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External Harddrive Help.

KarnKarn Registered User regular
edited September 2007 in Games and Technology
Guys, I am in dire need of a Mac compatible external hard drive (firewire) that can hold at least 100gb. I've kind of looked around Newegg and Tigerdirect, but I can't tell if half of these are Mac ready or not, since the ones of checked out seem to say nothing about it. I'm shooting for a ballpark price of 150-160, but so far I'm coming up empty. Help? I don't know which brands/models are generally always a bad idea and what is worth some of the prices I'm looking at.

This is something I am going to have to carry back and forth, to and from school, on a weekly basis, in mass transit, if that helps any.

Any help would be appreciated, I'm LOST.

I found this thing but don't have any personal experience with their products. Is this good? Worth the money?

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Karn on

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    insaneshowinsaneshow Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Just about any external harddrive will be Mac compatible. I just bought a 500GB LaCie External at Best Buy for about 150 bucks (and I use it on my MacBook), however it is only USB 2.0.

    It is just a matter of properly formatting the disk using the Disk Utility under the Utilities folder.

    I will do some poking around the internets and get you a few recommendations.

    insaneshow on
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    insaneshowinsaneshow Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    WD makes good products, I haven't heard to many people complain about them
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136049

    This is the Lacie I am using via USB on my MacBook
    http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?pid=10764
    Here is the FireWire Version
    http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?pid=10943

    insaneshow on
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    KarnKarn Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    My professor really made it a point to tell us to not get a Lacie. The WD looks really good, I had actually looked at it earlier, but was worried when I could find nothing on the page indicating Mac compatibility.

    Karn on
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    HarshLanguageHarshLanguage Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Make sure to check the dimensions of whatever you buy. Many of these external drives are rather large. If you want something more portable, you'll pay a bit more to get something based on a laptop drive. And Mac compatibility shouldn't be a problem for any USB drive AFAIK.

    You might want to look at Western Digital's passport line, or Seagate's freeagent. Those models are less than half your price range, so you may be looking at the 250gb-ish versions instead.

    Oh, and if you do get a portable drive, try not to leave it plugged in/turned on for long stretches of time. They can overheat, and if it's bad enough they can die. If it's just for occasional transfers or a couple hours at a time, then you probably won't have a problem.

    HarshLanguage on
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    > turn on light

    Good start to the day. Pity it's going to be the worst one of your life. The light is now on.
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    tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    You could also buy an internal hard drive and an enclosure that has a firewire connection. More GB for your $$.

    tsmvengy on
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    HarshLanguageHarshLanguage Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    You could also buy an internal hard drive and an enclosure that has a firewire connection. More GB for your $$.

    I specifically didn't mention that option, because I recently did that myself. And it's tough to find an enclosure that doesn't have some flaw or other. And they're probably more likely to overheat than the pre-built ones, though that depends on the case design. I picked out a case that seemed to be the best choice available, made of aluminum and with good reviews (from a company called Azio), only to find out that the power cable comes loose extremely easily. Not a great feature for a hard drive.:| And others seemed to have even worse faults.

    But if you're looking for something as cheap as possible, and can tolerate the potentially lesser reliability, it's an option.

    HarshLanguage on
    QSwearing_trans_smooth_small.gif
    > turn on light

    Good start to the day. Pity it's going to be the worst one of your life. The light is now on.
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    KarnKarn Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    The thing with a lot of the WD models I am seeing is that they are USB only. Firewire is a must because we are going to be dealing with the transfer of several gigs of video footage back and forth on occasion, unless USB is faster than I think it is (I am going off of my USB2 mp3 player transfer speeds.)

    As for the size, I was really worried about that too. The first WD mentioned in the thread has a user con listed as being "not exactly a portable solution" or something like that.

    Additionally, how noticeable is the difference between 5400 rpm and 7200?

    I found this, much smaller Iomega, here, but once again, only really knowing about Zip drives from them, I fear purchasing a hard drive that will be holding a semester's worth of work.

    Karn on
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    12gauge12gauge Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    As far as I know USB 2.0 and Firewire are close to being the same speed?

    I have a Western Digital MyBook myself (Windows though) and can't complain about it at all - it is quite fast, very quiet and available for a good price.

    12gauge on
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    mausmalonemausmalone Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Karn wrote: »
    My professor really made it a point to tell us to not get a Lacie. The WD looks really good, I had actually looked at it earlier, but was worried when I could find nothing on the page indicating Mac compatibility.

    ... why? Almost every graphic artist I know who stubbornly clings to the mac uses LaCie drives. They work just fine and, heck, they even make them look like your mac.

    I went the internal hard drive + enclosure route. It's a great way to go if you happen to have an internal drive lying around (which I had three, so I have a 60GB external, my girlfriend has a 60GB external, and I have a 20GB internal drive lying around my room somewhere unused).

    We used Maxtor externals on the mac at my old job. Worked great, and even had Firewire 800 as an option (which our Mac G5 supported). I would recommend, however, that when you get an external drive that you don't format it as HFS+. If you use FAT32 you can use it across a multitude of systems (and yes, FAT32 works wonderfully on a Mac).
    12gauge wrote: »
    As far as I know USB 2.0 and Firewire are close to being the same speed?

    I have a Western Digital MyBook myself (Windows though) and can't complain about it at all - it is quite fast, very quiet and available for a good price.

    They have similar theoretical speeds, but because of Firewire's very low latency it works significantly better for hard drives than USB2. In fact, I usually see my speed double when I connect my drive via Firewire instead of USB2.

    mausmalone on
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    TSRTSR Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    USB 2.0 and Firewire are equivalent, in my experience. On some OS X systems, USB 2.0 seems to run slower by default, but that's no fault of the technology.

