Lookin' for an external backup drive

I’m looking for an external backup drive for use with e.g. Time Machine. Any advice? What’s the sweet spot for price/size? Any point in paying for Firewire over USB? Are there nice Mac Mini-form-factor ones, or is it better to just pick something well-sized?

Built-in network capability not needed

i’d recommend one with both. oxford911 chipset used to be the standard (there were a few chipsets used in enclosures that did not work well with osx back in 2006) but i’m not sure what the going wisdom is these days.

i have always preferred firewire due to less cpu load and lagging.

Mac Mini form factor ones? Pick up a Time Capsule, dude.

i recommend the newertech ministack.


the mac mini form factor ones from non-mac-manufacturers like vantec suck. get a bare one and stick your own hd of choice in there or…buy one with a hd already in it.

ok so there’s no way I’m paying $100 just to fit the Mini form factor

If I have a choice between a $199 mini form-factor and $99 non-mini-form factor, that’s a no-brainer, man

Looks like the magic number is 750GB… 1TB is about 2x the cost of 500GB, but 750GB is only about $20 more. And firewire seems to run about $20 more based on my quick amazon.com browsing… that sound right?

if you want small bus powered usb ones, the 2.5" laptop drive wd passports are (at least in canuckistan) cheap…$69-99 for the 250gb, $150 for 320gb.

I just picked up this enclosure, and I really like it. only $34 shipped right now:

add this samsung 750gb hdd for $100:

or this wd 640gb for $85 (I got this one):

Those are about the lowest price per GB drives out right now (13 cents/GB)

Together I’m using it has a 24/7 on backup drive with nightly scheduled syncbackse jobs. The fan is great on the enclosure to keep the hdd cool since I plan to leave it on all the time.

I’m guessing Time Machine will work with any external usb hard drive? I don’t know much about macs.

Sure it’s not as pretty but ummm we are talking $119 - $134 for 640 - 750GB of backup space.

geez… buying hardware used to be so much more fun, so exciting, and I didn’t usually have buyer’s remorse until after I bought whatever it was.

Now the buyer’s remorse arrives while I’m just looking through to see. How does that happen? I know the price is going to drop within a week of me buying, so that the extra doodads I can’t afford now will be available. Nothing is ever big/fast/cool enough, except for the things that cost too much or aren’t available.

Is it any wonder I switched to Apples and Consoles?

Time Machine will work with any pluggable storage with enough capacity for a copy your system.

Pretty is not important. Quiet is, though. I seem to recall Seagate making the quietest drives out there… do they even still exist?

seagates have not been quiet since 7200.7.

they have awful noisy vibrating seeks.

WD or Samsung are now the top kings.

Got it. Been behind the times, I have.

i just got these to go through and clear my 5 500gig hard drives so that i can sell them or reassign them elsewhere:




Yeah, I got a pair of Seagates for my file server last year, and it’s quite noticeable from across the room whenever some seek-heavy operation kicks in. One of them originally squealed horribly too, but failed soon after so it was defective somehow anyway. But on the plus side, they bumped the capacity up a step on the drive they returned.

Just get a passport and plug it in.

It sits right on top of my mac mini. No extra wires, perfect sized. Mine’s just black though they now have every color (as per the link above).

I like it for a couple of reasons. First, i can take it with me to work or wherever, or move files from the Mac to the PS3 easily, or files between the Mac and PC, as it’s powered by the USB cable. Second, Time Machine is a space hog anyway, and will eat up any amount of gb you give it over time. So i turned off the autobackup and just run it manually with a right click whenever i think about enough new pictures being on the machine to warrant it.

I haven’t noticed Time Machine being a space hog. You see your first snapshot of your system at, say, 35GB. Then you see the second snapshot at 36GB. On a drive with 240GB available, you’ll now be at 204GB. Symlinks, you see.

Well, it’s always going to be bigger than your system. The question is how often do you change your system, since it will track every change. If all you do is email, it will stay fairly modest.

750gb for 100 bucks? Jesus christ.

I ended up going with a 1TB WD “Book” with Firewire 800, which was on sale at Fry’s for $220 (today only).

Seemed like a good deal overall.

DON’T! RETURN IT! The damn thing will drive you nuts spinning up and down by itself, it’s out of your control and you can’t change it’s auto-power off. It will seize momentarily if you go to access it and it’s already gone to sleep.