Skip navigation

best external hard drive for time machine

7650 Views 18 Replies Latest reply: Apr 16, 2014 2:35 PM by Zimmer1956 RSS
1 2 Previous Next
Zimmer1956 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Apr 9, 2013 9:27 AM

Replacing external hard drive - had a 2 TB drive formatted to 2 drives - one for Time Machine and the other for the clone. I was told by several drive manufacturers that I should be using two separate external drives - 1 for TM(1TB) and the other for the clone(500GB). Using FW800.


Looking at standard external drives versus the many mini drives. Considering the std vs mini in OWC versus the G-Drive Technology. Are the standard any more reliable or stable than the mini drives(bus powered) using an AC adapter?


I am exhausted from research and would appreciate any comments from users of any of the drives, standard, mini and I am aware both get very good ratings. Any ideas or suggestions??


OS X Mountain Lion, 2TB OWC External Drive for my IMac
  • varjak paw Level 10 Level 10 (167,605 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 9, 2013 10:01 AM (in response to Zimmer1956)

    I would be a bit hesitant to use a "mini" drive for backup since those drives are usually 2.5" laptop-grade mechanisms which tend to have higher failure rates than 3.5" drives. I would also probably never choose to run a critial system like a backup via bus power; too much potential for problems. Go with the AC-powered drives.


    As to brand, I've used both OWC and G-Tech drives with no problems, so I can recommend either without hesitation.



  • varjak paw Level 10 Level 10 (167,605 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 9, 2013 10:39 AM (in response to Zimmer1956)

    I haven't used a LaCie in a while so I can't comment on their build quality, but they used to be highly rated. I just found at the time I needed drives that OWC and G-Tech were a better deal given the features and capacity I needed, so I had no reason to change. Perhaps someone else can comment on the current state of LaCie's offerings.



  • varjak paw Level 10 Level 10 (167,605 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 9, 2013 11:19 AM (in response to Zimmer1956)

    A bit more stable from a power standpoint, but no more reliable as a laptop drive. Laptop drives are also typically slower than 3.5" drives, though for a backup unit that probably won't be a big consideration.



  • dwb Level 6 Level 6 (19,740 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 10, 2013 8:54 AM (in response to Zimmer1956)

    Bus powered drives have bitten me a few times so I tend to avoid them - still their portability convenience cannot be denied. And that's when I choose them. Since you are talking about a backup drive for a desktop, stick with 3.5" drives and (sigh) power bricks. I like OWC and Icy Dock drive enclosures in particular. I bought a LaCie drive on sale a couple years ago and it is still going strong...but I've had to replace the power brick twice. To their credit, the company has sent them out quickly but since that's the only power brick I've had die it doesn't necessarily speak well of their part sourcing.

  • nathanspap Level 1 Level 1 (95 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 18, 2013 6:29 PM (in response to Zimmer1956)

    I have used the OWC Mercury Elite Pro with CCC for sometime and have had zero problems. It's pre-formatted for the mac and ready to go right out of the box, with CCC already installed.

  • Roz24 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 8, 2014 5:34 PM (in response to Zimmer1956)

    The HGST Turbo USB 3.0 Drive is as good as it gets when it comes to external drives. It ships with an ultra reliable Hitachi drive.

  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (22,150 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 8, 2014 5:40 PM (in response to Zimmer1956)

    I have both the regular size and the mini (using that either with the power adapter or without if not handy) and I can highly recommend the Mercury Pro drives. Very quiet, and they use the Oxford chip.


    Although they're mostly pre-formatted, I prefer doing this myself using Disk utility before using it. I also make sure I ditch any software included as it's not needed.

  • PlotinusVeritas Level 6 Level 6 (13,785 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 8, 2014 9:29 PM (in response to Zimmer1956)


    Zimmer1956 wrote:


    Anybody have any experience with LaCie d2 Quadra or the OWC standard size drive. Decided against the mini drives and narrowed things down to these. Anyone have experience with either drive? Just using one for Time Machine and the second for CCC.




