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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Consumer Hardware & Components > What is the best + most reliable external hard drives?

What is the best + most reliable external hard drives?
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Jul 17, 2009, 11:42 AM
 
I'm looking into backing up my data to an external hard drive sometime soon. Just wonder which ones you recommend. 1TB is good for now, I'll be backing up my music, school documents (imperative), DSLR photos (huge files) and any other important information I need to archive.

I'm looking for something with FW800+usb or any other option in terms of file transfers for my MBP (Dec 2008).

Any particular names that are more reliable in industry standard? Seagate, Lacie, Iomega. I always get mixed reviews on all brands that I read on the internet.

THX
     
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Jul 17, 2009, 12:43 PM
 
Most reliable?

In my experience (and, let's be clear, the plural of anecdote is not data) the controller of the enclosure (or power supply) can fail -- which is a different problem than the drive itself failing. So a reliable disk must itself be reliable and be in a reliable enclosure.

I would either pick an enclosure that's (reputedly) more reliable AND know what drives in it, or "roll your own."

In the former case, I hear good things about Glyph (they also have a data recovery guarantee) and Caldigit. Not cheap, though.

In the latter case, I might go to OWC and get one of their Mercury cases. AND pick my own drive. This is the most cost-effective route, and the enclosure can be used again when e.g. 2TB drives come down in price.

My guess is that Hitatchis and Western Digitals are on the top of the heap right now. Had two Seagates go south on me in two months.

Again, the plural of anecdote is not data.
     
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Jul 17, 2009, 01:47 PM
 
There's really not that much difference between the brands when it comes to reliability. How long a particular drive will last is more a matter of luck (good or bad) than anything else. I like to ioSafe Solo range. It's a Seagate drive in a waterproof and fireproof enclosure. There's a review over at ComputerShopper. Bit more expensive than the norm, but worth every penny, IMO. Amazon are offering free shipping at the moment.
     
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Jul 17, 2009, 01:49 PM
 
Something eSATA based. Simplest design, lowest cost, best performance.
Focus on the chipset, not the brand.
     
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Jul 17, 2009, 02:02 PM
 
I bought a Lacie Brick last Saturday. Looks sleek, has eSATA, USB and FireWire 400 and is quite cheap. Oh, and the reason I didn't build one on my own was that Lacies support putting the drive to sleep (I'm sensitive to noise). I haven't seen a cheap enclosure that can do that. And it's not a feature they put on the box, unfortunately.
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Jul 17, 2009, 10:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by Timo View Post
Most reliable?

In my experience (and, let's be clear, the plural of anecdote is not data) the controller of the enclosure (or power supply) can fail -- which is a different problem than the drive itself failing. So a reliable disk must itself be reliable and be in a reliable enclosure.

I would either pick an enclosure that's (reputedly) more reliable AND know what drives in it, or "roll your own."

In the former case, I hear good things about Glyph (they also have a data recovery guarantee) and Caldigit. Not cheap, though.

In the latter case, I might go to OWC and get one of their Mercury cases. AND pick my own drive. This is the most cost-effective route, and the enclosure can be used again when e.g. 2TB drives come down in price.

My guess is that Hitatchis and Western Digitals are on the top of the heap right now. Had two Seagates go south on me in two months.

Again, the plural of anecdote is not data.

Dude chill out. It's not a grammar or politically correct exam. You know what I'm talking about. No need to analyze everything I wrote.

Anyway, thanks for all the direct responses. I'll look into those.
     
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Jul 17, 2009, 10:44 PM
 
All hard drives will fail. All of them.
     
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Jul 18, 2009, 11:49 AM
 
Yup...look for a reputable (e.g. Oxford) chipset. I hear Prolific chipsets are crap so avoid them, prolly lots of other less than desirable chipsets out there so stick with Oxford if you can.
     
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Jul 18, 2009, 12:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cloud View Post
Dude chill out. It's not a grammar or politically correct exam. You know what I'm talking about. No need to analyze everything I wrote.

Anyway, thanks for all the direct responses. I'll look into those.
wow -- see what trying to be helpful gets you. How about I chill out and you learn some manners?
     
