Originally Posted by sequitur
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.