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Thread: External Drive

  1. #1
    External Drive

    Member Since
    Jan 02, 2011
    Posts
    40
    External Drive
    Hello All,

    I am looking to purchase another external hard drive for my new Apple iMac i5. I have one already hooked up which is a WD 2TB elements. Which I have on my PC. The reason I bought another is because I like the way this one is just a drag and drop type of hard drive vs some that have all this automatic back up software on them. It has been working absolutely fine on my PC and my new one is working great on my Mac. I reimaged it to the Mac vs the PC.

    I am just wondering if folks recommend something different for an external drive for a Mac, and if so why?

    Thanks in advance.

    Lucy Goose

  2. #2
    External Drive
    baggss's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 10, 2004
    Location
    Margaritaville
    Posts
    10,310
    Specs:
    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
    WDs are some of the best drives out there, no need to change. I'm looking at picking up 2 WD 2Tb externals tomorrow as I get ready to migrate to my new machine over the next few weeks.


  3. #3
    External Drive

    Member Since
    May 25, 2010
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    347
    Specs:
    2010 17" MBP |core i7 2.66|4gb ddr3|500gb 7200rpm|snow leopard|
    WD is a great brand, indeed. If it is super-sensitive data I might recommend Iomega as an option because they're highly reliable.


    For any other reason short of that, WD or almost any other name brand will do just fine.
    Don't forget the +reputation button on the left!

  4. #4
    External Drive
    Randy B. Singer's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 01, 2011
    Location
    Sacramento, California
    Posts
    608
    I am the head of a huge Macintosh user group (over 8,700 users) and I get asked about the "best brand of external hard drive" constantly. So I've been very careful to follow users' experiences, reviews, etc. so that I am on top of this area.

    Choosing an external hard drive currently is really difficult, because several old faithful brands have been churning out extremely problematic drives. Notably Western Digital and Seagate. Iomega (there is currently another thread about Iomega drives right here on this discussion forum) and LaCie are two other companies that lots of folks have had trouble with recently. (Iomega and LaCie don't make the internal mechanisms in their drives, but it appears that the problems with their external hard drives are not related to the brand of internal mechanism.)

    I wanted to make sure that what I thought that I was seeing was correct, so I asked an expert about his view.

    I got this e-mail back from:
    Drew Janssen, MacDFI
    Pres/CEO Drive Rescue, Inc.
    Data Recovery & Forensics
    Drive Rescue - Professional Data Recovery
    443-310-7920

    Randy B. Singer wrote:
    >> I was wondering if I could draw on your recent experience.

    Absolutely.

    >> I've been hearing from a surprising number of folks lately who have been having problems with both Seagate and Western Digital hard drives. The latter, especially, seem to >> be a problem for Mac users because of energy-saving features that Mac users can't disable. But it seems as if both companies are churning out drives at a low cost at the
    >> expense of quality control.

    I think that's a fair assessment. There's a major difference between
    WD and Seagate in the area of quality control. WD has, for years,
    employed the services of multiple vendors to make their drives. This
    has been proved out in the rebuilding process. Technicians would
    frequently open drives to replace parts, have a ready clone available
    to cannibalize for parts, only to discover the internal pieces didn't
    match.
    Over time, technicians like myself came to see that WD labels with
    batch lots and manufacturer's dates were actually nothing more than a
    reflection of when the drives passed through WD's testing facility
    combined with when the labels were printed. Drives would arrive from
    the various subcontractors, built with external cases specified by WD,
    but internal parts chosen by the subcontractors. So long as the
    drives passed WD's tests, they were labeled and sent on to the
    public. This inconsistency of internal parts created a nightmare for
    recovery companies engaged in rebuilding drives.
    At least with Seagate, the batch numbers, lots numbers, serials and
    dates meant something. Even if they used subcontractors, the batches
    and lots were all labeled together. Internal parts were consistent
    across a line, such as the Momentus line of laptop drives for example.
    They all came from the same factory, using the same internal parts, so
    rebuilding was a matter of matching drives to batch and lot numbers,
    within a certain date range. It also seemed the quality control was
    much better overall. Sadly, I think there have been issues of late
    when it comes to Seagate's quality controls. They still are much
    easier to rebuild, but I will admit I've seen failure rates which are
    higher than in the past. Still nowhere close to the abysmal
    performance rates of WD drives, but slipping from the high standards
    of dependability of before.

