What kind of external hard drive should I buy?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by pizzoza, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. pizzoza macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    #1
    Greetings all, this is my first post, I hope you all can give me a little guidance. I have a dual G5 powermac with a 250gb hard drive that I would like to back up and increase its storage by getting a 500GB+ external hard drive. I just need to know if firewire is really necessary, or could I get by with just USB? I'd probably be doing scheduled backups (music, movies, photos) bi-weekly, but would also have the external running whenever the computer is on. Do I really need 7200RPM or could I get by with 5400RPM? Also does anybody know of any specific externals that have proven to be durable? The last thing I need is to lose everything.

    Thanks.
     
  2. iParis macrumors 68040

    iParis

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    New Mexico
    #2
    Do you have price range?

    I highly recommend this depending on your budget:
    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=8935833&type=product&id=1215216548970

    I have one and it works great. Before I got this one I used a 160GB western digital hard drive for a year and a half and it still works great.

    EDIT: Here are a few others:
    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=8763894&type=product&id=1203815241551
    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=8475679&type=product&id=1185267958041 (the reason why this one is more than the 640GB is because it has firewire)
    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=8478685&type=product&id=1185267958836
     
  3. pizzoza thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
  4. iParis macrumors 68040

    iParis

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    New Mexico
  5. pizzoza thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
  6. iParis macrumors 68040

    iParis

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    New Mexico
  7. pizzoza thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    #7
    Do I really need firewire though?
    5400RPM vs 7200RPM?
     
  8. MrJingles macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #8
    Only a warning

    I have the WD Studio FW800/FW400/USB model and it has a very annoying "hang OS X at launch until you turn it off" bug. I've upgraded the firmware etc but if it is on while rebooting etc my imac just get stuck at boot up. Also, it gives me Time Machine errors sometimes. Maybe it's just mine but I'm about to replace it with something like below!

    I should have bought one of these: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/1394/USB/EliteAL/400+USB2/ from OWC, they get very good reviews.
     
  9. BlizzardBomb macrumors 68030

    BlizzardBomb

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2005
    Location:
    England
    #9
    After months of trying to decide between FireWire 400 and USB I decided the 10% speed increase wasn't worth the extra money (FW 800 may be worth it but again, depends on your needs and justifying the extra cash). Now I've got a Seagate FreeAgent Go and it's plenty fast (reformatted to Mac OS of course). Transferred about 40 GBs in less than an hour. You are missing external boot capabilities though as you're on a G5.
     
  10. Fardad macrumors newbie

    Fardad

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #10
    I have a WD Mybook 1TB that is running the 2 internal 500GBs in Raid 0 via FW800. No problems. Though spinup time is slow once fallen asleep.
     
  11. MrJingles macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #11
    Tell me what I'm doing wrong and I'll buy you an imaginary donut! I've had nothing but issues with mine so far and everything people have suggested hasn't worked.
     
  12. iParis macrumors 68040

    iParis

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    New Mexico
    #12
    If you don't want to get the firewire one then don't, but a little speed boost is always good.
     
  13. pizzoza thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    #13
  14. iParis macrumors 68040

    iParis

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    New Mexico
    #14
    I don't believe you have to format it.
     
  15. CodeRaven macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    #15
    As long as it's just for backups and you do not need to boot from it, you may be OK. I have the silver version - I bought it before I found out that you cannot boot from it, I was going to use it to as my G4 mini's boot drive... so much for that...
     
  16. PracticalMac macrumors 68030

    PracticalMac

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #16
    Pizzoza,

    You REALLY will benefit most to get a FireWire 800 drive.

    I have a Maxtor One Touch III 500GB with 800, 400, and USB, I paid $130 a year ago.

    I have never had trouble with it.
    Uploads 1 GB in less then minute.
    FW 400 is up to 70% faster then USB in long reads, and FW 800 will be at least 3x faster.

    Put it another way, the SATA drive inside will be spinning its wheels, as it is 5x faster then USB2. So even if you have a 10,000 RPM drive, you will be less transfer speed then a 5400 RPM drive.