    LaCie does NOT MAKE hard drives,   NOR does OWC


    there are only 4 HD makers on earth  (Toshiba, Hitachi, WD, Seagate)  LaCie contains SEAGATE drives.   Seagate owns LaCie,

    there is no such thing as a "LaCie hard drive",     thats just the name on the box.






    BEST FOR THE COST, Toshiba "tiny giant" 15mm thick  2TB drive (have several of them, lots of storage in tiny package)    $100     /ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1390020791&sr=8-3&keywords=toshiba+2tb


    best options for the price, and high quality HD:

    Quality 1TB drives are $50 per TB on 3.5" or  $65 per TB on 2.5"


    Perfect 1TB for $68 1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379452568&sr=8-1&keywords=1tb+toshiba


    Nice 500gig for $50. ultraslim perfect for use with a notebook     r_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1377642728&sr=1-1&keywords=toshiba+slim+500gb


    *This one is the BEST portable external 2.5" HD available that money can buy:
    HGST Touro Mobile 1TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive $88     _1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383238934&sr=8-1&keywords=HGST+Touro+Mobile+Pro+1TB+USB+3.0+7 2 00+RPM


    Most storage experts agree on the Hitachi 2.5"


    Hitachi is the winner in hard drive reliability survey:

    Hitachi manufacturers the safest and most reliable hard drives, according to the Storelab study. Of the hundreds of Hitachi hard drives received, not a single one had failed due to manufacturing or design errors. Adding the highest average lifespans and the best relationship between failures and market share, Hitachi can be regarded as the winner.







    3.5" vs 2.5" hard drives




    And what about 3.5" drives?


    All HD can and do crash and fail, its just statistical sampling in total (see graph above)


    If you want the most reliable 3.5" HD, get a 2TB Toshiba, which is actually made by Hitachi  (confused yet?)


    Hitachi sold their 3.5" division to Toshiba (forced to actually), so a Toshiba 3.5" is really a very well built reliable Hitachi 3.5"


    On sale, 2TB Toshiba 3.5" (really Hitachi made)  only $88   /ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1393443687&sr=8-10&keywords=toshiba+2tb




    There is actually a non-commercial HD more reliable than this,  which is the WD "black" drives, the server grade drives, but theyre not consumer grade

    theyre very expensive, and made for server farms.


    here: =sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1393443945&sr=8-2&keywords=wd+black





    Bare hard drives and docks. The most reliable and cheapest method of hard drive data storage, archives, and redundancies

    The best method for your data archives and redundancies, which is also the least expensive, the most reliable, and the most compact option is the purchase of naked hard drives and at least one USB 3.0 HD dock ($40 roughly).


    While regarding Time Machine and your Macbook or desktop, your primary backup is best saved to a conventional USB (or Firewire / thunderbolt) hard drive inside an enclosure, the most important part of your data protection begins after your 1st / primary Time Machine / backup; and these are your secondary (most important) data storage devices, archives and their redundancies.


    However bare hard drives and docks (below) also work perfectly as a Time Machine backup, this is for home use, since the docking station is certainly not very portable as a notebook Time Machine backup device should be; nor should bare HD be packed around with a notebook, rather remain at home or office.


    Six terabytes of 2.5" HD pictured below in a very compact space.


    Bare hard drives and docks have the lowest cost, the highest reliability, and take up the smallest storage space




    1. Care and knowledge in general handling of naked hard drives (how not to shock a bare HD, and how to hold them properly). Not a genuine drawback.


    1. By far the least expensive method of mass HD storage on a personal basis. Highest quality naked HD can be purchased in bulk very cheap.

    2. Eliminates the horrible failure point of SATA bridges and interfaces between external drives and the computer.

    3. Per square foot you can store more terabytes of data this way than any other.

    4. Fast, easy, no fuss and most simplex method of data storage on hard drives.

1 2 Previous Next


More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.