Best External Hard Drive

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
As I will be buying one of the 2.0 GHz macbooks soon, I've looked at the differences between them and seen that the only important difference is hard drive size. Thus, I have tried to find a nice, portable, durable hard drive so that I can use that instead of paying $200 for 40 GB of space. It'd also be nice to carry stuff around without lugging a computer with me. I will likely be making iMovie projects, importing some dvds, and downloading some stuff, so it's likely that I'll need some space. My question is, firstly, is an external hard drive necessary for a normal person's purposes (as opposed to simply the 80 GB that's built in), and, secondly, which should I buy if I do get one? After asking a friend and looking around, this LaCie hard drive seems like it would fit my purposes, but feel free to contradict me or suggest something else.

http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?pid=10833

Thanks for any help!
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    I was in the same conundrum that you were when I was trying to decide on an external drive. I wanted to get one of the rugged lacies, but the biggest thing I needed was a firewire port, as I work w/ Final Cut Pro, and I have a lot of big files on hand. There were rugged lacies with the triple interface (USB 2.0, and firewire 400 and 800), but those were way too expensive for me. I settled on buying this external HD and enclosure from Newegg:



    http://www.newegg.com/product/produc...82E16817146604

    http://www.newegg.com/product/produc...82E16822146200



    I can say that I've been EXTREMELY happy with my purchase, as it came out to a total of $142.98 (s&h and tax included). With that enclosure, I had the speed of firewire and the option to use USB 2.0, plus a giant 160 GB reserve for all my info. Give interal HD's + enclosures a look, you'll definitely find a great deal!



    Edit: Forgot to add that if you go ahead w/ the internal HD + enclosure option, you have the ability to upgrade the drive, while keeping the enclosure, should you feel the need.
  • Reply 2 of 25
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wing70301 View Post


    I wanted to get one of the rugged lacies, but the biggest thing I needed was a firewire port, as I work w/ Final Cut Pro, and I have a lot of big files on hand. There were rugged lacies with the triple interface (USB 2.0, and firewire 400 and 800), but those were way too expensive for me.



    ...



    With that enclosure, I had the speed of firewire and the option to use USB 2.0, plus a giant 160 GB reserve for all my info.



    How much faster is firewire than USB, and is the difference large enough to matter to a fairly casual user? It's true that the LaCie drive with firewire costs significantly more than one with just a USB, which is why I'm looking at the non-firewire model, which costs $150, marginally more than the one suggested by wing. Is the speed worth the $50 difference?
  • Reply 3 of 25
    http://www.usb-ware.com/firewire-vs-usb.htm

    http://www.qimaging.com/support/down...irewireUSB.pdf



    For a casual user, the speed may not be a big deal, but i prefer to have the speed, as i often do a lot of raw video capture to the external drive. I've used both methods of transfering large files, and usb 2.0 definitely "feels" slower than firewire.



    For compatibility's sake, go w/ usb 2.0. For speed, go w/ firewire. However, if you can, get a drive w/ both, as this leaves open a lot of doors for you.
  • Reply 4 of 25
    altmtlaltmtl Posts: 8member
    Western Digital®

    My Book? Premium Edition? 500 GB

    External Hard Drive

    7200 RPM, USB 2.0 and

    FireWire® 400

    16 MB Buffer



    is this a good machine?



    I'm looking a Lacie as well... but it's a 250 GB for the same price
  • Reply 5 of 25
    I will say this: I bought a USB drive and was kinda disappointed at the speed. It was nice to be able to interface, however, with older computers that only had USB or PC switchers that needed their stuff to be moved for them. I ended up getting another drive but this time FireWire. I love it much much more. One issue that really sucks is formatting. I ended up keeping the USB in FAT32 so that I could use it on both macs and pcs even though it would undoubtedly make it even slower, but it was worth it. I just wish I could find an easy way to partition it to have one be HFS and one be FAT. No luck yet. But, as has been mentioned, both ports on the same drive would be AWESOME. I wish I had done that. Oh, my drives are LaCie 250GB Porche designs. I travel with them but I have a large briefcase and it's fine for me. Others would beg to differ.
  • Reply 6 of 25
    galleygalley Posts: 971member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by altmtl View Post


    Western Digital®

    My Book? Premium Edition? 500 GB

    External Hard Drive

    7200 RPM, USB 2.0 and

    FireWire® 400

    16 MB Buffer



    is this a good machine?



