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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I'm in a bit of a dilemma and need some help. I own an iMac Intel Core2Duo 2GHz, 1GB and need more harddrive space.

Now my question is do I go internal and external(looking at Lacie brand USB 2.0 and Firewire)? I've sent an e-mail to a local university store I deal with and they gave me a list of internal and external harddrives. Since I want to be able to backup my whole system I'd need at least 250-500GB. Also if I go internal what is the difference between SATA and ATA100 (I'm looking at Barracuda brand? Also should I go for firewire or USB type of harddrive?

I know this is a tough question to answer but maybe tell me pros and cons or what you would do in my boat and why.

Thanks so much,

S.:rolleyes:
 

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First off, your iMac will only take a SATA drive internally. SATA is the newer standard for drive connections. If you decide on an internal drive, have it installed by an AASP so as to not have any warranty complications.

Second, I've had horrible experience with LaCie products, mostly because they use whichever components they can get at the lowest price. If you want a pre-packaged drive, go with a brand name like Seagate (makers of the Barracuda drives, and the best in the industry IMO) or Western Digital (also quite good).

Third, go for a FireWire drive. They're faster for sustained transfers, and require less system overhead. FireWire drives can also be daisy-chained, while USB requires a hub.

Hope that helps :)
 

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If you want to back up your system, you need to go external with an iMac. There is no room for a second drive inside.
So that decision was easy.
I would go Firewire as well rather than USB, but if you go Firewire you usually get USB 2.0 as well.
As to which brand - my preference would be Seagate for the hard drive and a separate aluminum enclosure; then put the two things together yourself which is a really simple job.
Getting a separate OEM hard drive gives you a longer warranty (on the drive) than if you buy the external unit already assembled and you know which drive is in the enclosure.
But there are assembled external drives on sale almost every week as well - if you see one you like, post here and I'm sure you'll get some comments for or against.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
First off, your iMac will only take a SATA drive internally. SATA is the newer standard for drive connections. If you decide on an internal drive, have it installed by an AASP so as to not have any warranty complications.

Second, I've had horrible experience with LaCie products, mostly because they use whichever components they can get at the lowest price. If you want a pre-packaged drive, go with a brand name like Seagate (makers of the Barracuda drives, and the best in the industry IMO) or Western Digital (also quite good).

Third, go for a FireWire drive. They're faster for sustained transfers, and require less system overhead. FireWire drives can also be daisy-chained, while USB requires a hub.

Hope that helps :)
John,

You have been very helpful and thank you. I am also glad you suggested other brands as the store I deal with said they can get other brands and I know they have carried Seagate ones in the past.

Also I will get Firewire if I go the external route. Can you make a backup of your harddrive if you have internal space on your machine? Does it have to be partitioned?

S.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you want to back up your system, you need to go external with an iMac. There is no room for a second drive inside.
So that decision was easy.
I would go Firewire as well rather than USB, but if you go Firewire you usually get USB 2.0 as well.
As to which brand - my preference would be Seagate for the hard drive and a separate aluminum enclosure; then put the two things together yourself which is a really simple job.
Getting a separate OEM hard drive gives you a longer warranty (on the drive) than if you buy the external unit already assembled and you know which drive is in the enclosure.
But there are assembled external drives on sale almost every week as well - if you see one you like, post here and I'm sure you'll get some comments for or against.
krs,

Thanks for all the information. It's very helpful. I don't know what a OEM hard drive is. You are saying I should buy a hard drive and then a seperate aluminum enclosure (is this to protect it?). I know squat about this so whatever you can tell me helps. I'm a bit confused on the the part where you say:
Getting a separate OEM hard drive gives you a longer warranty (on the drive) than if you buy the external unit already assembled and you know which drive is in the enclosure.
Some of this info is a bit above my knowledge here and I do want to make the right choice. Also I know going external is great if I decide to get another computer down the road, I can just use the external drive for that.

S. :)
 

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krs,

Thanks for all the information. It's very helpful. I don't know what a OEM hard drive is. You are saying I should buy a hard drive and then a seperate aluminum enclosure (is this to protect it?). I know squat about this so whatever you can tell me helps. I'm a bit confused on the the part where you say:

Some of this info is a bit above my knowledge here and I do want to make the right choice. Also I know going external is great if I decide to get another computer down the road, I can just use the external drive for that.

S. :)
Basically what krs is saying is that if you buy an OEM drive (OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, but that just confuses ;)), you're buying direct from the manufacturer (through a reseller, usually), rather than a third-party, like LaCie. OEM drives from Seagate, for example, come with a 5 year warranty, while 3rd party, pre-packaged, drives would come with a 1 year warranty (usually).

The main reason for an aluminum case (any metal, really) is that it acts as heatsink and cools the drive without a fan.

I'd suggest grabbing an external, personally. Seagate drive + MacAlly 3.5" case = very good combination. If you decide to assemble the drive yourself, make sure you get a compatible case/drive - ATA drive + ATA case, SATA drive + SATA case.
 

