What portable hard drive is everyone using here?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by antok86, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. antok86 macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2010
    what hard drive is everyone using with their macbook pro? im in thie market for a portable external but alot of the reviews arent that convincing. looking for a rugged type ..500gb and higher.
  2. Gabriel GR macrumors 6502a

    Gabriel GR

    Jul 12, 2009
    Athens, Greece
  3. gianly1985 macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2008
  4. TopHatPlus macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2010
    Southern Ontario
    2 TB external disk was $170 before tax canadian

    i use it for time machine backup and transferring TONS of HD video, and will use it for time machine back up when i get my new mac book pro
  5. Jason Beck macrumors 68000

    Jason Beck

    Oct 19, 2009
    Cedar City, Utah
    A 160gb hitachi laptop hard drive. The stock that I popped out of my mb when installing my SSD.
    *edit, in a 5$ usb enclosure i got off ebay.
  6. antok86 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2010
  7. DAM-Photography macrumors member

    May 10, 2009
  8. TheBritishBloke macrumors 68030


    Jul 21, 2009
    United Kingdom

    Love it, but it gets scratched up to hell.
  9. EmeraldICE macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2009
    I use a WD passport also. It's a pretty nice drive, nice size, but mine beeps occasionally which is kind of annoying.
  10. lionheartednyhc macrumors 65816


    Jul 13, 2009
    I have a lacie, a gdrive, and the 320gb WD that came out of my MBP
  11. Thiol macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2008
  12. gianly1985 macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2008
    Now that 1tb 2.5" self-powered drives are available, I'm not buying a 3.5" drive EVER.
    But that's just me, I understand people may need 2tb+ drives or RAID setups.

    By the way, there actually ARE self powered fw800 RAID setups:


    I wonder if this baby can hold two 12.5mm drives. If so, you could fit 2tb of self-powered goodness inside it.
    If not, you can still fit 1,5tb of self-powered goodness in it. (using 2 x WD Scorpio blue 750gb 9.5mm drives)

    That's my current "ultimate" portable drive, in both cases.

    No love for A/C adapters, even for desktop use. But that's just me. (I wouldn't be like that if I had to rely on USB, but Firewire is another story....super reliable in giving power to stuff...)
  13. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040


    May 20, 2010
    Boulder, CO
    Am I the only one here with a Seagate Freeagent Go? I have a 320GB blue Seagate Freeagent Go. I like it because it is mostly aluminum, with a plastic frame.
  14. gianly1985 macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2008
    I've gone through the "build it yourself" route (bought an enclosure made by ONNTO) but you end up spending MORE.

    The best thing is a branded external drive that can also be opened by the user.
  15. kernkraft macrumors 68020


    Jun 25, 2009
    I just use whatever I take out from the Macs that I buy when I replace them with a decent 7200rpm Seagate Momentus or WD Scorpio. Most of them happen to be Hitachi. Apple also uses Samsung. A SATA enclosure with USB costs a few pounds/dollars.

    But I know what my next portable external drive purchase will be. Since I wasn't confident about software compatibility, I kept Leopard on one of the Apple stock HDDs. Occasionally, I just take that HDD with me to the office, where I can boot up from it. It's the same with a few clients/partners. Many of them have Macs, often with excellent external displays or projectors. Instead of taking my computers to them, it's so nice to be able to use their computing power with my tiny HDD.

    This is something where I can actually see the point of an SSD. For the OS and applications, even a 30GB SSD is enough and that leaves some room for the essential files.
  16. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Don't buy WD. Worst drives ever. I'd go with Seagate or Hitachi.
  17. gianly1985 macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2008

    If it's blue, it's the USB only version.

    I've got the Firewire800 version, which now almost disappeared from Seagate website:


    Nice drive, nice led lighting, nice fw800 dock.
    Not daisy chainable though.
  18. tcphoto macrumors 6502a


    Feb 23, 2005
    Madison, GA
    G Technology mini drives. They are bus powered and quad interface making them useful wherever you go.
  19. sjinsjca macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2008
    I've had really good luck with Western Digital Passports which I use for virtual machines and general file storage. I pound them and have never had one fail. I also have two USB-powered Seagate 1TB drives which I have dedicated to Time Machine backups and use in alternating fashion.

