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Which hard drive should I buy?


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Which hard drive should I buy?
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bholtzman
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Join Date: Apr 2005
 
2005-04-03, 16:08

Hello,

I am trying to decide on a new hard drive to put in my Mac Mini when it arrives, but I'm having a hard time making a decision on which hard drive to go with. I plan on putting the 80GB 4200prm drive that ships with the Mac Mini in an external enclosure that can be connected via FireWire/USB.

I'm looking at the following 3 hard drives:

Seagate / 100GB / 5400 / 8MB / 2.5" / Retail / Mobile Hard Drive - 269.99 (Canadian):

http://www.seagate.com/cda/products/...81,635,00.html

Seagate / 80GB / 5400 / 8MB / 2.5" / OEM / Mobile Hard Drive - $202.99 (Canadian):

http://www.seagate.com/cda/products/...81,636,00.html

Western Digital / 80GB / 5400 / 8MB / 2.5-in / OEM / Mobile Hard Drive - $188.99 (Canadian):

http://www.westerndigital.com/en/pro...02&Language=en

The Seagate hard drives have a 5 year warranty, where the Western Digital hard drive only has a 3 year warranty .. so I'm kind of leaning towards Seagate. All drives are pretty well the same for average seek time. I'm not sure I want to spend the exta $65 to go from 80GB to 100GB though. What does everything think?

Any suggestions, recommendations or links to reviews on the above products are welcome!

Thanks

Last edited by bholtzman : 2005-04-03 at 17:35.
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Luca
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2005-04-03, 16:16

Before you buy a new hard drive, check to see if the one that ships with it isn't already a 5400 RPM one. My mini came with a 40 GB, 5400 RPM hard drive. That's not big enough so I have a 250 GB external hard drive as well.

Oh yeah and those prices are messed up. If you want to buy them from a place in Canada, I think Tiger Direct is the place to go. There is a Samsung 80 GB, 5400 RPM, 8 MB model for $120 Canadian. The Western Digital and Seagate models are $140 and $150, respectively. They also have the 100 GB, 5400 RPM Seagate for $199.

Personally I don't think it's worth that much just to get a slightly faster speed. If you need a lot of storage, get a desktop-sized drive instead. They're a whole lot faster, have much larger capacities, and don't cost as much.
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Satchmo
can't read sarcasm.
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Toronto, Canada
 
2005-04-03, 17:10

Yeah, those prices do seem rather high.
Check out Bestbuy.ca
I think 7200 rpm 120 gb Maxtor drives go for about $120 Cdn.
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bholtzman
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Join Date: Apr 2005
 
2005-04-03, 17:12

Thanks for the info, I'll keep that in mind!

I believe the prices you are looking at are on the tigerdirect.com web site (US). The prices I quoted were from the tigerdirect.ca web site (Canadian funds). With the Canadian dollar doing so well right now, I could probably get it cheaper from the US, but customs charges an arm and a leg .. and then some!

I did read that some of the Mac Mini's 40GB drives are 4200rpm and some are 5400rpm, but apparently all of the 80GB drives are 4200rpm. But it doesn't matter anyway, cause I need the extra space

So you're saying that because there isn't much of a speed difference between the 4200rpm and 5400rpm drives I should get a regular 3.5" external hard drive as opposed to the notebook sized 2.5" drive .... hmmmm. I definately see the pro's with going that way.

The reason I've been considering upgrading the 4200rpm drive in the Mini is based upon the following article/review.

REVIEW: Mac mini -- hard drive tests:

http://www.barefeats.com/mini01c.html

So i'm not too sure what to do yet. I hate decisions
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Luca
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2005-04-03, 19:35

Ah, crap, I see. I thought Tiger Direct was primarily a Canadian store and must have thought they listed their numbers in Canadian dollars by default. So you can pretty much disregard half of my post earlier...

You could also consider getting a 7200 RPM internal drive. They are around. Hitachi makes a 40 GB and a 60 GB version. Last I checked, there was only about a $15 difference in price, so the 60 GB would be the way to go. They are expensive, but probably worth it. I thought about doing it, but like I said, I got a 5400 RPM drive so it wasn't necessary.
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Wraven
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Texas
 
2005-04-03, 19:49

Luca,
There is that whole HEAT AND NOISE thing though, when going with a 7200 RPM drive in a mini...
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bholtzman
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
 
2005-04-03, 19:57

Yeah, I'd love to put a 7200rpm drive in my Mini .. especially if the Mini comes with an 80GB 4200rpm drive. But thats the whole thing .. the larget 2.5" 7200rpm drive right now is the 60GB by Hitachi .. A) I need LOTS of space and B) I've never used Hitchi hard drives before ... not sure how reliable they are and how they perform.

