Previous 1 2 Next 19 Replies Latest reply: Oct 3, 2012 7:50 PM by BDAqua
Nina R Level 1 (10 points)

… at same price point? Which is more reliable and wart-free? And what's this I'm reading on Amazon about Macally enclosures being unable to boot OSX from a USB connection??


I need something low-cost, I can live without Firewire I guess, but I don't want something with deal-breaking flaws. (LOL, who does?) I also see complaints about the USB-only Macally enclosures turning themselves off after "a few minutes" and there being no way to defeat that. Sounds like a possible deal-breaker to me. (God, I hate green fascism. )


This is for a Western Digital Caviar Black 650 GB. (WD6401AALS)

Power Mac G5 2.0 (late '05), two PM 7600s (bless 'em), beige G3, CDMA iPhone 4, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • BDAqua Level 10 (122,202 points)

    Hello Nina,


    I'd avoid Bus powered enclosures, (wart free), if I were you.


    PPC Macs cannot normally boot OSX from USB at all, (there are a few exceptions), they need Firewire to boot from.


    FW/400 is faster than USB2 anyway, & FW/800 so much moreso.

  • Klaus1 Level 8 (47,745 points)

    Most Western Digital drives cannot boot a G5.


    You need firewire to boot a G5.


    You need one of these:


  • Nina R Level 1 (10 points)

    Klaus1 wrote:


    Most Western Digital drives cannot boot a G5.



    Eh? Tell that to my G5, which has been booting from a WD internal drive for the past 7 years Seriously, I'm confused.



    Klaus1 wrote:

    You need one of these:



    I already have the WD drive, I bought it more than two years ago but have been increasingly terrified to install it inside the G5. At this point, I'd really rather not disturb the old dude.   So I want to enclose the drive instead. And, like I said, I mustn't spend more than I absolutely have to.


    I do already have bootable backup on an external G-Drive. (Yeah yeah yeah, I should have multiple bootable backups, please don't anyone bother jumping in with that. I know. I should have lots of other things, too. ) And even if I thought this Caviar Black drive was incapable of booting my machine (which I find hard to comprehend), I still wouldn't throw it away, I'd use it for extra photo and document backup. But if it's only to be used for that purpose I'm not sure BDAqua's warning against USB still holds. So you've thrown a bit of a wrench into this. Clarification will be appreciated

  • Klaus1 Level 8 (47,745 points)

    Sorry, that should have read:


    Most external Western Digital drives cannot boot a G5.


    The following external hard drives should be bootable on Power PC based Mac computers systems through FireWire (1394a/b):

    • WD My Book Premium Edition
    • WD My Book Pro Edition

    The following external hard drives should not be bootable on Power PC based Mac computers systems through USB/FireWire 1394(a/b):

    • All My Book (+SmartWare)
    • All My Passport (+SmartWare)
    • My Book Essential Edition
    • My Book Essential Edition 2.0
    • My Book Home Edition
    • My Book Mirror Edition
    • My Book Office Edition
    • My Book Premium Edition II
    • My Book Pro Edition II
    • My Book Studio Edition
    • My Book Studio Edition II
    • My Passport Studio
    • My Passport Elite
    • My Passport Essential
    • WD Passport
    • WD Passport (Silver)
  • John Galt Level 8 (45,936 points)

    Hi Nina,


    I don't like Macally enclosures for their lack of a simple on/off switch. A momentary tap to power switch usually means it won't recover from a power failure on its own. Moreover, they are also more sensitive to power surges. A surge that destroys a sensitive momentary power switch will continue to destroy the sensitive electronics a real current - interrupting power switch would have a better chance of protecting.


    I have had many problems with consumer electronics trending toward the cheap route, saving $2.50 by their decision to eliminate real power switches from all sorts of devices from appliances to home entertainment equipment that costs real money. Many problems. As much as I like Macally, this is a deal breaker. No question.


    I have several Acomdata 2.5 inch drive enclosures. They're simple, inexpensive, and suit my needs. I do not have any of their 3.5 inch enclosures, but if I did I would get this one:



    Wall wart: yes. It will be for a G5, therefore who cares. For portables, I like bus powered, but for desktops, I prefer a power supply. A real power switch is a plus. Low cost: definitely.


    FireWire means there is no question it can boot your G5. No FW800? FW400 is fast enough for me; it may not be for you. I routinely boot desktops with USB 2.0 and I don't understand all the fuss about speed. USB 2.0 is fast enough and FW400 is even faster.


