An open community 
of Macintosh users,
for Macintosh users.

FineTunedMac Dashboard widget now available! Download Here

Topic Options
#46782 - 11/03/17 11:12 AM External Hard Drive Recommendations
MG2009 Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
I realize I may be opening a HUGE can of worms here, but I am looking for ideas for purchasing an EXHD.

Some specs: 1 TB, Time Machine compatible, Thunderbolt port.

My MBPro is early 2011, so the ports available are USB 2.0, Firewire 800, Ethernet, and Thunderbolt (1st generation). Thunderbolt, I believe, will give the fastest transfer rate from what I understand.

Any recommendations? Instore or Online in CANADA . . . don't want to deal with duties and taxes. tongue
_________________________
Many thanks,
MG2009

Top
#46783 - 11/03/17 03:11 PM Re: External Hard Drive Recommendations [Re: MG2009]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Unless you are doing some heavy duty graphics or other I/O intensive work you could probably save yourself a lot of money and greatly expand your selection by going with USB 3 instead. Thunderbolt is overkill for Time Machine use. For Time Machine use I would suggest a 2.5" 5400 rpm 2 or 3 TB bus powered USB 3. enclosure/drive. Lots of capacity, no power supply required, and easily fast enough for the purpose. Eliminating the Thunderbolt would reduce the cost of the enclosure enough to pay for the extra 1 or 2 TB of capacity.

As for specific recommendations I don't know about the in Canada part, but for many years I have had excellent success with Other World Computing They offer a wide range of drive/enclosures including Thunderbolt, bus powered 2.5" USB 3, and 3.5" USB 3 drives. My personal predilection is buying a suitable enclosure and putting the drive of my choice in it. I can often get a better deal with a better drive than buying the same enclosure with whatever drive the vendor got cheap.
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#46784 - 11/03/17 04:01 PM Re: External Hard Drive Recommendations [Re: joemikeb]
jchuzi Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
MG2009, unfortunately, has USB 2, not 3. Given that scenario, Thunderbolt would be the fastest way to go, by far. If budget permits, get an SSD instead of an HDD. I have two HDDs in a Thunderbolt enclosure (one clone and one Time Machine) and two SSD clones in another Thunderbolt enclosure. The difference in speed is startling. The HDD clone takes a relatively long time to boot while the two SSD clones boot almost immediately. The time to update the SSD clones is literally one-third the time that it takes to update the HDD clone.
_________________________
Jon

OS 10.15.3, iMac Retina 5K 27-inch, late 2014, 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 1 TB fusion drive, 16 GB RAM, Epson SureColor P600, Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, MS Office 365

Top
#46785 - 11/03/17 05:19 PM Re: External Hard Drive Recommendations [Re: jchuzi]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: jchuzi
MG2009, unfortunately, has USB 2, not 3. Given that scenario, Thunderbolt would be the fastest way to go, by far. If budget permits, get an SSD instead of an HDD. I have two HDDs in a Thunderbolt enclosure (one clone and one Time Machine) and two SSD clones in another Thunderbolt enclosure. The difference in speed is startling. The HDD clone takes a relatively long time to boot while the two SSD clones boot almost immediately. The time to update the SSD clones is literally one-third the time that it takes to update the HDD clone.

No argument but one of the requirements specified is
Originally Posted By: Mg2009
Time Machine compatible
so SSDs and Thunderbolt would be unnecessarily expensive overkill for that application. Most Time Machine operations are relatively small (say a few MB), take place in background, and are mostly unnoticeable. They are nothing like a clone.

If the objective is a massively fast 1 TB external boot drive and cost is not a factor then this configured RAID 5 might be a good choice.
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#46786 - 11/03/17 08:19 PM Re: External Hard Drive Recommendations [Re: joemikeb]
MG2009 Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Thanks. I should have offered more info . . .

Not looking for SSD. After 10 years, I have only about 250 GB of stuff which I back up. My (very old) Airport TC has only WI-FI and Ethernet . . . either method takes 5 - 20 HOURS to b/u this relatively small amount. The TC has a 1TB capacity.

So . . . a Thunderbolt HDD of 1TB should suffice for many years for my purposes. I did some digging around. A Lacie model seemed ideal, but I found many reviews at the Apple Store reported these units to be unreliable. I do have a small OWC 400 Firewire which served me very well in years gone by, so I will check out OWC again. :0)

Other ideas?


_________________________
Many thanks,
MG2009

Top
#46787 - 11/04/17 06:29 AM Re: External Hard Drive Recommendations [Re: MG2009]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
I have used an Airport Time Capsule and a USB hard drive attached to an Airport base station and both were painfully slow, so I suspect that speed is more a function of the backup device than the connection. With a "mature" Time Machine backup set — one that has been in use for a long time and has potentially hundreds of thousands if not millions of multilink connections — Time Machine backups, especially the daily, weekly, and monthly consolidations eat a LOT of CPU cycles connecting all the dots (links) and the CPU can easily become the time consuming factor. The only cures for that are:
  1. A faster CPU
  2. Erasing the old backup set and starting over from scratch
I have no direct experience with them, but I have heard good things about the G-Tech offered by the Apple store (at least in the U.S.).
SIDEBAR: There are some intriguing features of Apple's APFS system that hopefully could evolve into a better, faster, even more flexible Time Machine, but that is a major project in itself and will take time to develop and implement. Maybe in MacOS 10.14 but I would love to see it sooner.


Edited by joemikeb (11/04/17 06:50 AM)

Top
#46789 - 11/04/17 12:12 PM Re: External Hard Drive Recommendations [Re: joemikeb]
MG2009 Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Thanks, again, for chiming in.

