2410 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: May 7, 2010 3:46 PM by den.thed
USB 2 in spite of specs is actually slower than Firewire 400.
USB 2 can't boot PowerPC Macs to Mac OS X, but since you have an Intel Mac, that doesn't matter in your case.
USB 2 speeds are about 150 Mbps for data transfer, and is slower than Firewire 400 or 800 when it comes to booting.
To make a drive ready for Intel Macs, use Disk Utility to partition and format it with the option under partitions for GUID formatting.
A few drives like Maxtor's onetouch have built-in backup software in their boot block. This sometimes has to be removed or disabled before it will work normally with some Mac operating systems, unless you can update the backup software to be compatible with the Mac operating system that is loaded.
I use a Seagate FreeAgent 320 with my iMac. It was listed as Mac-compatible.
When I first started using it with a Powerbook running Tiger, write speed was horrible and I had to go through hoops to get it to stop going to sleep every 2 minutes. I finally found a driver form the seagate support site and everything was good after that.
Plugged it into the new iMac (10.6.3) and never needed to install anything. works as intended.
You run into these issues because of the controller and firmware the drive uses, so it's not cut and dry, but yes, most (popular and reputable) gear should be usable.
That Seagate USB and about 99% of all other off the shelf MS-DOS FAT-32 formatted External HD's will work just fine, however you may want to use Disk Utility to erase and format it depending on how you plan to use it.
If you plan to use the External HD for Bootable Cloning or Time Machine then for an Intel iMac you will want to set the Partition Map Scheme to GUID Partition Table and the Format to Mac OS Extended Journaled.
However if you want to use the External HD to store for example just music and photos to share cross platform between Mac's and PC's then just erase it and leave the factory Partition Map Scheme set to MS-DOS and the Format FAT-32.