> Hard disks for a Mac Pro

Which 1TB to 2TB ex­ter­nal hard disks — both por­ta­ble and desk­top — should I think about buy­ing for my Mac Pro?

Mac|Life - - ASK -

There’s a huge choice of branded and self­assem­ble units, but your so­lu­tion hinges on whether you have a cur­rent (Late 2013) Mac Pro, or an older tower model.

The cur­rent model gives best per­for­mance over Thun­der­bolt, which greatly lim­its your choices, and makes it hard and costly to buy a case and fit your own choice of stor­age. If that’s the case then you’d be bet­ter off with a Tran­scend Store Jet 300 for Mac or an equiv­a­lent por­ta­ble model from LaCie, G-Tech­nol­ogy, or a sim­i­lar brand. You have to ac­cept their choice of make of stor­age inside, though. Those same man­u­fac­tur­ers also of­fer desk­top mod­els.

There’s an over­lap in per­for­mance with the best USB 3 drives, de­pend­ing on the chipset used. If you can, pick a model with both in­ter­faces 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 en­able you to se­lect your favourite make of disk, such as HGST (for­merly Hi­tachi), in a more durable enterprise spec.

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 is op­ti­mized for use with SSDs; al­though it should op­er­ate on hard drives too, there’s no ad­van­tage to us­ing it there. If you’re likely to move to APFS, look se­ri­ously at buy­ing SSDs in­stead so you’ll see the ben­e­fit.

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