PDA

View Full Version : Best External Hard Drive for Mac AND PC



connect_icut
22-09-2011, 05:06 AM
I've spent the evening researching external hard drives and it's making my head spin. I'm hoping someone here might be able to offer me a purchasing suggestion, based on actual experience. Here's what I need:

A reliable 2TB external hard drive I can format to FAT32 in its entirety, in a single partition using just the Apple Disk Utility in OSX 10.6.

I need FAT32 so that it can be read by both PCs and Macs. If I can't format the whole thing to FAT32, that's a deal-breaker.

Help?

(p.s. Sorry if there's already an external hard drive thread. I couldn't find one.)

droid
22-09-2011, 10:15 AM
There's no size restriction in disc utility for FAT32 partitions, thats a windows issue only. I have 2 x 1tb drives formatted as FAT32 the same way and they work fine on both Mac an PC, so, in theory, any disc should work.

connect_icut
22-09-2011, 07:12 PM
Here's the one I'm currently thinking of getting:

http://ncix.com/products/?sku=52474&vpn=WDBAAU0020HBK-NESN&manufacture=Western%20Digital%20WD%20Retail&promoid=1377

Ulala
22-09-2011, 08:38 PM
My computer died horribly this morning. Mercifully I did manage to repair the hard drive this evening but I spent much of the day at work in a blind panic, fearing for the safety of my unrivalled-in-the-Northern-Hemisphere collection of crap mp3s. Ergo: I need to back my shit up. Therefore I echo connect_icut - recommendations would be warmly welcomed.

I don't even want 'best' - just 'most unlikely to wipe itself in a fit of pique' would do.

nomos
22-09-2011, 09:12 PM
Here's the one I'm currently thinking of getting:

http://ncix.com/products/?sku=52474&vpn=WDBAAU0020HBK-NESN&manufacture=Western%20Digital%20WD%20Retail&promoid=1377
I've got the 1TB version for automated backup (Time Machine) and I've been very happy with it. Quiet, not hot, no glitches. It 'feels' far more reliable than the one I built myself. And like Droid said, FAT32 should be no problem. I recently reformatted an older drive from Disk Utility OS X to use with Mac+PS3 and it's fine (took two tries for some reason but smooth sailing since).

droid
23-09-2011, 10:03 AM
My process when Im buying a new drive:

1. Browse local or online shops that I know are reliable for a selection at a certain price range.
2. Google reviews of each drive and pick the best
3. Buy an enclosure and put it in after following 1+2

Im currently looking at making a RAID for proper backups. There is a 5 bay USB enclosure out there that does RAID 4, which means I can buy 3 1tb discs, add the two I have and end up with 4TB of space, all backed up all the time, for about the cost of two 2 TB drives.

I wouldn't go for an all in one external drive myself. Enclosures are cheap and you can generally get a much better drive for the same price.

connect_icut
23-09-2011, 05:10 PM
My process when Im buying a new drive:

1. Browse local or online shops that I know are reliable for a selection at a certain price range.
2. Google reviews of each drive and pick the best
3. Buy an enclosure and put it in after following 1+2

Im currently looking at making a RAID for proper backups. There is a 5 bay USB enclosure out there that does RAID 4, which means I can buy 3 1tb discs, add the two I have and end up with 4TB of space, all backed up all the time, for about the cost of two 2 TB drives.

I wouldn't go for an all in one external drive myself. Enclosures are cheap and you can generally get a much better drive for the same price.

From a cost/reliability standpoint, that would probably be the way to go but one of my main concerns is to avoid having to spend hours and hours faffing around to get the drive working. Therefore, a "roll your own" solution is pretty much out of the question, for me.

droid
26-09-2011, 10:40 AM
From a cost/reliability standpoint, that would probably be the way to go but one of my main concerns is to avoid having to spend hours and hours faffing around to get the drive working. Therefore, a "roll your own" solution is pretty much out of the question, for me.


It only takes about 5 mins to put a drive into an enclosure, and you get a way better drive for the same money.

nomos
26-09-2011, 04:02 PM
Do you have any recommendations, D? My enclosure is a Vantec. The HD itself was rated highly but as a unit it's always seemed a little flakey.

connect_icut
26-09-2011, 11:36 PM
It only takes about 5 mins to put a drive into an enclosure, and you get a way better drive for the same money.

Only if you're halfway competent to do the job. You're talking to someone who can't even bang in a nail straight! Seriously - I'm useless.

droid
27-09-2011, 10:12 AM
Only if you're halfway competent to do the job. You're talking to someone who can't even bang in a nail straight! Seriously - I'm useless.

OK. But seriously. Its like four screws and two connections. If you can change a plug you can do it...

droid
27-09-2011, 10:34 AM
Do you have any recommendations, D? My enclosure is a Vantec. The HD itself was rated highly but as a unit it's always seemed a little flakey.

I have two icybox (http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.icybox.de/&ei=QpiBTt2VCsOr0QWVheipAQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=2&sqi=2&ved=0CDsQ7gEwAQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dicy%2Bbox%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1286%26bi h%3D908%26prmd%3Dimvns) enclosures from a few years back that have served me well. Aluminum is better than plastic for heat. Thermal take are suppose to be good too: http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/Category.aspx?C=1182

connect_icut
28-09-2011, 02:23 AM
Just got my drives and I've started formatting the first one. First problem: I couldn't do it on my new computer. I'd heard that formatting drives could be a problem with recent versions of Mac OS. Luckily, I also have an old Mac, so I'm doing it on that. Looks like it's going to take bloody ages, judging by the non-changing status bar. Either that or it's crashed.