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Need advice on external drive

300 Views 10 Replies Latest reply: Aug 20, 2013 10:53 AM by Alfredo Jahn RSS
Alfredo Jahn Level 3 Level 3 (805 points)
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Aug 20, 2013 5:48 AM

My current iMac (Spring 2011) has firewire 800. For many many years I've used firewire (400) for my external drives.I currenly have 2 externals that have firewire 400 and USB 2. One is my TimeMachine backup. I recently have started to have issues with the TM external one. I realize I'm not getting the full power of firewire since I'm only using 400, and not 800, but I didn't what to have to buy new external cases, and I'm on a bugdet.


Anyway, here is the advise I seek. I recently saw a good deal on an external Seagate 3TB USB 3. I realize I my iMac doesn't support USB 3, but it seems like the future is to move away from firewire and go to USB 3 and thunderbolt on macs. Generally I pay extra for firewire. My questions is, for just backup like TM, am I ok with USB 2.0? My other 2TB external is firewire and works great with Final Cut X, etc.


Any advice would be appreciated. At this point I am not backing up so I need to make a decision quickly. Also moving up to 3TB would allow me to not only backup my internal 500G, but alot of the stuff on my FW external what I now manually backup once a month or so.



iMac 3.06 GHz Intel Core i3, Mac OS X (10.6.8), 12GB RAM, iPhone 3gs, iPhone 4s
  • rkaufmann87 Level 8 Level 8 (40,745 points)
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    Aug 20, 2013 6:16 AM (in response to Alfredo Jahn)

    USB 2 is fine for backing up Time Machine. However I'd recommend a high quality drive and enclosure, the ones OWC ( are second to none in quality and reasonably priced. We are all on a budget but when it comes to backing up, you should spend the's your life line.

  • Chessie 01 Calculating status...
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    Aug 20, 2013 6:36 AM (in response to Alfredo Jahn)

    I have a LaCie "Rugged" 1TB external HD used with Time Machine. My internal HD is 1TB. I bought it because it's small and fits into available space on my desk.  I've had to use it only once.  I had to restore some financial records on which I made a mistake and wanted to return to a time before the error occurred.  It worked fine.

    iMAC 3.06 Core 2 Duo, 27" Screen, Mac OS X (10.6.7), 8GB RAM, Wired Keyboard, LaCie "Rugged" External Hard Drive
  • Allan Jones Level 7 Level 7 (29,640 points)
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    Aug 20, 2013 6:41 AM (in response to Alfredo Jahn)

    Avoid bus-powered drives if at all possible. Get one with an independent power supply.


    If you buy other than an OWC external drive (I won't buy anything else, having suffered through two "name-brand" external drives) and don't need to share the drive with a Windows computer, use Disk Utility to erase and reformat the drive for Mac


    I still prefer FireWire. Even FW400 beats the socks off USB2 in real-world situations.

  • rkaufmann87 Level 8 Level 8 (40,745 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 20, 2013 7:00 AM (in response to Alfredo Jahn)

    The way you have been doing it with OWC is just fine and will save you a few dollars. I'd recommend buying the HD you want and fitting it to an OWC enclosure.

  • Cymrukiwi Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 20, 2013 7:57 AM (in response to Alfredo Jahn)

    You can get some great deals on a Firewire 800 external drive. I recently purchased a WD Studio 2TB which can be networked too, Its had a pounding as I'm a photographer and use it as one of my back ups. When choosing drives you will want something reliable too, not try to get good quality and good value too.

  • Allan Jones Level 7 Level 7 (29,640 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 20, 2013 8:38 AM (in response to Cymrukiwi)

    WD drives are great but their enclosures are not. I had one for a while and it was so troublesome that, even thought it was marked "Mac Edition," was so Mac-unfriendly that I ripped out the bare drive (a WD Green) and put it in an OWC enclosure and reformatted it with Disk Utility. Works like a charm now.


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