which external hard drive for MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by rkb, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. rkb macrumors member

    Jun 22, 2010
    Ok, I have the 64Gb version which is just fine. I can however see a time where on occasion I will want to have some more movie files to access- such as a long trip etc... Right now I have a 16Gb thumb drive to have a couple movies but I'm thinking a high quality portable external hard drive would be just the ticket for the occasional need.

    Is there any ones that stand out as must buy or stay away from?

    I would prefer to be able to play the media right from the external drive rather than copy it to the MBA'a desktop- is this possible or will the image be jumpy?
  2. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    The external 1.8" hard drives are too slow for good video playback so that leaves external SSDs or 2.5" drives. The faster HDs can be power hungry so test them on each of your ports and on any hub you plan to use - some combinations will work and some won't.

    Personally I like the Western Digital Essential series. They are fast enough. You can get a 1tb model for around $100 in a very small form factor. And while some people hate it, it has hardware encryption built in that can prevent unauthorized access to whatever you put on it.

    But there are lots of great external USB drives out there.
  3. jamespa66 macrumors 6502

    Jul 6, 2007
    Kenosha, WI
    I'm using a 1TB Western Digital My Passport SE drive and it works fantastic.
    Picked it up at BestBuy for $129.
  4. gloryunited macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2010
    How is LaCie RikKi compared to Western Digital?

    These two seem to be the most popular.
  5. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    i used WD passport 250GB, it's very reliable, i have used it for the past 2 years.
  6. Kenzembo1 macrumors 6502

    Dec 22, 2008
    Youngstown, OH
    I'd like to know this as well. I have a 320 GB Western Digital MyBook that I'm currently using for my MBP, but want something smaller (more travel friendly) like the WD Passport or LaCie Rikki when I get my 11" Air. The Air will replace my MBP, so I want a good drive that will last and that I'll be able to use as a capable Time Machine for years to come.

    The LaCie Rugged Hard Disk looks nice as well. Anyone have any experience owning these drives?
  7. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    I have 5 different external USB drives...collect these things over the years.

    Off the top of my head:

    Seagate GoFlex 1TB (current one I carry)
    Western Digital 500G
    LaCie 250G (the ruggedized model..my favorite since it sports 3 ports)
    Some brand I don't recall....has a sportscar name...in 120G
    500G desktop external Western Digital
    80 Gig LaCie desktop model

    Honestly....they all perform about the same. The newer ones are faster and larger, thats the only real difference.

    Not sure about the comment about streaming video from one. I do this all the time when in my hotel room and it works just fine across all of these. They are commodities as far as I'm concerned...pick the biggest capacity and the cheapest price you can afford and go.
  8. gloryunited macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2010
    I'd like to know more about the 2.5" ones because I've never owned one.
    It seems sooooo much more convenient, no power adapter, just the USB.

    Is USB-only Vs power adapter an issue on performance?
  9. gloryunited macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2010
    What about the size, weight, noise (fan?), heat, and any independent power required?

  10. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    I recommend a USB 3.0 drive even though your MBA only has 2.0. I would buy one that will be fast in the future when you do upgrade to 3.0, or you may use it with another Mac/computer that has 3.0.

    The fastest thumb are expensive... Super Talent. They get rave reviews. However, it costs a lot more to get a 128 or 256 GB thumb drive than you can buy a 2.5" external slim drive by Western Digital.

    There is a Western Digital 500GB drive that's also USB 3.0 for less than $100. Or they also have 1TB and other size but they're not slim 2.5" drives inside them.

    Good luck.
  11. tigres macrumors 601


    Aug 31, 2007
    Land of the Free-Waiting for Term Limits
  12. ReallyBigFeet, Nov 8, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2010

    ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    With the exception of the two desktop externals I mentioned, all of these power just fine off of the USB port on the MBA (and my MBP's as well). Just plug it in and its off and running.

    None of them have fans so they are silent in operation.

    Like I said, my absolute favorite is the LaCie one. Its now a bit dated...I may be buying another one soon with a higher cap drive in it. But the LaCie ones are Mac-friendly, meaning they come with both USB 2.0 and Firewire 400/800 ports. This makes the transfer rate faster when used with the right port/cable on a MBP. On MBA's, you'll be stuck with USB 2.0 speeds. Still quite passable.

    My 250G model has been through hell and back...even dropped once more than 4 stories from a building under construction. It landed on some lumber stacks and survived to tell the tale.

    I will recommend that you buy an external drive at least twice the capacity of your internal drive if you plan on traveling with one extensively. The simple reason is that you want the ability to do a complete backup of your current drive (there went half of it) and then leave the other half for media like pictures/etc.