    I'm looking a Lacie as well... but it's a 250 GB for the same price



    You can get the PRO version for a few dollars more. It adds FireWire 800, a case that matches the MacBook Pro and a 3-year warranty.
  • Reply 7 of 25
    smaxsmax Posts: 360member
    I'll vote for the MyBook. I love mine.
  • Reply 8 of 25
    I've heard great things about Western Digital.



    However, I've had 2 very bad experiences with external Lacie 250GB drives where I lost alot of data. When the problem occured I scoured the internet for a solution and quickly found out that quite a few people had had the same problems with various Lacie models as me (click of death before complete failure). Maybe a bad batch, who knows.



    Maxtor seem to have quite a good rep for external drives though. A photographer mate of mine (who also got burnt by Lacie) has had a few for over a year now and hasn't looked back.



    Hope this helps milimetersquared.
  • Reply 9 of 25
    4metta4metta Posts: 365member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Galley View Post


    You can get the PRO version for a few dollars more. It adds FireWire 800, a case that matches the MacBook Pro and a 3-year warranty.







    Good points but he does not have a macbook pro he will have a macbook so he'll be paying for something he cannot use (firewire 800). As far as the extended warranty being it's the same parts I wouldn't worry too much about the premium's lesser warranty. I am trying to decide between the two myself. The price difference is usually $30 between the two but I can currently get the premium for $50 less than the pro. The questions are how long is he planning to keep the macbook before upgrading versus how long do these external hard drives last? hmm...
  • Reply 10 of 25
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by milimetersquared View Post


    How much faster is firewire than USB, and is the difference large enough to matter to a fairly casual user? It's true that the LaCie drive with firewire costs significantly more than one with just a USB, which is why I'm looking at the non-firewire model, which costs $150, marginally more than the one suggested by wing. Is the speed worth the $50 difference?



    My G4 tower came with a 40 GB hard drive. Last year I bought an Iomega USB 160 GB external HDD for more storage and backup. Using SuperDuper, it would take slightly over 4 hours to back up my 20 GB user files. Since that was overnight, it didn?t matter and I didn?t know any better.

    However, SuperDuper could not make a rebootable backup with a USB HDD and recommended a FireWire HDD for that purpose. Last month, I bought a (Porche) LaCie 250 GB, FireWire only, for $90 from Micro Center. Cheap enough. Now, not only can I get a rebootable backup, the LaCie backs up my entire internal 40 GB HDD in 1 ½ hours. Needless to say, I am very pleased. Since I am not technically inclined, there may have been a way to speed up backup to the Iomega, but I don?t know how. I didn?t have to tweak anything to get the faster backup with the LaCie.
  • Reply 11 of 25
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sequitur View Post


    My G4 tower came with a 40 GB hard drive. Last year I bought an Iomega USB 160 GB external HDD for more storage and backup. Using SuperDuper, it would take slightly over 4 hours to back up my 20 GB user files. Since that was overnight, it didn?t matter and I didn?t know any better.

    However, SuperDuper could not make a rebootable backup with a USB HDD and recommended a FireWire HDD for that purpose. Last month, I bought a (Porche) LaCie 250 GB, FireWire only, for $90 from Micro Center. Cheap enough. Now, not only can I get a rebootable backup, the LaCie backs up my entire internal 40 GB HDD in 1 ½ hours. Needless to say, I am very pleased. Since I am not technically inclined, there may have been a way to speed up backup to the Iomega, but I don?t know how. I didn?t have to tweak anything to get the faster backup with the LaCie.



