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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.

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