What external harddrive to buy

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by tinydancer, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. tinydancer macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2004
    North Carolina
    I have an iMac G4 1ghz 17" and am thinnking of adding a external hard drive. I have 2 question:

    1.) What make and model to get? Considering my computer and need for this device as a means for backing up data.

    2.) USB 2 or Firewire? Which is faster?

    Any help is appreciated

  2. Peterkro macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2004
    Communard de Londres
    Firewire400 is faster than USB2 Firewire800 is twice as fast.Brand? Lacie d2 don't go with the the Porsche model.Most of the others are very good but D2 is excellent.
  3. maya macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2004
    somewhere between here and there.
    I second "the get d2 HDD" from LaCie. :)

    USB 2.0 is will not allow to boot, however FireWire 400 and 800 will. :)

    If you want to save a little bit more buy an stock HDD and a FireWire case with a 911 (FW400) bridge or a 922 bridge chip (FW400 and 800). :)
  4. runninmac macrumors 65816


    Jan 20, 2005
    Rockford MI
    How to u make "assemble" a harddrive case is it easy? can you use it with OS X and windows
  5. CalfCanuck macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2003
    Buy an enclosure ...

    You buy an empty enclosure (be sure to get the right connector - USB 2 or FW), and add whatever hard drive you want. That's all the companies do when you buy a complete external hard drive package.


    There are different size hard drives (2.5 inch, 3.5 inch, etc), different drive speeds, and different drive caches - it's up to you to pick the one you want.

    Once you've closed the case, you connect it to a computer and format the drive. You can format it for Mac or Windows. And with software you can connect a Mac formatted drive to a PC (using "MacDrive"), or connect your PC formatted drive to a Mac OS X (which I've found a bit slow for larger drives).
  6. CalfCanuck macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2003

    As other have stated above, I'd second the Lacie D2 as a good drive. A you can see from my post above, a FW400/800 enclosure costs $120.

    At dealmac you can find a decent Lacie for not much more than the parts - they had a 500 MB for under $400 (now expired).

  7. JeffTL macrumors 6502a

    Dec 18, 2003
    LaCie d2 drives are very nice -- I've never had a problem with them.

    I have half a tera behind my iMac in that fashion, with the d2 DVD+/-RW drive coming tomorrow since I was foolish and didn't get the SuperDrive on my iMac.
  8. stevep macrumors 6502a


    Oct 13, 2004
    Be careful about getting an enclosure and fitting your own drive:

    1. Serial ATA drives can't be fitted in an external enclosure, only parallel ATA.

    2. Find out which chipset is fitted to the enclosure - I think there is a choice of 3 - Oxford 911 and 922 and the PL3507. The latter does FW and USB2, but is not always recognised by OS X 10.3.x. There are also issues with the Oxford chips. Do a Google search.
  9. runninmac macrumors 65816


    Jan 20, 2005
    Rockford MI
    Thanks for the help i will probobly be gettin one soon because it cheaper then buying a plain external drive
  10. 7254278 macrumors 68020

    Apr 11, 2004
    I have a 160GB 8MB buffer LaCie Porsche USB2 it is small ,fast and very silent, although it is a bit pricey, I am very statisfied.
  11. shake macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2002
    Toronto, CANADA
    i would never buy a lacie drive. fancy case, but thats it. they are nnot quieter, faster or more reliable.
    lacie doesnt make the hard drive inside, or the chipset.

    i'd go and buy a Western Digital or Seagate with any type of case you want (not usb) and you'll save quite a bit. if anyone says that lacie's drives are better, thats bull.

    they also use some proprietary power connector that really sucks if you have a bunch of external drives and only one of them doesnt use standard 3-prong IEC power.
  12. tubedogg macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2003
    Is that the case with all available enclosures, or just the ones sold at OWC? Does a SATA enclosure exist?
  13. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    You definately won't save much money buying a HD and a seperate enclosure. An inexpensive FW 3.5" IDE enclosure will run you about $40. A 160gb Maxtor or WD IDE drive will run about $100. A LaCie 160gb FW drive is $140.

    Most people have no trouble with their LaCie drives. I don't have one, but I hear about as many problems with them as I do with standard internal IDE drives. What sort of evidence do you have that substansiates the claim that Lacie's aren't better drives? Do you have a way to prove they fail more often? Are there benchmarks showing they are slower than other external drives? Have you measured the noise output of a Lacie and a regular IDE drive?

    Who cares who makes the drive or the chipset? Apple doesn't make CPUs, video cards, RAM, LCD panels, DVD-RW drives, motherboards, hardrives, or ethernet cards. Does that make the iMac any less impressive?

    I looked into a seperate enclosure and drive, and quickly found that buying a prebuilt one from Lacie, Mactor, or any of the other dozens of companies who sell them was cheaper. Plus, if I have a problem with it, I have just one manufacturer and warranty to deal with. If you buy a WD drive and a Macally enclosure for it and it stops working one day you have to try and determine wether the drive failed or the enclosures controller went belly up before you can even START the process of getting it replaced. With a Lacie or other premade external unit you can just call the manufacturer up and tell them it stopped working, getting you on the road to recovery faster.

