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  1. #1


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    Portable USB drives and the Mac Pro
    I want additional storage for my Mac Pro and have been looking at portable drives – this one for example:

    Samsung M3 1TB USB 3.0 Slimline Portable Hard Drive - Black: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

    These are 2.5” disks [not solid state]. They are a far cheaper alternative to pen drives in the capacities I need [it’ll store audio/video material rather than text files] but no-one can tell me whether it’s okay to use them as external storage on a [Mac Pro] desktop.

    These are USB drives. There is no separate power source. I know 2.5” and 3.5” disks have different requirements in that regard [5v and 12v respectively if memory serves] but some Amazon buyers APPEAR to be using them successfully with Windows desktops. One buyer uses his with a G4.

    I’m not technically savvy but I don’t see how a purely USB-powered device on a desktop could transfer and stream video files without hampering computer function in some way.

    Advice appreciated.

  2. #2

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plumpjack View Post
    These are 2.5” disks [not solid state]. They are a far cheaper alternative to pen drives in the capacities I need [it’ll store audio/video material rather than text files] but no-one can tell me whether it’s okay to use them as external storage on a [Mac Pro] desktop.

    These are USB drives. There is no separate power source.
    There is nothing to be concerned about using these with your Mac Pro. 2.5" USB external hard drives are very common. They are powered by the USB port.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  3. #3


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    There is nothing to be concerned about using these with your Mac Pro. 2.5" USB external hard drives are very common. They are powered by the USB port.

    - Nick
    Thanks for this Nick. I'm probably stuck in the same groove as everyone [including reviewers] who invariably tell you to stick with 3.5" externals and their separate power source if you're on a desktop and who implicitly recommend these solely to laptop owners. That's the impression I get anyway. I've read a lot of material and haven't found anything that tells you clearly these can be used for desktops, and of course Mac users are laptop users anyway in the main so they fail to make the proper distinctions. I'm surprised by your advice but heartened by it at the same time. I thought I might have to buy a £370 - £750 flash drive. Thanks again for pitching in.

  4. #4

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    This is what you asked in your original post:

    Quote Originally Posted by plumpjack View Post
    ...no-one can tell me whether it’s okay to use them as external storage on a [Mac Pro] desktop.
    You asked if it was ok to use a 2.5" HD with you Mac Pro. You didn't ask which was better!

    The cost of a 2.5" or 3.5" drive is not that much different (especially compared to SSD's). If you prefer to use a 3.5" drive…then do it!

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  5. #5


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    This is what you asked in your original post:



    You asked if it was ok to use a 2.5" HD with you Mac Pro. You didn't ask which was better!

    The cost of a 2.5" or 3.5" drive is not that much different (especially compared to SSD's). If you prefer to use a 3.5" drive…then do it!

    - Nick
    A separate power supply is always better but I think what I meant was clear enough Nick. As it happens I all ready have three externals [3.5"] attached to my desktop. I'm pressed for space and was looking at this - no bigger than a cigarette packet more or less apparently - as an alternative, assuming USB would be sufficient to drive it of course. That's the bit I was dubious about. A fourth powered device would almost certainly screw with my other disks furthermore, since it took two replacements before I got a third external to work without sending everything haywire. I'll buy and try. I can always send it back to Amazon if it doesn't work out. Thanks again for your help.

  6. #6

    harryb2448's Avatar
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    Best is an SSD in an external case. My choice is a Mercury Pro Elite Mini running an OCZ Verttex SSD connected via FW800.
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  7. #7


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by harryb2448 View Post
    Best is an SSD in an external case. My choice is a Mercury Pro Elite Mini running an OCZ Verttex SSD connected via FW800.
    SSD's a bit rich for my blood Harry. Besides my Firewire ports are all engaged. I'll try these and see how I go. Thanks.

  8. #8

    GrannySueSnaps's Avatar
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    Probably I'm not understanding this but why not go with something like 2TB MyBookLive to store files and run backups instead of so many drives.
    GrannySueSnaps
    Sue Stinnett
    http://grannysuesnaps.photos

  9. #9


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrannySueSnaps View Post
    Probably I'm not understanding this but why not go with something like 2TB MyBookLive to store files and run backups instead of so many drives.
    Thanks for posting Granny. Frankly I didn’t know these things existed, but since you raise the question my answer is that I suspect it would be superfluous anyway and for the following reasons:

    1] I’m housebound. I have one computer [no network] and no mobile devices requiring me to login from afar.
    2] The WD is quite small but three times the price [even on Amazon] of a suggested solution that is actually smaller still. The prospect of saving even more space is a clincher given my somewhat cramped circumstances.
    3] I like separate backup devices. A nuisance, yes, but they reassure, and if the WD functions as I think it does – and again I’m no techie by any stretch of the imagination [the demise of the goose-quill pen put me back years psychologically] – it would amount to placing all my eggs in one basket.
    4] I’ve ordered the cheaper extension drive by Samsung so I'm committed really, at least in the short term. I’ll just send it back if it doesn’t work out.

