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1TB External Hard Drive for Time Machine Back up?

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Will a 1TB external hard drive (HFS+Format) work for my iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015) Time Machine back up? And which HD is reliable?
 
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Which one is reliable is a "religious" question for which there are as many answers at there are drives. I like WD, others hate them. As for the size of the drive, generally TM should be on a drive twice as big as the data it is backing up. So if your drive has, let's say, 360GB of data, that 1TB will do nicely. If it's 750GB of data, that would be a bit tight and you'll find it running out of space sooner. As I said, about double what you have on the source is a good estimate. NOTE: Not double the drive size, but the data on the drive. You aren't backing up empty space...
 
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Spinner hard drives are commodities - very little difference (if objectively measured) in reliability. Just get the best deal. I use a 1TB spinner for Time Machine.
 
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It depends on how much data you have on your internal drive? It will backup up to 1TB of your data. I usually buy WD external drives for our backups.
 
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External Hard Drive for Time Machine Back up?

As many have mentioned here previously, if the data you want to backup is at all critical, having a single backup or clone is the absolute minimum, and having TWO Backup drives would be better.




- Patrick
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Spinner hard drives are commodities - very little difference (if objectively measured) in reliability.
I VERY STRONGLY disagree with this. There are plenty of studies on the Web that offer guidance on the differences between internal rotating disk hard drive mechanisms, and some of those differences are quite large:
https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-stats-for-2019/

But that isn't even what I feel makes the difference if we are talking about external hard drives. The difference is in the cases and electronics of external hard drives. A few years ago when rotating disk hard drives (RDHD) got really huge, at about the 1TB mark, the internal mechanisms started to run a lot hotter (requiring more cooling) and they require more power (necessitating bigger power supplies.) Most external hard drive manufacturers just slapped these newer, bigger, mechanisms in the same old external cases not adapting the cases to the demands of these new drives...with disastrous results. If you check around, you will find that it is hard to find any external RDHD's that are reliable.

The most notoriously unreliable external(note that I'm not talking about internal drives here) RDHD's come from Western Digital, Seagate, LaCie, and Iomega.

What's good? Surprisingly few products. But these stand head and shoulders above all the others.

If you want something reasonably priced, that is decent, go with:

Other World Computing Mercury Elite Pro
OWC Mercury Elite Pro: Production-Grade External Hard Drive
OWC Mercury Elite Pro
(You may need an adapter cable to go with the drive you choose, depending on which Mac you have.)

If you want "the best" external hard drive, without having to pay an outlandish price (but you are willing to pay a bit more to have the best), I highly recommend a Glyph drive.

Glyph
Glyph Production Technology | External Hard Drives
Studio | Glyph
https://www.glyphtech.com/product/blackbox-pro

Amazon offers them at a good discount:
http://is.gd/6rLM1d

Other sources:
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/manufacturer/Glyph
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=Glyph&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma
(They can become back ordered pretty quickly. Glyph drives are tremendously popular.)

They also show up on EBay occasionally:
http://is.gd/nE2a2A

Glyph drives come with a 3-year warranty that includes advance replacement during the first year and it also includes data recovery services for 2 years!

I've known hundreds of users who have used Glyph drives over the past few years, and I've only heard from two people who have had one fail. That's a stunning record.
 
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I bought a cheap USB3 drive caddy from Amazon which worked fine until I dropped the disk while it was running and is now toast!
 

chscag

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I bought a cheap USB3 drive caddy from Amazon which worked fine until I dropped the disk while it was running and is now toast!
Yeah, that will do it most times. Did the drive caddy survive the drop or was it just the drive that was destroyed?
 
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I bought a cheap USB3 drive caddy from Amazon which worked fine until I dropped the disk while it was running and is now toast!

I guess that's one of the advantages that solid-state drives have — they seem to be able to survive drops and bad bumps better than HDD spinners do.



- Patrick
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I VERY STRONGLY disagree with this. There are plenty of studies on the Web that offer guidance on the differences between internal rotating disk hard drive mechanisms, and some of those differences are quite large:
2019 Hard Drive Reliability: Failure Rates Continue to Rise.............................

The most notoriously unreliable external(note that I'm not talking about internal drives here) RDHD's come from Western Digital, Seagate, LaCie, and Iomega...............

