Should I buy a FW External Hard Drive???

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by davidg4781, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. davidg4781 macrumors 68000

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    Oct 28, 2006
    Location:
    Alice, TX
    #1
    I'm looking to buy an portable external hard drive for backups. I was planning on paying a little extra for the firewire, and both Seagate and Western Digital both came out with "Mac" externals with Firewire and aluminum casings.

    Now that the new MacBooks don't have Firewire, do y'all think it's worth the extra money for those drives? I liked that it was faster and that I only needed one plug. With my USB drive now, I need two USB ports, one for data and one for power. I have an older MacBook now, but may be upgrading in the future (depending on me getting a new job or not).
     
  2. cube macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #2
    Buy a quad-interface case: FW400, FW800, USB 2.0 and eSATA (they exist only for SATA drives).

    People who need to use legacy PATA drives have to settle for triple-interface cases (FW400, FW800, USB 2.0)
     
  3. davidg4781 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Oct 28, 2006
    Location:
    Alice, TX
    #3
    So you're saying build my own instead of buying one?

    I've thought of that, but the only nice looking enclosures are really expensive. I know I shouldn't worry about looks, but some of them look like they're targeted specifically for 13 year olds to show off how cool they look.

    Do you know if they can be powered only by the FW port, or only one USB port?
     
  4. hughvane macrumors 6502

    hughvane

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    Aug 25, 2008
    Location:
    Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
    #4
    One of the important factors that you should consider is not so much the case, as the controller, the little circuit inside the enclosure, and the chipset it uses. Full credit to another forum http://forums.macosxhints.com/, and a very knowledgeable person named Trevor, on this issue ...

    <snip>"Oxford is not a brand on the case, they don't make cases. They just make the important part of the electronics--the bridge. Simply, because there are no native FireWire internal hard drives, just ATA and SATA ... the bridge changes the FireWire protocol to ATA or SATA protocol.

    ... the cases with the Mercury branding that OWC sells use the Oxford chipset. Usually, Wiebetech cases use the Oxford chipset. Usually, the G-Tech cases use the Oxford chipset. There are others, too. Oxford chipsets are a feature, so when you look at the feature list, if they use Oxford they will usually mention that. If they don't tell you, they probably use Prolific, or one of the other smaller chipset makers.<end>

    So, when you're hunting for an external firewire enclosure, keep in mind the information about Oxford chipsets.
     
  5. cube macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #5
    I think that a 3.5" drive might not get enough power from the bus.

    If you're thinking about a 2.5" drive, I think FW is the way to go for power.

    I never looked at 2.5" enclosures, so I don't know what's available. My comments about quad and triple interface were based on 3.5" cases.

    Technically, you don't need FW400 in the case if it has FW800. You can just connect it to a FW400 computer with the appropriate cable or simple adapter. You can also connect a FW800 computer to an FW400 peripheral. If any FW400 is connected, everything on the bus will run at 400 speed.
     
  6. juststranded macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    #6
    Do FireWire 400 cables alone slow it to 400 speed, or does the FW400 port slow it? For instance, if I had a FW400 cable with a FW800 adapters on either end plugged into the FW800 port on my computer and the FW800 port on the drive, would it be FW400 or 800 speed?

    Don't ask me why anyone would do that, it's just an example.
     
  7. davidg4781 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Oct 28, 2006
    Location:
    Alice, TX
    #7
    I appreciate all the comments about external enclosures, but I think I'll go with a ready made one. They seem to be about the same price, or less expensive.

    I'm just curious if I should spend the extra money and get one with FireWire, since Apple seems to be phasing them out.

    And just for clarification, if I were to get a USB 2.0 drive, this will or should be bus powered and won't need an A/C adaptor or 2 USB ports?
     
  8. polar-blair macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    #8
    Dont quote me on this but I have two 3.5 Drives (Western Digital 500GB's) and they need a power supply. From what I have seen the 2.5 drives are bus driven as they are designed to be portable for notebook users and wont need an external power supply.
     
  9. hughvane macrumors 6502

    hughvane

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    Location:
    Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
    #9
    Check rumors and reports about this one carefully. I glanced at something yesterday that suggested Firewire was here to stay.

    A significant number of portable drive users comment or complain about poor performance or none at all using bus-power. The way round that, as I see it, is to use a 4-port battery-powered portable USB2 hub. There's only one I've ever seen on the market, made by Cyberpower. Check it out if you think it's of use to you. I have one, and it's in regular use, even though I have desktop computers.
     
  10. davidg4781 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Oct 28, 2006
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    Alice, TX
    #10
    Will FireWire have enough power to power over the bus? I'm about to stop by BestBuy to see what they have. Wal-Mart had the older FreeAgent Gos for really cheap, so I might do that....save money even though it's just USB.
     
  11. davidg4781 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Oct 28, 2006
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    Alice, TX
    #11
    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry Curve: BlackBerry8330/4.3.0 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/104)

    Wow. So I'm at Best Buy right now. They have the new Seagate Go 320gb for $230! I want to say it's at least $50 cheaper from newegg and Seagate.

    But they gave me a $5 coupon for buying some phones a few months ago, so I guess that makes everything ok.
     

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