recently bought Maxtor (whose drives sucked) so u never know what harddrive is in the enclosure.

As for me, I use Western Digital MyBook Premium 500GB. Its has an auto off feature so if u dont use the hard drive for 10 minutes, it automatically stops and if u start using the dirve, it would start again. The fanless design is good as it doesnt create alot of noise.

In my opinion, it would be cheaper to buy 500GB than 320GB as price/GB is cheapest for 500GB models.

Also, if you want the cheapest solution, buy an internal 500GB hard drive (preferably Seagate). You could get it for around 70-80$ and buy a 3.5" enclosure for $20-30 and u r set to go.

Hope that helped.
 

scienide09

macrumors 65816
May 5, 2007
1,384
0
Canada
Seagate has a 5 year warranty compared to WD which only has a 3 year warranty. However, Seagate recently bought Maxtor (whose drives sucked) so u never know what harddrive is in the enclosure.
Having recently made a near identical situation just recently, I'd say go with the FreeAgent. According to the Newegg listing, the WD MyBook only has a 1 year warranty, not the 3 years mentioned just above.

The $5 extra that you'd spend on the FreeAgent is worth having a 5 year warranty on that product.
 

moez

macrumors regular
Jun 6, 2007
109
0
Having recently made a near identical situation just recently, I'd say go with the FreeAgent. According to the Newegg listing, the WD MyBook only has a 1 year warranty, not the 3 years mentioned just above.

The $5 extra that you'd spend on the FreeAgent is worth having a 5 year warranty on that product.
yea MyBook has a 1 year warranty but if you see, all WD drives have 3 years (the internal ones) and since external drives are just normal drives in a fancy casing, u cud assume that the quality is the same of both drives.

Again, my emphasis is not on the price but on the quality of the product. its not like buying a mouse or a keyboard which you could easily replace.
 

weckart

macrumors 601
Nov 7, 2004
4,684
1,680
The warranties are largely irrelevant. Quality and reliability are paramount. Let's face it, if your external drive died, what would be your biggest loss - the cost of replacing the drive or the possibility of losing forever whatever data was on the drive?
 

scienide09

macrumors 65816
May 5, 2007
1,384
0
Canada
True enough, but if the drive fails and the data is lost, at least the company should be good enough to replace the drive with a brand new (equivalent) one at no charge. While I would never agree that every company stands behind their product 100%, the fact that Seagate and WD do offer long term warranties suggests to me that they do have a concept of customer satisfaction.

Data loss sucks, which is why people use externals for backup. Assume that even if the backup drive goes bust, the master drive is still fine, meaning that the data isn't lost. You simply replace the external (under the warranty, if possible), hook it up, and backup as per usual.

On the other hand, if you're using the external as pure storage without backing up the storage (i.e., you only have one copy of the file), then that's your own fault for not creating a backup. If you know that the files are that important or are irreplaceable, you should have at least two copies.
 

rockthecasbah

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 12, 2005
2,395
2
Moorestown, NJ
Couple of things you should know:

Dont go for price comparison to save 5-10$ on the cheaper model. The thing is with your hard drive you would be storing valuable stuff like say homeworks, notes, pictures etc. which would be difficult to replace if the hard drive crashes so go for the one which has better quality.

Seagate has a 5 year warranty compared to WD which only has a 3 year warranty. However, Seagate recently bought Maxtor (whose drives sucked) so u never know what harddrive is in the enclosure.

As for me, I use Western Digital MyBook Premium 500GB. Its has an auto off feature so if u dont use the hard drive for 10 minutes, it automatically stops and if u start using the dirve, it would start again. The fanless design is good as it doesnt create alot of noise.

In my opinion, it would be cheaper to buy 500GB than 320GB as price/GB is cheapest for 500GB models.

Also, if you want the cheapest solution, buy an internal 500GB hard drive (preferably Seagate). You could get it for around 70-80$ and buy a 3.5" enclosure for $20-30 and u r set to go.

Hope that helped.
Thanks, it was helpful. The thing is 320GB is already way more than enough space, so there is really little point for me to shell out more money... I don't work with large files, it would basically be to just backup my music library and data.

The warranties are largely irrelevant. Quality and reliability are paramount. Let's face it, if your external drive died, what would be your biggest loss - the cost of replacing the drive or the possibility of losing forever whatever data was on the drive?
So do you have an idea of which would have the better overall build?
 

iBookG4user

macrumors 604
Jun 27, 2006
6,596
2
Seattle, WA
I've had WD hard drives fail on me before, but I have not had a Seagate hard drive (or Maxtor for that matter) fail on me. I say go for the Seagate, and the warranty is much better on the Seagate.
 

rockthecasbah

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 12, 2005
2,395
2
Moorestown, NJ
I've had WD hard drives fail on me before, but I have not had a Seagate hard drive (or Maxtor for that matter) fail on me. I say go for the Seagate, and the warranty is much better on the Seagate.
You mean it's better than WD's :)

Thanks though, it's still a toss up but i'm leaning towards the Seagate because i'll also be able to pay with debit and avoid shipping costs.
 

DaftUnion

macrumors 6502a
Feb 22, 2005
690
0
Wisconsin
I've had WD hard drives fail on me before, but I have not had a Seagate hard drive (or Maxtor for that matter) fail on me. I say go for the Seagate, and the warranty is much better on the Seagate.
I've had three WD hard drives fail on me, and the Maxtor external hard drive I have or the Seagate 320gb hard drive have worked perfect. I'd go with the Seagate.
 

MikeDTyke

macrumors 6502a
Sep 7, 2005
662
0
London
You can get good or bad drives from each of these companies, buying on the strength of a half dozen individuals experience is not a good indicator.

I've bought WD, Maxtor, Seagate, IBM & Samsung drives over the years. All internal though. I've had failures with the lot of them.

If the data you have is critical enough that you can't afford to lose it, then you need 2 backups, that is internally on your mac + either 2 external drives, or 1 external drive and 1 offsite networked backup.

If you do go the route of 2 drives and they're from the same manufacturer, i'd recommend buying them from 2 different suppliers and maybe offset the purchases by a month so you know they aren't from the same batch.

Edit: the point is was making is, buy smaller, buy two!

Cheers
M.
 

rockthecasbah

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 12, 2005
2,395
2
Moorestown, NJ
Well I should be fine with one, it's really just a backup in case my internal drive fails and/or my laptop gets stolen or breaks (when i get it next year :))