View Full Version : external hard drives

27th April 2004, 07:16 AM
I was thinking of purchasing an external hard drive and I was hoping it could could solve some other problems. ie. the lack of USB 2.0 on my iMac. The fact that that my "old" iMac has USB 1.0 and Firewire 400. Does this mean I can now get USB 2.0 as the external device has USB 2.0? I presume I would connect the device via my Firewire connection??

The model I was interested in was the Western Digital Media Centre. SMH reviewed it this week.

see below http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/04/23/1082616320381.html


27th April 2004, 09:37 AM
You can't run USB 2.0 devices on your Mac, as you don't have a USB 2.0 port. And USB 1.1 is too slow for a hard-drive. So FireWire 400 is the only choice for you. (which is perfectly adequate, and some say better than USB 2.0).

If you want an external HDD, I recommend the Icecube FW400 Hard Drive. Express PowerMac (http://www.epowermac.com.au/aftrack.asp?ID=4) sell them, and they have the best range of FireWire hard-disks in the country. And no, we aren't biased, they really are the best :P

Also, this thread is in the wrong spot, it's not about iPods :P
I'm moving it to the Hardware forum.

27th April 2004, 04:42 PM
I found epowermac to be pretty good with their pricing and the quality of drives.

I personally do not have one because of one reason.

I don't like mail order....too time consuming when returning items, lack of face to face communication.


2nd May 2004, 09:53 AM
I have to say that the good folks at ePowermac a very good with freighting enclosures.
The Ice Cube cases are so good that 3 people I work with and aother one of my mates have all bought combo cases. And only one is a Mac user.

The Hott Buttered enclosures that they sell are also very good. I've got a Pioneer 105 in mine and it works a treat with Toast 6.

If you're in Adelaide the people at the AppleCentre (Adelaide or Norwood) also sell the MacPower Ice Cube and Daisycutter cases at quite competitive rates and you're not paying for freight.
They normally have these in stock but I ended up buying a LaCie 160 from them this week as they are out of stock and have their current shipment on backorder.

The LaCie 160 is a Western Digital drive and quite a small and quiet enclosure.
Also worth a look.


3rd May 2004, 09:28 AM
larfinboy - I've always bought LaCie ever since they got those really nice looking D2 cases. The next drive I was thinking of getting was the even better value Porsche LaCie drives.

Everyone on this thread seems to favour Icecube drives over all others. Are they better than LaCie do you think? Also, is the Icecube just the case and the reseller puts in their drive of choice? Or like LaCie you can get them with drive included?

3rd May 2004, 09:33 AM
Usually unless specified they come without HDD.

The IceCube unit is extreemely sturdy and I would recommend it 100%.

I can't really comment on the LaCie units thought, never used one.

3rd May 2004, 09:34 AM
ePowermac have had a very good time turn around with items i've purchased from them. I got my USB flash drive in less than 2 days, and a case for my powerbook in 4.

note to potential epowermac customers: If you are going to purchase from them, then please use the banner at the top of this site to visit their page - that way it helps us out that little bit. :)

7th May 2004, 10:27 PM
I can vouch for the stability of the LaCie drives. I have ordered and used three of them and the oldest is now three years old (time to replace the disk inside). They have given me no problems, no concerns and no worries.

9th May 2004, 10:26 AM
The main thing to look for when buying a case is the Oxford 911 chipset (or newer 922), as long as it's got this there isn't much to worry about, anything else is just for looks, however the LaCie Porsche designed cases and the IceCubes are some of the best looking. At the moment I have a fairly generic 5 1/4 Firewire/USB 2 case, cost me about 120 and works perfectly, I uses it for working on /repairing a wide range of machines, Mac and PC (so flexibility was more important than looks). I'm going to need a case specifically for an external HD soon and I'll get an IceCube or a LaCie though.

9th May 2004, 01:11 PM
This is the case I got my my HDD initially.


I was going to get one from epowermac, but they took too long for a response regarding what HDD brand came with their 120GB case.

No one here knew either. So I went to the Local computer shop and found this case for a resonable price. And they happened to have the Western Digital 120GB with 8MB Cache for like $120 (usually found for around $145-$160)

I liked the case because of its G5 like appearance. Its functional as well. Ventilation all around. And its got dual firewire ports and USB 2.0 which isn't used at all unless I take it to a mates place which only has USB ports on his PeeCee.

Here is the actual post on the HDD when I got it. http://www.appletalk.com.au/forums/index.php?showtopic=365


10th May 2004, 04:52 PM
What about the LaCie BigDisk? 1 terabyte of external storage, runs on usb1 usb 2 firewire 400 (and i think 800).

MMMMMM. sounds like heaven.

But this is how i would decide what i wanted to buy.

If the hard drive is going to only be used in the same house i would go with a self-powered external 3.5" firewire case with a 7200 RPM (revolutions per minute) HD in it.

If it was going to be used inside and outside your house/work i would recommend an bus-powered external 2.5" firewire case with usb support. I would probably put a 5400 RPM drive in it if my budget allowed.

Also do not get anything with out the oxford 911 chip (for firewire 400) or the oxford 922 chip (for firewire 800)


13th May 2004, 03:29 PM
Wonderboy - The IceCubes come without a drive.
Most of the retailers, such as ePowerMac, will sell you a package of drive and enclosure.
Otherwise you can source a drive from a local PC retailer and install it yourself. Not a difficult proposition but you will need both a #1 and #2 Philips head screwdriver.

