Large-capacity hard disks
Six drives speed-tested and reviewed
In an attempt to make their products stand out, convince us to part with even more cash and, obviously, keep up with the demands of ever-changing technology, hard disk makers are increasingly turning to bundled services, cloud storage and NAS. In other words, it can sometimes be hard to find the kind of straightforward, no-frills, high-capacity desktop drives that lots of us still want as a place to store our vast iTunes libraries, photo collections, Time Machine backups and more. Well, we’re here to help.
Over the next two pages, we’re testing drives that, for the most part, do nothing more than mount on your desktop to add terabytes and terabytes of storage. Our only requirement, when inviting manufacturers to submit their drives, was that they were large- capacity drives with at least USB 3.0 connections. We chose that interface as we could guarantee your Mac has a USB port; it may only be USB 2.0 (or, even USB 1.1), so you won’t see the same speeds as we report here, but it will at least work.
Some of the drives have other interfaces too, which could provide you with some extra future-proofing. If you have a Mac with FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 ports, for example, the LaCie 2big Quadra is worth considering because it
It can be hard to find a straightforward, high-capacity desktop drive to store our many files
runs at the fastest speed you can achieve over FireWire, but when you upgrade your Mac to one with USB 3.0, it goes even faster. Similarly, the 2big Thunderbolt 2 connects over USB 2.0, but when you buy a Thunderbolt 2-capable Mac, the performance will skyrocket.
LaCie, indeed, looks like it’s overrepresented here, but that’s only because it has different styles of drive that match the criteria while other manufacturers don’t; nobody’s been excluded to make way for LaCie.
And so, while NAS drives, portable drives, flash drives and more, have a role to play, sometimes all you need is nothing more complicated than a big, reliable hard disk hooked up to your Mac. We’ve lined up six of the best to put them through their paces. Let’s begin! Christopher Phin