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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Apr 23, 2007
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    iMac 24" 2.33Ghz 2Mb RAM 250GHD
    External HDD / SATA Question
    Hi all, thinking about building my own external HDD and despite lots of reading I'm confused.

    I assume the iMac reads SATA drives however is it a waste of money if you can't use a SATA connection? i.e. why pay for extra disk spreed if you can only transfer via USB2.

    I have an iMac 24" - white one, previous model.

    Is there anything else I should be considering when doing this ... I'm thinking I'd like to get an enclosure with 2 bays so I can have RAID ... also like the idea of cooling the things.

    Thanks in advance,
    Shane.

  2. #2

    hughvane's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 18, 2008
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    MacMini 2.4, 8 Gb, OS 10.10 and 10.6; MacBook 2.4, 4 Gb, OS 10.6.8
    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneM View Post
    Hi all, thinking about building my own external HDD and despite lots of reading I'm confused. I assume the iMac reads SATA drives
    Use your iMac System Profiler to determine what sort of drive you have inside. If it shows Serial-ATA, then it will read SATA.

    Buy a combo (USB/Firewire) enclosure and build your external disk into that. You may find yourself a little disappointed at the supposed increase in speed with f/w 400 but others say otherwise. Is there some way you can borrow an external SATA drive to test with your iMac via USB and/or f/w?

  3. #3


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by hughvane View Post
    Use your iMac System Profiler to determine what sort of drive you have inside. If it shows Serial-ATA, then it will read SATA.

    Buy a combo (USB/Firewire) enclosure and build your external disk into that. You may find yourself a little disappointed at the supposed increase in speed with f/w 400 but others say otherwise. Is there some way you can borrow an external SATA drive to test with your iMac via USB and/or f/w?
    Hey thanks for the reply ... did some more searching here and HDD questions aren't popular ones

    Had a look last night and indeed it is a SATA drive - so all good there. I looked at the connection specs and no SATA/eSATA, just USD & Firewire - one 400 & one 800. Seems like Firewire would be the way to go then.

    Thanks again.
    Shane.

  4. #4

    baggss's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 10, 2004
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    27" 3.4 Ghz i7 iMac-13" C2D Macbook-OSX 10.10.2 -64Gb iPad 2-64 Gb iPhone 6+-ATV 2-14Tb of Storage
    Yes. Your iMac doesn't have an SATA II connection and you can not install one. Your original comment about using SATA II with a USB 2 connection is accurate, it's a complete waste of time since USB 2 is WAY to slow. Go with FW-800 in an external case that takes SATA II drives and you will be taking advantage of the speed of the connection AND the drive.


  5. #5


    Member Since
    Apr 23, 2007
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    Specs:
    iMac 24" 2.33Ghz 2Mb RAM 250GHD
    Many thanks again for the response!

    I feel like I am getting a handle on this now...

    Last question, promise ... went to the computer store the other day, talked through it some more and discovered that WD have this new HDD ... My Book Studio Edition II 2TB ... RAID, green drives (fanless, quiet, energy efficient apparently), 2TB, 5yr warranty, FireWire 800 ... and basically for less $(using Seagate)/same $(using other) than I could build one myself ... A$639.

    I did some searching and saw a reference to them affecting the operation of the iMac's superdrive however it seems (so far) the reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

    There seems to b a prejudice against WD however with RAID1 and a 5yr warranty it seems OK. I have a WD 160GB 2.5" which seems great so far.

    Any thoughts on these?

    Ta,
    Shane.

  6. #6


    Member Since
    Mar 21, 2008
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    43
    Quote Originally Posted by baggss View Post
    Go with FW-800 in an external case that takes SATA II drives and you will be taking advantage of the speed of the connection AND the drive.
    On paper, FW800 couldnt fully utilize the speed of even an old PATA style drive.

    FW800 = 800mbps
    PATA = 1.33Gb/s
    SATA = 1.5Gb/s
    SATAII = 3Gb/s

    Unless you have an eSATA port, the type of drive in your external enclosure really shouldn't make that big of a difference.

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