    However, since I run virtual machines off most of my external disks, I thought I'd try one of the new WD drives (750GB, with a silly e-ink display that I'm sure is intended to look ssswingin' hotcha but is pretty useless) that have both USB and FireWire 800 interfaces, and is powered from either. It made for a HUGE difference in speed! Approximately 2X better load times, etc., and I can run more than one VM at a time, whereas the USB bus was pretty well maxed out running one. I'm pretty happy with it. However:

    o The fancy new WD drive comes preformatted for OS X and has a little chip in it that contains the WD utility software. Props to WD for not polluting the actual storage medium with their software. Grrrs at WD for the poor quality of its software, though. Fortunately you don't have to use it (except to put a label on the e-ink display). If you go for this drive, just ignore the WD software. Plug it in and use it. Ignore the little "CD" icon that also pops up on your desktop-- that's the WD chip in this particular drive, pretending to be a CD. You can't get rid of it but it does no harm. (If you get a different WD drive with their software stored on the disk itself, just reformat the thing using Disk Utility. Voila: more space, less annoyance.)

    o The USB cable provided with the fancy new WD drive uses a non-standard mini-USB-ish plug, for some totally idiotic reason. So if you lose the USB cable, you're out of luck for USB, but you'll still have the FireWire option to tide you over until you get a new cable from WD. The provided FireWire cable seems to be standard on both ends. All my other Passports use standard mini-USB sockets; it's very annoying that they changed with this drive.

    o I had my one and only kernel panic ever in the history of my long and intensive use of OS X recently, and it seemed to be related to the Firewire driver for the fancy new WD drive. It has not recurred but I'm keeping an eye on that. I'm running the latest driver.

    o The FireWire plug is easier to accidentally dislodge than the USB plug is-- a consideration if your portable usage includes a lot of moving around with the drive connected. Disconnecting any portable drive without properly dismounting it (dragging its icon to the trash, and waiting for it to disappear) can cause data loss up to and including trashing the whole drive.

    o The e-ink display is also supposed to show the free capacity of the drive, but that function stopped working on my unit for some reason.

    Bottom line: the WD Firewire-enabled portable hard disk is worth its small price premium for its amazing speed, but there are some small "gotchas" you should be aware of, and DO NOT use WD's software that comes with ANY of their drives, except to manage the e-ink display if the unit has one.

    The Seagate 1TB USB drives I also use seem to each contain 3.5" platters from two 500GB drives so are a bit thick and heavy compared to the Passports. Fine for Time Machine, but I don't carry them with me like I do my Passports. These drives are formatted for Windows but Disk Utility made short work of reformatting them. One became unreadable after a couple weeks' worth of Time Machine usage; dunno why. I reformatted it, and it has been stone reliable ever since. (It was all a good lesson in why one should have at least two backup drives and use them in alternating fashion.)

    Whatever you get, look for a bus-powered design. Separate wall-wart power supplies can make for a cheaper drive but are an annoyance. I also recommend getting a spool of wide Velcro tape and putting a strip of the fuzzy stuff on the back of your laptop screen or the side of a desktop CPU, with a matching piece on the drive, so you can securely attach the drive. An included zipper hard case is preferable to a soft sleeve for carrying around.

    You can find a wealth of USB-only Passport and Seagate drives at Costco, and I got the fancy new Firewire-enabled WD drive at Fry's.
  20. gianly1985 macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2008
    Interesting, thanks.

    The USB port on the WD Passport Studio "e-ink" is actually standard, it's called Micro-USB and it's very common in mobile phones, you could find a cable quite easily,




    ps: is the WD e-ink studio passport made of metal or just silver plastic?
  21. Repo macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2009
  22. MoLiva macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2010
  23. gianly1985 macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2008
  24. noodle654 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2005
    Never Ender
    I am a big fan of WD drives (bare drives and inclosures) because of the warranty. WD warranty RMA process is so easy. And all the drives are backed by 5 years. I have a WD 500GB Passport Studio (FW 800/400) and WD Home (FW 400/eSata). Both are great drives, and the Studio is really fast and bus powered. I would also recommend the OWC drive inclosure, really great product.
  25. gianly1985 macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2008
    Currently OWC seems the only way to "have it all":
    - 1tb
    - FW800+esata+USB
    - FW daisy-chain
    - powered both from FW and USB
    - on/off switch
    - metal case

    Actually I can't find any other (single drive) 1tb portable FW800 drive at all.

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