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  1. #1

    Member Since
    Nov 05, 2009
    What external hard drive to get?
    Hey, I am looking for an external hard drive to use with time machine. I want the most affordable hard drive that fits my needs, but it still has to be totally reliable; the hard drive is for my school work, and it would be a disaster if anything happened to it. Additionally, I also need to know if 160 GB external is enough or if i need more/less.

    Here's my situation:
    • 2009 MacBook Pro with 159.18 GB total, w/ 92.45 GB still free; probably will never drop below 50GB.

    • OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion)

    Dropbox is not an option for me at this point. thanks!

  2. #2

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.7.5
    In my opinion…almost any hard drive from a major brand manufacturer would be fine (Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, Hitachi, etc.).

    Whenever you ask this sort of question…there will always be folks who will swear by a specific brand…I'm just trying to be honest to say…you'll be fine with any of them I listed. It's just like asking someone:

    - Ford or Chevy
    - Windows or Mac OS
    - etc.

    As far as size. 160gig would be pretty small by todays standards. Cost/gigabyte…you're probably better off getting something larger to get the best value. 500-750gig is probably the most common sizes right now. Many folks are talking terabyte drives.

    So I would say:

    - buy a hard drive from any major branded manufacturer
    - get at least a 250-500gig drive
    - if you're going to use this as an external drive…get yourself an external drive case.

    It's probably cheaper to buy the hard drive & external case separately…rather than together.


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  3. #3

    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 30, 2007
    The Republic of Neptune
    160 GB would be enough for a limited number of backups. Here's a brief description of what Time Machine does:

    And a brief discussion of what Time Machine is good for:

    Given all that, the 160 GB drive will do the job, but will hit a point quicker where it will start deleting older backups when it runs out of space. When that point may be, I cannot say. It depends on your usage. If you want a greater number of older backups "just in case", then get a bigger drive.

    As for what drive... I don't recommend Seagate. I do recommend Western Digital, though others here have had good experiences with Toshiba and Hitachi. I am most inclined to recommend getting a desktop/laptop drive and putting it in an enclosure yourself. The drives that come pre-bundled in enclosures seem to be less reliable. You should be fine using a 2.5" drive in a bus-powered enclosure. Firewire 800 would be the best performance, but those can be pricey.

    OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro Bus-Powered FireWire 800/400, USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and 2.5" SATA Portable Hard Drive & SSD Solution

    USB 2.0 will be a lot more affordable.
    SATA Drive 2.5-Inch Enclosure Bus-Powered OWC Mercury Express USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 SuperSpeed

    As for the drive, I would stick with a 5400 RPM drive, rather than 7200 RPM. It will perform a little slower, but for use as a Time Capsule, it's perfectly adequate. It should also last longer; be quieter; and be more energy efficient.
    Western Digital Scorpio 2.5" Serial ATA (SATA) Hard Drives for Notebook and Laptop computers; other solutions using 9.5mm 2.5 Inch SATA HD

    Please verify and include the exact model/year of your Mac and OS X version number (available from "About This Mac", then "More Info" on the Apple menu).
    Links: Onyx | EasyFind | Apple Hardware Test | How to test your hard drive | The Safe Mac Adware Removal Guide | Uninstall MacKeeper
    Lifeisabeach - Mac-Forums Member of the Month June 2009, Feb 2012, and March 2013.

  4. #4

    Member Since
    May 17, 2011
    MacPro 5,1 - 2 x 3.46GHz, 128GB; MacPro 1,1 - 2 x 3GHz DC, 32GB; PowerMac 7,3 - 2 x 2GHz PPC, 8GB
    Does it need to be portable? Assume yes since you mentioned school and work? If not, and you wanted an all-in-one ready to go, there are several to consider, but I do like the LaCie d2 Quadra. I've got several at work, have had them for years, none dead yet! They will use different manufacturers for the drives, probably depending on who gives them the best pricing at a given time. They tend to run fairly cool since the case is built like a heat sink, attractive aluminum.

    Portable? Yeah, buy a separate drive and enclosure. Other World Computing is a good source, but there are others. I've purchased a few from them, one for like $10.00 for the case, and then install whatever hard drive you want (2.5" SATA) size-wise. Large capacity drives have really come down in price.

    I also bought one of the OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro cases - more expensive, I think it was around $80.00 - but it's nice, if you're into that sort of thing! Nice aluminum case, and it is USB 2.0, 2 x Firewire 800, and eSATA connectivity.

    Drives? I guess it is a personal preference, but I do definitely like the Hitachi brand. Granted, I've not tried any of their 2.5" drives but the 3.5" Deskstar line has been very good to me.

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