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Enlightening answers for external devices
Hard drives for a Mac Pro Q Which 1TB to 2TB external hard drives – portable and desktop – should I get for my Mac Pro? by Tony Manning A There’s a huge choice of branded and self-assemble units, but your solution hinges on whether you have a current (Late 2013) Mac Pro, or an older tower model.
The current model works best with Thunderbolt devices, which greatly limits your choices, and makes it hard and costly to buy a case and fit your own choice of storage drive. If that’s the case then you’d be better off with a Transcend StoreJet 300 for Mac or an equivalent portable model from LaCie, G-Technology, or a similar brand. You have to accept the make of the included drive, unfortunately. The same manufacturers also offer desktop models.
There’s an overlap in performance with the better USB 3.0 drives, depending on the chipset used to drive the interface. If you can, select models with both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports for future compatibility.
Older Mac Pros can be connected by FireWire 800, which has dwindling support, or, if you install an external drive interface card, eSATA. You could then buy separate cases and storage drives, which would then enable you to select your favourite make, such as HGST (formerly Hitachi), in a more durable enterprise specification.
One final point to bear in mind is whether you intend to upgrade to macOS High Sierra, which uses Apple’s new APFS file system. This has been optimised for use with SSDs, although it should still operate perfectly well on hard drives too, there’s just no advantage to using it on these models. If you’re likely to move to APFS, then look seriously at buying SSDs instead so you’ll see the benefit.