I really wish Seagate's 100GB, or even their 80GB was 7200rpm, cause Seagate provides a 5 year warranty, which is really nice.

Wraven: About the heat ... I haven't heard anything bad about putting a 7200rpm drive in a Mini. It might just mean that the fan may run a little more often? Have you read any articles or forums that 7200rpm drives in Mini's are trouble? People put these drives in iBooks and PowerBooks all the time. Not much of a difference between the iBook, PowerBook and Mini...
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FFL
Fishhead Family Reunited
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Slightly Off Center
 
2005-04-03, 19:59

I think you'd be better off with a 7200 RPM full-size external firewire. Just boot from that drive and use your internal for excess storage.

More speed and more GB than you'll ever get with a 2.5" drive and probably cheaper as well.
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Luca
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2005-04-03, 20:14

Eh, not really. They might be slightly louder and hotter than most 2.5" drives, but not by that much.

If you're concerned about space going with 80+60, but think that 80+80 will be enough... then you probably need more space than any 2.5" drive can allow. It's always a good idea to have more than you think you need. Like FFL suggested, I'd say go for a 7200 RPM external drive. 160-250 GB is a good range to shoot for. You can boot from it if you want, but I'm booting from my mini's internal drive so I don't rely on my Firewire drive just to boot. You can of course go either way.

One option is to get a BIG external drive now, and then maybe a little while down the road you can replace your internal hard drive with a 7200 RPM one. Hopefully, 2.5" drive progress will speed up and you'll be able to get an 80-120 GB one with a 7200 RPM speed.
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baaron
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Kelowna, B.C., Canada
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2005-04-03, 21:27

If you get a 40GB drive, you'll fill it up.

If you get a 400GB drive, you'll fill it up.



If I was you, I'd stick with the stock 40GB internal drive for extra (maybe long term) storage, and use an external 7200rpm firewire drive to boot off of and use for everything else. Hope that makes sense.

I like Bawls and Rocket Fuel! (See http://www.xoxide.com/)

D00D, like 1337 totally man, have you seen Anchorman???
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rhapsodyosx
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
 
2005-04-21, 09:46

How do you tell if the machine you have features a 5400 RPM Hard drive? The system profiler doesnt show this, does it?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Luca
Before you buy a new hard drive, check to see if the one that ships with it isn't already a 5400 RPM one. My mini came with a 40 GB, 5400 RPM hard drive. That's not big enough so I have a 250 GB external hard drive as well.

Oh yeah and those prices are messed up. If you want to buy them from a place in Canada, I think Tiger Direct is the place to go. There is a Samsung 80 GB, 5400 RPM, 8 MB model for $120 Canadian. The Western Digital and Seagate models are $140 and $150, respectively. They also have the 100 GB, 5400 RPM Seagate for $199.

Personally I don't think it's worth that much just to get a slightly faster speed. If you need a lot of storage, get a desktop-sized drive instead. They're a whole lot faster, have much larger capacities, and don't cost as much.
  quote
Luca
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2005-04-21, 10:32

The system profiler shows the hard drive model number. From there it's a quick Google search (or a search on the vendor's support site) to find the relevant specifications.

My drive is a ST940110A. It starts with ST, which means Seagate Technologies. Doing a Google search reveals that several other Mac mini owners have the same model number, and that the number actually doesn't appear on Seagate's site. Seagate has a drive with the model number ST94011A, which is the same minus the final zero before the A. That drive is a 40 GB, 5400 RPM model. I'm assuming that the ST940110A that shipped with my mini is just a slightly different model number to differentiate the drive that OEM buyers (like Apple) get from the one that consumers get.
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rhapsodyosx
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
 
2005-04-21, 10:44

Would i get that big of a performance gain by upgrading the hard drive in the mini? (I would more than likely send it off to OWC or some place). has anyone had much luck with these machines and running Photoshop, Maya, etc? Just curious

Thanks
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Luca
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2005-04-21, 10:59

I'm not sure if boosting the hard drive from 4200 RPM to 5400 RPM would be really that worth it, especially if you pay OWC to install it. Then you're just paying a huge amount of money for a marginal performance gain. If you install it yourself, then it might be worth it. It's really not that hard to install yourselfgo to OWC's website and when you look at an internal upgrade intended for the Mac mini, they'll have a video showing you how to open it up and change the components.
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rhapsodyosx
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
 
2005-04-21, 11:05

Really? YOu dont think its that hard to install? I had heardit was a bear to.
I was thinking of the 7200 RPM drive as well they offer. They do offer a small trade in credit.. roughly a 100 dollars if you upgrade ram and hard drive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Luca
I'm not sure if boosting the hard drive from 4200 RPM to 5400 RPM would be really that worth it, especially if you pay OWC to install it. Then you're just paying a huge amount of money for a marginal performance gain. If you install it yourself, then it might be worth it. It's really not that hard to install yourselfgo to OWC's website and when you look at an internal upgrade intended for the Mac mini, they'll have a video showing you how to open it up and change the components.
  quote
Luca
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2005-04-21, 11:18

Hmm... looks like $50 to trade in the 256 MB RAM and the 40 GB hard drive. The installation fee they charge is $100, the 1 GB of memory (which you will want, if you do not already have) is $130, and with the hard drive, it varies depending on how much space and speed you want, but it looks to be between $120 (for a 60 GB, 5400 RPM) and $210 (for the 100 GB, 5400 RPM). That's a lot to spend on the mini.