    I would format the drive for Mac. It may not be formatted, or formatted for Windows.

    Locate the drive in a hidden cabinet, but make sure it is WELL VENTILATED. Just in case someone wants to take your computer (not that it will happen), they probably will not find the external hard drive.

    Good Shopping! :apple:
     
  17. dinaluvsApple macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    #17
    IMHO and most professionals will agree with me.
    never buy pre-made ready to go external drives.

    buying these is the equivalent of buying a computer from best buy. hard drive is usually a cheap low end drive coupled with a non-serviceable case.


    your best bet is to purchase quality SATA 3.5" internal drive like a WD caviar black and an external enclosure such as drobo or antec.

    takes around 10mins to build it even for a novice.
     
  18. mgridgaway macrumors 6502

    mgridgaway

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    #18
    OWC provides reliable, though expensive, drives tailored more for OS X. I would give them a gander as well.
     
  19. rhyx macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #19
    Their enclosures are nice. Their prices with the included drive aren't bad either. I ordered mine without included drives and dropped in WD 1TB Black drives.
     
  20. PracticalMac macrumors 68030

    PracticalMac

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, TX
  21. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #21
    I absolutely agree. Over the holidays I bought an Icy Dock MB559UEB1-S FW 800 enclosure and popped in a Seagate 1.5TB SATA HD.

    It is cool, quiet and looks really nice next to the aluminum iMac. The whole deal cost me 21,000 yen ($232 US)
     
  22. pizzoza thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    #22
    Thanks everyone for all your help, I really appreciate it, being a noob and all.
    I ended up landing on this one... http://www.bestbuy.ca/catalog/prodd...92&catid=26259&logon=&langid=EN&test_cookie=1
    So far so good *fingers crossed* it was on sale so I thought "whatever"
    It took 3 hours to backup 160GB, which is fast enough for me. Its quiet, and doesn't take up too much space. Wasn't hard to reformat, overall i'm fairly satisfied with it. I just hope it lasts. Anyways, thanks again to everyone for all your help, I'm sure I'll post again soon.

    Peace.
     
  23. Dimwhit macrumors 68000

    Dimwhit

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    #23
    Dang, I wish I saw this earlier. I would suggest this 1TB drive:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000YUFUCO

    I got it on sale for $89, but it's currently only $117. Runs quiet and surprisingly cool. Makes for a great hard drive to plug into a DISH DVR for added storage.

    But, it looks like you got a good drive. Good luck!
     
  24. Amdahl macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    #24
    FireWire is definitely worth getting if the drive is going to be used for actual use, as opposed to just backups or bulk storage.

    As I recall, FireWire is basically like SCSI(which it replaced on Mac machines): it can issue multiple requests and have them pending, with the drive responding as they are available. USB is more like old IDE, and can only have one request at a time. That is the reason FireWire is so much faster than similar speed USB. USB can never make use of the raw speed

    Now, one question is, does the external enclosure bridge chip that translates from FireWire to SATA support NCQ? If the enclosure supports 3.0Gb/s, it probably does. 1.5, could go either way.
     
  25. greg30307 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2009
    #25
    FW 400 twice as fast as USB 2.0

    Out systems may differ, but I did a speed test comparison on my 1st gen MacBook and backing up the entire system was about twice as fast using the FW 400 as the USB 2.0 on the same machine.

    Details:

    Transferring the entire 50 GB of data on the internal hard drive (cloning using SuperDuper) from my first gen MacBook (bought Aug 06; 2 GHz Intel Core Duo w 1 G RAM) to a OWC Mercury On-the-Go Fire Wire + USB external hard drive with an Oxford 911 chipset and a Western Digital Scorpio 160 GB hard drive and with 2 MB buffer.

    transfer/make clone:
    FW: 1 hour 38 minutes
    USB: 3 hour 5 minutes

    Even worse, using FW I did not have to turn anything off. The USB stalled when I kept Little Snitch network monitor on; I had to disable the network monitor to be able to backup using USB.
     

Share This Page