Also with the IceCube cases, you need to give the metal housing a wipe down before putting it back in the polly-carb shell otherwise those finger prints will be preserved forever :P

The advantage of doing this over purchasing a LaCie drive is:
1. cost
2. flexibilty

I got my LaCie 160 in a FA Porsche case for $350, RRP was $399.

An IceCube case would have been $139 form my local Mac seller and a Western Digital 8MB cache drive would have been $179 for a local PC seller.

The LaCie is only a 2MB cache and a one year warranty.

The WD 160 drive for the PC seller is 8MB cache and a three year warranty.

I have since swapped the WD 160 in the IceCube for a 40GB Seagate and the package is now substantially quieter.

To answer your other question, LaCie seem to use Western Digital drives exclusively.
I, personally, have found both WD and Seagate to be very good. WD is slightly faster, Seagate is slightly quieter.

Hope this is of some help

LB : Powerbook 15 Al / G4 Tower PCI graphic
(Waiting for the new G5s to be released, damn you Steve !!)

24th May 2004, 04:30 PM
Yo, that case that PIPSQEEK got you can get for around $50 on Ebay.. Only USB2.0 Version i have seen around but im sure you can find a FIREWIRE one somewhere.

Dont get usb2.0 Firewire shits all over it and from experience USB2.0 cant handle playing video..
Firewire cases can.. thatas just from my experience...

EDIT: i just found them, its a usb2.0/firewire case ... but this is his buy it now price.. im sure if they went to auction they would go for less... he's in sydney tho.. but the cases look mad!!

His ones say magntude on them as the limk will show

eBay Seller Link (NB this is not me) (http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=30967&item=4132424149)

24th May 2004, 05:42 PM
Originally posted by decryption@Apr 27 2004, 10:37 AM
You can't run USB 2.0 devices on your Mac, as you don't have a USB 2.0 port. And USB 1.1 is too slow for a hard-drive. So FireWire 400 is the only choice for you. (which is perfectly adequate, and some say better than USB 2.0).
I thought USB 2 devices can be connected to USB 1 ports, and be functioned as USB 1. I could be wrong.

24th May 2004, 09:45 PM
Originally posted by sillydog701@May 24 2004, 06:42 PM
I thought USB 2 devices can be connected to USB 1 ports, and be functioned as USB 1. I could be wrong.
You're right, but they can only function at USB 1 speed which is not very fast

25th May 2004, 10:34 AM
Yeah, as someone has probably outlined above even USB 2 isn't the best for external devices on Apple machines, as the controllers aren't that great (check out some of the Bare Feats tests) let alone USB 1. The best option here is running something via FW400 if FW800 isn't available.

25th May 2004, 11:11 AM
What are the speed of USB (1), USB 1.1, USB2, FW400 and FW800?

25th May 2004, 01:24 PM
Originally posted by sillydog701@May 25 2004, 12:11 PM
What are the speed of USB (1), USB 1.1, USB2, FW400 and FW800?
The theoretical speeds of each are:

USB 1.1: 11mbit (~1.1 megabytes/sec)
USB 2.0: 480mbit/sec (~400mb/sec)
FW400: 400mbit/sec (~400mb/sec)
FW800: 800mbit/sec (~800mb/sec)

Of course, hard drives can't really pump out more than 30mb/sec of data, so even FireWire 400 is more than acceptable for speed. FW800 increases the speed a little, but most computers don't have FW800, and the external boxes for these are relativley expensive.

25th May 2004, 01:35 PM
Thanks. And what are the relationship between rpm (of the HDD) and the data rate?

According to Apple's website, Serial ATA supports 1.5-Gbps throughput per channel (equivalent to a data rate of 150 MBps

25th May 2004, 06:17 PM
If you're after a real cheap case, and most are, consisting of a thin PCB with a plastic/thin aluminium case, check out your local computer swap meets (warning: the worst BO you'll ever smell is within).

Have seen:
- Generic 2.5 - 3.5" USB2 cases $25 - 30
- Generic 2.5 - 3.5" FW case $25 - 40
- Combo 2.5 - 3.5" USB2/FW case (using Oxford chipset) $75

Went looking for one of these a while back - even the no-name brands have MacOS logos stamped over their boxes, and if they're an Oxford chipset they'll work fine in any Mac. Combo USB2/FW drives are considerably more.

The convenience of a 2.5" FW/USB case is that you don't need an external power brick, as all Macs provide sufficient voltage to power them (note that many PC notebooks don't have powered ports), that is if they're the only thing plugged into them at the time. But they'll all come with a mains adaptor anyhow.

However, IIRC 2.5" hard disks (most common brands I've found sold are Hitachi Travelstar, and Fujitsu drives) above 60GB will require mains power, as they require too high a voltage to initially spin up than what a USB/FW port can provide.

A 3.5" case will always need external power, but are obviously much cheaper with standard 80GB drives costing ~ $90, whilst a 2.5" drive is about $220 - 250.


Edit: spellink

26th May 2004, 09:10 AM
I say screw the Lacie's, lol. There is a much cheaper and better option:

Buy a HD
Buy a Firewire/USB2 external case

This also gives you the option of poping your HD into a G4 or G5 at a future date. With a lacie, you are stuck in its case.

You can usually find a brand new case on ebay for about $30 US