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Please help! Need advice on which 1-2TB desktop drives to buy on Monday!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone! I am in the market for two additional 1-2TB drives. I read so many horrible reviews about the 1TB Seagate Barracuda ST31000528AS(+Q for the Apple drives?) that is in the iMac for those who order 1TB systems. Why would Apple choose this drive if it really has such a significant chance of failing? Yes, there were plenty of 5-star reviews as well, but it's annoying that a significant number of these drives seem to die within only a few months of usage and sometimes reviewers report their drives failing after seeing only light usage.

What should I do? Am I really in a unique situation, because I am simply not used to ANY problems with hard drives. I kid you not. During the past eleven (11) years, I have used almost exclusively the Hitachi Travelstar 2.5" notebook drives and they all saw a LOT of usage, including even some rough handling at times. Not one of them has ever caused me any problems. I'll be disappointed the very first time that one of these drives show only the slightest bit of oddness, because I am simply used to everything always working just as advertised.

Given that history, should I maybe get Hitachi 3.5" desktop "DeskStar" drives? Then there is Western Digital (WD). Again, during my last 11 years with notebooks, the (very) few WD drives that I had also gave me zero problems.

Which of these, or other brands for that matter, can you recommend that I buy with confidence. I'm only considering 1TB, 1.5TB, and 2TB drives w/ at least 32MB of cache, running at 7,200rpm, which probably applies to all drives except for the 2TB ones. I will need two, both of which will likely be external drives.

Thanks so much for helping me with this! I need to buy these pretty much first thing on Monday morning, so I have only this weekend to get a little more educated.

Thanks again!

(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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post #2 of 6
I had the same questions. I asked several IT technicians what they used. The consensus was: WD's Caviar Black 64MB Cache SATA internal drives used in enclosures with fans as the HDD's run hot. Rosewill enclosures were suggested.

I ended up buying two:

1. A Western Digital Caviar Black WD1501FASS 1.5TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive to save a library of old VHS tapes using an ElGato device. The HDD has a good reputation, but it is noisy. I got this on sale from NewEgg for $110. I put it in a Rosewill RX-358-S BLK (Black) 3.5" SATA to USB & eSATA Ext. Enclosure w/Int.80mm fan on sale: [$49.99] for*$24.99. Enclosures with FW are much more expensive.

2. A Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive, on sale for $90 from NewEgg, for a backup HDD to my new iMac. I have it partitioned, half to Time Machine and half to SuperDuper. I have it in a Rosewill enclosure like the first one.

BTW, the iMac came with a 1 TB WDC WD1001FALS-40U980 HDD which I think has 32MB cache.

The HDD does run hot and noisy like the first one, but it has an on/off switch, too, and I have to hear it only while it's backing up. I have read some good revues on these two HDD's; however, there may be better hard drives that I'm not aware of.

The one !@#$$%% &* thing that irritates me is that my new iMac doesn't have an eSATA port which would have made these HDD's faster. However, for incremental backups or Time Machine back ups, it doesn't matter that much to use USB 2.

I have tried iOmega, LaCie, Seagate, and a couple more prebuilt external HDD's with poor luck. Well, the LaCie was better than the other ones. One of the problems with prebuilt externals is that it is difficult to determine what hard drive is in the case. Impossible in some instances. It could be a very poor quality HDD and you wouldn't find out until it died.
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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sequitur View Post

I had the same questions. I asked several IT technicians what they used. The consensus was: WD's Caviar Black 64MB Cache SATA internal drives used in enclosures with fans as the HDD's run hot. Rosewill enclosures were suggested.

I ended up buying two:

1. A Western Digital Caviar Black WD1501FASS 1.5TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive to save a library of old VHS tapes using an ElGato device. The HDD has a good reputation, but it is noisy. I got this on sale from NewEgg for $110. I put it in a Rosewill RX-358-S BLK (Black) 3.5" SATA to USB & eSATA Ext. Enclosure w/Int.80mm fan on sale: [$49.99] for*$24.99. Enclosures with FW are much more expensive.

2. A Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive, on sale for $90 from NewEgg, for a backup HDD to my new iMac. I have it partitioned, half to Time Machine and half to SuperDuper. I have it in a Rosewill enclosure like the first one.

BTW, the iMac came with a 1 TB WDC WD1001FALS-40U980 HDD which I think has 32MB cache.

The HDD does run hot and noisy like the first one, but it has an on/off switch, too, and I have to hear it only while it's backing up. I have read some good revues on these two HDD's; however, there may be better hard drives that I'm not aware of.

The one !@#$$%% &* thing that irritates me is that my new iMac doesn't have an eSATA port which would have made these HDD's faster. However, for incremental backups or Time Machine back ups, it doesn't matter that much to use USB 2.[...]

