What is the difference in using a portable external hdd and a regular external hdd?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dvader123, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. dvader123 macrumors regular

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    Jun 27, 2010
    #1
    Besides the obvious fact that one is portable and the other is not. Does the portable one have an increased chance of failing due to it being moved around a lot more?

    If not, then why don't everyone just get a portable external hdd to back up their data?

    Just curious as I look into getting a hdd soon to back up my data using time machine.
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #2
  3. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #3
    Portable external hard drives use 2.5" hard drives which are typically smaller in capacity and slower. Regular external hard drives use 3.5" hard drives which are larger in capacity and faster.

    2.5" hard drives are usually 5400 RPM (Some are 7200 RPM) and 3.5" hard drives are usually 7200 RPM (Some are 10K RPM). Typically, the faster speed the hard drive, the faster the hard drive is.
     
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #4
    Of course, there are always exceptions, as many portable 2.5" drives (like the OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro I posted) come in 7200 RPM versions, and have capacities up to 1TB. Also, some higher-density 5400 drives are faster than some 7200 drives. You really need to compare specs on any drive you plan to buy.

    One other advantage to some portable drives is that they're bus-powered, so you don't need an extra power supply.
     
  5. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #5
    That's why I stated "typically", "some" and "usually", to indicate that there were exceptions.
     
  6. rcpilot44 macrumors newbie

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    Aug 6, 2010
    #6
    I am going to buy a 13inch MBP. Can the bus power a OWC 7,2000rpm portable HD without having to use an AC supply? Thanks
     
  7. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #7
    Yes, but it depends on the drive. Some drives require external power supplies, some are bus-powered. Look at the drive specs before you buy.
     
  8. rcpilot44 macrumors newbie

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    #8
    OWC claims that most would work without AC power, was hoping MAC was one of these.
     
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    If the manufacturer says the drive is bus-powered, it should work fine on any Mac.
     
  10. Reapur macrumors regular

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    May 5, 2010
    #10
    If you are buying a 13 inch MBP I would HIGHLY recommend buying a g-tech mini. It has firewire 800 and is powered by the bus, also they are 7200 RPM Hitachi drives inside.

    Go have a look: http://www.g-technology.com/products/g-drive-mini.cfm

    They may cost a little more, but the extra speed, build quality, and good looks are more than worth the money. USB 2.0 sucks, true story :D
     
  11. karohan macrumors 6502

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    Jun 25, 2010
    #11
    Portable (2.5") hard drives are sort of considered more likely to fail for a variety of reasons. One is that yes, because of their portability, more people carry them around. That means a lot of people are also carrying them around in a reckless fashion and this would obviously damage the drives.

    Another reason is that because it is USB powered, and not connected it an external power supply, sometimes the power supplied is insufficient.
    http://www.computer-adviser.com/usb-hard-drive-problem.html
    This may lead to problems as well.

    However, if you need a portable drive, you don't really have much of a choice. That's what I needed, so I purchased one (though I keep it in a foam padded case). But if you don't need the portability, I would get a 3.5" external hard drive with an external power supply. It should be more reliable, possibly faster (but you're looking at a portable 7200 RPM drive, so probably not), and cheaper per GB.
     
  12. BigBeast macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 6, 2009
    #12
    It's Mac. Not MAC. Sorry, just a pet peeve.

    I concur.

    1. I'm not really sure stating portable hard drives fail more often is accurate. Also, hard drives use head brakes to keep them stable while turned off. I've had two portable drives in my book bag for years that are still going strong (know on wood)

    2. Insufficient power supply is commonly found on PC laptops to lower costs. Apple invests in quality components and as such, I don't believe you'd need to worry about this.
     
  13. karohan macrumors 6502

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    Jun 25, 2010
    #13
    Are you sure this is true? I thought the insufficiency of power supply was just due to the nature of USB 2.0, not the quality of the port. But if what you're saying is right, it makes me feel a whole lot better for purchasing my portable external.
     
  14. BigBeast macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    I think I remember reading an article stating that PC manufacturer's had used cheap USB ports and power output wasn't steady across ports... Could be wrong tho. It's also possible that what I read was Mac biased. So take it with a grain of salt.

    I personally haven't had any issues with portable hard drives connected to my MBP. My friend has a VAIO and his portable hard drive failed on him after a couple months of use. But really, there's no way you can tell why it failed. Many people argue which manufacturer's have better drives and rates of failure. Hard drives fail. It's the nature of mass produced tech. Just try to pick a company with good customer support, morals, and is based in the USA :) (that last bit is my bias:))
     
  15. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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