    Mea culpa! In rereading my Reply, I realized there was an error in it.

    The figures should read: ?It would take slightly over 4 hours to back up my 11.7 GB user files? (The partition is 20 GB) and ?The LaCie 250 GB backs up my entire internal 27.08 GB HDD in 1 ½ hours. (The two partitions are 40 GB) [minus overhead].

    This isn?t a true picture of my files. Since the HDD is so small, I archive a lot of files. I had a secondary HDD in my Mac, but it gave me a lot of problems; I removed it. That was the subject of a ?Genius? item.
  • Reply 12 of 25
    4metta4metta Posts: 365member
    I do not recommend MyBook by Western Digital. Just received mine a couple of days ago and had to send it back. It would not be recognized by my Macbook through either firewire400 or USB. Went ahead and searched and found out that this has happened to others as well as auto-sleep problems. Guess there's a reason why they are so cheap in price.





    Decided to order a G Tech G Drive instead.
  • Reply 13 of 25
    4metta4metta Posts: 365member
    FWIW I had a tech at The Apple Store tell me LaCie and G Tech make better quality drives than Western Digital.
  • Reply 14 of 25
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 4metta View Post


    I do not recommend MyBook by Western Digital. Just received mine a couple of days ago and had to send it back. It would not be recognized by my Macbook through either firewire400 or USB. Went ahead and searched and found out that this has happened to others as well as auto-sleep problems. Guess there's a reason why they are so cheap in price.





    Decided to order a G Tech G Drive instead.



    Right! The internal secondary that I installed and which gave me so much trouble was a Western Digital.

    My Mac didn't recognize it either at first. However, my Mac was still under warranty and an Apple (phone) tech walked me through a process that allowed the WD to be recognized. I wish I hadn't installed it because it was nothing but trouble including auto-sleep problems.



    The latest (May) MacWorld magazine has a good article on hard drives. Their first recommendation was a LaCie d2 Quadra 500 GB priced at $290 w/ 4 connectors including eSATA. I'm not familiar with the other brands they tested, but not Seagate, Western Digital, or Maxtor. I would trust the guys at Apple Store re the GTech G drive. They've never steered me wrong. I hadn't discussed hard drives with them before I bought my 250 GB LaCie, but the store near me only carries LaCie's albeit larger models than mine. I was lucky that Micro Center had it on sale for $90.

    Good luck with the G Tech G Drive.
  • Reply 15 of 25
    4metta4metta Posts: 365member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sequitur View Post


    Right! The internal secondary that I installed and which gave me so much trouble was a Western Digital.

    My Mac didn't recognize it either at first. However, my Mac was still under warranty and an Apple (phone) tech walked me through a process that allowed the WD to be recognized. I wish I hadn't installed it because it was nothing but trouble including auto-sleep problems.



    The latest (May) MacWorld magazine has a good article on hard drives. Their first recommendation was a LaCie d2 Quadra 500 GB priced at $290 w/ 4 connectors including eSATA. I'm not familiar with the other brands they tested, but not Seagate, Western Digital, or Maxtor. I would trust the guys at Apple Store re the GTech G drive. They've never steered me wrong. I hadn't discussed hard drives with them before I bought my 250 GB LaCie, but the store near me only carries LaCie's albeit larger models than mine. I was lucky that Micro Center had it on sale for $90.

    Good luck with the G Tech G Drive.