If you want something reasonably priced, that is decent, go with:

Other World Computing Mercury Elite Pro.......................

If you want "the best" external hard drive, without having to pay an outlandish price (but you are willing to pay a bit more to have the best), I highly recommend a Glyph drive.
Glyph drives come with a 3-year warranty that includes advance replacement during the first year and it also includes data recovery services for 2 years!

I've known hundreds of users who have used Glyph drives over the past few years, and I've only heard from two people who have had one fail. That's a stunning record.
Hi Randy - thanks for the excellent summary above (which I've abbreviated to save some space) - I'm retired so not much of importance on my 3 Mac computers (except wife's iMac w/ some of our financial stuff etc; own 2 laptops plus an iMac) - my current BU plan uses 5 external drives per computer, a total of 15 (none are attached for continuous use, so I do BUs once a week or so) - each includes duplicate TM and CCC backups + a single external device for 'personal' files/folders (just as a triplicate assurance).

Four of my HDs are OWC spinners (pic below), Mercury On-The-Go Pro which use different HDs (Seagate, WD, & HGST in the ones I own) - I had one fail and was easy to replace the HD w/ their enclosure - your links did not include this OWC offering - recommended or not?

My other 'spinners' are less expensive older WD, Seagate, Buffalo small models that I will likely replace w/ more reliable brands/models - I do have one Glyph (shown below) which I bought a year ago based on your recommendation - is this one of your suggested EHDs? If so, I will likely replace my older ones w/ this brand (and the price is more which may impact on many who use duplicate BUs like myself).

Finally, I now have about 3 SSDs among my BU drives and plan to increase that number as replacements are needed - as the prices drop on this technology, especially for those that need the 1 TB or so sizes, as me - what are your thoughts regarding solid state vs. spinners (and I know that both can fail about equally - had a LaCie SSD die on my last year). Thanks for any comments. Dave :)

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Four of my HDs are OWC spinners (pic below), Mercury On-The-Go Pro which use different HDs (Seagate, WD, & HGST in the ones I own) - I had one fail and was easy to replace the HD w/ their enclosure - your links did not include this OWC offering - recommended or not?
I don't have specific information about the Mercury On-The-Go. But here's the thing...it's a portable hard drive. As a portable drive it is a compromise design to get it as small and portable as it is. So it doesn't use an entire aluminum case as a heatsink, it has no cooling fan, and instead of a beefy power supply it is bus powered. So... the two major determinants of reliability in a hard drive are cooling, and adequate power. A portable drive skimps on both.

A portable drive is great for use as an occasional backup drive (but not as a continually attached backup drive doing backups every few minutes), or on the go (as the name suggests) where it isn't in constant use. But I wouldn't use one as a full time connected drive.

My other 'spinners' are less expensive older WD, Seagate, Buffalo small models that I will likely replace w/ more reliable brands/models - I do have one Glyph (shown below) which I bought a year ago based on your recommendation - is this one of your suggested EHDs?
Anything from Glyph will be a cut or two above anything else you can purchase. Glyph drives are legendary among folks in certain fields who need very reliable equipment, such as the recording industry.

I've yet to hear of anyone having one of Glyph's BlackBox drives fail. But note that, Glyph's BlackBox drives are also portable drives. They have no fan for cooling like Glyph's Studio drives, and they are bus powered. So, unless you really need a portable drive, I'd opt for a Glyph Studio drive instead.

Finally, I now have about 3 SSDs among my BU drives and plan to increase that number as replacements are needed - as the prices drop on this technology, especially for those that need the 1 TB or so sizes, as me - what are your thoughts regarding solid state vs. spinners (and I know that both can fail about equally...
Solid State Hard Drives' (SSD's) main advantages over RDHD's is in speed and resistance to jostling (i.e. they are great for use in a laptop).

SSD's have disadvantages too. They usually fail without warning. (RDHD's often start acting flaky long before they fail, giving you time to backup your data.) And SSD's tend to be much more expensive than an equivalent size RDHD. You may even find it very hard to find a SSD in larger capacities.

So my feeling is that, at least for right now (things may change soon), SSD's are awesome for use as your main internal hard drive, but for use as a backup drive a RDHD makes more sense. Backup drives don't need to be really fast, they need to have a high capacity and you want some warning when they are going to fail. It's also nice if you can afford multiple backup drives for extra security.
 
