Seeking type of portable hard drive & connection

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by GroovyDreamyFab, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. GroovyDreamyFab macrumors newbie


    Jan 28, 2018
    I am new to this forum. I own a MacBook Pro late 2011 (512 MB), an iPhone X 256GB, a Lacie rugged 1TB, and an Iomega ego 500GB (bought it first. had two but one just died).
    I want to explain my priorities and that will help you know what I am looking for I hope. I am a non techie but I work hard to learn what I need to know to get what I need.
    I have over 33,000 photos on my Mac. They are all kept on my Mac hard drive as well as on my iPhone X. I also have over 100GB worth of recorded videos on my Mac. I usually keep THREE hard drives but the one just died and I am seeking a good replacement.
    My photos and videos are VERY important to me. That's why I keep 3 portable hard drives. Hoping for some good advice on what to get next. I've tried to read up on them, but I'm getting confused. I read good things about a brand, and then negative things, and so on...also about how some are better for Mac and even come Mac ready and others only come Windows ready. Also, is Firewire, Thunderbolt, USB better or does it matter?
    I've stayed away from the cloud because it would be so expensive month after month for so much space. Don't mind investing money in a good hard drive. I do use Time Machine. I don't back up just my photos and videos. I do the entire Time Machine backups weekly.
    Thanks for any and all advice.
  2. mikzn macrumors 65816


    Sep 2, 2013
    I have a ton of photos and videos also and use iPhoto (legacy) and Photos (current) to manage all of the photos I have and a few of the videos.

    my suggestion is to not use the cloud for photo storage and back ups, there are many stories on these and other forums of loosing photos because of "confusing" back ups and sync issues and signing out of icloud and back in etc.

    I keep a back up of all my photos and libraries on one separate drive and keep a "back up" of the "back up" on another separate drive - maybe a little over the top but it works for me and have not lost any pictures, files or back ups.

    Am using Photos for organizing and tracking all original versions and can export for working versions etc.

    USB 3 drives work for me and am using Carbon Copy Cloaner to do the back ups of the libraries and files, photos etc. Have some other drives with firewire but most of the new drives I have are USB 3 and work great.

    Just my 2 cents - hope that helps a little - I am sure you will get a lot of input for others with different approaches
  3. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    How important is transfer speed and how important is cost?
    Do you want a portable 2.5-inch model, a AC-powered 3.5 inch, or does it not matter?
    What size are you thinking?

    With your model, you are limited to USB 2.0 - so you cannot take advantage of the much faster USB 3.1. FireWire has roughly twice the working speed of USB 2.0, but it is an obsolete port and enclosures with FireWire are hard to find (and expensive). Thunderbolt would also give higher speeds, but enclosures here are very expensive. USB enclosures are the most economical, but you will be limited to the 480 Mbps max transfer speed. If speed is less of a priority and cost is a higher priority, than a USB enclosure makes sense. Any cheap USB enclosure will do, and you can pop in a 2.5-inch HGST TravelStar for a solid, economical drive.

    HDDs have working speeds from about 60 MB/s to 300 MB/s, with most 2.5-inch consumer drives being in the 90-140 MB/s range. IIRC, USB 2.0 would enable roughly 40 MB/s transfer speeds, FW roughly 75 MB/s, and Thunderbolt would enable maximum transfer speed of any HDD as it supports speeds far beyond even the fastest HDDs.

    Alternatively, you could also purchase an external SSD like a Samsung EVO, but to get the speed benefit, you will need to use Thunderbolt (or a Thunderbolt to USB 3.0/eSATA 6.0 adapter.) The other advantages would be superior longevity, durability, and shock resistance.

    Some drives ship in Mac-ready format, where as others ship with Windows-only format, and others in a format that works on both Mac + Windows. Virtually any hard drive can be made Mac-ready with just formatting the disk using the Disk Utility. If you are only using a Mac, I recommend formatting the drive to HFS+ (Mac-only format) upon purchase.
  4. kschendel macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2014
    ZapNZs gave a good summary from the enclosure standpoint. As for drives, they are by and large a commodity these days. The Backblaze blog at occasionally runs a piece with drive failure stats; as I recall, the only real stinker they've found was one particular Seagate model (other Seagates were OK). Whatever you do, don't depend on a single drive. I personally like to retire and replace my backup drives every year or so, just because.
  5. GroovyDreamyFab, Jan 28, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018

    GroovyDreamyFab thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jan 28, 2018
    Thanks for your advice.
  6. Fishrrman, Jan 29, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018

    Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    What follows is my opinion only.
    Just some general ideas.

    DON'T "rely on the cloud".
    If you have stuff that's important to you, the only way to really protect it is to keep it backed up on physical drives that YOU control.
    Again -- don't trust the cloud. Others have, and the cloud has let them down in moments of need.

    I wouldn't rely on Time Machine, either.
    Again, just too many stories from folks who did... and... in a moment of need... couldn't "get to" their data.

    For backing up one external drive to another, what you really want is a "cloning app".
    Either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.
    Both are FREE to download and try for 30 days.
    SD will do a "full clone forever" without registering (but you need to register to do incremental backups).

    A clone is an exact copy of the source drive.
    It makes "getting to things" INCREDIBLY EASY when you need to find something.

    You didn't tell us what your total size requirements are -- just 100gb of movies.

    You might consider either a 1tb or 2tb 2.5" external drive.
    You didn't tell us exactly how many existing drives you wish to backup.
    The external with movies?
    Any more?

    I would get a 1tb or 2tb platter-based drive.
    Then, I'd partition it, into two or three partitions.
    Then, I'd create a CCC clone of the internal drive on the first partition
    Then, a CCC clone of your "movie ext drive" on the second partition
    Then, perhaps a CCC clone of the second ext drive on the third partition.

    If you REALLY want your data to be protected, I'd recommend a SECOND external backup drive.
    Then I'd repeat what I just did above, and store that backup somewhere "off-site".
    The reason: what if your house burns down?

    Finally, I prefer to "build my own" drives using a "bare drive" and a USB3 external enclosure that I pick myself.
    This way I know what "goes in", and can take them apart if need be.

    For 2.5" drives, I'd suggest Toshiba or HGST (Hitachi).
    For enclosures, this one seems bulletproof:
  7. GroovyDreamyFab thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jan 28, 2018
    Of the 3 external hard drives I like to keep, I keep one off site, I currently use Time Machine for all of them. Will check out Carbon Copy Cloner though. I have used Time Machine in the past and so far it has saved me, like when my MacBook Pro hard drive died, and when I needed to retrieve something. But that's only my experience. Maybe I can have one external with Time Machine and one with CCC, still need to replace the 3rd. Since I'm a non techie, you lost me with the partition talk. Don't know what that means. 1TB has been fine for me in an external hard drive so far.
    If getting to things is easy with CCC, then I will like it.
    Thanks for the advice.
  8. kschendel macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2014
    Partitioning is just a way of chopping up a bigger drive into smaller pieces which are named and used separately. So you could have a 2 tb drive and partition it into (say) two pieces, one could be a time machine backup and the other could hold movies / photos / etc stuff that you don't access frequently.
  9. ProwlingTiger macrumors 65816


    Jan 15, 2008
    Even if your machine can't fully utilize USB 3.1, I'd definitely buy one of this spec to future proof. You never know when you'll want that faster transfer speed down the road.

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8 January 28, 2018