USB Hard Drive Recommendations?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by twynne, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. twynne macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Location:
    London, UK
    #1
    Just looking into getting an external hard drive for use when on business trips. I'd like it to hold a full backup (64gb+), my music library (about 35gb), and have some room to spare. I'd say a 160gb drive is probably the minimum. It has to be bus-powered, preferably 5400rpm, preferably 8mb cache, and as light as possible.

    The best candidate so far appears to be a Formac drive, 250gb, 124g, 8mb cache, 5400rpm. There are lighter Western Digital drives (and cheaper) but they only have a 2mb cache so probably not quite as quick. There is also a Maxtor drive (max of 160gb) but it's heavier.

    Does anyone have any particular experience with any of the above, or is there another make that you would recommend?

    Thanks,

    Tom
     
  2. skubish macrumors 68030

    skubish

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  3. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #5
    I recommend the new Western Digital My Passport Essential 320 GB drive. Only US$199, and it's about as heavy and as large as a deck of cards.
     
  4. twynne thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Thanks all - aren't the WD drives all 2mb cache though? Neither of those pages mentions, but looking at ebuyer (UK) they all appear to be.
     
  5. whateverandever macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 8, 2006
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    Baltimore
    #7
    They all seem to claim to be 2MB of cache, but it seems like the drives inside are stock 8MB models.

    I really can't tell you what the deal is, but with an external drive on USB2, the cache isn't going to make a difference performance wise.
     
  6. sWaltuo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 25, 2007
    #8
    I have always had good experiences with WD drives. Have two mybooks and a passport.
     
  7. twynne thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Location:
    London, UK
    #9
    Thanks guys - it looks like the WD drives are getting the votes. Amazon (UK) seems to list two types - the 'V2' and 'Essential'. I can only find the Essential drives on the WD site. Is it safe to assume that Essential is just a rebranding of that line of drives, or does anyone know there to be a difference?

    Incidentally the 'Essential' drives seem to carry a higher price, though that doesn't always mean 'better'! :D

    Thanks,

    Tom
     
  8. twynne thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    London, UK
    #10
    Think I found the answer - it would appear the 'Essential' drives are just a slightly different design to the others (3mm shorter from what I can tell, and missing the blue light on the side). Does anyone else know of other differences?
     
  9. ddd269 macrumors regular

    ddd269

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    Location:
    Torrance, CA
    #11
    I have the 160gb WD passport and works great. I use it for large files that I don't want on my MBA and also as a Time machine backup.

    Like a previous post, the cache won't make a difference with a USB connection. I haven't felt any "lack" of speed with this drive.

    btw... Please use Time Machine as often as possible. My year old MBP went blank a few month ago. I've had Macs since the 80's and have always been reliable for me and all of a sudden with my most precious data... you get the picture. Fortunately I had a Time Machine backup when I first updated to Leopard. A bit old, but was able to retrieve up to that date. Not a total loss. Lesson learned! :(

    Good luck.
     
  10. Federico macrumors member

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    South Florida
    #12
  11. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #13
    G-Tech G-Drives are attached to my other Macs and I need to order the G-Tech G-Drive Mini (160 or 250 GB) for my MacBook Air..... On the road I also use LaCie "Rugged" drives. The "Rugged" and the G-Drive Mini HDs are both bus-driven.

    Now that it is finally shipping I also will be adding the Time Capsule to my setup to make things a little easier across the board as far as backing up all my machines to one central location.
     
  12. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    Jun 3, 2006
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    One Nation Under Gordon
    #14
    I'll put in a vote for the Freecom Toughdrives.

    [​IMG]

    Ruggedised construction (rubber outer, plastic cavity inner + shock absorber pads), captive USB plug so you don't have a "Doh, I forgot the cable" moment.

