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pmadis01 03-15-2007 03:47 PM

External Hard Drives
I have been looking onto the external harddrives.

Any suggestions on which brand?

Any drives that work better with macs?

500GB is more than enough for what I'll be using it for now. Any suggested pricing?

Appreciate any input, everyone on here is so helpful

Stretch 03-15-2007 04:18 PM

Get something with a FireWire connection, don't believe anything people say about USB being faster. Firewire is the proven faster technology, and it uses less resources to use.

I'd recommend a Seagate drive, as they have the best reliability. But any drive should work with a Mac, you'll just want to reformat it first.

pmadis01 03-15-2007 04:26 PM

I'll admit something, I always hear about people reformatting, but have never really understood what it is.
Could you explain reformatting briefly? thanks for the help!

Kash 03-15-2007 04:29 PM

Formatting is essentially erasing everything on the drive and creating a file system that can be used by the operating system to store and access data. You don't really need to know how it works, just know that Disk Utility takes care of it for you.

There are two ways for you to get an external hard drive. One is to buy one that comes with the hard drive and enclosure. The other method is to buy the hard drive and enclosure separately and then set it up yourself. The latter method tends to be somewhat cheaper.

Also, are you planning on using this solely with your Mac or do you think you'll be plugging it into Windows machines as well?

pmadis01 03-15-2007 04:32 PM

I would be using it for my mac. But it would be nice to have the ability to plug into a PC, in case the situation arises.

Are some drives unable to flip back and forth between OS's (much like the ipod)

Stretch 03-15-2007 04:36 PM

If they are formated as FAT32, then you can use it with both.

pmadis01 03-15-2007 04:40 PM

Would I be able to format a drive as FAT32, or will i have to buy one that says it's FAT32 formatted?

You guys have been great by the way.

Stretch 03-15-2007 04:41 PM

Both Mac OS X and Windows can format as FAT 32, and most drives should come preformated that way.

fleurya 03-15-2007 11:18 PM

By the way, if you want to get an external hard drive on the cheap, see if you know anyone that has an old desktop they don't use any more, take the hard drive off their hands for a few bucks, and get a cheap enclosure off ebay or somewhere else. But you probably won't find any older HDD's with a huge amount of memory.

mac57 03-16-2007 02:29 PM

I am using G-Tech G-Drives, and I love them. Very fast, very reliable and with available Firewire 800. I have the 250 GB model but I know that they come in 500 GB sizes as well. The G-Drives are particularly excellent because they are fanless enclosures - so, no noise! That was important to me.

Re formatting of the drive, I would not advise FAT32. It is the worst format out there, even if it is the major one shared between Windows and Mac. It is bad because it restricts the maximum file size and because it does not support the Mac/unix security model of file owner IDs and permissions.

The trusty ext2 file system, widely deployed in Linux, is supported for both Mac and Windows, freeware support in both cases. It DOES support file ownership and permissions, as you would expect from a *nix file system.

You can get the Mac support here:

and the Windows support here:

Good luck!

Lisa 03-16-2007 03:13 PM

I just picked up a LaCie 250gb external - highly recommended by my apple store.

Dalton29 03-17-2007 05:31 PM

I had problems with a Lacie pocket drive which died after 3 months. Lacie and (where I got it) gave me the run around to the point that I just wrote it off and chucked it. I'm now having trouble with a Smartdisk NAS and their customer support isn't much better, they basically just keep quoting the manual even though I've explained I've tried everything.

Oh and try not to use Cancom, they are truely cr@p, they took 6 weeks to send me the disk when they kept telling me it was in stock, then they mixed 3 addresses I gave them so it was lucky to get to me at all!

Rambaud 03-23-2007 04:08 PM

I bought a 320Gb external (Firewire 400) Seagate hard drive for my MacBook.

Plus I put a 400Gb Samsung SATA drive in an IcyBox (USB2) enclosure.

Both are formatted HFS+ which I can use on my PC using MacDrive 7.

The advantage of my Firewire drive is that the MacBook recognises it as a bootable disk.

MartinS 03-24-2007 04:30 AM

I've got a LaCie D2 triple extreme for weekly backups. Seems solid to me...

MaDDoG 03-27-2007 01:55 AM

I just found a program that will apparently let you read and write to NTFS drive that Windows generally use. It is called NTFS-3G and is freeware.

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