What is the best solution for selecting an external HDD for Mac/PC

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by nychris2007, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. nychris2007 macrumors newbie

    Apr 12, 2009
    I need an external HDD of at least 1 TB of space that can be used with both Mac and PC formats. This is for my MacBook Pro. What is the better solution, buying an internal HDD with an external enclosure(if so, what is the best one to get? SATA?) OR just purchase an external HDD ready to go. Also does it have to be NTFS so that there is no limit as to how many GB can be transferred at a time (over 4gb doesnt transfer for some reason?) Any help would be great.

    I was recommended the Maxtor One Touch 4 HDD 1TB
    LaCie 1TB Quadra
    or their 1.5TB Quadra
  2. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    I have used both types of external drives. In my experience just get one already external. Instead of having to worry about failure/selection of both an enclosure and drive, it's all in 1.
  3. brent0saurus macrumors regular


    Feb 16, 2006
    If money is an issue, i would get the enclosure and hard drive separately. You definitely save a few bucks this way. www.macsales.com is a great place to look for that.
    if you go this route, get an SATA drive with an SATA enclosure, as it is the faster interface.

    but as aaron said, it's nice to buy just all in one if money isn't really an issue.

    also, if you're going to need at least 1 tb of space, i'd def go firewire over usb, but usually if a drive has firewire, it'll have usb.
  4. nychris2007 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 12, 2009
    Ok, I think I'll go the all in one HDD way. Now what is the best way to format it so that it can read files meant for a PC? It will be used mostly through my Mac..

    Is it also true that if I get the all in one HDD, it has a cheaper drive because most system assemblers use cheaper hard drives to maintain higher profit margins? If I chose each separately, then I can actually choose exactly what HD I would be using. I just want something 100% reliable and no worries if I'm going to buy an all in one HDD, any suggestions?? Thanks
  5. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    It all just depends on what type of drive the manufacturer puts in their enclosure. Last time I had a Lacie drive (which was the F.A. Porsche model) I think it was a western digital drive, but it was a while ago.

    Mybooks (studio, home, world etc) will use Western Digital Drives.
    FreeAgent drives will use Seagate Drives.
    Easy Drive will use Hitatchi drives etc etc.

    The favorite from what i've seen right now, just on the platter based storage would be Western Digital. Alot of people in the community including myself swore on Seagate and their five year warranty, but after the firmware incident which resulted in failing drives, I've put myself on a storage hiatus for a few months until Seagate can get their act together. I do like hitatchi drives but I do not have the same desktop experience as I do with seagate and western digital. I have seen hitatchi's enterprise grade Fibre-Channel SAN in action which was very robust, but of course you'll expect high end hardware to act appropriately.

    You should be ok with a pre-built solution. That way if anything messes up you can just send the drive back, verses having two seperate companies to deal with should problems arise. With the cheap cost of storage it wouldn't hurt to pick up two drives, one for whatever you are storing, and one that is a little bigger so you can make redundant backups.

    For cross platform access, NTFS on Mac is a pain IMO. FAT32 will work but it has size limitations, so I would leave it as HFS and use a solution like MediaFour's MacDrive on the windows. The cost is around fifty dollars, which is a little steep, but if you plan on using one workstation cosistently with mac files that would be the way to go.
  6. Guy Mancuso macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2009
    Be careful with your purchase , many of these ready buy externals are fitted with slow 5400 rpm drives. Look for a drive that is 7200 rpm and 32 cache. I doubt you will find them in the ready buys especially 32 cache. Seriously I would buy a bare internal Seagate or WD 1tb 7200 32 cache drive and a enclosure. Make sure it has a fan . OWC sells all kinds of enclosures with Firewire 800 , USB 2 and even e-sata and there not expensive
  7. MarcBook macrumors 6502a


    Jul 13, 2008
    United Kingdom
    LaCie, NTFS

    I recommend getting a LaCie and formatting it in NTFS. LaCie's are awesome, reliable and fast drives and I think they all have FireWire 800 (which is a must, of course).

    Use NTFS and then get this free add-on for Mac OS that lets it read/write to NTFS - http://macntfs-3g.blogspot.com/

    The only downside is that Mac OS will automatically make .DS_Store files etc. in every folder that you access and these show up in Windows.

    I know you can tell Mac OS not to do that for network locations, but I'm not sure about external drives.
  8. Guy Mancuso macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2009
  9. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    LaCie doesn't make hard drives, so I don't know how this statement is meaningful. Their enclosures are awesome?
  10. Guy Mancuso macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2009
    They use Maxtor and I had three fail on me in the past.

    Main reason i said buy a internal drive and make one yourself. You don't know what drives they are really using in any of these boxes. Most likely the cheapest drives they can install. Rather pick my own drive and go from there and is as simple as using a screwdriver. Sorry buying commercial brands is just flat out lazy and actually more costly in the long run and you get crap hard drives. Been there have the gold T-shirt to prove it and MY Books are crap also. Not unless you don't care about performance and want something sexy looking on your desk.
  11. Signal-11 macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    2nd Star to the Right
    Nah, if you buy a drive an enclosure separately and something's not quite right, 99 times out of a 100, its the drive. HD controllers are just too stupid fail that often.

    IMO, drive enclosures long outlast the capacity of the HD that's in it. Plus, if you buy your own drive, you can spec it exactly the way you want it. Besides, who wants to buy an Iomega HD, only to find out that its got that cursed line 1TB Seagates.

    I say separate external enclosure + drive.
  12. mbpnewbie macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2009
    How do you explain my failure after 2 years of infrequent (once a week) use? lacie never again... I bought 2 mybook 500gb from WD... much better.
  13. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007

    I havn't found this to be the case. Some externals are notorious for having crappy chipsets. Thats why there are highly rated enclosures and extremely low rated enclosures on newegg. Random disconnects, corrupt transfers , crappy power supplies etc.
  14. MarcBook macrumors 6502a


    Jul 13, 2008
    United Kingdom
    That's like saying Bentley doesn't make cars, Volkswagen does (because Volkswagen makes the engines).

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