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spiralgirl,

To back up externally, it doesn't matter how much space is on your internal hard drive. All that matters is that the external drive has enough space.

Are you asking about partitions because the internal drive is partitioned? If it is, you can still back up each partition.

Some people buy external drives large enough that they can alternate backups, backing up perhaps once per week, and then again the next week, so you have several choices on your backup drive replicating last week, and the week before, for example.

There are some external hard drives already put together for you, but it is possible to put together your own: you buy a drive and the right size enclosure. The most flexible enclosures have FireWire ports, perhaps two so you can chain drives (put several in a row only needing one connection to the iMac), and USB 2. It is very easy to put together enclosure and drive: four screws, perhaps a few minutes. Enclosures also usually come with all the cables you need, much more economical than buying them separately.

There is actually an amazing deal now at CostCo, for a 1 Terabyte external drive with FireWire 400 and 800:
http://www.costco.ca/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=10299356
for $399
which may be overkill, but it's a great buy.
There is also this similar size drive for $380:
http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/pr...65000FS10088623&catid=23795&logon=&langid=EN#

...

There are also 250GB and smaller very reasonably priced drives with or without enclosure from local computer stores and chains like canadacomputers.com and ncix.com. Depending on where you are, you might want to check these out in person, or you could review your options on their websites.

As well, MacDoc who frequents this site has some nifty options, macdoc.com.
 

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That drive is an eSATA drive, and won't work with the iMac in question (eSATA is amazing though, and I hope Apple includes it in their next Rev. iMacs and MacBookPros.

dell.ca said:
Interfaces: 1 x eSATA - 7 pin external Serial ATA
As well, MacDoc who frequents this site has some nifty options, macdoc.com.
I also second MacDoc.com -- I've had drives from him before at work and they work flawlessly. He also uses OEM parts to make them for you so they have the same long warranty as OEM but the pre-made-edness (I made that up apparently) of the 1year warranty drives you can get elsewhere.
 

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Thanks for catching that eSATA thing.

It's so easy to put a FireWire/USB drive together, with the right case, though. I have several size Macally enclosures, for example.

That drive is an eSATA drive, and won't work with the iMac in question (eSATA is amazing though, and I hope Apple includes it in their next Rev. iMacs and MacBookPros.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Basically what krs is saying is that if you buy an OEM drive (OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, but that just confuses ;)), you're buying direct from the manufacturer (through a reseller, usually), rather than a third-party, like LaCie. OEM drives from Seagate, for example, come with a 5 year warranty, while 3rd party, pre-packaged, drives would come with a 1 year warranty (usually).

The main reason for an aluminum case (any metal, really) is that it acts as heatsink and cools the drive without a fan.

I'd suggest grabbing an external, personally. Seagate drive + MacAlly 3.5" case = very good combination. If you decide to assemble the drive yourself, make sure you get a compatible case/drive - ATA drive + ATA case, SATA drive + SATA case.
John,

Thanks for explaining it to me and for telling me about what case to get with what drive. Yeah, I'm leaning toward the external route as I don't have to pay an installation fee and if I ever get a different Mac I have it with me. Is the model you recommended loud because I'm used to my quiet Mac and a lot of noise will drive me nuts.

S.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
spiralgirl,

To back up externally, it doesn't matter how much space is on your internal hard drive. All that matters is that the external drive has enough space.

Are you asking about partitions because the internal drive is partitioned? If it is, you can still back up each partition.

There is actually an amazing deal now at CostCo, for a 1 Terabyte external drive with FireWire 400 and 800:
Costco Western Digital® My Book™ Pro Edition™ II External Hard Drive 1 TB
for $399
which may be overkill, but it's a great buy.
There is also this similar size drive for $380:
http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/pr...65000FS10088623&catid=23795&logon=&langid=EN#

...

There are also 250GB and smaller very reasonably priced drives with or without enclosure from local computer stores and chains like canadacomputers.com and ncix.com. Depending on where you are, you might want to check these out in person, or you could review your options on their websites.

As well, MacDoc who frequents this site has some nifty options, macdoc.com.

HowEver,

Thanks for the links and advice. I was asking about internal space because I was wondering if you could get an internal drive and still backup your system.

S.
 

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John,

Thanks for explaining it to me and for telling me about what case to get with what drive. Yeah, I'm leaning toward the external route as I don't have to pay an installation fee and if I ever get a different Mac I have it with me. Is the model you recommended loud because I'm used to my quiet Mac and a lot of noise will drive me nuts.

S.
Seagate drives generally tend to be quite quiet. You can also have the drive 'spin down' when not in use, basically turning it off until needed. Here is the case I would suggest:
PHR-100AC (Macally.com)

Also, 320GB drives seem to be the best value currently - Seagate 320GB

These two are not a bad price either:
Seagate 750GB
Seagate 500GB
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That drive is an eSATA drive, and won't work with the iMac in question (eSATA is amazing though, and I hope Apple includes it in their next Rev. iMacs and MacBookPros.

