Saturday, May 17, 2008

Portable drives for Mac

I've been looking for a nice portable external drive for my MacBook Pro. It's one of the first editions with the 2.0Ghz, two USB 2.0 and one Firewire 400 on-board. It's got about 90G HDD and I don't feel comfortable anymore with more then 30G of photos and music now. What's even worse is that I need to visit AppleCare as soon as possible for some issues that I experience with it, and my gut feeling is that I'm going to leave my laptop for repair. As you know, the data gets lost in such cases. ;)

My first try with portable drives was Maxtor (that I received as a present). I don't remember the exact model, but it had only USB Y-cable (one plug to drive, two plugs to laptop: one for data and power, another one for power only). It didn't work very well. It requires both USBs to be taken to get enough bus power. And this doesn't sound okay for me. I still have my Canon camera, numerour memory sticks and (!!) iPhone to be plugged somewhere and I hate the idea turning my workspace into wired nightmare with USB hubs all around.

My next try was Western Digital My Passport 160G portable USB drive (WDME1600TN). This little toy was looking pretty nice, I got it for $94.99 in Circuit City (some clearance item), and, guess what?.. it worked fine. I mean, it was okay with having just single USB. Unfortunately, it worked out to be pretty slow, and my Finder estimated 25G folder transfer to take more then 5 hours (wow!). I don't know if this is okay for a USB 2.0 complaint devices, but this is not okay with me.

I was almost sold to Verbatim Smartdisk 120G portable USB drive (item #96534), available on sale for $49.99 at Memory Depot (and shipping free with code FREESHIP). However, I have found some reviews saying that the whole Verbatim Smartdisk line doesn't work well with Mac laptops, as far as they produce low power on USB. I decided not to try it.

So, my next shot is Iomega Portable Hard Drive with both Firewire 400 and USB 2.0 ports, 120GB. I ordered it a few minutes ago on Amazon for $79.99 with free shipping and no tax (yet ;). I found some positive reviews for it saying that it might be a good choice for Mac laptops. Hopefully, it is. We'll see. While it might be as slow as the WD one, it's cheaper. ;)

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