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

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' 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!

  2. pier macrumors 6502a


    Feb 7, 2009
    New mbp don't have a firewire 400 port anymore.

    If you find a good 7200 rpm with FW800 that will rock. I used a Gtech while I worked with audio and those little aluminium beasts really rock. No fans, and really really fast. There's a model with USB/FW400/FW800/eSATA connections.

    Before going to Gtech I tried many different external drives but fan noise and speed always annoyed me...

    Other than that take care that Mac can't write on NTFS partitions, only read. So if you wan't your mac to modify you pc backups you'll have to use FAT32 (yuck...). Or have 2 partitions, one in FAT and the other blank until you get your mac and format it with mac filesystem.
  3. opera57 macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    I got one of these ( for transferring files between my Macs and pc, and I find it really is great. There is no point buying a special "Mac-formatted" one, as I find they just increase the price significantly for something which you could do yourself easily.

    Most PC external hard drives come formatted as fat32 which can be read and written by both windows and mac and so you would most likely not have to touch the drive. Once you have transferred the files across you can format the drive to Mac OS Extended (using Disk Utility) which supports Time Machine, although you won't be able to read or write to the drive using windows anymore unless you install the correct drivers on Windows (MacDrive - see here:

    I hope that helps! [​IMG]
  4. DivineEvil macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2009
    Lol guys you haven't heard of NTFS-3G? Those are free "drivers" that enable your MAC to write on NTFS!

    So what I'll recommend is:

    1) Get whatever external HDD you want! Or buy internal HDD + external enclosure.
    2) Format it NTFS!
    3) Backup your data!
    4) When you get your MBP. install ntfs-3g and you are good to go (read and write on the HDD)!

    If you plan to use Time Machine then you'll have to:

    1) Copy all the data onto the MBP.
    2) Format/Partition the external drive to HFS+! (I recommend to use double sized partition than the HDD on the MBP. Example: if you have 250GB HDD in the MBP, use 500GB partition on the external HDD for Time Machine. The rest you could format in NTFS and us it as Backup partition for a Windows PC or whatever you want to do with it).
    3) Configure Time Machine.
  5. nikiski macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2007
    Hong Kong, or Surrey, BC, Canada
    Personally, I have used both Seagate and WD external drives and I find both are quite capable in terms of meeting m storage needs. I do think the WD Studio series look nicer with Macs though... At least they are silver. Plus WD has FireWire 800 which is faster. :)
  6. nikiski macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2007
    Hong Kong, or Surrey, BC, Canada
    I'd prefer MacDrive for reading from and writing to HFS+ drives on Windows :)
  7. DivineEvil macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2009
    I meant install ntfs-3g on the MBP. And with SL coming we will have driver's for HFS+ in windows :D.
  8. atticus18244fsa macrumors 6502


    Jul 11, 2008
    Waterloo, ON
    I have the Freeagent Desk 1TB which is the same as the Xtreme but with less ports. It has been reliable but does sometimes make some noise when copying files to and from it. Overall it's a pretty good drive.
  9. Vader Was Frame thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2008
    Thanks all for the useful information. Seems like there are more options than I thought.

    Keep the ideas comin'
  10. BlackiBook macrumors 6502


    Jan 1, 2009
    Norman, Oklahoma
    Rather than start a new thread...

    I am going to put it here! (sorry if this some what highjacks your thread)

    Okay so I have multiple computers that all need to be backed up! The macbook that I bought for my girlfriend last year suffered a major hit, the hard drive crashed and she lost all of her information. Now I am worried!! I have the computers listed in my signature and a Lenovo s10e netbook that I would like to back up on the same external hard drive. I don't plan on doing anything but backing them up once every week or two... First question is what external hard drive should I get to be able to load 4 macs and a windows machine? (I would like to have a desktop external, not portable) Second question is when I get the drive should I separate the drive into multiple section or what? any help would be much appreciated!!

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