Suggestions on an External Hard Drive

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by robfromabove, Feb 6, 2010.

  1. robfromabove macrumors regular

    Jan 14, 2010
    So I'm currently using an antiquated PC with XP, with ~100 GB of various movies, photos, music, etc. and am planning on finally making the switch when Apple refreshes their MBP's. I intend to move all of my music to the laptop, as well as being backed up to the external HD, whereas the movies I intend to keep on the external exclusively to save disk space. I like some of the drives Iomega offers, since they're reasonably priced and offer Firewire800, however, they're HFS+ formatted. My question is this:

    Is there any software available for XP that would allow me to have read/write access on a HFS+ drive, so that I can back up all of my data from my PC? Or is there some alternative drives that are more Mac/PC friendly?

    I'm essentially looking for something in the 500GB+ range, with a 7200RPM disk speed and FW800, for ~$150 (which happens to be the price of some of the Iomega drives)... Looking for something relatively fast, and not just for using as a TimeCapsule alternative. Any suggestions?

    *edit: Post #100! Huzzah!
  2. Dhelsdon macrumors 65816


    Feb 5, 2010
    Canadian Eh!
    IMO Get a 1TB WD 7200rpm SATA Drive for ~100$, and buy an enclosure off ebay.. Pay for the drive, cause enclosures aren't expensive.
  3. robfromabove thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 14, 2010
    I'm not finding any enclosures that support Firewire on ebay, or on google shopping either for that matter... Kinda surprised at the lack of support of Firewire, considering it's speed compared to USB2.0 :(
  4. Sedulous macrumors 68000


    Dec 10, 2002
    I've usually been pleased with wiebetech gear. They typically have FW800/USB2/eSATA combo.
  5. mo-ca macrumors member

    Aug 5, 2005
    Hi, Im currently using one of this: Formac HDD and dont regret buying it. my macbook doesnt offer esata, so im stuck with usb and firewire. another advantage: formac doesnt include annoying software like seagate/wd ;)
  6. Sedulous macrumors 68000


    Dec 10, 2002
    I should mention that the wiebetech gear I mentioned allows you to buy case only; thus allowing you to drop in any 2.5" SATA drive you want. I have a toughtech XE.
  7. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Cave Man's rule #1 on external hard drives: NEVER buy a canned drive; ALWAYS buy the bare drive and enclosure separately.

    Rule #1 is in place because if the drive fails, you cannot take it apart without voiding its warranty. Why is this important? Because more often than not, it's the enclosure's controller that fails and not the hard drive. If you assemble your own, then you can take it apart if there's a problem to test each and isolate it.

    I have had great luck with Hitachi, Samsung and Seagate drives, and awful luck with Western Digital. I will never buy another WD drive because their customer service is complete BS.

    I have had great luck with OWC, Macally and Rosewill enclosures.
  8. ladysman macrumors regular

    Jan 29, 2008

    I highly agree with Cave Man here. Of the 2 drive’s I have purchased that were external. Both have been replaced at least once. 1 Seagate and 1 Western digital.

    I have had HORRIBLE luck with Samsung and Seagate (especially Seagate) drives. I have had outstanding luck with Western Digital Black drives. I have 6 WD 1TB black drives. They are blazing fast and Newegg had a great deal on them about 6-8 months ago.
    As far as customer service, WD has been much better for me than any of the other companies.

    Cave Man,
    Which enclosure do you prefer or like the best?
  9. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    I like the Rosewill eSATA/FW800/FW400/USB2 because it doesn't go to sleep. It's also the most expensive of the lot and comes with a boat-load of screws. But it's been running great for 2 years.
  10. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Well, I *used* to agree with Cave Man, but not anymore -- well with some exceptions.

    Im fine with WD, Seagate, Hitachi externals since whats inside is whats on the outside. WD drives have WD internals. And usually 5 year warranties to boot.

    However I dont hold the same regard for Lacie, Iomega, or just about anyone that doesnt tell you what kind of drive is on the inside of their case.

    If you were to buy a drive that came formatted HFS+, its a simple and quick procedure to reformat it to something thats PC/Mac friendly, like FAT32. Then format back to HFS+.

    Is there some reason you need FW800? or you just want it? If this is just for backup, or just for throwing your music and photos on, FW800 isnt really necessary. Or even FW400. Just a way to save some money.

    Rosewill cases seem OK to me, but their FW800 ones arent any more expensive than anyone elses, its actually $20 less than OWCs, which I have 2 of and they seem more sturdy than the Rosewills. World Computing/MEFW924AL1K/

    FWIW, for every "XXXXX drive sucks" story you are going to get a "XXXXX drives are the greatest ever!"

    Just be forewarned.

    One simple way to transfer the file would just be to hook them up via ethernet. Turn on file sharing and the Mac should see the PC files easy.
  11. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    And therein lies the problem. If the drive fails in that 5 year period, you cannot open the enclosure without voiding the warranty. You have to send the entire drive in to have them "test" it.
  12. TheStork macrumors regular


    Dec 28, 2008
    Caveman, what are you using for your external esata setup on your ATV?
  13. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    I have a Rosewill 3.5" enclosure and a 750 gb Samsung 7200 rpm SATA drive. My Macally and OWC enclosures are inappropriate for the ATV because they go to sleep and the ATV freezes when they do.
  14. TheStork macrumors regular


    Dec 28, 2008
    Ouch! That's a good point! I've got to read the spec's closer because I've missed that tidbit.

    After checking the spec's for my OWC drives, the Elite Pro enclosures don't power down automatically. However, the NewerTech miniStack, which I've got on my Mini's, do auto power down. For the Mini's, I can live with that because I've got them set to sleep after 30 minutes of inactivity.

    BTW, your Newegg Rosewill enclosure is ~$20 less than the equivalent OWC Elite Pro AL enclosure. Did you try out the Firewire ports before dedicating it to the ATV with the eSata I/F? (I was thinking of using it to dupe the original ATV drive with your s/w.)
  15. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2006
    If you format your drive as FAT32, it will be readable on both your Mac and your PC. I believe that FAT32 is the only format that both OSX and Windows support (for reading and writing, anyway) out of the box.

    Once you have everything moved over, feel free to erase the drive and reformat as HFS+.

    If that isn't a good solution for you, there are a couple of products out there that will let you mount HFS+ drives on a PC, but they cost some cash. Google will point you in the right direction.
  16. scottkifnw macrumors regular


    Jan 17, 2008
    Trophy Club, TX
    Hard Drive Suggestions

    Look at Gtech


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