    So much for my 2¢ contribution. Keep the change.

  • Nina R Level 1 (10 points)

    Thanks Klaus1 for clarifying and John for your commentary. I did see a lot of negative reviews of the Macally enclosures based on power issues including the switch type. Will look at the Acomdata one.


    General note: I was using "wart" metaphorically.   The word probably bubbled up in my brain as a result of reading it in some technical context in the Amazon reviews. I'm sure I saw the "wall wart" phrase there somewhere but I didn't pay close enough attention to comprehend exactly what was meant by it.

  • BDAqua Level 10 (122,202 points)


  • Allan Jones Level 7 (33,937 points)

    Nina, I have two externals in use, one an older OWC FW400-only and the other a WD MyBook Studio Mac Edition with FW400. FW800, USB 2.0 and eSATA ports. The old OWC runs circles around the WD. I like WD drives but their enclosures are not Mac-friendly, even those that say Mac Edition on the box.


    The WD, when I had it on a G4 running Tiger, had to use third-party backup software that ran up the computer's intenal temps and slowed performance.


    When a fast Intel iMac repalced the G4, I figured the WD should be right at home with Time Machine. Wrong. It's a pain on the WD, but the elderly OWC drive works seamlessly. I could spent too much time talking about the deficits the WD enclosure has with Time Machine, but suffice it to say I'm ready to take the 750GB drive out of the WD enclosure, launch the stripped enclosure into the river, and buy an OWC enclosure for the drive itself.


    The OWC drives have the preferred Oxford chipset that makes a Mac play well with an external drive. The WD obvioulsy has something else.


    I like WD bare drives but not their enclosures. I think a WD bare drive would be great if installed in an OWC enclosure.

  • Nina R Level 1 (10 points)

    Sounds good Allan, thanks. I was (obviously, from the title) leaning that way assuming I would get no reassurance here about the Macally products, which I didn't. I think I'm going to go with this basic FW 400/USB box.



    Just discovered I can do the checkout via Amazon, where I have a gift card balance, so that's helpful.

  • Kort Level 3 (810 points)

    Sounds like you got some good tips here Nina.

    I'm using a WD Black drive internally in my G5 and have not problems. It is better than the original drive in fact. As others have said, the enclosure can make a difference but the bare drive can probably be from any source. OWC makes great Mac compatible products and I've never been let down by one. A WD drive in an OWC enclosure should give you no problems.

  • Nina R Level 1 (10 points)

    Thanks Kort. I'm psyched. OWC's tracker says it may arrive as early as tomorrow, although I selected the cheapest Fedex option. <autorant> Death to UPS!!! Ask me what they did to the G4 PowerBook I won on eBay several  years ago—yes, I got my $$ back—and the two additional Mac Pro keyboards I won for a pittance earlier this month. </autorant>


    I'll be really happy to have another backup drive… especially since, when I tried to restart the G5 in the wee hours this morning, it failed and revved its fans like mad. It hasn't done something like that for nearly four years; last time, Apple couldn't figure out what the problem was, and to their everlasting credit, they didn't charge me anything for nothing. (Saga in this thread: ) Back then, it was failing on cold boot, not restart. I'm hoping this was a fluke. I forced shutdown, unplugged the power cord from the rear of the machine and went to bed. Today, it seems fine. Pray for me, if you're into that, because if it's dying, I will surely have to humiliate myself (perhaps for naught) in the effort to obtain resources to get it replaced. And besides, I love this old dude.


    The one thing I've done in the past few days that's different is rather frequent use of the sleep setting. I think I'll stick to either on or off—I've seen way too many complaints about G5 and sleep mode.

  • Kort Level 3 (810 points)

    I am not a fan of the sleep setting on Macs or PCs. I've found PCs generally wake from it okay, while Macs tend to have more issues. I'm more of a shut-down completely kinda guy.  My G5 has had no problems in that dept. until recently, but she is up and running right now as I type this. Good luck!

  • Klaus1 Level 8 (47,745 points)

    OWC's tracker says it may arrive as early as tomorrow, although I selected the cheapest Fedex option.

    So did I when I purchasd the 2TB hard drive I linked to. I placed the order on a Sunday evening. It arrived Wednesday morning.


    My point? I live in the UK!


    A subsequent purchase from OWC was despatched my regular mail. Took nearly 3 weeks to get here!


    Are Fedex good or what!

  • Nina R Level 1 (10 points)

    That's impressive, indeed. I always recommend Fedex when there's a choice available. I have never once had a problem with them in more years than I care to number.

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