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macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 18, 2008
I'm looking for a backup drive (~3TB, not to be used with Time Machine).
Is HDD really the safer option compared to SSD? Are there good options with Thunderbolt? Should I use AFPS or HFS+?
Thanks for your respective 2 cents!


Jun 17, 2022
Is HDD really the safer option compared to SSD?
i think it depends...
i'd personally trust an SSD more for a drive that is actually running most of the time, but i've heard that HDD are supposedly superior for long term cold storage when mostly disconnected and put away.

Should I use AFPS or HFS+?
from what i've heard, HFS+ is a more robust system.
it might not have all the bells and whistles that AFPS can offer, but those are not really that much needed on a backup system


macrumors G5
Very good pursuit to get backup storage system in place. Many don't give it much thought until they have big data loss. It's very smart to get ahead of big loss scenarios. Suggestions:
  • Backup drive should be 2X or 3X+ current total data to be backed up.
  • One drive is not enough for good security. You need at least 2, with the duo in regular rotation from offsite to onsite. For example, store one at home to regularly backup for up to maybe a few weeks, then go swap it with the other one stored offsite (like bank safe deposit box). If your home suffers fire/theft/flood/etc and BOTH main drive and backup are THERE, you lose it all. The one stored offsite means you can recover almost everything.
  • HDD is just fine as backup drive. Personally, I wouldn't pay the premium for SSD for the same storage level. AFPS or HFS+ are both about equally good for a backup drive. Many argue HFS+ is better for HDD and AFPS for SSD but for a backup occasionally getting used, it won't really matter that much.
  • Thunderbolt is not that important for backups because the speed of writes to the drive itself will be as fast as backups can go. USB will be much cheaper. Where Thunderbolt might help is in a comprehensive restore scenario where you've lost everything. But you could opt to buy a Thunderbolt enclosure at that time if you wanted a little more speed.
  • Time Machine is a terrific, generally "just works" option for backups. Not sure what you are thinking, but it is a very good option. You can set it to backup to both onsite and offsite backup so that when they rotate it will just backup to the "new" drive.
  • If there is more than one computer in the house, consider enough storage times 2 or 3+ to back up ALL of them. This is especially good if you adopt bullet #2 (2 drive rotating onsite and off).
  • Instead of paying someone for an enclosure (or 2 enclosures), consider saving the money with bare drives and using what is called an HDD Dock. You can get some cheap plastic cases in which to store the bare drives when not in use. The companies that sell enclosures sometimes format the drives in ways to make them work only with their enclosures. Bare drives can be used as you want now and however else you might want in the future.
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macrumors 68030
Mar 17, 2010
I'm looking for a backup drive
As @HobeSoundDarryl says, except that I put my offsite backup into cloud storage. In my case, Arq Backup plus Backblaze B2 and OneDrive. Runs daily and requires zero intervention once configured right - compared with keeping to a routine of taking HDD off site.

HDD plus Time Machine is a sound way to backup. TM will format the drive as APFS and you should encrypt it to protect against theft.

Only look for something else, if you need greater flexibility than offered by TM.

If you want HDD suggestions, I have been happy with WD My Book external HDD.

from what i've heard, HFS+ is a more robust system.
it might not have all the bells and whistles that AFPS can offer, but those are not really that much needed on a backup system
No, APFS is more robust. APFS allows for encrypted disk. HFS+ doesn't on macOS Ventura.
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macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
Thunderbolt isn't necessary for a backup.
USB3 will do fine.

3tb? You'll probably want a platter-based drive (there are 4tb SSDs, but they're expensive yet).

What you use will depend on the backup app you use.
For example, I believe the latest versions of time machine require APFS.

Cloning backup utilities (such as CarbonCopyCloner and SuperDuper) will create a cloned backup using the same format as the source drive (in most cases).

What backup APP will you be using?


macrumors regular
Nov 11, 2022
  • A WD External USB HD with 12TB was 220 € for me and has a 190MB/sec Transfer Rate ( Second Backup with CCC )
  • A WD SN 570 NVME with 2TB is 79€ in Germany right now with an 10Gbit/sec external enclosure Innatek FE2025 ( 20 € ) makes 970MB/Sec and i have set up for TM Backup
  • I have bought an MBA M2 with 1TB Storage to not have to buy:
  • External TB Hub 350€
  • TB NVME Enclosure 130€
  • NVME 2 Times one to Boot 1 79€ € to Backup 79€
Here some can see that to buy expensive internal Storage might pay off financially as well if you do not have a need for endless TB off fast Video Storage...........JM2C
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