Which external hard drive should I buy?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by dferigmu, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. dferigmu macrumors 6502

    Oct 3, 2004
    Washington, DC
    I have an 80GB Powerbook that will be coming with me in September when I move to Europe for a year. I would like to buy an external hard drive for back-up purposes in-case something happens to the PB's hard drive. I am looking for no more than 160GB of space and the use of FireWire. My questions are:

    1. Is it worth it to get a mobile hard drive? I'm thinking I might want to keep my information safe at home and leave the hard drive here. I have heard that LaCie's are very fragile.

    2. Who makes the best external hard drives? LaCie? Maxtor? Any model suggestions? I have heard that Maxtor's fail easily.

    3. What's the difference between LaCie's d2 and Porsche models? Is one preferable over the other?

    4. Once I buy the hard drive, how do I make successful back-ups of my PB hard drive?

    Your suggestions would really be helpful!
  2. Eideard macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2005
    I've had good luck with the 160gb Maxtor. Had it a few years, now. Originally, used to back up a few Wintel machines. Now, have it hooked up to my Mini as an image and music jukebox and handling my automatic Backup, every day.

    My wife's actually earns a living in IT [unlike the rest of the geeks in the family -- like me], and the bank she works for uses LaCie for everything. They're happy with them, as well.

    I think it may come down to the usual price/value equation and warranty policies.
  3. Loge macrumors 68030


    Jun 24, 2004
    I've used the Lacie mobile hard drive (80GB Firewire) for over a year, no complaints at all. The bus power works well; I wouldn't like another power lead when I'm using the Powerbook. I don't know about fragility - I don't throw it about, but I don't give it particular special care either.
  4. wiseguy27 macrumors 6502


    Apr 30, 2005
    Yes, it's definitely worth having an external drive for backups. In addition to the external hard drive, you could also consider getting a DVD burner and burning DVDs for backups.

    I don't know who makes the best, but in my research for a hard drive I've seen more Maxtors and WDs fail (in the past few years). Take this with a pinch of salt though. LaCie is a company that's well recognized in the Mac world. If you don't mind getting and using a screwdriver, you could buy an internal hard drive and a hard drive enclosure and assemble it yourself (it's very easy!) - this is what I did after deciding to go for either Seagate or Hitachi (both of them give 3 or 5 years warranty depending on the model, whereas all other manufacturers give a 1 year warranty for most of their models). Assembling a hard drive in an enclosure could save you quite a bit of money.

    For deals on hard drives (external and internal), check http://www.edealinfo.com, http://www.dealmac.com/sections/storage.html, http://www.deals2buy.com. I saw that CompUSA is offering a 160GB drive (with an enclosure) for around $49.99 after rebates.

    AFAIK, the difference is this - Porsche models do not have cooling fans, and they do get quite hot compared to the other drives (this is what I've read from other users' comments elsewhere on the web). Heat is a big factor in reducing the lifetime of any electronic component/equipment. If I were in the market for a LaCie drive, I'd go for the d2 models.

    Depends on what kind of backup you intend to do. You could do full backups every time by just dragging and dropping files. Or you could get some good backup software to do incremental backups (search on the MR forums and you'll find some good recommendations).
  5. Counter macrumors 6502

    Jun 4, 2005
    Had a Lacie 120gb for coming up to two years. It's been left being wrote to for 72 hours plus on many occasions, no complaints.
  6. NSiebenmor macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2004
    Savannah GA
    hard drive

    Yo you need to get a Seagate. If you check all the user reviews it is the only brand that hasn't failed over time. You'll find that a lot of people have had issues with the lacie and maxtor drives. Some websites give them a higher rating over the Seagate because they are a little faster but they don't rate on realiability which is most important.
  7. 2jaded2care macrumors 6502

    Jun 13, 2003
    I use both d2 and Porsche LaCies. Porsche enclosure does get hot sometimes (never put anything on top of it!), but no problems with it so far after a couple of years, knock wood. Have since been willing to pay extra for d2s instead, though... Plus the d2 Extreme Triple Interface has FW800 in addition to 400.

