7 Replies Latest reply: Jan 17, 2013 10:12 PM by Network 23
hilltop Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Where and what kind (brand) of external, mobil hard drive can I get to back up my PowerBook G4 without the Intel processor?  I have 93GB of Memory and operating system OS X 10.5.8. Thank you.


PowerBook G4, Mac OS X (10.5.8), 1.67 GHz Memory 2GB DDR SDRAM
  • Michael Black Level 6 Level 6 (17,955 points)

    Is this a 15" or 17"?  If it is you have a firewire 400 port, a firewire 800 port and a pair of USB 2.0 ports.  If it is a 12" then you won't have the firewire 800 port.

     

    Your fastest connection is firewire 800, but you could also use a USB drive and it will just be a slower.  Firewire is far less mainstream than USB, so you may want to get USB just to have the widest options to you with the drive over time.

     

    That said, the make and model is really not that important, and many will do.  A great place for Mac peripherals is OWC (www.macsales.com).

     

    You could get a 500GB Mercury Elite Pro drive (a very good drive in an excellent enclosure) for $108 and it has both USB 2 and firewire 400 ports.  For less money and less capacity, look at their On the go lines of drives (smallest is 200GB).

     

    USB 3.0 should be backward compatible with your USB 2.0 ports, and you'd have a drive that will work well with future machines/upgrades.

     

    If you buy from OWC, the drive will come formatted for OS X.  If you buy from somewhere else, you may have to reformat the drive (most drives ship formatted NTFS for Windows), but that will only take a moment in disk utility to reformat.

  • Michael Wasley Level 5 Level 5 (6,810 points)

    Note that if going with a USB bus powered drive the Mac may have inadequate power through one USB port and you may need to use a USB Y cable to run the drive.

  • hilltop Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    My PowerBook G4 is 17" and does have both 400 & 800 firewire ports; but I think I'll try a USB 3.0 since it seems to be backward compatible and I could use it for future machines if I don't fill it all up first. Thanks, I'll try that.

  • Donald Morgan Level 6 Level 6 (12,645 points)

    Gee, I hope I understand this right, you can get a Terabyte from Walmart for around $120.00.

    There are many manufaactures of external drives that are small and work very well.

    Of course you will pay a little more for a Lacie or one of the many other named brands. Most all you get unless you go to an Apple Store and get one they have that supports Firewire. most all otherwise are all USB.

  • Allan Jones Level 7 Level 7 (32,235 points)

    Hi Donald,

     

    Gee, I hope I understand this right, you can get a Terabyte from Walmart for around $120.00.

     

    Offered as  a "FWIW": Like Michael Black, I prefer the OWC external drives because the ones the StuporStores put on sale twice a week are so Windows-centric that they often perform poorly on Macs, regardless of generation. Some work--a lot give Mac users trouble.

     

    I bought a WS MyBook Studio Mac Edition--directly from Apple--that was terrible on both our PPC and Intel Macs! I could hardly use it and could not leave it on all the time for TM backups. I ripped it open, pulled the bare drive and stuck it in an OWC FW800/USB2 enclosure and it is now perfectly behaved.

     

    Yes, reformating for Mac and ridding the drive of all the cr@pware that's preinstalled for Windoze helps with the "on sale" drives. That's a required first step if the OP gets one of the name-brand specials.

  • Michael Black Level 6 Level 6 (17,955 points)

    hilltop wrote:

     

    My PowerBook G4 is 17" and does have both 400 & 800 firewire ports; but I think I'll try a USB 3.0 since it seems to be backward compatible and I could use it for future machines if I don't fill it all up first. Thanks, I'll try that.

     

    For an older machine, that makes great sense, IMO.  When you upgrade the machine, you'll have native USB3 ports anyway.  Apple is moving to thunderbolt and USB 3 and firewire is going away steadily (still available on the Mac Pro for now).  Also, don't buy a drive that is "just big enough".  The great thing about TM, if you use it, is that it will keep legacy backups as long as it has space to do so, so a nice big drive just means you can recover from that much further back in time, if needed.

  • Network 23 Level 6 Level 6 (11,865 points)

    Donald Morgan wrote:

     

    Gee, I hope I understand this right, you can get a Terabyte from Walmart for around $120.00.

    There is one major problem with the drives you get from just walking into a Walmart or Costco or Best Buy: They are usually one interface only, and that interface is USB. That's not a problem for new Macs with USB 3, where mass-market USB 3 drives are a great and cheap solution.

     

    But for regular transfers with older Macs, I have always found great benefit in using a drive with multiple interfaces that bridge old and new Macs and PCs. The USB version in the PowerBook, USB 2.0, has always been a slow solution. It's slower than FireWire 400, FireWire 800, and Gigabit Ethernet. For my regular backups on G3/G4 Macs and most MacBook Pros, FireWire or Gigabit Ethernet have always been the way to go because they just save so much time over USB 2.0. Maybe not for small incremental daily backups, but when moving large collections of music/videos/photos, or especially when migrating to newer equipment.

     

    That is why like the others here, I greatly prefer the OWC drives with multiple interfaces. The slow, awful USB ports work well for old FireWire-less Macs and for PCs, while FireWire 800 and eSATA get full-disk backups and mass transfers done in a fraction of the time as the poor soul waiting for USB 2.0 to finish. (Today's multi-TB disks can take hours to copy even with FireWire 800.)

     

    If the priority is to save money over saving time, a cheap USB drive is fine, and USB 3 will be much faster than FireWire when you get a new Mac. But I've long valued the ability of a multi-interface drive from OWC to plug into any Mac or PC put in front of me and be able to transfer data using whatever the fastest option is.

     

    I wouldn't worry about formatting drives from non-Mac stores since that takes about 10 seconds in Apple Disk Utility.