: Replacing iMac (white) Internal HD or external one?


meall
Nov 22nd, 2007, 08:02 PM
Hi,

I have an iMac with a 250 Gig HD in it. It is not enough for my needs in terms of space.

I'm considering buying a new HD for it, but my questions is, should I place it internally or just buy an external one. I think internally would be much better (better performance), but I'm in fact afraid at the apple Warranty for the iMac. I do not want Apple telling me that I replace my HD and that broke the warranty. Which opinion about it?

I'm going to go for at least 500 Gig, but I'd like to know what is the best price/capacity deal for an HD those days?

Thanks

The Shadow
Nov 22nd, 2007, 08:19 PM
Installing a HDD in either the white or aluminum case iMacs involves quite a bit of disassembly such as removing the bezels and ESD shielding among other things. I think you might be in danger of voiding the warranty by attempting the upgrade yourself. I know there are a few ACDTs on here that might be able to give you the real deal with the warranty.

You should consider having an Apple Authorized Service Provider do the upgrade for you. It'll cost more than you doing it yourself, but at least you won't risk voiding the warranty.

EvanPitts
Nov 22nd, 2007, 08:44 PM
I have an iMac with a 250 Gig HD in it. It is not enough for my needs in terms of space.

I think you would be best off with an external solution, considering the amount of work taking apart an iMac and such. As far as speed goes, if you stick with Firewire, you should have ample speed for almost all tasks. With USB, your mileage may, and will, vary. Unless you are heavy into some kind of video rendering, FW400 will be more than enough.

You can either by a bundled solution, like the Seagate FreeAgent 320 GB that is currently on special at a number of places. The FW400 version can be had for $120 these days. Or you can put your own together, with whatever drive and chassis you select. The sky is the limit, and if you need higher speed, there are FW800 drives, and the newer eSata kind (if your machine support them). All around, the FW400 will be the best fit as it can be used not only on your system, but on all recent vintage Macs as well. Nothing says you are limited to one drive; I have four drives that I swap with my systems, 2 are FW and 2 are USB "dongle drives".

I really do not notice much "lag" or "slowdown" when I use my FW externals, and have been quite happy with the way the Mac works with them. It is much easier than trying to swap out the internal drive (which I did in the spring on both my iBooks and my iMac, and that day was no picnic!).

mac_geek
Nov 22nd, 2007, 09:12 PM
meall,

I think it depends on which iMac design you have. I have the rev.B iMac G5 - the one with the ambient light sensor, but no iSight built in. I just replaced my hard drive 2 weeks ago, and it was VERY easy. If you go to Apple support pages and search for "do it yourself" you'll find step by step instructions.

BTW, in my research, I concluded that Western Digital Caviar SE16 was the way to go; I picked up a 500GB drive for $146 from Tiger Direct. I picked this on the basis of:

- power consumption (and heat generation)
- noise
- performance

Seagate Barracuda's also seem well rated, and are available for about $110, but are apparently noisy. I like my quiet iMac.

meall
Nov 22nd, 2007, 09:29 PM
I think it depends on which iMac design you have. I have the rev.B iMac G5 -

Forgot to mention, it is an Intel iMac 24". Last gen before the current gen.

Seagate Barracuda's also seem well rated, and are available for about $110, but are apparently noisy. I like my quiet iMac.

I also forgot about this: silent! iMac is silent, and a big and noisy HD in it would killed its charm!

Thanks

meall
Nov 22nd, 2007, 09:31 PM
You can either by a bundled solution, like the Seagate FreeAgent 320 GB that is currently on special at a number of places. The FW400 version can be had for $120 these days.

I saw one at Staples at 129$ in their recent flyer, but they only specify USB 2.0. Do not know if it also have the FW port!?!

EvanPitts
Nov 23rd, 2007, 01:54 AM
I saw one at Staples at 129$ in their recent flyer, but they only specify USB 2.0. Do not know if it also have the FW port!?!

I would stay away from USB only versions as USB is slower than FW. I use my USB ones to move files between machines, or to transport data (when it will not fit on my 1 GB keychain). I have seen the Seagate 320 GB w/t FW400 at Tiger Direct for $119. One of the external chassis I have has both USB and FW, so I can use it in a variety of portable applications. I could even hook it to a Windoze box, if one existed around these parts.

If 320 GB is too small, then you can always purchase an external chassis and add whatever drive you wish. I used my "old" drives, a result of a number of systems upgrades in the past six months. I have a 4 GB and 10 GB 2.5" that I use frequently to move files between systems that are not on the LAN. Those cases cost me $9 each and have worked perfectly for the past six or seven months.

I have two 40 GB 3.5" FireWire chassis. The first one acts as my software and updates repository and is in an inexpensive chassis, with an older 4200 RPM drive. The speed is fine for holding software and img files, and is only connected to the system on an "as needed' basis. The second one other holds my music. I have been strongly considering the 320 GB route, only because I want put all of my CDs onto the system, and network it to my iMac "Terminal" in the workshop; and $120 seems to fit the budget.

