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What is the usual lifespan of an external drive? Should I expect more than 3 years?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hello all. I am in the process of ordering a Western Digital My Book 500gb external drive for my Macbook. I am having difficulty deciding between the MyBook Pro and one step down from that which is the My Book Premium. The difference between the two is that the Pro has support for Firewire800. Both have support for USB and Firewire 400. SInce my Macbook does not have Firewire 800 I thought I'd save some money and go for the Premium instead of the Pro. It's on sale now where I got it from and I can save $50 if I get that instead of the Pro. The place I'm ordering it from --New Egg---automatically gives you a credit if they drop the price within 30 days and I have seen the Pro for $20 less from them but they may not drop it again within 30 days and there would still be a $30 difference in price between the two. So I would still save money going with the Premium instead of the Pro.

I just purchased my 2gb ram Macbook about 90 days ago and do not see myself upgrading to another Mac sooner than say 3 years. This baby is perfect for me.I don't need a Macbook Pro. If you were in my shoes would you STILL go with the Pro version of the Mybook planning or your next Mac which probably will have Firewire800 or would you save the money and match your external for what you have now?

I don't move my external hard drives around. They stay in my house. It's the Macbook that goes everywhere which is why I purchased Apple Care for it.


thanks in advance for any tips,
Grace
post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4metta View Post

If you were in my shoes would you STILL go with the Pro version of the Mybook planning or your next Mac which probably will have Firewire800 or would you save the money and match your external for what you have now?

I'm not sure because even if the drive doesn't last, you can often still use the enclosure with another drive. However, there are still faster standards than firewire 800 like eSATA, which may be supported in future Macs. Plus, with new things like perpendicular recording, we will see drive space increase quite a bit and prices dropping. External drives seem to be dropping in price quite quickly these days.

I would personally go for the cheaper one now because firewire 800 isn't that popular and you currently have no use for it.

Also, hard drives of any type have an unpredictable life span. They can last anywhere from a day up to several years. I think the average is 3-5 years.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I'm not sure because even if the drive doesn't last, you can often still use the enclosure with another drive. However, there are still faster standards than firewire 800 like eSATA, which may be supported in future Macs. Plus, with new things like perpendicular recording, we will see drive space increase quite a bit and prices dropping. External drives seem to be dropping in price quite quickly these days.

I would personally go for the cheaper one now because firewire 800 isn't that popular and you currently have no use for it.

Also, hard drives of any type have an unpredictable life span. They can last anywhere from a day up to several years. I think the average is 3-5 years.

Thanks for the reply. I got pretty much the same advice from a salesperson at The Apple Store. Save money and get the cheaper one cause they don't last forever and I don't need the firewire 800. AND back up everything in more than one place which I knew already.
post #4 of 12
I have an original 120 meg scsi hard drive from a 1993 Quadra. That drive is now fourteen years old. In its day it got a lot of work done. It still works. However, I have replaced many hard drives that failed in their first year! Ya never know.
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherman Homan View Post

I have an original 120 meg scsi hard drive from a 1993 Quadra. That drive is now fourteen years old. In its day it got a lot of work done. It still works. However, I have replaced many hard drives that failed in their first year! Ya never know.

This is anecdotal, but in my experience, SCSI drives always lasted longer than IDE/ATA drives in general. Maybe they were just made with higher tolerance.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

This is anecdotal, but in my experience, SCSI drives always lasted longer than IDE/ATA drives in general. Maybe they were just made with higher tolerance.

That plus they were about ten times as expensive as today's drives. Manufacturers have to cut down costs by not testing every single drive as thoroughly as they did ten years ago. Also they use cheaper components for every single piece of a harddrive. The "price war" dictates this, therefore reduced lifespan of harddrives, particularly of notebook drives.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
On the topic of quality...

I should mention I had to send the Western Digital MyBook back. It would not be recognized by my macbook through either firewire400 or USB. I sent it back and ordered a G Tech G drive instead. More money but hopefully better reliability. We shall see...
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4metta View Post

I should mention I had to send the Western Digital MyBook back. It would not be recognized by my macbook through either firewire400 or USB. I sent it back and ordered a G Tech G drive instead. More money but hopefully better reliability. We shall see...

Did you try to format the drive using Disk Utility?
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Did you try to format the drive using Disk Utility?

How could I format it when I couldn't see it in my macbook at all? It was not being recognized.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4metta View Post

How could I format it when I couldn't see it in my macbook at all? It was not being recognized.

I assumed you meant it just didn't show up in the Finder. Drives without a readable partition don't show up in the Finder but the drive usually shows up in Disk Utility allowing you to format it. Maybe it came with a Windows partition. NTFS should show up of course but I've heard of cases where it doesn't.

Also if I remember right, Western Digital drives have a strange button on the at the front that you have to push. We have a WD drive at work and I'm sure I had to switch it on at the back and then push the big button or something so it would spin up.
post #11 of 12
Unfortunately external drives are not known to as as reliable due to cooling issues.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
This GTech G Drive has worked like a dream so far. It barely gets warm at all. My Macbook gets much warmer. The G Tech cloned my drive with Super Duper! very quickly too. I would say less than two hours for 149gb of data hard through firewire 400.


Very satisfied with it.
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