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Other Hardware and Peripherals Other Apple systems and peripherals discussion.

Which External Hard Drive should I buy/Do you suggest?


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sun622

 
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Get a Drobo. I have a "small" one and it holds 3 TB. Just open the back door and slide in your SATA drive and that's it. Quiet and fast. Works with my time machine.
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pothypine

 
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Do WD or Seagate (or any one for that matter) make a 1TB+ external drive that uses Firewire, but that DOES NOT need to be plugged in? I live off the grid, using solar, so to use the computer and only have ONE appliance plugged in seems easier. is this possible?
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vyvafc

 
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Ok, thanks for your replies. I actually went with a Lacie Cloudbox, see what happens I guess. Just one more question: I already have an (unused/boxed) Time Capsule - is there are value to be setting up the TC and then attaching the Lacie as an external drive - and backing up some of the data on the Lacie to the TC AND/OR just using the Lacie as secondary back-up? Cheers.
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janobonano

 
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I am a graphic designer and I work from home (on an iMac) but have to go into the office (using PC laptop) once every 3-4 weeks. I need some recommendations for an external HD to work off of (not backup) that will not have a problem switching from one computer to the other.

I currently have a FreeAgent Go Flex Drive (1TB). I had a problem once where I plugged it in the PC and it said there were errors. I stupidly allowed it to "fix" the errors, which resulted in losing some files. I did have some of it backed up to my iMac. However that message has been popping up more and more on the PC (I do not allow it to "fix" them anymore), and now I have an item in the trash that won't delete when it's plugged into my iMac (does not show up on the PC.) Drives me nuts. (Permissions says I can read and write; I cannot drag it out of the trash.)

I'm getting worried about the stability of this drive. I also read somewhere that frequent switching can shorten the life of the drive (or something.) So I think it should be replaced or just kept as a backup backup. Any recommendations?
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MTL JIM

 
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Hi, my first post on this forum. I've been searching the forum and this thread for some idea of what might be causing a problem I'm having with my external backup drive. Although it's now too small, the external drive I have at the moment works fine with one exception: if I leave it on for Time Machine to do automatic backups eventually it will start causing programs to hang. After a while, the whole system will freeze and I have to shut down the computer with the power button.

At the first sign of trouble, Finder shows me Time Machine Backups running (those little arrows chasing each other in a circle) but in reality, the backup drive is not running. It's like it's asleep. I'm thinking the external backup drive might have a power saving mode that causes it to shut down and it won't restart when Time Machine starts a backup.

Does anyone have any idea what might be causing these hang ups? When I get a bigger drive, should I be looking for a particular specification?
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chscag

 
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Welcome to the Mac Forums!

Quote:
At the first sign of trouble, Finder shows me Time Machine Backups running (those little arrows chasing each other in a circle) but in reality, the backup drive is not running. It's like it's asleep. I'm thinking the external backup drive might have a power saving mode that causes it to shut down and it won't restart when Time Machine starts a backup.

Does anyone have any idea what might be causing these hang ups? When I get a bigger drive, should I be looking for a particular specification?
We've run into this problem before with several users. Certain external hard drives will go to sleep after a period of inactivity. Not much you can do about it unless the drive manufacturer has issued a firmware update to correct it. When the drive sleeps and Time Machine tries to activate and begin its backup, it fails because the drive isn't awake. That may or may not cause the system to hang.

It's best to look for a new external hard drive, one that does not go to sleep or power saver mode. The other option you have is to leave the drive disconnected and only connect it when you wish to make a TM backup. Hourly backups are not necessary in my opinion. Of course you must have the personal discipline to make backups once you remove the automatic back up feature.
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MTL JIM

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
... The other option you have is to leave the drive disconnected and only connect it when you wish to make a TM backup...
This is what I've been doing for the past couple of years. Now I need a bigger backup drive so I'll try to find one that has no sleep mode. That's not always easy to find in the mfr's specs, though.