My friend has a similar setup, and shares one external chassis with his Windoze box as well as his iMac and his PowerMac.

meall
Nov 23rd, 2007, 03:29 AM
I would stay away from USB only versions as USB is slower than FW.

I know. But my question was, does anyone confirms it is a USB only, or it may be the USB/FW combo one. Staples are not very aware of what they sold all the time, and FW, they may not even know that could be useful for anyone ;)

The problem with Seagate drives nomenclature is that they all called them FreeAgent, and you almost have to look at the back to see which ports they have behind them!

Anyway. I may stop by there and see by myself.

Dell has those offers in terms of FW/other connectors FreeAgent (most free shipping):

750 GB 7200 RPM FreeAgent Pro FireWire 400 / USB 2.0 / eSATA External Hard Drive 259$

500 GB 7200 RPM FreeAgent Pro FireWire 400 / USB2.0 / eSATA External Hard Drive 209$.

Most of the problems with sellers like TigerDirect, NCIX and others, is the shipping fees. They killed the deal most of the time...

jlcinc
Nov 23rd, 2007, 08:36 AM
Most of the problems with sellers like TigerDirect, NCIX and others, is the shipping fees. They killed the deal most of the time...

I don't know where you are located but TigerDirect has 4 stores in the GTA.

The Burlington store is brand new and I would consider it a big box store it's so large. I am not saying that you should shop at TigerDirect but if you want to no shipping charges. Also MacDoc has drives.

John

jlcinc
Nov 23rd, 2007, 08:42 AM
Oh and I forgot to mention that I have a Core 2 Duo iMac and a few G4's and three external firewire drives. Two 500's and a 320 the iMac only has firewire 400 ports so you won't need a Firewire 800. I need another one I work with video and of course the great thing is that I can move between computers with the drives.
John

wcg
Nov 23rd, 2007, 02:40 PM
Even though USB 2.0 claims to be faster than FW400, it's not the case for Macs (http://www.barefeats.com/usb2.html). I'm not sure if this has changed for more recent Macs. I have a new iMac with FW800 and it can reach about 40 MB/s for writes and about 50+ MB/s for reads. The internal SATA drive is at about 60 MB/s for writes.

So if you're going external get the FW400.

I have a WD MyBook with FW400 and it doesn't seem to work with FW400 on the iMac. It's hooked up to my AirPort Extreme so no concern but avoid it for your Mac. As a reference I purchased the OWC Mecury Pro Elite aluminum 500 GB with FW400/800/USB 2. It's not the cheapest but it's rugged and goes well with the alum. iMac.

dona83
Nov 23rd, 2007, 03:02 PM
A reminder to people to get the biggest HD you can afford in your iMac and MacBook Pro. Shops will charge around 1 to 1.5 hour of labour @ $75/hour.

meall
Nov 24th, 2007, 10:17 AM
I don't know where you are located but TigerDirect has 4 stores in the GTA.
John

Toronto is about 900 Km west from my location, so it is unlikely that I will be there to take possession of anything at Tiger Direct. So shipping is my best option! And I hate to pay for this, especially when it is like in the 15$+.

I bought an HD at FutureShop online recently (500Gig USB for Time Machine) and shipping was only 4$.

meall
Nov 24th, 2007, 10:22 AM
... the iMac only has firewire 400 ports so you won't need a Firewire 800.
John

My 24" has FW 800. But I'm not really sure, based on MacDoc comments, that I will get much more performance from it.

In my case, that will be for storing iMovie media files (huge files normally) while I would like to keep the iMovie 08 projects on the internal HD for backup to time machine. I do not really need to backup the media files, as I already have them on tape.

MBD
Nov 24th, 2007, 10:22 AM
I have a couple of the OWC drives wcg mentions. I love them and I use them on FW800 all the time for storing media and backups of programs. I also have a couple of external usb and firewires I use for backups of all my data but I love the OWC's the best.

olias
Nov 24th, 2007, 11:44 AM
Costco has the Western Digital's My Book 500GB for 169.99 and it USB2 and FW400. They will even ship it to you.

meall
Nov 24th, 2007, 12:32 PM
Costco has the Western Digital's My Book 500GB for 169.99 and it USB2 and FW400. They will even ship it to you.

Not a bad price. Not member makes it around 180$ + tx free shipping. Thanks

meall
Nov 30th, 2007, 09:09 PM
Hi,

I finally got this one at Dell (http://accessories.dell.com/sna/products/External_Hard_Drives/productdetail.aspx?c=ca&l=en&cs=cadhs1&sku=A1234872).

Thursday Dell as a kind of unannounced reduction on almost anything off 20$. Makes it 240$, for that size it is not too bad. I should be OK for quite a while with this.

