What external hard drive would you recommend?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by caazz, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. caazz macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2011
    Hi all

    I have wasted about 5 hours researching hard drives and have yet to resolve the question of which one. I'm wondering if anyone can help me out

    I've narrowed it down to:
    LaCie Rugged 500GB
    G-drive mobile 500GB
    WD My Passport Studio 500GB

    They are all at similar price points and have a 3 year warranty. I am mainly looking at something that will back up my MBP using Time Machine. I'm a student and am working on a research subject and if I lost my research I would cry for hours. I'm looking for something portable that I can take with me to uni if required (won't be a daily occurrence).

    I can't determine which one is the best because I keep seeing a mix of bad and good reviews for all of them. I know you will all be subjective as well, but I thought if I could tap into people who have a bit more technical knowledge than myself I can somehow make a decision!
  2. mb21 macrumors newbie

    Apr 19, 2011
    I'd just make sure you don't have to plug it into an outlet but that it's rather powered entirely through usb. One cable > two cables + adapter ;)
  3. Branners macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2012
    Bélâbre, France
    I don't know about the ones you've looked at but I've never had any bother with my 500GB Free Agent GoFlex drive. It's USB 3.0, small and works interchangeably with Macs and PCs.


  4. Bob Coxner macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2011
  5. MacSignal macrumors regular

    May 8, 2010
    I think you have arrived at the reality that every HD will have some positive and negative reviews. Given equal levels of warranty, customer service, and connectivity-- if that is your evaluation or assumption -- I like the styling of the G-Drive. If I were buying for myself, I would get another OWC Elite Pro mini. Good luck with your shopping!
  6. an-other macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2011
    Western Digital

    There's no easy rule of thumb for choosing external storage. You'll find some people have brand loyalty and other people purchase purely on price. I like these for non-video editing stuff:


    These use green drives.

    My worst drive experience was with IBM Deskstar drives now Hitachi. I'm sure some people love 'em.

    My best guidance is buy as much storage as you can afford. Buying the first external drive is just the countdown until you need another!
  7. Gator Bob macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2011
    if I lost my research I would cry for hours. I'm looking for something portable that I can take with me to uni if required (won't be a daily occurrence).[/QUOTE]

    Sunday, my 2011 13" Air's hard drive locked up and was unbootable. I quickly and easily rebooted directly onto my external backup G-Drive on which I nightly do a full clone backup with "Super Duper". I then continued computing as if I still were on my MacBook Air's internal hard drive. Yesterday an apple genius fixed my Air's no-boot problem with software repair fixes.
  8. caazz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2011
    Thanks for your contributions! I've since decided to eliminate the LaCie based on the fact that a lot of the negative reviews have had something to do with customer service as well as product reliability.

    I'm still tossing up between the G-Drive and WD. I have looked at Seagate and I think I didn't put that on my list because of lack of firewire connection. I'll take a look at price including the upgrade to firewire and see if it would be suitable. I didn't look at OWC because it isn't sold in Australia but I just checked and they said that warranty is 3 years and that they deal with international customers. Now I'm even more confused! :confused:

    I've been trying to decide whether 500GB is enough. My MBP is 250GB and I was told that rule of thumb was a hard drive at least double the size. Should I get 750GB or 1TB? Or do you think that 500GB is enough for what I need (So far I have used about 60GB of that 250GB hard drive on my 2010 MBP).
  9. troy14 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 25, 2008
    Las Vegas (Summerlin), NV
    Just another thought but why only 500GB? The price difference between 500GB and 1TB shouldn't be much and you can't upgrade later on.

    Edit: Just saw your last post. Think of it this way, if you say use.. 100 or 200 GB of your HD, then it will have to back up that much! You will have no room for anything you may want to put on it! (Movies, Music, Photos, Apps, who knows!)

    I would just spring for the extra space. I bought a 500GB last year and now I only have 20GB left and I am kicking myself in the butt because if I buy a 1TB I will just have wasted the 500GB HD.
  10. LaunchpadBS macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2008
    My 2p but I bought an external 2.5" firewire enclosure to use with a 640GB WD Scorpio Blue about a year ago, no complaints, it's fast and you only need one cable :)

    Best part, it was much cheaper than the 'external' offerings and can be upgraded.
  11. Rorlow macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Detroit, MI
  12. beowulf70 macrumors regular


    Oct 20, 2010
    I've had my WD My Passport 500GB for over a year now and it's a great little drive.

    My one has the triple interface. (I'm not sure if these are still available). FireWire 800/400 and mini USB connectors. The only issues I've had are Finder freezes using the FireWire 800 cable, but that could be my old Mac. No problems with the Firewire 400.
  13. caazz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2011
    Okay based on my research, speaking with friends and reading your responses I decided to get a 1TB hard drive and I wanted one that was bus powered by Firewire. I decided on the 1TB WD My Passport Studio because it was the cheapest 1TB of the three above (inclusive of shipping price) that could be shipped to Australia from Amazon. Thanks for all of your help. It has truly been invaluable :)
  14. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2012
    Do yourself a favor: whatever drive you buy, make it a pair and rotate as Time Machine backups every week or so. Keep the second one in a different place. I don't want to see you cry. :)
  15. LorenK macrumors 6502

    Dec 26, 2007

    Just a comment on LaCie external drives. I am surprised that they are still in business. I bought five LaCie external drives over a couple of year period and all of them eventually failed, not the drives themselves, but the bridge boards, rendering them useless hunks of aluminum. While they are pretty to look at, I don't understand how I could have no drive failures but five bridge board failures. Something in what LaCie has done in their design makes them fail and for that reason, I would stay away.
  16. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
  17. MacScott macrumors regular


    Jan 27, 2012
    Another vote for a Seagate GoFlex. I have the 2T. Seems very dependable. Sort of goes to sleep when Time machine isn't backing up to it. I will suggest being careful depending upon any attached external HD for critical data. I got a direct lightning strike here a few years ago and lost my iMac and all my backups. It just cooked everything that was connected. yes I had a surge protector.
  18. jljue macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2011
    Brandon, MS
    Anything can happen to a physical drive. Go with one that you feel comfortable with price, performance, and reliability and just use it. It may seem a little redundant, but I backup my MBP Time Machine backups to a Seagate 2TB Green drive in an OWC case and my Crashplan backup is to a WD 2TB Green Drive, both hooked up to a Mac Mini. That Mac Mini backs up to a 2TB Green Drive hooked up to my Airport Extreme. Both machines backup to CrashPlan's online backup site. Anything can happen, so I don't depend on just physical cloning at home and regular backups at home. If my house burned down or lighting wiped everything out, I can get Crashplan to send me my data after purchasing more Macs from the local Apple store and I'll be back in business.
  19. appleaphid macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2009
    Choose a good return policy (drives ejecting...)

    I'm not going to recommend specific brands as I've heard of mixed experiences with all brands (e.g. I've had no problem with 2 LaCie drives for the last few years).

    More importantly, there seems to be an epidemic of external drives (of all brands) ejecting themselves for no apparent reason. google "apple external drive ejecting itself" or check out this sample thread:


    So in the end, it may be wise to buy from a place that will let you return the drive just in case...
  20. AlabamaSlammer macrumors 6502


    Feb 8, 2012
  21. caazz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2011
    Thanks again. Yeah I figured I needed to get two (still trying to figure out where I would put the second one) just to be safe. But as I am a student, I can't afford to buy more than one in one pay week. So I'll buy the next one later. I think I might go for a different one (just in case there is a problem with the 'brand') and I think $99 for the seagate go flex is a great price! I don't really care about colour :)

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