Video:How to Buy an External Hard Drive for a Macwith Anne Marie
When choosing an external hard drive for your Mac there are a few things to consider. Sort through some of the options so that you choose the best external hard drive to meet your needs and budget.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Buy an External Hard Drive for a Mac
Hi, I’m Anne Marie for About.com. Are you in need of an external hard drive to keep safe all those pictures of the good times? When choosing an external hard drive for your Mac there are a few things to consider. We’re going to help you sort through some of the options so that you choose the best external hard drive to meet your needs and budget.
Portable or Stationary Hard Drives
One important factor to consider is portability. Are you going to be taking your hard drive out and about with you? If so than you may want a drive that’s designed to be compact and durable so that you can slip it in your pocket when on the go. But if you intend for your drive to remain in the same place than perhaps you’ll want to choose an external drive with an enclosure case that will match the look of your computer. Enclosure cases can be bought separately from hard drive units that you can install your self. But more common options on the market are pre-installed hard drives that require minimal setup.
Choose the Hard Drive Port
As you may have noticed, your Mac has a variety of different interfaces by which to connect to external drives. Most commonly these are USB 2.0, Firewire 400, Firewire 800, and more recently Thunderbolt. While some drives connect to computers via what’s called eSATA, most macs don’t come equipped with such a port, so I recommend steering clear of drives that connect only through eSATA.
Consider File Size for the Hard Drive
If the primary use of your external drive is to house your photos and text documents than you should be fine with a drive that connects to your computer via USB. USB is most inexpensive, and has the slowest data transfer rate of the different options, but if the files you want to store are relatively small, than this should not be a hindrance.
If you intend to store video on your external drive, or intend use it as a back up for your computer, than you will want to go with a Firewire 400, Firewire 800, or a Thunderbolt connection. Firewire 400 is the slowest of these 3 options, with Thunderbolt being the fastest.If you just don’t like cords and you can afford it, Apple offers a sleek wireless external drive called Time Capsule. It also functions as a wireless modem, and can have up to 3 Terabytes of storage!
In any case, I recommend that you choose a drive with as much space on it as you can afford. As you may be surprised at how fast you can fill it up, especially if you’re going to be storing video. We hope you‘ve found this helpful. For more tech tips, visit us at About.com. Thanks for watching.