I also second MacDoc.com -- I've had drives from him before at work and they work flawlessly. He also uses OEM parts to make them for you so they have the same long warranty as OEM but the pre-made-edness (I made that up apparently) of the 1year warranty drives you can get elsewhere.
fryefly,

Thanks for your help and experiences with this. I went to MacDot.com and just see a listing of a bunch of different things. Is this the right address?

S.
 

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Can you make a backup of your harddrive if you have internal space on your machine? Does it have to be partitioned?
S.
To answer one of your questions - yes, you can make a backup on the internal drive but IMHO there is not much point in that. If your internal hard drive fails, which is why you want a back-up in the first place - then the back-up that is also on that drive won't be available either.
Well, there is a chance it might be, but not likely - depends what the failure is.

I don't know how much the labour cost is to replace the internal drive in your iMac for a bigger one. If it's reasonable, you could go that route and take the drive that was in the iMac (the one you are using now) and put that into an external enclosure and thus make your own external for back-up of critical files only.

O r you can just leave the internal drive alone, but whatever size you need in an external one and partition the external one into either two or three partitions.
One or two partitions would be for straight back-up (I use two so I can alter back-ups between them) and the other partition can be used for all the extra storage you need.
The external drive partitions will show up on your Mac desktop as little drive icons like these:


These are two physical drives - one with three partitions, the ones with the firewire symbol on the icons (the symbol with the circle in the middle) and one drive with one partition (with the USB symbol on the icon).
Each partition of a drive shows up with a separate drive icon, so by double clicking on it, you can just open that drive partition and do whatever you like with it - the same way as with your internal hard drive.
I use the USB drive to store videos and movies and the firewire partitioned drive as backup for my two internal drives.

I think the key thing for you to decide is exactly what you want to do and how much space you think you need.
You can of course always add more drive space later.

One really nice thing with the Mac (not sure if Windows can do that, I get conflicting information) is that you can actually boot from any external drive that has the OS on it if it's set up right.
So if your internal drive ever fails, you can start up holding down the Option key on the keyboard and all the drives (internal and external) that you can boot from show up on the screen.
You just pick one and hit continue and the Mac will use the operating system of whichever drive or partition you chose.
I use that when I go visiting - I just take my backup drive with me, connect it to my friends Mac, boot up with my hard drive that I brought and everything is exactly the same as if I used my Mac at home.
 

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fryefly,

Thanks for your help and experiences with this. I went to MacDot.com and just see a listing of a bunch of different things. Is this the right address?
Make sure you go to MacDOC.com (Doc, not Dot) but that being said, I think you did, as the site can be a little intimidating ;)

Here's the info you're looking for I think:

macdoc.com said:
Quiet case Oxford 911 - vertical or horizontal operaton. USB 2.0 combo. SPECIAL PRICING
250 gig Firewire 400 drives 7200 rpm $155 SPECIAL
400 gig Firewire 400 drives 7200 rpm $199 SPECIAL
500 gig Firewire 400 drives 7200 rpm $239 SPECIAL

For shipping and payment info on hard drives
please contact Geoff at
[email protected]
Whoa. I feel like a salesman! And I ain't even gettin no commission. ;)
 

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Seagate drives generally tend to be quite quiet. You can also have the drive 'spin down' when not in use, basically turning it off until needed. Here is the case I would suggest:
PHR-100AC (Macally.com)

Also, 320GB drives seem to be the best value currently - Seagate 320GB

These two are not a bad price either:
Seagate 750GB
Seagate 500GB
I just compared these prices to drives two years ago when I bought mine. Pretty amazing - prices are essentially half of what they were in June 2005 and the sweet spot is moving towards the 500 GB one - same price per bit now as the 320 GB drive.
 

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Nice case - but what's with the deal that you need Windows XP to update the firmware?
Customer Reviews Of BYTECC BT-380U2F(SL) External Enclosure with small Penguins LED - Retail

I also don't understand why this enclosure only supports drives up to 500 GB - is there some magic breakpoint that won't allow a 750 GB drive to be used in this enclosure? Maybe the Prolific chipset?
 

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Good points, but I was trying to show that there are options and many examples or combinations; and, that it's easy to put these together oneself. I hope someone can answer the questions. I've also never had to update an enclosure's firmware. I've used some more generic kinds, like IoGear and Iomagic, even no-name cases, and they've all worked with no tweaking. And a variety of hard drives, including Hitachi and Fujitsu--often taken out of macs.

Nice case - but what's with the deal that you need Windows XP to update the firmware?
Customer Reviews Of BYTECC BT-380U2F(SL) External Enclosure with small Penguins LED - Retail

I also don't understand why this enclosure only supports drives up to 500 GB - is there some magic breakpoint that won't allow a 750 GB drive to be used in this enclosure? Maybe the Prolific chipset?
 
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