External Hard drive advice/opinions... USB and FireWire

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Okay so here's my situation:

I had an impulsive moment the other day at Best Buy, and I purchased the Cherry Red 160GB Passport HD for my MacBook Pro. Self-powered for less than $0.50 a gig? You can sympathize, right? I'm happy with the price I paid, performance, etc. I'm a big fan of the whole USB powered feature (no carting around a power supply). I really wanted LaCie's portable self-powered drive (USB, Firewire 400, and 800 if I remember correctly, despite the nasty orange bumper), but I just don't want to pay that much money for one. I was satisfied 100% with my WD passport drive until I just started looking at backup software today. For whatever reason, I overlooked the whole booting from firewire concept (kicks himself) while researching drives. I forgot/never knew (take your pick) that Mac's were designed to boot from firewire with ease.



So... now I'm faced with a dilemma. Should I take the drive back (I'm pretty sure I can get my $70 back), and put that money toward a firewire hard drive? Know that I'm a poor college student and understand that I have been in the market for a new external for a couple months now, and I've been torn over different features (eSata, Firewire 400 & 800, self-powered, 160GB, 320GB, 500GB ). I'd like to be able to boot up from my drive in case my internal ever fails (don't foresee it happening anytime soon, as I just got the computer this past summer), but hey, it's a computer... you never know.



So here are the options I've come up with:
  1. Live with it... store the backup image on the USB drive. How imperative is booting from the drive for a college student who's job at the moment doesn't depend on his computer?

  2. Take it back, bite the bullet, and buy the LaCie drive (or something similar). Hey, Christmas is coming, right?

  3. Stop looking for a portable drive and buy something like the LaCie d2 Quadra 500gb (firewire 400/800, usb, and esata). It's better value per GB anyway

  4. Use my 1 GB flash drive to create a bootable Leopard disk (I believe this is possible). If I can boot, my WD drive will be at least accessible, right?

  5. Throw a tantrum 'til I exhaust myself then pout for a week or so


Any help and/or suggestions would be awesome! Thanks!

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 3
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by compulsiveguile View Post


    Okay so here's my situation:

    I had an impulsive moment the other day at Best Buy, and I purchased the Cherry Red 160GB Passport HD for my MacBook Pro. Self-powered for less than $0.50 a gig? You can sympathize, right? I'm happy with the price I paid, performance, etc. I'm a big fan of the whole USB powered feature (no carting around a power supply). I really wanted Lacie's portable self-powered drive (USB, Firewire 400, and 800 if I remember correctly, despite the nasty orange bumper), but I just don't want to pay that much money for one. I was satisfied 100% with my WD passport drive until I just started looking at backup software today. For whatever reason, I overlooked the whole booting from firewire concept (kicks himself) while researching drives. I forgot/never knew (take your pick) that Mac's were designed to boot from firewire with ease.



    So... now I'm faced with a dilemma. Should I take the drive back (I'm pretty sure I can get my $70 back), and put that money toward a firewire hard drive? Know that I'm a poor college student and understand that I have been in the market for a new external for a couple months now, and I've been torn over different features (eSata, Firewire 400 & 800, self-powered, 160GB, 320GB, 500GB ). I'd like to be able to boot up from my drive in case my internal ever fails (don't foresee it happening anytime soon, as I just got the computer this past summer), but hey, it's a computer... you never know.



    So here are the options I've come up with:
    1. Live with it... store the backup image on the USB drive. How imperative is booting from the drive for a college student who's job at the moment doesn't depend on his computer?

    2. Take it back, bite the bullet, and buy the Lacie drive (or something similar). Hey, Christmas is coming, right?

    3. Stop looking for a portable drive and buy something like the Lacie d2 Quadra 500gb (firewire 400/800, usb, and esata). It's better value per GB anyway

    4. Use my 1 GB flash drive to create a bootable Leopard disk (I believe this is possible). If I can boot, my WD drive will be at least accessible, right?

    5. Throw a tantrum 'til I exhaust myself then pout for a week or so


    Any help and/or suggestions would be awesome! Thanks!



    I believe that SuperDuper will make a bootable backup with a USB drive. I know it wasn't bootable on older machines or OS's, but it is on newer OS's. You can try SuperDuper free, but I don't think you can make a bootable copy on the freebie. The full app is $27. If the SuperDuper price plus the cherry red passport ($70) is too much, get the La Cie. You only live once.
  • Reply 2 of 3
    Intel-based Macs can boot from USB external hard disk. That said, FireWire (particularly FW800) is significantly faster than USB, although to some, performance may not be highest of priority (versus price). On the other hand, if you perform disk I/O bandwidth intensive tasks, such as video editing and multi-track audio editing, FW is a must.



    Let's put it this way. Hard disks are getting cheaper each year and I wouldn't bother with quad interface if USB is sufficient for your needs. I would've personally gone with non-self powered 500GB or 750GB 3.5" hard disk as they offer much greater bang for the buck than 2.5" hard disk.
  • Reply 3 of 3
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sequitur View Post


    I believe that SuperDuper will make a bootable backup with a USB drive. I know it wasn't bootable on older machines or OS's, but it is on newer OS's. You can try SuperDuper free, but I don't think you can make a bootable copy on the freebie. The full app is $27. If the SuperDuper price plus the cherry red passport ($70) is too much, get the La Cie. You only live once.



    I may look into that. I'm testing its backup capabilities right now. About 30gb left...



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by filburt View Post


    Intel-based Macs can boot from USB external hard disk. That said, FireWire (particularly FW800) is significantly faster than USB, although to some, performance may not be highest of priority (versus price). On the other hand, if you perform disk I/O bandwidth intensive tasks, such as video editing and multi-track audio editing, FW is a must.



    Let's put it this way. Hard disks are getting cheaper each year and I wouldn't bother with quad interface if USB is sufficient for your needs. I would've personally gone with non-self powered 500GB or 750GB 3.5" hard disk as they offer much greater bang for the buck than 2.5" hard disk.



    I really don't have a need for that much hard drive space. I don't do that much with video stuff, nor do I "borrow" music or dvd's. When I have the need for more, perhaps I'll have a steady job where I won't have to concern myself so much over $100 For now, portability tips the scales for me.
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