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Jul 18, 2009, 03:19 PM
 
Timo, I appreciated your post.

Too bad some people's wiring is just too crude, and so they get rude.
     
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Jul 18, 2009, 07:40 PM
 
Sure I'll chill out, however I'm surprised you 2nd response was less analytical than the first. Playing the good guy I see. Anyway,thanks again for the responses everyone.
     
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Aug 6, 2009, 03:12 PM
 
Seagate FreeAgent Desktop (USB 2.0), or FreeAgent Extreme (FireWire400, USB 2.0, eSATA) - if you're looking for something like "heavy duty", the manufactory gives a 5-year warranty (no one can do better in these days?), that tells much about the product. I'd never go with WD, besides they make crap, it's completely useless after it fails (and they do fail a lot), to recover data from it is close to impossible due to incompatibility parts.
     
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Aug 6, 2009, 03:15 PM
 
Ive got a 500GB Mac Freeagent Go FW800 and its fast.... seams reliable so far but ive only had it 6months!
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Aug 6, 2009, 04:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by ym_edk22 View Post
Seagate FreeAgent Desktop (USB 2.0), or FreeAgent Extreme (FireWire400, USB 2.0, eSATA) - if you're looking for something like "heavy duty", the manufactory gives a 5-year warranty (no one can do better in these days?), that tells much about the product. I'd never go with WD, besides they make crap, it's completely useless after it fails (and they do fail a lot), to recover data from it is close to impossible due to incompatibility parts.
Do you have a reference for this bit of information? I haven't seen anything along these lines...most name brand hard drives are equally reliable.

As for portable (external( hard drives, I've heard good things about SeaGates though I opted to piece together an enclosure of my choice so I could get the best bridge chipset and put in a hard drive of my choosing as well.

I don't think a 5-year warranty means the hard drive/enclosure is "heavy duty." Look at the auto market...Honda (one of the most reliable cars out there) has the shortest factory warranty because they know people will buy their product in spite of the short warranty. Actually, a longer warranty may mean the manufacturer is trying to regain consumer confidence with their product (which may have had a less than spectacular failure rate).
     
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Aug 8, 2009, 09:34 AM
 
Most reliable would be buying an external RAID1 box. I'm pretty sure that Western Digital offer one.
     
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Aug 9, 2009, 11:56 PM
 
Does anyone have any experience on the G-Tech Drives the apple stores sell? I'm thinking of getting a 1-2TB one. From some review i read and from word of mouth... they are pretty reliable. Just a bit expensive.
     
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Aug 10, 2009, 01:48 AM
 
I have never had problems with hitachi drives. I now have 3 1tb drives. Purchase a dual drive enclosure from OWC and have 2 of my drives in there. Triple interface, (USB, de 400/800). Over 300 movies on my iTunes library plus home movies. Now that hitachi just came out with 2tb drives, I'll be getting these as my library grows. May not be the speediest ones out there but very reliable.
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Aug 10, 2009, 02:52 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Something eSATA based. Simplest design, lowest cost, best performance.
And completely incompatible with 99.9% of Macs, due to the fact that Apple won't put a $@#%ing ExpressCard slot in anything except for the bulkiest and most obnoxiously priced behemoths in their lineup.
( Last edited by CharlesS; Aug 10, 2009 at 03:05 AM. )

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Sep 3, 2009, 12:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cloud View Post
Does anyone have any experience on the G-Tech Drives the apple stores sell? I'm thinking of getting a 1-2TB one. From some review i read and from word of mouth... they are pretty reliable. Just a bit expensive.
Besides looking great alongside my Mac Pro these drives are FAST and in my experience, highly reliable. Very quiet, too. I like the dual FW800 ports on the back; one into the Mac Pro, the other to connect my portable FW drive.

I have a good friend who owns Milwaukee's biggest video production house. He uses the G-Tech's in massive raids for all of his video editing. He swears by them.
     
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Sep 8, 2009, 12:34 AM
 
I have used an EZQuest Pro A/V 500GB for a while and find it quick, and sleek looking in the fact that the power source is inside the enclosure, eliminating the unsightly brick.
     
   
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