    TSR on
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    KarnKarn Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    mausmalone wrote: »
    Karn wrote: »
    My professor really made it a point to tell us to not get a Lacie. The WD looks really good, I had actually looked at it earlier, but was worried when I could find nothing on the page indicating Mac compatibility.

    ... why? Almost every graphic artist I know who stubbornly clings to the mac uses LaCie drives. They work just fine and, heck, they even make them look like your mac.
    .

    She said that in her experiences in the past few years teaching the course, most of the students using them have experienced problems. Similarly, she told us not to bother formatting the drive so that it will work in both windows and OSX environments for much the same reason.

    Karn on
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    mausmalonemausmalone Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Karn wrote: »
    mausmalone wrote: »
    Karn wrote: »
    My professor really made it a point to tell us to not get a Lacie. The WD looks really good, I had actually looked at it earlier, but was worried when I could find nothing on the page indicating Mac compatibility.

    ... why? Almost every graphic artist I know who stubbornly clings to the mac uses LaCie drives. They work just fine and, heck, they even make them look like your mac.
    .

    She said that in her experiences in the past few years teaching the course, most of the students using them have experienced problems. Similarly, she told us not to bother formatting the drive so that it will work in both windows and OSX environments for much the same reason.

    You always format a new drive fresh out of the box. Don't take a chance and hope that the manufacturer did it correctly. Take the extra minute and be sure for yourself. (I'm not joking .. it only takes a few minutes ... it's not a huge inconvenience or anything.)

    mausmalone on
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    InterpreterInterpreter Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I'm using the WD MyBook Premium with my iMac, and it comes with both USB and Firewire. It came formatted as FAT32, which could be read by both Windows and OSX, but I reformatted it right away. I havn't had any problems with it so far.

    Interpreter on
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    KarnKarn Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I'm using the WD MyBook Premium with my iMac, and it comes with both USB and Firewire. It came formatted as FAT32, which could be read by both Windows and OSX, but I reformatted it right away. I havn't had any problems with it so far.

    Which model do you have? I found this:
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2204136&CatId=2423

    Good? PAge doesn't mention OS compatibility though. Most of the pages don't.

    Karn on
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    InterpreterInterpreter Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I have that model, but the 500GB size.

    So far it's pretty good. As long as you are current with OSX you won't have any problems with it. I even have mine set up with a bootable back-up OSX partition(which is always nice). It comes with some software on the drive, but you can download that off the WD website as well(and for the Mac there wasn't really a lot there. Just a backup program, but I just copy the files straight to the drive through the Finder. Most of the software was for Windows XP).

    About my only complaint would be that it's louder than my Mac, but since the Mac is nearly silent pretty much everything is louder. Otherwise, I havn't had any issues with it at all. It works great for storage purposes.

    Interpreter on
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    SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Karn wrote: »
    Guys, I am in dire need of a Mac compatible external hard drive (firewire) that can hold at least 100gb. I've kind of looked around Newegg and Tigerdirect, but I can't tell if half of these are Mac ready or not, since the ones of checked out seem to say nothing about it. I'm shooting for a ballpark price of 150-160, but so far I'm coming up empty. Help? I don't know which brands/models are generally always a bad idea and what is worth some of the prices I'm looking at.

    You're aware of the fact that Apple was pretty much one of the main developers behind firewire, right? Also, if you ever question whether or not a drive will support macs, just glance through the reviews.

    Anyway, make sure the drive has at least a 3 year warranty, and stay away from anything Maxtor (I've had at least 3 of their drives die on me over the years.).

    One of my main annoyances with USB drives is that they never seem to have another USB slot for chaining other drives.

    Schrodinger on
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    KarnKarn Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    The reviews for the MyBook are frightening me because they are so polar. Either these things are awesome and great or they will end up as door stops. :( And the Iomega models don't even have reviews! D: ! Then I hear Seagate is now owned by Maxtor, and I've always heard that Maxtor has had problems. I need to get this HD in the mail by Thursday! :(

    Why is this such a difficult decision? It's hard to believe that there doesn't seem to be an overall popular, portable, affordable solution. :|

    Karn on
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    HarshLanguageHarshLanguage Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Karn wrote: »
    The reviews for the MyBook are frightening me because they are so polar. Either these things are awesome and great or they will end up as door stops. :( And the Iomega models don't even have reviews! D: ! Then I hear Seagate is now owned by Maxtor, and I've always heard that Maxtor has had problems. I need to get this HD in the mail by Thursday! :(

    Why is this such a difficult decision? It's hard to believe that there doesn't seem to be an overall popular, portable, affordable solution. :|

    Well, I can't say why reviews are so polar, other than that failed drives generate far more reviews than perfect drives, so there's an inherent negative bias. And hard drives are, after all, one of the most delicate pieces of hardware we use, so they do fail more often than say RAM or a mobo. And it's easy to abuse an external hard drive anyway. Plus, with the big manufacturers like WD, you have many times the number of units being sold as smaller brands, again leading to more reviews and hence more negative reviews. End result - you have to discount the number of negative reviews for HDs. Don't ignore them, but put them in perspective.

    Anyway, I have a 500gb WD premium MyBook and I can unequivocally say it's been great. It's not small, though.

    I wouldn't worry about Seagate and/or Maxtor, either. Maxtor doesn't have a history of problems that I'm aware of. And Seagate has always had a top-notch reputation.

    Also, given the choice to buy from NewEgg or TigerDirect, I would choose NewEgg in a heartbeat everytime. NewEgg has always been simply a great store to buy from. TigerDirect has a somewhat shady reputation/history, though they have expanded and hopefully improved in the last couple years.

    HarshLanguage on
    QSwearing_trans_smooth_small.gif
    > turn on light

    Good start to the day. Pity it's going to be the worst one of your life. The light is now on.
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