    And should you be inclined that way, available even in pink. There's a Firewire variety if you intend to use it with more than the Air, but you lose captive-cable convenience.

    http://www.freecom.com/productsubs.asp?CatID=8020&sCatID=1146187&s=ja
     
  13. twynne thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    London, UK
    #15
    Thanks all - I've ordered the 320gb Passport. You can never have too much space... and figured as it's the same physical size I might as well go for the largest.
     
  14. ddd269 macrumors regular

    ddd269

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    #16

    Very nice... I like the retracting USB. Real cool.
     
  15. CalMin macrumors 6502a

    CalMin

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    Nov 8, 2007
    #17
    Another vote for the WD passport. Small, quiet, cool, cheap. Not sure about reliability, but I've had mine about 9 month and it runs like a champ. Only use if for backup. I'd never trust primary data to one of these things.
     
  16. ddd269 macrumors regular

    ddd269

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    #18
    For those in the US, So Cal area... Best Buy has the WD Passport 320gb for $149.99. It's on Today's (Sunday)L A Times ad.
    Not on the website though.
    That's a good deal! :D
     
  17. Ringu macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    #19
    freecom

    Another vote here.

    I've been using one of those Freecom 320gb Toughdrive's with my MBA. It's a nice little drive, a bit slower than my 320gb WD Passport, but I feel more confident in lugging it around all over the world. The incorporated USB cable is just one less thing I have to think about.

    Shame the USB drive doesn't come in the white colourway that the Firewire version's dressed in. And the flashing blue light isn't as cool or a subtle as the light on the WD.

    On a sidenote, I've a couple of LaCie Porsche drives fail on me in the past, so feel less confident on those. Although the 2 replacements have worked well.
     
  18. eggersj macrumors 6502

    eggersj

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    Apr 23, 2008
    #20

    Last week bought a Maxtor portable aluminum drive 120MB for 69.99 at Best buy. I got it after I saw that I only had 24.3GB left on my Air's HD (where or where does the memory go???). I backed my entire Air through time machine and transferred some movies and photos to it, and I still have 79.9 GB left over. Not a bad deal considering. Plus the USB plug fits into the Air's USB port (My old Sandisk Flash Drive wouldn't.).

    Now I have 48.9GB free on the Air. Def worth the 70 bucks in my opinion... I didn't need a whole lot of storage, so this isn't probably the right thing for you but it is what it is! (plus the aluminum Maxtor matches the air's looks perfectly...Slim and industrial)
     
  19. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

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    #21
    Pink you say?? I'm all in.:D
     
  20. wordy macrumors regular

    wordy

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    Feb 26, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto
    #22
    WD Passport is the way to go. USB 2.0 transfer speed is the limiting factor in external drives, so you won't miss the extra cache.

    That one that has the built in USB connection is brilliant though. It would be nice to not be able to forget the cable.
     
  21. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #23
    I've had a couple of the non-ruggedised Freecoms (the ones with the aluminium shell) fail on me, but a couple of them have also taken drops off tables (while operational) onto hard surfaces without missing a beat.

    So far I've not yet dropped a Toughdrive in operation for real, and so far no failures. I'm sure you're more likely to suffer a failure from a lemon drive more than an impact, but it's nice to have the additional reassurance.

    If you're looking for something a little more visually matched with the Air, then the aluminium Freecom I referred to above might be a contender, although it doesn't have a captive cable. Cablewise, camera shops sell shorter USB cables, like 9 - 11".

    http://www.freecom.com/ecproduct_detail.asp?ID=3777&CatID=&sCatID=
     
  22. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #24
    Going for looks only, the Mini-G-Drive is so adorable I couldn't resist buying one when I saw it at the Apple store. It is a small (mini) version of the larger G-Drives I have attached to my other Macs. It looks really cute next to my MBA. The one I bought has the 160 GB capacity and a nice little leather slipcase for travel.
     
  23. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #25
    I have a Western Digital 320GB 2.5" hard drive. Its nice and small and big capacity. I got it for $109 after rebate. Good deal.
     

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