Thanks!
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janobonano

 
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Does anyone have suggestions for an external hard drive for me? The issue with the item in the trash has resolved. I just would like some suggestions on a brand/model that works well going back and forth from Mac to PC. Thanks.
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janobonano View Post
Does anyone have suggestions for an external hard drive for me? The issue with the item in the trash has resolved. I just would like some suggestions on a brand/model that works well going back and forth from Mac to PC. Thanks.
There's no particular brand or model that makes it easy to facilitate transferring between Mac and Windows. You can use any external hard drive, though I do personally recommend purchasing from a vendor that makes hard drives, rather than a third party that makes a case and installs some else's drive mechanism inside the case. Brands like Seagate, Western Digital and Hitachi are generally good bets, in my opinion.

Compatibility in terms of using with different OSes is a software issue. You can counter this in one of two ways.

1) Format the drive as "MS-DOS" on the Mac, using Disk Utility. This will format the drive using the "FAT32" filesystem. You must do this on the Mac as Windows has an artificial 32GB limit for FAT32. The only downside is that FAT32 can not store a single file that is larger than 4GB in size.

2) Leave the drive in its native format and install an NTFS driver for Mac. I recommend Paragon NTFS for Mac. Though there are free alternatives, none are more easy-to-use, robust or reliable.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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janobonano

 
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Thank you!
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Algus

 
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Instead of cluttering the forum with another thread, I thought I'd ask this here:

I've been googling up on transfer speeds to educate myself. So as I understand it, Thunderbolt has a theoretically transfer speed of 10 Gbps vs SATA which has 6 Gbps. Which would mean an external Thunderbolt would only be bottlenecked by the actual drive I use and a proper setup (SSD in a thunderbolt enclosure or somesuch) would give me identical performance to an internal drive I installed myself?

I ask as I am not eager to tear apart my Mac Mini to install a second drive but I need more space for software, particularly on my Windows partition.

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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Algus View Post
I've been googling up on transfer speeds to educate myself. So as I understand it, Thunderbolt has a theoretically transfer speed of 10 Gbps vs SATA which has 6 Gbps.
Note that most drive mechanisms will use SATA, regardless of how they are physically connected to the machine. So, though Thunderbolt can allow a SATA-based drive to operate at native speeds, you're not really comparing the bandwidth of the two. One compliments the other.

Quote:
Which would mean an external Thunderbolt would only be bottlenecked by the actual drive I use and a proper setup (SSD in a thunderbolt enclosure or somesuch) would give me identical performance to an internal drive I installed myself?
Yes, the performance would only be inhibited by the maximum throughput of the drive mechanism itself.

Quote:
I ask as I am not eager to tear apart my Mac Mini to install a second drive but I need more space for software, particularly on my Windows partition.
Be aware that Boot Camp does not support more than one drive. You can only split your main system drive. If you need more flexibility than that, you'll want to look into rEFIt.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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nancyspeed

 
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From my research on external hard drives (on this and other sites), I have gotten the opinion that Toshiba drives are to be avoided. But, when I got to OWC it seems that the ones that would fit my needs are all Toshiba. Any thoughts?
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nancyspeed View Post
From my research on external hard drives (on this and other sites), I have gotten the opinion that Toshiba drives are to be avoided. But, when I got to OWC it seems that the ones that would fit my needs are all Toshiba. Any thoughts?
What are your needs, exactly? There really hasn't been a whole lot of innovation in HDDs over the last 10 years or so. SSDs are slowly suppplanting them altogether. Given that, I'm curious as to what features in particular seem to better suit your needs.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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nancyspeed

 
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I have a Lacie d2Quadra that has the 4 choices of connections plus uses an external power supply. Have I used more than one of those choices? No. I didn't even know hard drives were now mostly USB powered until 3 days ago. My iMac and macbook are early 2008 and I really don't want to buy another one yet. I'm replacing the hard drive and adding memory on the macbook and need something to back up. The Lacie is over 3 now and I need to go ahead and look at something to replace it.

I suppose I am afraid to try something new. I read the long sticky and noticed problems with USB powered hard drives and problems with the WD software that people couldn't get rid of and problems with Toshiba in general. I was looking at OWC and thought about the Mercury Elite Pro and then the Mini Stack Classic (due to the age of my macbook) and saw that all of those had Toshiba drives.
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