    Perhaps the misunderstanding is mine I don't know. Thanks for helping though.
    Last edited by plumpjack; 07-10-2014 at 03:04 AM.

  10. #10

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plumpjack View Post
    I want additional storage for my Mac Pro and have been looking at portable drives...
    Just curious. Since you have a Mac Pro. How many internal hard drives do you have installed?

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  11. #11


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    Just curious. Since you have a Mac Pro. How many internal hard drives do you have installed?

    - Nick
    Three. That's three internals and, as stated earlier but which isn't germane to your question, three externals. The externals take the strain. Internally the machine's a mish-mash of 250GB, 1TB and 1.5TB. That's just how it came when I acquired it in 2011 from an eBay seller. I bought four IBM 3TB Business Class hard drives about a year ago hoping to sort this out. I never got round to installing them. Same with four 1TB Samsungs bought two or three years previously. They too gather dust, unopened and untested, in a far corner of the room. Why am I telling you this? You have a kind face. I'd order tea but it would be cold by the time it got there.
    Last edited by plumpjack; 07-10-2014 at 03:11 AM.

  12. #12

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plumpjack View Post
    Three. That's three internals and, as stated earlier but which isn't germane to your question, three externals. The externals take the strain. Internally the machine's a mish-mash of 250GB, 1TB and 1.5TB. That's just how it came when I acquired it in 2011 from an eBay seller. I bought four IBM 3TB Business Class hard drives about a year ago hoping to sort this out. I never got round to installing them. Same with four 1TB Samsungs bought two or three years previously. They too gather dust, unopened and untested, in a far corner of the room. Why am I telling you this? You have a kind face. I'd order tea but it would be cold by the time it got there.
    Ok, thanks for all the info. Sounds like you have quite a bit of hardware there to choose from. With all of those hard drives gathering dust (four 3TB & four 1TB drives)...you certainly have a lot to choose from.

    Since your main question seems to be concerned with external storage...I'll try to make some suggestions.

    1. In case you haven't thought of it (or weren't aware this could be done since you mentioned not being a very "techie" person)...one thing you could do is purchase one or more external hard drive housings...and install one or more of those "dusty" drives into the housing to make it a fully operational external hard drive.

    2. Next. You mentioned not wanting to put all of your eggs in one basket (everything on one hard drive). Let's say you purchase two external hard drive housings...and in each external hard drive housing install one of those 3TB drives. Then...partition each of those 3TB drives into as many partitions as you need for all of those internal or external hard drives you currently have...so you can back everything up...AND consolidate.

    I might have lost count...but it sounds like you have 3 internal hard drives & something like 3 external hard drives.

    3. You mentioned not having a lot of free desktop space. As with any large city...when you run out of space to build horizontally...you then built vertically. With your "dusty" large capacity hard drives in external housings...they can be stacked one on top of the other...saving you desktop space.

    Hopefully all (or some) of that makes sense.

    - Nick

    Quote Originally Posted by plumpjack View Post
    You have a kind face. I'd order tea but it would be cold by the time it got there.
    p.s. I'm from the United States. If the tea is cold by the time I get there...I'll just throw some ice cubes, lemon, and sugar in it...and have iced-tea!

    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  13. #13


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    Ok, thanks for all the info. Sounds like you have quite a bit of hardware there to choose from. With all of those hard drives gathering dust (four 3TB & four 1TB drives)...you certainly have a lot to choose from.

    Since your main question seems to be concerned with external storage...I'll try to make some suggestions.

    1. In case you haven't thought of it (or weren't aware this could be done since you mentioned not being a very "techie" person)...one thing you could do is purchase one or more external hard drive housings...and install one or more of those "dusty" drives into the housing to make it a fully operational external hard drive.