    Yeah I have a digital subscription of Macworld and saw that article they also gave an award to G Tech for the drive I ordered--G Drive Q--last year so that's why I went with it. But on their website they also gave the MyBook pro a good review. I guess they didn't run into reliability issues with the one tested. I have just heard so many nightmares I'm going to stear clear from now on with Western Digital. And they never bothered to answer my tech support question either!
  • Reply 16 of 25
    I'd like to get one of the G-Tech Firewire 400/800 500GB drives, but they're so expensive compared to others; just gonna have to pony-up $$ for quality. I agree, the MyBook just doesn't quite cut it as it's plastic.
  • Reply 17 of 25
    4metta4metta Posts: 365member
    I received my G tech drive today and let me tell you the difference was apparent straight out of the box! The thing is built like a tank and the fit and finish impeccable. If looks could kill...



    Powered it up and connected it via firewire 400 and in an instant it ws ready to go since it's already preformatted for mac os! I DID reformat it though since it came in Mac os extended and the recommendations are to go mac os extended journaled. That took a split second to do in the disk utility. Now it matches the my macbook's os exactly.



    This baby arrived just in time since I have been having some problems with my optical drive and may have to leave my macbook at the genius bar tomorrow night. I'm doing a clone copy of my drive via Super Duper right now.
  • Reply 18 of 25
    4metta4metta Posts: 365member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cubbie5150 View Post


    I'd like to get one of the G-Tech Firewire 400/800 500GB drives, but they're so expensive compared to others; just gonna have to pony-up $$ for quality. I agree, the MyBook just doesn't quite cut it as it's plastic.





    You know I honestly do not care about the plastic that much except it does tend to make things retain heat more. I just have a problem when things break down. Having the Mybook be non functional straight out of the box scared me enough not to try again.



    Only reason I didn't go with the Gtech at first was the price too. So I went MyBook and you know how that went. Sure the price difference is noticeable, but there is also a difference in quality. I guess only you can decide if it's worth paying more for quality or not. If you are the type that tends to have multiple copies of your backups it may not be that big a deal to keep replacing cheap hard drives. I would rather not have to deal with that hassle.



    Look around for prices. New Egg has great prices on the G Tech G drive Q which has a quad interface! usb, firewire400 and 800 and eSata. Total overkill for a macbook but It was only $10 more than the dual firewire version prices found now. Too bad they didn't have the dual firewire version as well for sale. They have great prices in general.



    I will keep this baby powered down a lot and hope it lasts me through several future macs. The quad interface will make sure it will never be obsolete like my old usb external drive I just replaced.
  • Reply 19 of 25
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 4metta View Post


    You know I honestly do not care about the plastic that much except it does tend to make things retain heat more. I just have a problem when things break down. Having the Mybook be non functional straight out of the box scared me enough not to try again.



    Only reason I didn't go with the Gtech at first was the price too. So I went MyBook and you know how that went. Sure the price difference is noticeable, but there is also a difference in quality. I guess only you can decide if it's worth paying more for quality or not. If you are the type that tends to have multiple copies of your backups it may not be that big a deal to keep replacing cheap hard drives. I would rather not have to deal with that hassle.



    Look around for prices. New Egg has great prices on the G Tech G drive Q which has a quad interface! usb, firewire400 and 800 and eSata. Total overkill for a macbook but It was only $10 more than the dual firewire version prices found now. Too bad they didn't have the dual firewire version as well for sale. They have great prices in general.



    I will keep this baby powered down a lot and hope it lasts me through several future macs. The quad interface will make sure it will never be obsolete like my old usb external drive I just replaced.



    I agree totally w/ you say... I am currently using a cheap 250GB LaCie Porsche FW drive; only reason I have it is b/c a local shop had it on sale for ~$80. I have been researching externals for about a month now... Too bad both Newegg & the G-Tech site show the G-Drive Q as being out of stock; thanks for the heads up on the newegg price; I do shop there often, but didn't even think about trying to get a G-Tech drive there.....
  • Reply 20 of 25
    nofeernofeer Posts: 2,422member
    i got a seagate usb/firewire 400gb at samsclub for 156 out the door, not bad



    i was waiting for leopard and timemachine before i bought a new ext HD but i need the bootable backup before someting bad happens
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