    I also have a home NAS that supports USB drives. So when I'm back home at the office, this drive gets plugged into my NAS (Netgear ReadyNAS DUO) and it fires off a backup routine to automatically synch up the USB drive with my NAS backup. I've lost too many hard drives over the years and am now religious about my backups, including backups of backups. YMMV.
  13. goodtimes5 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2004
    Bay Area
    Almost positive that these are counterfeit. They ship from Hong Kong. I bought something similar on eBay at the same price range; shipped from Hong Kong. Packaging and item seemed fine, but stuck it into the computer and performance was BAAAAD and slow. Contacted seller, told me it was defective and to send it back for full refund.
  14. GreatestDane macrumors member

    Oct 26, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; da-dk) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    Noob question: I have heard that it is not all external drives that can be used with Mac. Is this true?
  15. MiBook84 macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2008
    Malmö, Sweden
    I bought a LaCie Rikiki 500GB drive which I think is really good, and tiny! It's case is made entirely out of aluminium and is black which works great with the colours of the MacBook Air. The usb-cord that is included is very short and easy to use.

    I put four rubber "dots" under the rikiki so that it won't scratch against the bottom surface as well as to make it stick to a table and not fall down since it doesnt come with any feet (want it to be safe on planes and trains).

    I cant find a better matching harddrive than the rikiki for the MacBook Air actually and even if there are a thinner drive, this one is the smallest in every other way. But it!
  16. barmann macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2010
    All 'portable' (bus powered) USB harddrives work pretty much the same.

    USB 2.0 is quite slow, so drive speed won't help you; as for size, the smaller ones are more prone to breakage due to less or no padding inside, the bigger ones are, well, bigger.

    For example, a USB Lacie Rugged has shock absorbers inside and outside, a Rikiki doesn't, everything else is the same.
    A G-tech enclosure is somewhere in between .

    Noname offerings from ebay might use substandard controler chips, but that's the exception.
  17. MiBook84 macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2008
    Malmö, Sweden
    I dont think it matters very much how ruggerized an external hard drive is. They should never be shaken or dropped while in use and not in stand by either. I think most people want thin and lightweight drives to go with their lightweight and thin computers.

    If safety is the first concern you should buy an external closure with an harddrive that has its own sudden motion sensor, both seagate and western digital makes such drives and works very well. Having one of theese in a small rikiki-case would be really lovely.
  18. bcaslis macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2008
    Anyone use the Lacie for a long period of time? I like the design, but I've had three desktop drives from Lacie die and would never buy a desktop drive from them again. Anyone know what mechanism they are using? The Maxtor drives they used in their desktop line were terrible for reliability.
  19. MiBook84 macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2008
    Malmö, Sweden
    I dont think you should blame LaCie for this. I havent had more troubles with them than any other brand I've used. I have heard that their warranty-service isnt the best, unfortunately I havent taken the time to try it, takes to much time I think.

    The rikiki is made out of aluminium and I don't think the usb-sata board is the first thing to fail. Since aluminum transfers heat good I think it is a good enclosure for any drive that might be inside.

    Maxtor doesnt make portable drives either but remember alot of brands have had problems with different batches and series of drives. Who doesnt remember the old IBM Deskstars?
  20. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    I've had my Lacie for over 3 years now...see my horror story above. Its traveled well over 250K miles and been abused and still works fine. Little small by today's standards but I'd gladly buy another.
  21. bcaslis macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2008
    I had terrible experiences with their customer service. My wanted me to send all the original packaging and cables, then then shipped back only the drive in a battered box. When I asked to get the stuff back, they basically said too bad, I was wrong to send it to them even though their instructions required it. :eek:

    Their facility is also about a mile from where I work. But they wouldn't let me drop if off or pick it up from them. I had to ship at my expense, no exceptions. And of course the replacement drive they sent to me failed after three months.
  22. MiBook84 macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2008
    Malmö, Sweden
    Thats too bad =). Actually I am currently having a RMA with Western Digital for a passport-drive that died a few days ago. They also have weird request that must be fullfilled for the warranty to be ok. Like writing the adress on at least three sides of the box, include declarationpapers inside the box and so on and so on. But I see it as an adventure :D.
  23. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    Oh well. I Picked it up at the Apple Store for $159.95. But yes, it works great. I created 3 partitions on it: 500GB for Time Machine, 250GB for SuperDuper! which I run every night, and 250GB for media.
  24. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

    Oct 14, 2010

    Scam for sure

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