    2. Next. You mentioned not wanting to put all of your eggs in one basket (everything on one hard drive). Let's say you purchase two external hard drive housings...and in each external hard drive housing install one of those 3TB drives. Then...partition each of those 3TB drives into as many partitions as you need for all of those internal or external hard drives you currently have...so you can back everything up...AND consolidate.

    I might have lost count...but it sounds like you have 3 internal hard drives & something like 3 external hard drives.

    3. You mentioned not having a lot of free desktop space. As with any large city...when you run out of space to build horizontally...you then built vertically. With your "dusty" large capacity hard drives in external housings...they can be stacked one on top of the other...saving you desktop space.

    Hopefully all (or some) of that makes sense.

    - Nick



    p.s. I'm from the United States. If the tea is cold by the time I get there...I'll just throw some ice cubes, lemon, and sugar in it...and have iced-tea!

    I take your point generally but it might well overload things to add another heavyweight external drive. The first two hooked up without any difficulty. It took several false starts and returns to Amazon before I landed a third drive that actually worked without the machine ditching the first two however. These are Firewire driven, not USB, but the warning is there.

    Again 3.5” externals need their own power. I don’t want that. I haven’t the space for additional drive brackets whether I build horizontally or vertically. Additional leads [since I’m a fair way from a socket and manufacturer-provided cables seem to get shorter as the years go by] merely add to the expense furthermore.

    It's for these reasons and others that I asked whether a USB drive might be suitable for desktops even though my instinct told me they simply wouldn’t have the necessary power. These won’t be working drives. Bear that in mind. I’ll use them for storing and playing video material. I shan’t be transferring files back and forth [a practice that increases the risk of failure]. This type of restricted usage makes them - potentially at least - an ideal alternative to pen drives [around $600 - $1200 at these capacities]. I just need to know whether they work – not with laptops but with desktops.

    It’s there under ‘Location’ that you’re in America Nick, but I thought it unwise to press the invitation in case you hail from Boston. We don’t want maritime traffic disrupted again do we? Benny Hill [a.k.a. Fred Scuttle] is widely vilified these days but remains an emblem of a more relaxed age and one of England’s finest in my opinion. Bless him – and you for posting.

  14. #14

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plumpjack View Post
    Again 3.5” externals need their own power. I don’t want that. I haven’t the space for additional drive brackets whether I build horizontally or vertically.

    It's for these reasons and others that I asked whether a USB drive might be suitable for desktops even though my instinct told me they simply wouldn’t have the necessary power.
    I think that you have your answer…based on what you said about:

    - limited desktop space
    - 3.5" drives needing their own power
    - the fact that these external USB powered 2.5" drives won't be "working drives"
    - not wanted to invest in SSD's…due to their high price/gigabyte cost

    It looks like 2.5" traditional HD's may be the solution to fit all of the above mentioned needs.

    By the way…just to add some creditability to justify the use of external 2.5" HD's.

    - 2.5" HD's have been used reliabily in laptop computers for years & years.
    - Many laptop computers are used just about as many hours each day as many desktop computers.

    Two possible downsides to 2.5" HD's:

    - They may not be as fast (transfer rate) as 3.5" drives.
    - They are probably not as durable.

    But (two but's):

    1. You mentioned that these 2.5" external drives won't be "working drives". So excessive "up-time" hours really shouldn't be a problem.
    2. All of us should always have all important data/information backed up on separate hard drives. So even if a 2.5" drive (or a 3.5" drive) fails…we still have a backup.

    - Nick

    p.s. I like Benny Hill. Amazing difference between his comedy content…and the stuffy/conservative content of American comedies of the same era/era's.
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  15. #15


    Member Since
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    I've ordered one in any event so we'll see what happens. Solid state prices haven't reduced enough to make them an option. I'd prefer something with no moving parts but I read they only function reliably if 25% of the disc is left unused. How true that is I couldn't say.

    p.s. I like Benny Hill. Amazing difference between his comedy content…and the stuffy/conservative content of American comedies of the same era/era's.
    Hill was out on his ear in England by the 'eighties. Invited to a meeting with the head of Thames Television, the London arm of commercial broadcasting in this country for which he continues to generate millions in overseas sales, he was given a grovelling apology and politely informed he'd never work again. Feminist militants wanted blood. They got his. Hill was often to be seen shuffling around London in an old coat carrying a plastic carrier bag full of shopping in his later years. He lived frugally in a tiny flat above a shop. He seldom left it. Thus [was] ended the career - and shortly afterwards the life - of one of television's most popular figures, a fixture on our screens for almost three decades.

    Funny old world....

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