Which Hard Drive to Buy for Backups

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by lasuther, May 13, 2010.

  1. lasuther macrumors 6502a

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    Location:
    Grand Haven, Michigan
    #1
    My computers are a 27” iMac (1TB hard drive) and a 13” MB (160GB hard drive). I have a 500GB time capsule which has filled up and a 320GB portable hard drive that I’ve used for backups, but I am not currently backing anything up. I am looking to buy a large hard drive to do start backing up with Time Machine. Here are two options I’m considering for backing up both computers.

    $150 - 2TB Seagate Expansion USB2.0
    $140 - 1TB Seagate FeeAgent FW800

    The price is similar, so it comes down to size or connection. I have no idea what the difference between the Expansion and FreeAgent line is. Any advice on what I should buy?
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #2
    I would get the 2TB as the space is more important to you than the speed
     
  3. mstrze macrumors 68000

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    Nov 6, 2009
    #3
  4. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    Location:
    Oregon
    #4
    The FreeAgent stands upright so has the smallest footprint. It also has Firewire, which is faster but you don't need it for this application, and Windows backup software. The Expansion line is bare-bones without software, lies flat (so takes more desk space), and has a shorter warranty (lower quality).

    From a marketing point of view, the FreeAgent is sold as a premium device for backups while the Expansion line is sold as an expansion drive when one's internal drive fills up. Ironically, for a Mac, the FreeAgent drive makes for a better expansion drive and the Expansion drive makes for a better backup drive.

    I've had several "FreeAgent Pro" models and just recently bought a USB 2.0 only 1.5TB "FreeAgent Desk" which has a different design (very flimsy vertical stand compared to old) which I use without the stand (the Pros had a non-removable stand). Amazon.com is selling the 2TB model for $139.99 now with free shipping.

    Here it is, along with an OWC Firewire drive (much more expensive) attached to my Mac mini Server. The FreeAgent handles TimeMachine backups for 5 other Macs. The OWC drive does image backups of the server on a nightly basis and is swapped with a twin for offsite.
     

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  5. mstrze macrumors 68000

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    #5
  6. dacreativeguy macrumors 68020

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    Jan 27, 2007
    #6
    take a look at the western digital elements drives for backups of macs. They are very basic and don't have all the bells and whistles that you'll never need running them with Time Machine. These are the black ones with no buttons on the outside.
     
  7. lasuther thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
  8. fr4c macrumors 65816

    fr4c

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    #8
    Personally I stick with WD. Those Seagate externals have given me enough issues to avoid them if possible.
     
  9. Surely Guest

    Surely

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    Oct 27, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #10
    Please explain what you mean by this.


    /yes I know, it's an old thread.....
     
  10. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #11
    The FreeAgent drive is available with a Firewire interface, which makes it faster than the Expansion drive which is only USB 2.0. So it makes a better expansion drive because it is faster. Since backups can run unattended and drive performance typically isn't an issue, the less expensive Expansion drive is a better choice for backups.
     
  11. Snowbound macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    #12
    For backups only, size and price are all that matter to me. FW is nice, sure, but the extra size at a given price point is much more important.
     
  12. Deanster macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    #13
    I'd argue in favor of just cracking open your Time Capsule, and thowing in a new 1.5 or 2.0 terabyte drive. It's slick, it's easy, and it'll leave you with the maximum flexibility going forward.

    The WD Caviar Green 2 TB is perfect for this use - $154 from newegg at the moment.

    The switch is easy - lots of tutorials with pics on the net - crack the Time Capsule, pull old drive, put in new one, and it auto-formats the drive, and you're ready to go. The hardest part is waiting for the full backup to take place, which is best left for overnight. Keep the old drive for a couple months while your new drive accumulates backup versions, in case you need to grab an older backup.

    I put a 1.5TB drive in my 500 Time Capsule a year or so ago, and have never looked back!
     

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