    >> Meanwhile, everyone seems to be very happy with Hitachi drives lately. (No more "deathstars".) With the exception of folks who purchased Mac mini's a couple of years ago >> with OEM Hitachi's in them.

    Hitachi is a middle of the road drive manufacturer who seems to have
    maintained decent quality control standards. They aren't the best in
    the business, but they seem better due to slippage in the Seagate
    line.

    ___________________________________________

    Randy B. Singer
    Co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions)

    Macintosh OS X Routine Maintenance
    OS X Maintenance And Troubleshooting
    ___________________________________________

  5. #5
    External Drive
    osxx's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 19, 2008
    Location
    houston texas
    Posts
    4,695
    Specs:
    09 MBP 8GB ram 500GB HD OS 10.9 32B iPad 4 32GB iPhone 5 iOs7 2TB TC Apple TV3
    So far my 5 yr old Lacie D2 still going.

  6. #6
    External Drive
    Randy B. Singer's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 01, 2011
    Location
    Sacramento, California
    Posts
    608
    So, that still leaves the question of which external hard drive to purchase.

    For a time I was recommending that folks purchase an internal Hitachi mechanism and then purchase an external hard drive case kit to put it in. This provided the benefit of lower cost, combined with your choice of quality components. The downside was that no software (such as backup software) was included, and the warranty on an external case kit can be short.

    But then two things happened. The first was that Apple moved from Firewire 400 to Firewire 800. Users wanted drives with Firewire 800 interfaces, but external case kits with FW800 tended to be expensive compared to the older FW400 case kits. Suddenly the cost of putting together your own external hard drive didn't present a cost savings over purchasing a pre-assembled hard drive.

    The second thing that happened was that folks started to report that when using a 1TB or larger hard drive in an external hard drive case kit they were experiencing overheating issues and other reliability issues having to do with the cases having too small a power supply. If you look at the recent customer feedback for some of the popular case kits on Amazon, you will see this. For instance:
    Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Macally G-S350SUA Hi-Speed eSATA/FireWire/USB2.0 Storage Enclosure for 3.5-Inch SATA HDD

    So, what am I currently recommending? I recommend a pre-assembled drive with a Hitachi mechanism, and a premium Oxford bridge chip, from a company that has lately developed quite a good reputation for customer service (which is ironic, because a decade or so ago they were just the opposite), Other World Computing (OWC). See:

    OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro FireWire 800/400, eSATA + USB2 external Solutions up to 2.0TB - Plug & Play Quad Interface

    Their prices are very competitive, even with drives that you assemble yourself. Their drives come with a nice selection of useful software, they offer a three year warranty, and they have been doing very well in performance comparison tests in computer magazines.

    ___________________________________________

    Randy B. Singer
    Co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions)

    Macintosh OS X Routine Maintenance
    OS X Maintenance And Troubleshooting
    ___________________________________________

  7. #7
    External Drive
    Randy B. Singer's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 01, 2011
    Location
    Sacramento, California
    Posts
    608
    Quote Originally Posted by osxx View Post
    So far my 5 yr old Lacie D2 still going.
    Five or more years ago purchasing a LaCie hard drive was just about as close as you could get to a sure thing. Your drive will probably go on working for another five or more years with no problem.

    But at some point LaCie's quality control went south. Have a look at all the complaints here:
    Hard Drives: LaCie

    ___________________________________________

    Randy B. Singer
    Co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions)

    Macintosh OS X Routine Maintenance
    OS X Maintenance And Troubleshooting
    ___________________________________________

  8. #8
    External Drive
    chas_m's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 22, 2010
    Location
    Victoria, BC
    Posts
    18,941
    Specs:
    Mid-2012 MBP (16GB, 1TB HD), Monoprice 24-inch second monitor, iPhone 5s 32GB, iPad Air 2 64GB
    I can only tell you that the Hitachi 320 I put in my Blackbook has been the quietest and most reliable drive I've used in years. I work my machine HARD and it never complains unless I overfill it.

  9. #9
    External Drive

    Member Since
    Apr 20, 2010
    Posts
    472
    Specs:
    21.5 iMac 3.06 ghz 12gb ram 500g HD iPad 2 16G
    Hmmm....after careful consideration...I just ordered an OWC 500gb Hitachi drive a few days ago...hopefully these reviews will bear it out...

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