    Never used Maxtor external hard drives, but have had 2 internal Maxtors bite it within the warranty period. Color me "not impressed".

    Considered Seagate, but didn't see much feedback when I was shopping. Glad someone can recommend them, might consider again.

    Don't know about fragility of LaCies. I always carry mine in a padded pouch (really can't afford to lose data). Had one tumble from passenger seat to floorboard during an unexpected, senseless stop in traffic. It was in the pouch, and worked fine later. FWIW.

    Good luck.
  8. shadowmoses macrumors 68000


    Mar 6, 2005
    In my opinion Lacie porche design are the best i have seen or used, They look elegant and come at reasonable prices, They are also very reliable...

    BTW i have used maxtor and Samsung hard drives and i found the maxtor noisy but reliable, it is what i am using now in my G4 and the Samung died on me within a few days...

    ShadOW ;)
  9. alexstein macrumors 6502a


    Aug 23, 2004
    i've been using the lacie d2 triple interface 160GB for about 2months now. can't complain about it. it does everything i want it to do. but i do not move around with it. it is just sitting at my desk.
  10. Brother Michael macrumors 6502a

    Brother Michael

    Apr 14, 2004
    I just have a Western Digital 200 gig and an external enclosure.

    Works pretty well.

  11. aethier macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2003
    Montréal, Canada
    i have a lacie d2 extreme 400gb. i know you said you want no more then 160. but i think they make smaller models. in any case, i like it alot, however the firewire 800 performance is nothing to write home about
  12. Bozola macrumors regular

    Jul 18, 2002
    So close to Redmond, I can smell it!
    I have both a LaCie D2 and Porsche
    I like them both... but the D2 is quite loud
  13. dferigmu thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 3, 2004
    Washington, DC
    I have heard that the D2 is louder and the Porsche gets hotter. I would think I’d rather get the D2 since doesn't heat damage the HD faster?
  14. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    No problems with my 250 LaCie and I use the SilverKeeper backup software included with no problems.

    Woof, Woof - Dawg
  15. hammackj macrumors newbie

    Jun 8, 2005
    San Antonio, Tx
    I am confused, do the harddrive cases allow you to use a internal drive in them, or is it just a case to protect a external harddrive?
  16. wiseguy27 macrumors 6502


    Apr 30, 2005
    A hard drive enclosure allows you to make your own external hard drive. External hard drives (including the branded ones) are just internal hard drives that are put into compatible enclosures (USB/FireWire/both) and connected to power and the (IDE) interface.

    The enclosure provides:
    1. IDE to USB/FireWire interface - to convert the IDE signals from the internal hard drive to USB/FireWire
    2. power supply - to supply power to the internal hard drive
    3. fans (optional) - to force air to the exhaust and keep the environment within the enclosure (and thus the hard drive) cooler

    It's extremely simple to make your own external hard drive if you buy a compatible enclosure. All that you have to look for are:
    1. the correct size of the enclosure (depending on the hard drive size, like 3.5" or 2.5" for example)
    2. the correct interface type for your internal hard drive (P-ATA or SATA)
    3. the external interface that you want to connect to your computer (USB/FireWire/both)
    4. fans (one or two) in the enclosure - having fan(s) would help have a longer life for the hard drive since heat is an enemy of electronic components. The compromise is the noise from the fans (which is not too much either).

    You can save a lot of money by building your own "external drive" by buying the internal hard drive and the enclosure separately. You just need a philips screwdriver and two hands to make it. :)
  17. macapple macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2005
    can u guys recommend a good fw 800 hd that is small
  18. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Another vote for Seagate, especially if you like your drives quiet. I put one in my Cube and I swear I can't hear it at all unless I get very close.

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