First, check to see if you already have a 5400 RPM internal drive. What does System Profiler say? If you already have a 5400 RPM drive, then there is no point at all in upgrading it. Also, if it's 5400 RPM, then there's no point in having OWC install just the RAM. The RAM is much easier to install than the hard drive because you don't have to unscrew anything, just remove the case. But if you're still not confident after watching the installation videos, you can bring it to an Apple store and they'll install your own RAM for a $30 installation fee.

I don't know if you've upgraded your RAM though. If so, how did you do it? Did you get Apple's BTO option for more RAM?
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rhapsodyosx
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
 
2005-04-21, 11:27

Yeah,
I already have 512, and the 80 gig hard drive for trade.

Basically that would cover the installation.

The Hard drive i was looking at was running at 7200 RPM, but not as large as teh 80gig. I would up the ram to a gig. Do these machines run multimedia apps very well?
I dont want to spend a lot on the mini, since it will probably be a stepping stone computer. Do you know if the 80 gig hard drive came in 5400 RPM? Most on the forums were saying that it was only 4200 RPM for the larger model. If the existing drive is in fact 5400, i may not change it. DO you know how much Cache comes standard on this OEM drives apple is using in the mini's?
again-
Thanks for your help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luca
Hmm... looks like $50 to trade in the 256 MB RAM and the 40 GB hard drive. The installation fee they charge is $100, the 1 GB of memory (which you will want, if you do not already have) is $130, and with the hard drive, it varies depending on how much space and speed you want, but it looks to be between $120 (for a 60 GB, 5400 RPM) and $210 (for the 100 GB, 5400 RPM). That's a lot to spend on the mini.

First, check to see if you already have a 5400 RPM internal drive. What does System Profiler say? If you already have a 5400 RPM drive, then there is no point at all in upgrading it. Also, if it's 5400 RPM, then there's no point in having OWC install just the RAM. The RAM is much easier to install than the hard drive because you don't have to unscrew anything, just remove the case. But if you're still not confident after watching the installation videos, you can bring it to an Apple store and they'll install your own RAM for a $30 installation fee.

I don't know if you've upgraded your RAM though. If so, how did you do it? Did you get Apple's BTO option for more RAM?
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kretara
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2005-04-21, 12:19

my 80G drive is 4200.

Instead of replacing my HD I am booting off of an external firewire HD (Maxtor 7200rpm 250GB) and its working just fine for me.
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rhapsodyosx
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
 
2005-04-21, 12:41

Is it faster running the machine from the Firewire drive?
Have you tried running Photoshop any other disk intensive programs from it?
What about Maya?




Quote:
Originally Posted by kretara
my 80G drive is 4200.

Instead of replacing my HD I am booting off of an external firewire HD (Maxtor 7200rpm 250GB) and its working just fine for me.
  quote
Luca
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2005-04-21, 13:06

All the 80 GB drives shipping with minis are 4200 RPM. 80 GB 5400 RPM drives are significantly more expensive. On the other hand, the difference in price between a 4200 RPM and a 5400 RPM 40 GB drive is very small, so Apple has supplied quite a few minis with 5400 RPM 40 GB drives (like mine).

I'd wait on the hard drive and RAM upgrade. Like you said, it's a stepping stone computer. Plus, hard drive and RAM prices are (almost) always going down. RAM is cheap these days, and getting cheaper. It may rise again but I don't think that's likely to happen really soon. Hard drive prices are ALWAYS falling (unlike RAM which fluctuates) and mobile storage tech may see a notable increase soon. Seagate recently announced that they'll be making 100 GB 7200 RPM and 120 GB 5400 RPM laptop-sized hard drives, which should drive down the prices for the smaller and slower ones.