Thanks very much for your advice. That was smart to check with your IT staff, as they are hopefully in the know. I checked out all of the drives and the enclosure type that you suggested and they look great! WD drives have always been good to me and that particular 1TB drive you mentioned even comes with the SATA 6Gbps interface and 64MB of cache! All the ones from Seagate in that category, including even its 1.5TB version, only have SATA 3Gbps and half the cache size (32MB).

As for the fact that the current iMac does not have any USB 3 or eSATA ports, that irked me as well. It does, however, come with FireWire 800. I have thus far never had a computer with a FW 400/800 port, and it is only because of my recent switch to the Mac platform and the iMac that I find myself even considering FireWire at all. I thought FW was mainly there for camera/camcorder equipment. 800Mbps does sound good, though.

Then again, USB 2 might just be enough, as one of the drives will be used to run a mirror of the 1TB Seagate drive that's inside my iMac. I guess you lucked out getting a WD drive when you ordered your iMac. Good for you! So far, knock on wood, my 1TB Seagate drive has been performing very nicely. It is the Seagate 1TB 7200.12 ST31000528ASQ (the Q apparently indicates that it is an Apple OEM drive...I think. ) The "regular" serial for that Seagate drive is ST31000528AS.

Alright, so I just searched various channels online where I can source these drives, and I believe the WD1002FAEX (1TB WD 7200rpm, SATA 6Gbps, 64MB cache) is a winner at $76 at TigerDirect, CompUSA, or CircuitCity online, after a hefty 15% Bing cashback discount. It is $89 at all of these outlets with no sales tax for my state and only $5 for shipping. That drive also received mostly excellent reviews!

In order to get an additional 500GB (by way of the 1.5TB drive), it would cost me $109 for the WD1501FASS at newegg plus shipping with no cashback incentive. I think I'd rather buy two 1TB drives at the better price. Just FYI, Microsoft is doing away with the Bing cashback program on 7/30, which is only 5 days from now.

Finally, I have been reading up on RAID quite a bit and I'm very interested in what kind of performance boost I would be able to attain if I set up my internal 1TB Seagate drive with one of the 1TB external WD Caviar Black drives in a RAID 0 configuration. Is that even possible, and if so, would it be advisable, being that one of the drives only has SATA 3Gbps and 32MB of cache, and the other SATA 6Gbps and 64MB cache? I have never set up RAID, so I want to make sure before I buy another one for that purpose. At least they both spin at 7,200rpm. lol

Incidentally, it looks like we will see a hardware refresh from Apple for both the iMac and the Mac Pro in the coming weeks. Hopefully, Apple will implement either USB 3 or eSATA, or maybe both? Probably not, but I can dream, can't I?

Thanks again very much for your detailed response. I'm sorry for my long reply, but you're helping me make intelligent decisions. I'm excited about receiving my new Caviar Black drives, of which I will be ordering at least two as early as tomorrow morning.

(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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post #4 of 6
if you did not get FIRE WIRE ..you wasted your money...
whats in a name ? 
beatles
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whats in a name ? 
beatles
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post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucep View Post

if you did not get FIRE WIRE ..you wasted your money...

The WD Caviar Black runs hot and needs an enclosure with a fan. I can find those enclosures with eSATA and USB relatively cheap, but the ones with FW, even FW400, are very expensive. Do you know of one that is reasonable? If not, your advice is negated. You can suggest it, but I can't find it.

That is why I am p__sed at Apple for not adding an eSATA port to the iMac. The enclosures with eSATA are reasonably priced.


Here is an enclosure w/fan and FW800 for $80 if anyone is interested: http://www.cooldrives.com/ontbsatoes28.html

Here's another for $90: http://www.cooldrives.com/sa5alfi80esc.html

Many are touted as fanless as if fanless is a positive factor; it is if you want quiet over cool.

You have to compromise somewhere: No fan; USB; Double or triple cost; quiet; etc.

Second thought: If those FW800 enclosures had been available when I was looking to buy, I may have purchased a couple of them. Too late. However, since they are about the same price as the WD HDD's themselves - maybe not.
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post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sequitur View Post

The WD Caviar Black runs hot and needs an enclosure with a fan. I can find those enclosures with eSATA and USB relatively cheap, but the ones with FW, even FW400, are very expensive. Do you know of one that is reasonable? If not, your advice is negated. You can suggest it, but I can't find it.

That is why I am p__sed at Apple for not adding an eSATA port to the iMac. The enclosures with eSATA are reasonably priced.

What's so special about the FireWire enclosures that they're so expensive? By the way, it looks like the iMac refresh (along with one for the Mac Pro but I'm not taking out a 2nd mortgage) is coming up in the immediate future.

I've had my iMac for 2 1/2 weeks and I know of one person who bought a Mac mini 2 weeks before the new models were released and she was able to just swap it out at her Apple store, no questions asked. I was already going to try to upgrade to a 27" iMac this coming week, but now it's time to wait and see if we actually will get an eSATA and/or USB 3.0 port besides new CPU's and GPU's.

Can we please have an iPhone 4-like "Retina" display? lol...

(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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