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External Hard Drives (Recommendation on purchase)

by freighterman_1999 / September 15, 2007 4:12 AM PDT

I want to buy a external drive for use with OS X.

About the only thing I am sure of is the size...500 GB.

Should I buy a FireWire or USB model? (cost is not a concern)

Do I need one that is bootable? How can I discover if it is bootable?

Any recommendation as to brand of drive would be appreciated.

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External Drive
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 15, 2007 7:07 AM PDT

Get a Firewire model, preferably a Firewire 800.
This of course depends on what type of Mac you have and whether it has any Firewire 800 ports. Not all Mac's do.

All external drives that are connected via Firewire can boot the machine as long as they have a valid operating system installed on them.
The Intel Mac's can also be booted from a USB drive with a valid OS installed on it.

I like La Cie as a complete package for drives but that is a personal thing. La Cie only make the cases, they do not make the hard drives. Seagate/Western Digital/Maxtor are all good brands of drive. The Seagate has a 5 year warranty which, I know from experience, they honor.
It is possible to put together an external Firewire drive by purchasing an enclosure and drive separately. You can often make major savings in that way. You may have to search to find a Firewire 800 case but they are not that difficult to find.

I'm sure there will be other comments forthcoming.


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External HD
by freighterman_1999 / September 15, 2007 7:25 AM PDT
In reply to: External Drive
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As I said, I like La Cie,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 15, 2007 9:09 AM PDT
In reply to: External HD

That looks like a winner to me.

Boya84 has a good suggestion too, regarding putting one together yourself


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you can also make one...
by boya84 / September 15, 2007 8:48 AM PDT
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External HD
by freighterman_1999 / September 22, 2007 5:35 AM PDT

I got the LaCie external drive rather than putting one together. It shipped with 5 connector cables as well as backup software (that retails for $79.95 if purchase separately). It has a 3 way power switch (off, on, and auto). It has a 500 GB HD connected to my Mac via the FireWire 800 port. Throughput while creating backup averaged about 17.7 MB/sec.

I created a large Bootable HFS+ and small DOS partition. Since disk utility can not create an NTFS partition is their another way to do it? Would it be possible to use Boot Camp to create the NTFS partition on what is now the DOS partition without doing the rest of the install?

Of interest is the fact that if I stick in the XP (SP2) disk in the DOS volume and open say a .txt file it boots Parallels???

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Sounds like a nice device
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 22, 2007 8:52 AM PDT
In reply to: External HD

As you say, Disk Utility can only create a FAT partition (DOS) but as I have been saying, BootCamp will only play with the internal, booted from, drive.

So, try this. Install a copy of OS X on to the external drive, boot from it and use BootCamp to do your thing. I'm not sure it will work but it is worth a try.

.txt files will be opened by TextEditor (OS X). Note that OS X can read that disk and does not need Windows to do it with.


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I going to try this first...
by freighterman_1999 / September 23, 2007 7:37 AM PDT

I am converting the NTFS drive to Fat32 via Paragon Drive Partition on PC box. I will then move the Fat32 drive via Paragon Drive Copy to DOS partition on external drive. Once there I should be able convert back to NTFS. We shall see.

BTW, I am planing to use XP on external HD for gaming only; no internet access so I can do away with all the virus/malware software and any other unnecessary crap. I will use Parallels for Mac for the must have XP programs. This is much more convent then using Boot Camp. XP in Parallels runs as fast as if it were a native program.

If my plans don't work I'll Boot Camp the iMac HD for gaming.

BTW, I've noticed that the external drive is FAST. I don't know what the seek time is, but it appears faster than the iMac HD.

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