MACinist
Nov 30th, 2007, 09:29 PM
This new release from WD is sweet: My Book Studio Edition 1 TB Hard Drives ( WDH1Q10000 ) (http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=374)

Made for Mac, matches aesthetically (unlike the FreeAgents'), Quad interface and a 5 year warranty. Haven't seen stock yet but this is on my wish list this holiday season.

meall
Nov 30th, 2007, 10:16 PM
This new release from WD is sweet: My Book Studio Edition 1 TB Hard Drives ( WDH1Q10000 ) (http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=374)

Made for Mac, matches aesthetically (unlike the FreeAgents'), Quad interface and a 5 year warranty. Haven't seen stock yet but this is on my wish list this holiday season.

I did a quick search, and found some store having it for around 380$.

My 750 Gb is still a better bargain per GB.

MACinist
Dec 1st, 2007, 12:08 AM
I'm anal about my mac stuff matching. The WD still comes in at a much better price then other similar spec'd "matching" drives; G-Tech 1TB Quad is almost twice the price. OWC Mercury Elite Pro 1TB is also much more expensive. Once there is ample stock everywhere, I'm hoping for promotions. The sweet spot is probably the 750GB's as WD has the fastest one's around for now.

MACinist
Dec 1st, 2007, 12:21 AM
A reminder to people to get the biggest HD you can afford in your iMac and MacBook Pro. Shops will charge around 1 to 1.5 hour of labour @ $75/hour.

Let's compare:
Upgrading iMac from 320 to 750 via Apple.ca : $275

Upgrading iMac via Apple Service Tech after purchase:

$173.50 for the drive (http://www.infonec.com/site/main.php?module=detail&id=349262) plus $100 for labour = $273.50
I would then sell the old 320GB pull in the classifieds for $60 to $80.

Total cost of doing it after: $213.50 to $193.50 (plus you get a better performing harddrive as i believe Apple uses Hitachi).

krs
Dec 1st, 2007, 02:36 AM
I wonder what a reasonable maximum size is for a single hard drive considering you may loose all the data if one crashes.
Or does everyone automatically buy two - one for backup?

The 500 GB internal SATA drives have come down to $80.- now on sale - I don't think I want to go any bigger on a single drive.

meall
Dec 1st, 2007, 10:53 AM
I wonder what a reasonable maximum size is for a single hard drive considering you may loose all the data if one crashes.
Or does everyone automatically buy two - one for backup?.

That may not be that much different than when the biggest HD was an 80 meg (yes, meg) and that all your data at the time was on it too. HD technology has always been a game of capacity and safety!

I personally plan to buy an ATA HD and place it in my G4 tower and backup my video on it. But not the video taken from the camera, since once I've done editing on it, I do no longer need them most of the time.

Kirtland
Dec 1st, 2007, 11:39 AM
Hi,

I finally got this one at Dell (http://accessories.dell.com/sna/products/External_Hard_Drives/productdetail.aspx?c=ca&l=en&cs=cadhs1&sku=A1234872).

Thursday Dell as a kind of unannounced reduction on almost anything off 20$. Makes it 240$, for that size it is not too bad. I should be OK for quite a while with this.

Good choice. I have had the same drive for a few weeks now and am very happy with it. Small footprint and nice and quiet to match my 24" iMac :)

infinity8
Dec 2nd, 2007, 01:20 PM
Check this article before purchasing a seagate.
http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,2173840,00.asp

Atroz
Dec 2nd, 2007, 01:34 PM
As a reference I purchased the OWC Mecury Pro Elite aluminum 500 GB with FW400/800/USB 2. It's not the cheapest but it's rugged and goes well with the alum. iMac.

I bought one of these (well, the PATA version with no USB 2) a few weeks ago to put 2 old PATA drives in. It looks great, runs great, but I found it is noisy. I think it is the aluminum body, it does nothing to dampen the sound of the 2 hard drives. Next to my nearly silent iMac and my WD My Book, this OWC drive set is NOISY. Have you found the same?

Darien Red Sox
Dec 2nd, 2007, 02:35 PM
If you want a copy of the service Manual E-Mail Me (sorry I only have the service manual for the white version). Make sure thouth that your e-mail is configured to reweave big files b/c it is a 14MB doc
[email protected]

meall
Dec 6th, 2007, 07:39 PM
Hi,

I just received my FreeAgent Pro 750 GB, installed the FW module on it, and it worked as expected. But...

I'm trying to reformat the drive in Mac format in Mac OS (with Journalized/case sensitive on/off for tests) I always get a message saying that the format as failed. So far, I can format it in FAT!

Any idea what's wrong with this? I've done this many times in the past and never had any problem so far...

Thanks

MacDoc
Dec 6th, 2007, 08:46 PM
Have you partitioned the drive for GUID first?

meall
Dec 6th, 2007, 10:09 PM
Have you partitioned the drive for GUID first?

Thanks, I would never have found this option alone ;) So simple after all!!!!

Now, 1 Tera in my hand (750 + 250 gig!).

Thanks MacDoc.