So yeah, I'd wait. You won't see a huge benefit from going to 1 GB of RAM and a 7200 RPM drive. You'll notice it for sure, but it won't be worth the several hundred dollars you'll spend. If you had a stock mini with 256 MB of RAM and were unlucky enough to get a 40 GB, 4200 RPM drive, then maybe I'd go for it. But in your current state it's just not worth it. Maybe pick up a Firewire hard drive and boot from that. By the time hard drive and RAM prices fall drastically enough to be worth it, you may be ready to move on anyway.
  quote
kretara
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2005-04-21, 13:29

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhapsodyosx
Is it faster running the machine from the Firewire drive?
Have you tried running Photoshop any other disk intensive programs from it?
What about Maya?
More info on my setup.
I have a 2 bay external firewire 400 enclosure that I got from ebay. The sellers "name" is superldg and here is a similar item .
EDIT: forgot to add price. 2 bay is under $100 and 4 bay is under $200. Compare to firewire depot and smile all the way to the bank :smokey: . END EDIT
I've had great service from this guy. Disclaimer: I'm in no way associated with superldg or his business.
Anyway, I'm running 2 Maxtor 250GB HD's (1 as boot drive and 1 as music/file/video storage) and I am very happy.

I have not measured any times. Everything is by "feel".

Boot time is the same.

Photoshop is snappier when running from the Firewire drive. I don't do any "intense" PS work, so I'm not sure how things will be when you are running filters on a huge file.

Maya. Nope, don't use that one. But please, Maya on a mini?

Command line stuff (CP, RM) is much faster with the firewire hd.

small-medium (100-100,000 records) mysql database access is much faster with the firewire hd.

I have a bunch of perl scripts that I run (mostly reading in a file, parsing the data and writing the data to either multiple files on disk or into a database) and the perl scripts run much faster with the firewire hd.

Last edited by kretara : 2005-04-21 at 13:33. Reason: add price info
  quote
rhapsodyosx
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
 
2005-04-21, 16:10

Maya on the mini, lol.. well yes, i am hoping it will work... i'm not expecting anything on par with a G5, but considering that the mini is very similar to some models (past) of the powerbooks and i have seen people use maya on those machines. I'm a student and in a crunch, so i'm looking for a machine that will hold me over a little bit, or else i would sink a chunk of change in the Powermacs or iMacs.

I am just a little worried over the drive performance. I have a question...when you use the external firewire setup, i would image that the rate isn't as fast as the internal ATA bus on the machines. Too bad apple didnt put firewire 800 on these things. I know sometimes as well that the type of ATA (IDE) to Firewire controller such as Oxford 911 (?) chips can make a difference. I know some of the drives from Wiebetech, use that chip, which is supposed to be very good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kretara
More info on my setup.
I have a 2 bay external firewire 400 enclosure that I got from ebay. The sellers "name" is superldg and here is a similar item .
EDIT: forgot to add price. 2 bay is under $100 and 4 bay is under $200. Compare to firewire depot and smile all the way to the bank :smokey: . END EDIT
I've had great service from this guy. Disclaimer: I'm in no way associated with superldg or his business.
Anyway, I'm running 2 Maxtor 250GB HD's (1 as boot drive and 1 as music/file/video storage) and I am very happy.

I have not measured any times. Everything is by "feel".

Boot time is the same.

Photoshop is snappier when running from the Firewire drive. I don't do any "intense" PS work, so I'm not sure how things will be when you are running filters on a huge file.

Maya. Nope, don't use that one. But please, Maya on a mini?

Command line stuff (CP, RM) is much faster with the firewire hd.

small-medium (100-100,000 records) mysql database access is much faster with the firewire hd.

I have a bunch of perl scripts that I run (mostly reading in a file, parsing the data and writing the data to either multiple files on disk or into a database) and the perl scripts run much faster with the firewire hd.
  quote
FFL
Fishhead Family Reunited
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Slightly Off Center
 
2005-04-21, 20:45

I'd do the following:

- keep your internal HD but upgrade your RAM to 1 GB.
- sell your 512 MB if possible
- get a 160 or 200 GB 7200 RPM external firewire drive.

Clone your whole system to the external and boot from that. use your mini internal for storage of large data files like music and video.

OWC's firewire drives consistantly rate at the top of data transfer speed tests.
  quote
TerryG
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2005-04-25, 19:46

If you can wait till May, check out this webpage.
Seagate 100GB 7,200 & 120GB 5,400 Drives

These drives are super quite & low power use, no heat or sound issues with a 5 year warranty. External firewire 400 HD's would not be quite as fast & no cables with this set-up. It would keep all your firewire ports free.
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Luca
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2005-04-25, 20:59

3.5" hard drives will always be faster than 2.5" ones. We already have 7,200 RPM 2.5" drives, they're just limited to 60 GB capacity at the moment. And while they provide a significant speed improvement over 4,200 and 5,400 RPM laptop drives, they are simply not on the level of 3.5" desktop hard drives. At best, 2.5" drives can narrow the gap, but it will never completely close. Besides, desktops have the option of Ultra SCSI and RAID, including 15,000 RPM drives.
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