Best External Drives For Apple Backups


Macintosh users have an eye for style and like accessories and peripherals to match and compliment their Mac system. Sure, there's alot of external Apple compatible hard drive options out there to choose from: Some elegant and stylish - other's bulky and downright ugly. Here's a few suggestions:

Stylish Value Drive Versatile Mac Backup FireWire-USB Combo Drive
Prestige External Drive

1-3TB Backup Storage
Quad Interface Drive

1-3TB Hitachi 7200 RPM
LaCie USB 3.0 Portable

SSD and HDD Versions


The New Standard : USB 3.0 Mac Backup Drives

The evolution towards SuperSpeed USB 3 storage happened VERY quickly. Nearly all USB backup solutions being manufactured now support USB 3.0 - and still retain backward Mac compatibility with older, legacy Macs at lower USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 speeds if needed. The cost of changing over to a USB3 controller chipset has been utterly trivial, and (unlike ThunderBolt) hasn't added any additional cost to SuperSpeed USB 3 products. Even if your current MacBook or Macintosh desktop doesn't have USB3 capabilities, you'll be glad you bought a USB 3 drive so you're SuperSpeed ready for your next system.

When Speed Matters : ThunderBolt Backup Drives For Mac


There's now a a decent selection of affordable ThunderBolt backup drives for more modern Macs. The inital drives that came to market were multi-drive RAID disk array models targeted to very data intensive high-end professional users. For Enterprise, Video Editing and Audio Production, ThunderBolt RAID drive arrays are the way to go and the higher prices will yield higher performance. For the average consumer, cheaper Mac backup drives with ThunderBolt ports and single HDD or SSD drive modules are becoming more affordable for the Mac masses. Seagate, Buffalo Technologies and LaCie in particular are delivering the lowest cost-per-gigabyte consumer ThunderBolt drive solutions to date, though they're still priced at a premium to any USB 3.0 or FireWire backup option. The cost of licensing Apple/Intel's ThunderBolt chipset easily adds $50 or more to any drive or ThunderBolt device.

Apple Backups USB 2.0 Ports, FireWire & Quad-Interface Drives


For peak Mac backup performance, Apple users should ideally look for multi-interface drives for the most flexibility. FireWire tends to outperform USB 2.0 in any instance. For the fastest Mac backup speeds, USB 3.0 and ultimately ThunderBolt drives are the way to go with an eye towards the future. The Mac mini and iMac now have USB 3.0 in addition to ThunderBolt, so the handwriting is on the wall for the future of connectivity. Otherwise, look to FireWire 800 drives as on the compact, laptop size Western Digital My Passport Studio series with FireWire 800. It's an ideal Time Machine backup drive choice, often shaving 30% or more off your copy/backup times over USB 2.0.

Business and Professional users with either an eSATA or USB3 ExpressCard in thier MacBook Pro laptop -- or USB 3.0 PCI card in thier Mac Pro tower may consider USB 3.0 or eSATA interface external drives for the absolute fastest external transfer rates possible at the lowest price. Ideally the internal mechanisms should have a large 8MB - 32MB cache and spin at 7200 RPM. Simply put, SuperSpeed USB 3.0 or eSATA matches transfer speeds as if the drive was internally and directly connected to the SATA bus.

Compact Laptop Backup Drives for MacBooks


Mobile backup solutions are often preferred for not only MacBook owners - but many Mac desktop users as well. A portable hard drive's small foootprint and low-power requirements allow them to operate from a single USB 2.0/3.0, ThunderBolt or FireWire cable. This eliminates the need for additional wires or power-supplies and transformers clogging up your life or hogging desk space. Apple compatible mobile backup drives can tuck away behind your Macintosh setup - or slip into a laptop travel case for peace of mind and data backup security on the go.

Two out of three Macintosh users choose an Apple MacBook laptop as their primary computer. And they like portable computer accessories and peripherals to match and compliment their MacBook. There are alot of external Apple compatible portable hard drive choices out there. If you're on a budget, USB portable laptop drives are most affordable. If you want performance, look for mobile drives with FireWire 800 or ThunderBolt interfaces. (You can use a FW 400 to 800 adapter cable if needed for older MacBook Pro and iBook models.)

Best Portable Hard Drives For Mac Backup

Laptop Drive Enclosure Seagage Laptop Drive USB Hub + Dock For Seagate
DIY 2.5" Drive Case

USB2 + FW400-800 Interface
Seagate FreeAgent Go Series

FireWire 800 + USB2
WD PassPort Ultra

USB 3.0 Interface


Apple Backups 101


For insights and issues to be aware of when choosing a backup disk for your Macintosh setup - check out this MacWorld.com article: External Back-Up Drive Overview. Remember, for OSX Lion and Leopard TimeMachine backup you've GOT to have - or buy a hard drive that's LARGER than the one built into your Mac. It needs to be able to store the entire contents of a full disk - and still have extra disk space for incremental backup file changes from day to day.