I checked into the G-Tech products. Some reviews on Amazon. Pretty split opinions, which is to be expected. The concern for me, however, is the nature of the complaints (i.e. product failing in 1 to 2 years and no recovery of data possible).

In my digging around OWC, I found some "Buffalo" units which looked like the ticket. However, there are multiple complaints about the Thunderbolt ports failing and abysmal Buffalo follow-up customer service.

I do not have much to store, but what I do have is valuable to me. I have had the Apple Airport/TC since 2006 and there has never been an issue with it. I have even "secure erased" it a few times over the years and it always resumes to the expected behaviour with Time Machine.

OWC offers a 1TB Firewire 800 portable which is very similar to the 250 GB Firewire 400 external hard drive I got in 2008. It, too, has been without issue and I still use it today (with a 800-400 adapter cable).

So . . at this stage, I will likely just stick with my usual routine of the Ethernet port for the full backup and then Wi-Fi for incremental backups. Slow, but at least it IS reliable.

I, optimistically, was hoping to find a Thunderbolt HD around the $200 mark that I could count on. Bummers.
_________________________
Many thanks,
MG2009

Top
#46795 - 11/05/17 08:04 AM Re: External Hard Drive Recommendations [Re: MG2009]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Just a thought. From my viewpoint of having had a Time Capsule drive failure and a Time Machine backup set on direct connected HD I now have two Time Machine drives connected and configured on my computers. Time Machine automatically alternates backing up to one device or the other so if one backup fails, the other is still available and at most only 2 hours out of date.
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#46801 - 11/05/17 11:55 AM Re: External Hard Drive Recommendations [Re: joemikeb]
MG2009 Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
We kind have come full circle, in a way.

I was backing up my MBPro on TIME CAPSULE (ethernet for initial b/u and then Wi-Fi) as well as on the OWC with 800-400 adapter cable. Since space was becoming an issue for the 250 GB 400 Firewire, I thought about replacing it . . . Hence, the Thunderbolt inquiry and, therefore, no longer using Airport/Time Capsule.

Plan B: What would be your take on a 1TB OWC 800 Firewire - since the MBPro does have the 800 port?

(Although slower, the Time Capsule has 1TB of storage so I could continue to use that as a second backup device.)

Any idea how a 800 Firewire compares with Thunderbolt regarding transfer times?





_________________________
Many thanks,
MG2009

Top
#46802 - 11/05/17 12:40 PM Re: External Hard Drive Recommendations [Re: MG2009]
Urquhart Offline


Registered: 08/10/17
Loc: Netherlands
Originally Posted By: MG2009
Any idea how a 800 Firewire compares with Thunderbolt regarding transfer times?

FireWire 800 to Thunderbolt 1 = 786 Mbps : 10000 Mbps. So ~8%.
[ Wiki ]

Top
#46803 - 11/05/17 02:10 PM Re: External Hard Drive Recommendations [Re: MG2009]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: MG2009
Plan B: What would be your take on a 1TB OWC 800 Firewire - since the MBPro does have the 800 port?

If you'll eventually be replacing your MBP with a more current machine, it will pay you to bear in mind that ANY FireWire device you buy today, aside from being molasses slow tomorrow, will be "homeless", because your new machine won't have any FireWire ports of any flavor (although there may be a dongle[s] option).

That leaves your best options at USB 3 and Thunderbolt 2 or 3, all of which are backwards compatible, either Thunderbolt option being a better one, because it will be faster than USB 2 today and remain both faster than even USB 3 and easily usable tomorrow.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

Top
#46882 - 11/17/17 11:28 AM Re: External Hard Drive Recommendations [Re: MG2009]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
I second Artie's recommendations. A ThunderBolt drive will not be notably better for your purposes than USB, and for the money you'll spend on a 1TB ThunderBolt drive, you can easily get a 6TB USB drive. That ThunderBolt port is so expensive that getting a 1TB drive with ThunderBolt is a bit like getting a 1987 Chevy Impala and putting a Ferrari engine in it.

You said you don't want an SSD, and any 1TB spinning rust drive is going to be slower than the Thunderbolt port anyway, so what's the point?
_________________________
Photo gallery, all about me, and more: www.xeromag.com/franklin.html

Top
#46906 - 11/18/17 10:12 AM Re: External Hard Drive Recommendations [Re: tacit]
MG2009 Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
So, tacit, is it correct for me to assume that you would recommend a 3.0 USB SSD if I could find one . . . and forget about either Thunderbolt or Firewire.

Any supplier you could recommend? In Canada?

Top
#46931 - 11/19/17 03:40 PM Re: External Hard Drive Recommendations [Re: MG2009]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Yes; you'll get a whole lot more bang for your buck, and it will be futire-proof for when you upgrade your computer.

I have a 2 TB USB 3 SSD. It was very spendy, but man, it's screaming fast.


Edited by tacit (11/19/17 03:40 PM)
_________________________
Photo gallery, all about me, and more: www.xeromag.com/franklin.html

Top
#46973 - 11/21/17 11:36 AM Re: External Hard Drive Recommendations [Re: MG2009]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
best buy has an early black friday deal on a 4tb ext usb drive for $99, half price. And I just happened to need a new time machine drive. *snag*
_________________________
I work for the Department of Redundancy Department

Top
#46976 - 11/21/17 12:06 PM Re: External Hard Drive Recommendations [Re: Virtual1]
MG2009 Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Sweet. Unfortunately, not on sale in Canada.
_________________________
Many thanks,
MG2009

Top

Moderator:  alternaut, cyn