External hard Drive for a mac Mini 2011 model.

in Genius Bar edited January 2014

In your opinion what would be a good External HD to use with the current mac mini to back up my music, photos, data, and etc. Thanks. I am surprised all you experts out there cannot respond back to my question.



  • Reply 1 of 23
    chipzchipz Posts: 100member

    I have the Apple unit and it works well.  From what I have read, almost any of the USB CD/DVD drives out there will work as well.  I enjoy having the CD/DVD drive because a lot of my programs were not downloadable and available only on DVDs.  Also, I save a lot of my photo files to CD, so I really appreciate the drive.  The Apple unit would be a good one for you.

  • Reply 2 of 23
    marvfoxmarvfox Posts: 2,275member

    How expensive is this? Thanks


  • Reply 3 of 23
    chipzchipz Posts: 100member

    The Apple drive is about $76.  You can also order a drive from Iomega and other dompanies.  These will generally be slightly cheaper and can also be run on other machines, whereas the Apple Drive is only for the MBA as far as I know.

  • Reply 4 of 23

    I believe you can replace or add an SSD storage drive in there. Don't quote me on that though.

  • Reply 5 of 23
    marvfoxmarvfox Posts: 2,275member

    Thanks I am using a Mac mini now which is the 2011 model.


  • Reply 6 of 23
    bergermeisterbergermeister Posts: 6,784member



    He's talking about the external SuperDrive for the MacBook Air.  It burns to CD or DVD.  It's a nice unit, but you do have to swap DVDs in and out.


    A simple, external USB hard drive wouldn't cost very much and would give you lots of back up space.  You could also use it to run Time Machine.  These drives are pretty cheap these days and as long as you stay with one of the major brands, I think you're OK.  Plug in and nothing to swap.

  • Reply 7 of 23
    chipzchipz Posts: 100member

    I did misunderstand.  A good HDD is really easy to find as almost any of them on the market will do a good job for you.  The most important thing is to get one that is large enough to hold all your current and future files.  LaCie and Iomega make some really good one as does Toshiba.

  • Reply 8 of 23
    marvfoxmarvfox Posts: 2,275member

    How is Seagate or W/D to use with the Mac mini? Thanks


  • Reply 9 of 23
    chipzchipz Posts: 100member

    Both are good drives, but the W/D gets more nods than Seagate.  Personally, I don't think there's that much difference between name brand HDD.

  • Reply 10 of 23
    bergermeisterbergermeister Posts: 6,784member

    WD is fine.  I have two sitting on my desk right now, and they replaced (upgraded) two older ones. 


    Does you Mac mini have FireWire 800?  Thunderbolt?


    I ask because these are fast, but they cost.  I had FW800 drives but replaced them with Thunderbolt because of transfer times being much faster.  But then, I work with video and the means files are huge.  Cutting transfer times in half was well worth the added cost.  This might not be true for you.


    USB is fine for most tasks.  It's cheap.

    If you have a lot of stuff to move, you might want to consider FW800 or FW400 but the external drive will cost a little more.  

  • Reply 11 of 23
    bergermeisterbergermeister Posts: 6,784member

    I see you had to wait a week before somebody replied.  I have a question up and very few people seem to even be looking at it.  Hmm.

  • Reply 12 of 23
    marvfoxmarvfox Posts: 2,275member

    There are questions that get unanswered her quite a bit. My Mac mini is the 2011 model with 2.3 and 500 HD and 2gigs of ram. Thanks


  • Reply 14 of 23
    marvfoxmarvfox Posts: 2,275member

    Thanks for looking for me.


  • Reply 15 of 23

    The 2011 mini has a Thunderbolt connector, four USB2 ports, and a FW800.


    Because Thunderbolt is so up-and-coming, the temptation is to go with that for the purpose of future usability. However, Thunderbolt eternal drives remain prohibitively expensive on a per GB value basis. For example, the WD MyBook 4TB with Thunderbolt, is $550 when you include the $50 cable.


    FW800 used to be my go-to connector when I was editing a lot of video and it was the standard in that industry. But those days are slipping behind us quickly.


    Finally, USB2 is the slowest connector there, but it has the virtue of bing able to connect USB3 external drives, which are much cheaper than Thunderbolt drives. Because the new MacBook Pros and Airs support USB3 in addition to Thunderbolt, it's reasonable to assume that future minis will support USB3.


    Therefore, for the next year or so, USB3 would seem to me to be the best solution for your external storage needs. You will be able to use the drive case with your next Mac or PC, and it's backward compatible with USB2.


    Here's what i would purchase:






    Good luck, and let us know how it works out for you!

  • Reply 16 of 23
    marvfoxmarvfox Posts: 2,275member

    So with this unit I can back up all my data? Thanks


  • Reply 17 of 23

    I've also used the Western Digital Green series and have had good luck; they're nice for backups.


    I've used a bunch of different external enclosures; I'm currently using this one to back up my Mac Pro:





    It's nice and quiet since it does not need a fan.  

  • Reply 18 of 23


    Originally Posted by chipz View Post

    I save a lot of my photo files to CD


    I hope you are aware that your burned CDs and DVDs will start losing recorded bits - information - from Day One, and become completely unreadable after a few years.

    So don't use CDs and DVDs for backup purposes!

    Burned CDs and DVDs are only good for short-term storage (less than 1 year).

  • Reply 19 of 23
    marvfoxmarvfox Posts: 2,275member

    Thanks I did not know this information.I will adhere to a External HD than.


  • Reply 20 of 23
    chipzchipz Posts: 100member

    The HDD is the way to go for backups.  CDs and DVDs do lose their info over time.  I have used them in the past to ave photos and thus far I've been lucky.  I have some photos I saved to CD over 11 years ago and they are still readable.  I don't know how much longer they will remain readable so I have transferred my photo files to a HDD.  I have also transferred some photo files to the Mobile Fidelity Gold CDs which are said to last over 100 years as compared to the 10 to 15 years of the standard CD.  I am "abusing" the gold CDs to ee how they  retain their data and so far they seem to be doing quite well.  Even so, I agree that HDD is the better way to save these files.  Just get a good quality HDD and you should be fine.

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