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Other Hardware and Peripherals Other Apple systems and peripherals discussion.

Advice on external hard drives...


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credential

 
Member Since: Oct 24, 2010
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Good day.

I picked up my first mac product 2 months ago (MBP)...really impressed. Can't believe I didn't go this route sooner!

I'm looking to pick up an external hard drive...I plan on using the hard drive for:

- set up Time Machine for backups
- possible additional storage needs for MBP (the MBP has a 320 GB drive...I'm 80% full and I anticipate needing extra storage space for photos/music/video down the road).
- manual copy/paste backup of files on 2 PC computers/laptops

I don't plan on having the external hard drive connected all the time. I anticipate only connecting it via USB when I want TM to perform a backup or when I need to access files stored on the drive. (I'm assuming that TM works effectively this way...am I wrong in thinking that I can simply connect the external hard drive periodically and ask TM to do a backup?)

I'm hoping for advice on a couple of things:

1) There are so many different external hard drives when i run searches...given that I will need mine for both Mac and PC computers, should I be narrowing my search to certain kinds? Anything I should look for? (I had been looking at the WD Elements 1TB Desktop External Hard Drive, but I'm open to other ideas).

2) Based on some reading on this forum about the topic, I believe that I'll need to create different partitions on the external hard drive. I believe I'll need a separate partition for the TM backups. (based on a 320 GB that will eventually be filled to capacity, any recommendations on how large to make this partition?)

Second question about partitions...beyond the TM partitions, is it recommended that I run two separate partitions...one for the MBP (additional files, not for TM) and another separate partition for the PC computers that I'd be backing up?

Thanks.
Lee
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s2odin

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by credential View Post
1) There are so many different external hard drives when i run searches...given that I will need mine for both Mac and PC computers, should I be narrowing my search to certain kinds? Anything I should look for? (I had been looking at the WD Elements 1TB Desktop External Hard Drive, but I'm open to other ideas).
WD are regarded as the most reliable HD manufacturer, and I know their externals do not disappoint. Just make sure you have an AC outlet open as all the 3.5" drives need AC power to run. You should get one with USB 2.0 and Firewire, as the MBP has the firewire connection. Buffalo is another great manufacturer.

Look at:Newegg.com - BUFFALO DriveStation Combo 4 1TB USB 2.0 / IEEE 1394a / 1394b / eSATA External Hard Drive HD-HS1.0TQ The turbo boost available on Buffalo drives increases the speed of USB2.0 by a good margin, 60% as advertised, I think it's not that fast, but it does decrease total transfer times.


2) Based on some reading on this forum about the topic, I believe that I'll need to create different partitions on the external hard drive. I believe I'll need a separate partition for the TM backups. (based on a 320 GB that will eventually be filled to capacity, any recommendations on how large to make this partition?)
Make it 320gb. There are 2 kinds of Backups. TM and Bootable backups. Programs like SuperDuper! and CarbonCopyCloner make bootable backups of the OS, so they are exact copies of your HD.
Second question about partitions...beyond the TM partitions, is it recommended that I run two separate partitions...one for the MBP (additional files, not for TM) and another separate partition for the PC computers that I'd be backing up?
Well either way you backup, the files will get backed up that are important (music, photos, docs, etc). If you want, make one partition say 320gb for your internal, then like a 150gb partition for other Mac files, then the rest to PC, or however you decide.
Thanks.
Lee
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credential

 
Member Since: Oct 24, 2010
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Thanks for the info!

Just a couple of follow up questions:

1) You mentioned two types of backups...TM and bootable. Would you recommend using either SuperDuper! or CarbonCopyCloner instead of TM?

2) When looking at various external hard drives, there are some that suggest they are specifically for Mac (and also seem to be a bit more expensive). What makes these specific to Mac...would it just be that they come pre-formatted for Macs? If I'm looking to use the external hard drive for TM on the Mac and to also store files from PC, should I avoid these "specific to mac" hard drives?

Thanks again.
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chscag

 
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1. Do both. Reason: SuperDuper and CCC clone backups are bootable, TM is not. Time Machine backups can be restored automatically when you do a reinstall or an erase and reinstall.

2. Any external hard drive can be used with your Mac. It may have to be reformatted, but it can certainly be used. There really is no such thing as a Mac only hard drive. Don't be fooled by having to pay a higher price for a "Mac hard drive".
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credential

 
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Thanks again for the info...appreciate the comments about the additional cost of "mac only" hard drive

I'm just wondering what the benefits of doing both TM and CCC? If I understand things correctly, with just TM backups, if my hard drive fails I'd have to put in a new hard drive into my MBP, reinstall the OS and then use TM to restore all my data.

Is the primary benefit of CCC or SuperDuper that it eliminates the need to do a fresh OS install with a new hard drive? (ie. put in new hard drive to my MBP and simply use CCC or SuperDuper to reinstall a clone of my old hard drive)?

Would that best explain the sole benefit of CCC / SuperDuper over TM...the time savings of having to reinstall the OS again?

Thanks.
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