View Full Version : 2009 Q3 : Best Compact External Hard Drives

2009-07-14, 07:55
I've been thinking about getting one of those Seagate FreeAgent Go (http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/external/freeagent/freeagent_go_mac/) drives lately, but I know that they're about to bump the highest capacity from 500MB to 640MB so I'm holding off a bit yet, but in the meantime I'm wondering if any of you have experience with compact high capacity hard drives by all manufacturers (knowing that there are only a few drive manufacturers out there).

Any anecdotes or words of wisdom to share?


2009-07-14, 08:38
Yeah, wait for 1GB.


2009-07-14, 08:48
Oh snap. :D

Dorian Gray
2009-07-14, 11:41
Avoid Western Digital drives, because they seem to fail at an inordinate rate. The disks inside are fine, but the bridge electronics are rubbish.

Are you looking for something with FireWire (like the FreeAgent Go)? If so, that limits your options, obviously. You might want to consider LaCie: they've always been good external drives for me (solid and well designed).

If FireWire isn't a requirement, consider the Iomega eGo. I was amazed at how solid this all-metal enclosure is compared to the some of the cheap-feeling plastic enclosures from the big disk manufacturers like Western Digital and Seagate. I don't know whose disks Iomega use, though (if you're picky about that).

2009-07-14, 12:59
I wouldn't buy a prepackaged drive, but that is just me. Look for a good drive case and the drive you want.

2009-07-14, 14:05


2009-07-14, 14:12
OWC is good, I'll second that recommendation. I get most of my stuff from them, too.

2009-07-14, 14:19
What drive is in that enclosure? I can't seem to find that info.

I want a *QUIET* drive for my Mac mini, then plop the current drive into an enclosure. If I can just buy the enclosure + drive at one shot, then swap them, that's fine too, and generally a bit cheaper.

2009-07-14, 17:32
I just bought a 320 from OWC, and it was a Western Digital Scorpio.

You can swap the drives in the OWC case, but it's not all that easy - the circuit board is held in there pretty snugly. An OWC tech once recommended making a loop out of a paper clip and using that to hook around a FireWire port socket in order to remove the circuit board from the enclosure.

2009-07-14, 17:45
Ah, well I ordered a raw drive and an enclosure separately. :) Realized that for this particular drive, FW isn't likely to be used often, if ever, soooooo... cheapo $20 USB2 enclosure it was.

2009-07-14, 19:06

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/on-the-goI'll put in for the "On-The-Go" enclosure as well. Best 2.5" enclosure I've ever had (and I've had lots). Normally I'd roll my own as well, but the price on the 500GB FW800 bundle is more than reasonable. The WD drive* alone is going for 100 bucks at newegg.

* I haven't had too much experience with the 2.5 WD drives, so I can't throw a thumb either way. The WD full-sized drives seem to be the way to go lately, but I haven't bought enough laptop drives in the past year or so to have an opinion which brand is best.

2009-07-14, 19:09
I may regret it, but in the past I've always gone with the OWC 3.5" Mercury Elite Pros. I currently have four of them.

All PATA. :p Had to buy a SATA version to get the 1TB drive. :p :p :p

ANYway... this time instead of going for the On-The-Go enclosure, I opted for the cheap OWC Express. I figured it couldn't be that much worse, given it still had the OWC brand on it.

2009-07-14, 19:31
I may regret it, but in the past I've always gone with the OWC 3.5" Mercury Elite Pros. I currently have four of them.

All PATA.The ME Pros are great. I have a dual-drive one that's still going strong after 3 years. I'm very comfortable in recommending those (and I have, here even) to friends.

Like you, I'm gradually making the switch over to SATA externals. I have the ME Pro, a Maxtor, a WD, a TransIntl, and 4 Macally PATA externals, and just 2 Macally SATA (eSATA interface) externals. It used to be the case where I wouldn't buy anything without FireWire, but these last 2 Macallys are eSATA/USB only....which made me nervous until I experienced just how damn fast eSATA is. :)

2009-07-14, 19:34
Heh. Well considering the machines in the house are a 2009 mini, a 2006 MacBook, a 2004 MacBook Pro, and a G4 Cube... no eSata in sight for me yet. :}

2009-07-14, 19:40
The mini should really get an eSATA port. Hell, everything should get an eSATA port. It's my new favorite interface. :)


I've been romancing the idea of gutting my Cube and putting in a mini's innards. Have you ever thought about that? :\

It's so gorgeous. It deserves a better life than the 450MHz can give it. ;)

Dorian Gray
2009-07-15, 13:01
Drewprops: how do you know that 'they' (Seagate?) are about to bump up to 640 GB? We've been stuck at 500 GB forever, and Seagate does have a 7200 rpm drive at 500 GB, so I suppose it's likely. But do you know something specific? I was hoping the next bump would be to 750 GB.

2009-07-15, 13:26
I believe they are going with 640GB because they are using larger and fewer platters.