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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Question about purchasing an external hard drive (USB vs FireWire)

Question about purchasing an external hard drive (USB vs FireWire)
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Piano and TV
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Miami, FL
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Jul 7, 2005, 09:45 PM
Ok guys.. this is probably a question that has been asked often.. if it has, link me to a previous thread Well, I want to get a 250gb external hard drive... But I am torn between USB 2.0 and Firewire 400.. I see that they make combo drives and all.. but I don't really understand the difference between them. All I am simply looking for is a hard drive that can function and copy files on any computer... whether it be at a friends house who only has USB or one that only has Firewire... Are there going to be issues with my file systems and all that? Also, what is the best price/brand? I've seen some decent LaCie's... Any help is appreciated!
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Jul 7, 2005, 10:06 PM
Basicly.. it boils down to which one will you use more.
USB is more common in the PC industry whereas Firewire is known in the Mac World.
Once you've choosen which to go with, then you look at speeds.

If you have a PC, i say go with USB since its more common.
Firewire is fast and great, but unless your only working with Macs, i'd suggest USB
You can get Firewire cards for PCs too.. but if you ever goto a friends house with only USB... your pretty much screwed.
15" 2.33 MBP 2GB Ram, 120GB HD - Main Rig
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Toronto, ON
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Jul 7, 2005, 11:03 PM
go with usb 2.0 for compatibility on both fronts, or get one with both.
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Junior Member
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Portland, OR
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Jul 8, 2005, 12:34 AM
here are a few tips to save some money when getting an external hard drive.

1. buy an internal hard drive
- i would recommend seagate or hitachi
2. buy an external case
- i would recommend getting both usb and firewire. firewire for the mac and usb for pc.
3. put the two together and you have an external hard drive and money in your pocket.
- even "external" hard drives are just internal hard drive with cases. so why not do it yourself and save some money?
iPhone 4: [32GB]
iPad 2: [16GB | WiFi]
MacBook: [13" | 2.4Ghz | 4GB | 500GB]
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