    To the OP, go check out www.newegg.com, they have great prices on all kinds of computer parts. You can get Lacie or just about any other manufactures external drives there. They also sell all types of drive enclosures and regular IDE harddrives, if you decide to go that path.

  14. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    Yes they do.. here's what newegg sells: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?submit=property&DEPA=0

    Not sure if you would see a difference... I don't know if FW can keep up with even a regular EIDE drive, so the extra SATA speed may be wasted.

  15. tinydancer thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2004
    North Carolina
    When you guys mention D2, is that a specific model, or a line of model by Lacie? At new egg if you search "d2" you get a couple of drives from Lacie. Should I assume that they are all ok because they are "d2", or is one better than the others. Sorry....learning here.
  16. aswitcher macrumors 603


    Oct 8, 2003
    Canberra OZ
    Yeah, the d2 is a model type and there are a few subtypes within that model. I have a 250gig tripple (USB2, FW 400, 2xFW800) and its work faultlessly. There is an "extreme" version as well which is meant to be slightly faster over all but a bit mroe expensive and without the USB2.0.
  17. absurdio macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2003
    RI, Chi, and/or NY.
    This might be a totally amateurish question, but I'll ask nonetheless: If I go the firewire route with an external harddrive, is there a way i can just conect my ipod to the external harddrive, or am i stuck using just one or the other? Do external harddrives (those lacies, in particular) have firewire inputs, too? What I mean is since my powerbook has only one firewire port, I'd rather like to not have to swap back and forth between ipod and external harddrive. Is that possible? I suspect it is, but I'd like to be sure. Thanks, all.
  18. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    May 28, 2004
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!
    Porsche drive

    Try this and click on more pics. it has 2 fw ports in the back and I know for sure since a friend does this you can hook your camcorder directly into it.
    So I don't see why an ipod wouldn't work but if you email LaCie they get back to you very fast with the answers you need :D
    Post back and let us know your findings.
  19. Falconbridge macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2005
    Since I only have a pc at the moment i'm not sure how much this will help but I have this exact drive and it does work with my ipod. I've been using the drive alot for a about a year now and i've had no problems with it.
  20. absurdio macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2003
    RI, Chi, and/or NY.
    Sure enough!
    Here's the response LaCie sent me today (that WAS a fast response):

    Dear Nicholas,

    Yes, you would be able to do this. It is what is known as "daisy chaining" the drives. Our firewire drives come with at least 2 firewire ports on the back, allowing you to connect another device into the back, then plugging the whole line into your computer (thereby only use up one port on your computer).


    If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask. :}


    Thank you!

    LaCie Store
  21. eRondeau macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2004
    Canada's South Coast
    Firewire Drives...

    I connect a Lacie d2 160GB HD to my iBook thru Firewire 400. One thing that needs to be clarified is that the d2 drives have one FW400 and two FW800 ports. However the FW800 ports are "downward compatible" with FW400. So all you need is an adapter cable and you can plug your FW400 into the FW800 connection, on the back of the drive. I normally connect my iBook 400 to the Lacie 800, then run a Lacie DVD burner off the HD's FW400, and then plug my iPods into the DVD burner's second FW400 port. I have also connected my digital video camera to the whole mess and nothing's blown up. Firewire is always my choice over USB-2.
  22. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004

    I am not sure how much they matter anymore, but with firewire (at its infancy), chipsets mattered very much. I read many tests on macintouch about it.

    Many tests were made. In the beginning..long long ago ;)

    5400RPM drives with an Oxford 911 Chipset had a much faster transfer rate than 7200RPM drives with inferior chipsets. Besting them by 10 MB/s or more...

    Nowadays, chipsets have matured and don't matter as much, although I'd feel better having an oxford chipset.

    Most external drive manufactures don't mentions chipset. Lacie,Maxtor, Western Digital, etc....

    But, most resellers always mention the chipset used, OWC, FWDepot, etc...

    Many people had FW problems updating from OS 10.2.x to 10.3. Certain Oxford chips had problems while others didn't. Same with Initio (sp?) The problems were fixed quickly, but it was confusing for many people for several weeks.

    Hopefully these problems won't exist with 10.4 Tiger.

    BTW, Always heard good things about Lacie, but they seem expensive.
    Last week, at Apple Store 120GB FW for $199. I went to Staples and got Maxtor 160 GB for $70, then to CompUSA and got a FW400 case for $50.

    120 vs 200, not counting gas and 5 minutes to install drive into case.

  23. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
    Another question... if i dasiy cahin 2 FW drives together do they both have to be plugged in to a wall outlet?
  24. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Probably. The two FW encosures I have both have to be plugged into an electrical outlet.

    And remember you want to plug your computer and related hardward into a good filtered powerstrip. The computer you save may be your own.

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