Top Five External Hard Drives for Mac
Whether you want to back up your Mac, store data offline, transfer data in between computers, or transfer all of your data off of an older mac to speed it up, you need an external hard drive. While external drives were once extremely expensive, the technology is getting cheaper, and you can now get a 1-4 terabyte hard drive for the same price that a 500 GB hard drive cost a few years ago. That’s great news for most of us, especially if you have a large amount of photos and videos that you want to store, or more than one computer to back up.
Samsung T3 SSD
While not the fanciest or the option with the most storage, the Samsung T3 SSD offers a minimum of moving parts with the high reliability and speed of a solid state drive. With prices starting at $99 for a 250GB drive, it is not the cheapest option, but it is reliable, high quality, and offers a lot of speed. While it’s not as fast as its predecessor the T1, it is more reliable and more affordable. It’s also made of metal, which works well with most OSX setups. Any drawbacks? The cable on the top is inconvenient, and the LED light could be brighter. It also runs more quickly on older Macs. Plus, at the price range, which goes up to $780, it’s also not for those on a budget.
Seagate Backup Plus
The Seagate Backup Plus is probably one of the most affordable external hard drives you can purchase for Mac, but it does have drawbacks. With a shorter warranty, lower quality, and an occasional (rare) tendency to fail within a few months, this isn’t a drive to put irreplaceable data on. However, if you need a cheap backup drive, it’s reasonably reliable for the money, and has a lot to offer in terms of speed and storage. In fact, one of my oldest drives is a Seagate and it’s still running strong after 6 years. The Seagate Backup Plus is available with 250-4TB of data, and starts at just over $50 on Amazon, with a maximum price of $240. Still, you can get a 4TB external hard drive, with 250GB of cloud storage, for just $130-180 depending on where you buy it.
WD My Book for Mac
The Western Digital My Book for Mac is an affordable backup external hard drive designed to work with iMac and Mac mini computers, and primarily intended to stay plugged in to a stationary computer. These drives are large, stand upright for cooling, and work with Time Machine to provide frequent automatic backups that you won’t have ever have to worry about. Western Digital also offers their drives with storage ranging from 2TB to 8TB, making them one of the largest storage options on the market. I actually use this drive as my standard backup for my work computer because of the handy integration with time machine, and the fact that it uses an external power source rather than powering off of my USB port. Finally, with a 2TB drive running at just $99 and an 8TB drive running at up to $299, it’s hard to beat these drives in terms of cost. Of course, it’s not perfect. The occasional model is faulty on shipping, built in software is permanent, and less than stellar customer service are definitely problems, but overall, you should be getting a really great hard drive for a low cost.
G Technology G Drive
With 2-6TBs of storage, built in compatibility with Time Machine, a heavy duty exterior, an extremely fast hard drive, and a 3-year limited warranty, the G Technology G Drive has a lot to offer for those in need of a portable external hard drive. It also has an on/off switch, a solid metal casing, and supports USB 3.0 for faster file transfer. Again, it’s not perfect, with some models arriving with issues. In addition, it’s not a good option for leaving plugged into a computer because it goes to sleep to save power, which means you lose access to your files and have to unplug it and replug it in. Instead, this drive is a best fit if you’re looking for an easy way to transport data, store data offline, or just want to create a one time backup of your computer.
This is a great drive to buy and plug into your computer to look pretty on your desk, but not really a great portable drive because it does not include shock resistors inside of the casing. That aside, LaCie’s Porsche offers fast speeds, reasonable pricing, and their signature almost designer casing, which is a pro on its own. Plus, you can get the 4TB model for as little as $150 (or as much as $250) depending on where you shop.
For the most part, choosing a hard drive is personal preference, budget, and should depend on your needs. Many external hard drives are actually designed for specific uses, and some are obviously better than others.