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Well, this is the one I bought. The hook for me was the Type-C USB interface with the Type-A adaptor...which seems to cost about $8. I'll be using it for the occasional back up and maybe as a portable storage unit.
Robot Check
Yes, Western Digital makes these shockingly inexpensive tiny portable hard drives. They are almost irresistible, and probably just fine for their intended purpose. Just don't use them in a long-term storage situation where losing your data would be a catastrophe, or as a constantly connected drive.

These drives have little to no cooling, they are bus powered, and they have notoriously unreliable, and slow, internal mechanisms.

One nasty little secret I got from a WD engineer was that their consumer class drives are not tested at all once assembled. The components are briefly tested as they come in from southeast Asian suppliers (WD doesn't manufacture any of their own HD's anymore), but not the completed drive. Enterprise class drives do get a short burn-in. Fierce competition and paper thin margins produced this situation.
 

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I've been using several Samsung T-5 SSDs for my backups. The T-5 has a USB-C/3.1 connector which makes it convenient since my iMac has 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports. Backups using the Samsungs are very fast but as Randy stated, SSDs can fail with little or no warning. (which is why I use 2 of them in rotation)

I will only purchase SSDs from now on. Yes, more expensive but I believe they're getting cheaper and more reliable as time goes by.
 
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I will only purchase SSDs from now on. Yes, more expensive but I believe they're getting cheaper and more reliable as time goes by.
Yes, they are getting cheaper all the time. But, no, they aren't getting more reliable. Quite the contrary, new, cheaper SSD's are doing without DRAM (the controller that tells where to find things on the drive) to bring the price down. Which means that they are slower, and that they don't last as long. Have a look at this video:

What Are DRAM-less SSDs?
YouTube
 
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I've been using two 2tb Toshiba 7200 now for over a year and so far they have been great. Using them in separate dock's I purchased from OWC, great folks too.
 
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they aren't getting more reliable. Quite the contrary, new, cheaper SSD's are doing without DRAM (the controller that tells where to find things on the drive) to bring the price down. Which means that they are slower, and that they don't last as long. Have a look at this video:

What Are DRAM-less SSDs?
YouTube

Thanks for the nice simple explanations.

It sounds like a classic case of you get what you pay for. And another reason for using good, fast HDD disk spinning hard drives, especially for backups.

I tend to favour and use WD 7200 BLACK Enterprise HDD spinning drives. (Internal and for Backup) They are fast, quiet and come with a better, longer warranty and don't really cost that much more if one shops properly and carefully. The difference can be quite small.




- Patrick
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It sounds like a classic case of you get what you pay for. And another reason for using good, fast HDD disk spinning hard drives, especially for backups.
LOL. I can remember our computer operators doing daily backups to 7 Track tape drives operated by pneumatic air. That was on a mainframe IBM 360-50 (big iron). Lots of fun when a tape drive accidentally dismounted and tape went flying everywhere. :smile
 
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LOL. I can remember our computer operators doing daily backups to 7 Track tape drives operated by pneumatic air. That was on a mainframe IBM 360-50 (big iron). Lots of fun when a tape drive accidentally dismounted and tape went flying everywhere. :smile


This should get your memory back into that era:
YouTube

I'll bet you don't miss those days or when some full boxes of Punch Cards got dumped on the floor accidentally, or when the printer's track feed paper went off its tracks. :Smirk:




- Patrick
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I tend to favour and use WD 7200 BLACK Enterprise HDD spinning drives.
It's ironic, but currently both WD and Seagate make some of the very worst RDHD's...and some of the very best.

You can't shop simply by brand name anymore. It all depends on the care and testing put into the manufacturing of the drive.

For instance, Glyph exclusively uses Seagate mechanisms, which you would expect would mean that their external hard drives would be garbage. But they are the best you can buy. Why? Because Glyph buys direct from Seagate and specifies the quality of the drives they want, PLUS they test them themselves before using them.

It's hard to make an informed choice as a consumer. Even "enterprise" drives sold at retail aren't necessarily anything special and haven't been for a long time now:

Enterprise drives no more reliable than consumer drives:
Enterprise Drives: Fact or Fiction?
 
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