Data and I first went around, searching for external drives. We were eyeing LaCIE or Iomega Minimax. I found bad reviews of LaCIE on the Amazon site though. Then I visited tipidpc.com and joined philmug.ph (Philippine Mac Users Group) to get some ideas.
What I didn't really consider was to buy a laptop drive with a large capacity (there are now 200Gb laptop drives) and then replace my old hard disk! PhilMUG had a thread on this and read it. Then I did more web trawling and found this guide from Apple on how to change the hard disk.
Data and I found a 500Gb Iomega Minimax at a good price. It's Firewire, so that means it's fast -- we can edit videos stored in it without slowing down.
Things to consider or note when you want to upgrade your hard drive or are looking for external drives:
- SATA is a newer technology for hard drives. A SATA drive is faster. Macbooks need SATA drives.
- If looking for an external drive, USB2 would be fast enough for most of your needs. But consider getting Firewire if you plan to do more (like edit videos or graphics straight from your external disk).
- Mobile drives are generally smaller and do not need external power sources (they take their power from USB or Firewire). They are also more portable (will withstand some shock) but probably slower (speeds of 4200 and 5400 rpm).
- Desktop drives are more delicate but faster (7200 rpm). They may also require external power sources (hence, will come with a separate power cable).
- Firewire technology has also progressed. Macbooks have Firewire 400 which means that it can move data with speeds of up to 400 Megabits/sec. A faster version is Firewire 800, which means and so on and so forth. :)
- Get a backup software like SuperDuper! which lets you create an image of your hard disk. This will save you the time needed to reinstall everything on your Macbook.
- Buy a laptop hard drive (try tipidpc.com) and put it in an external enclosure with a Firewire port.
- Buy a desktop hard drive and put it an external enclosure (similar to above).
- Buy a laptop hard drive (must be SATA) and install it into my Macbook.
- There's another factor to consider: the cache. More cache means more speed/better performance.
- I'm worried that the upgrade would have a slower speed. My research says a 4200 rpm with 8 Mb ought to be enough. (See this Toshiba upgrade option, with customer reviews).
- My built-in hard disk is a Toshiba. Here are the specs, straight from the Toshiba website.
HARD DISK SPECS (that came with my Macbook):
- Model: TOSHIBA MK8032GSX
- Size: 80 Gb
- Speed: 5400 rpm
- Cache: 80 Mb