Soon to switch from PC to MAC, In the meantime which external HD to purchase

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Vader Was Frame, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. Vader Was Frame macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2008
    Need some file transfer and external HDD purchase advice


    I plan on buying a MBP within the next 6 months. May try to wait for CPU updates, etc. etc.

    In the meantime, I wanted to purchase an external HDD to start backing up my current data on my Windows machine. I have the feeling the internal HDD could start to die out anytime now in my current PC. Eventually this will primarily be used as backup and media storage with my MBP.

    My question is this:

    Knowing that I am going to be purchasing a Mac in the near future and the machine will need to read my files from my external, (a) how should I format the external that I plan to purchase (now and after Mac purchase) and (b) is it a must to buy a "Mac-Ready" external - the plus on these is that they seem to have the firewire port(s)?

    I've glossed over the 3 different format types but wanted to confirm what would be smoothest. Any tips would be great.

    I was thinking of grabbing a 1TB external since they are so cheap these days. Plan to purchase the external soon and then play the waiting game on MBP updates but wanted to have everything set for when I make the plunge.

    Here are some drives I've been looking at:

    Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme (1TB)

    WD My Book Studio Edition (1TB)

    Any recommendations and advice are welcome and thanks in advance! :cool:

  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    As much as I was happy buying a G-Tech, I bought my G-Raid was the assumption that one of my other drives would fail like I read about online, every drive I have owned has worked flawlessly, so for me the G-Tech was not really completely worth it.

    But everyone has their own experiences, but I imagine that most of them are positive. Sure, there are these threads about how person x's drive failed and person y wouldn't buy anything but them. I own three drives that there are plenty of horror stories about.

    No one (except MacDawg) would ever post: "I love my Western Digital 1TB Drive", unless someone posts a horror story about one. Companies ship tons of drives daily, not everyone will be perfect.

    The best advice is to find one that has a good warranty and excellent customer service. And then avoid reading these threads so you don't lose any sleep.

    Or you could be OCD, anal and paranoid like me and have two back-up drives...

    1TB is prbly a good size to start at it, I would say most people looking for non-mobile externals start at that size, here is a recent thread about that...
    More literature found here.
    Here, is another thread on 1TB Hard Drives
    This one is about LaCie...
    Here is another, there is some more discussion about LaCie in there...
    Here is one on USB 1TB, I'd stick to Firewire...
    And if all else fails, MRoogle
  3. drjuice macrumors member

    Aug 19, 2008
    Most "Mac Ready" externals I have seen ship formatted to FAT32, which both Windows and OS X can read and write to. FAT32 can't handle files over 2GB, so if you have big media files that could be an issue.

    OS X can read from an NTFS drive (NTFS is the default format for XP and up) but cannot write to it, so an NTFS drive will only be good for getting data onto your Mac, you won't be able to put any Mac data onto it without some software.

    If all you need to do for now is move data from A to B, NTFS would be fine. Once you're done migrating and you're sure everything is where it needs to be, you can format the drive to HFS+ (In OS X Disk Utility it's called Mac OS Extended (Journaled). This is OS X's native format and you can use your external as a Time Machine backup drive.

    So, to answer your questions:
    (a) The drive will probably come out of the box as FAT32 if it says Windows and Mac on the box. Even if it's NTFS you can still move data from the PC onto it and move data onto the Mac from it. If you want to use it with the Mac as a Time Machine drive or set it up to boot your Mac, format for the native, HFS+ format, just make sure everything you need is copied off of it.

    (b) Any drive will do, as you can always format it later. Firewire is faster than USB as far as moving data, however every Intel Mac can be booted from USB, so Firewire isn't necessary like it was in the PowerPC days. As far as recommendations go I currently have two LaCie drives, a 250GB that I bought about 3 years ago and a 1TB that I bought in December. They're both USB only as they were cheaper, but if you get one that has Firewire as well so much the better. Look for drives that have the right mix of manufacturers warranty (Seagate has 5 years on some drives) and price. 1TB should be fine unless your doing a lot of video production.

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