Help me find a external drive that doesn't plug in for power
December 26, 2009 12:16 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a non-AC-powered external drive.

I'm looking for a 750GB or 1TB external drive that is either firewire (preferable) or USB2.0 and somewhere in the $125-150 range AND is of quality. No Maxtor or Iomega.
The kicker is that I do NOT want to have to plug it into AC as well. It must be powered via the USB/Firewire port.
It doesn't have to be small. It's mostly going to be used around the house but I just don't want to have to plug it into AC.

I'm on a Mac.

posted by Thrillhouse to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The LaCie Rikiki comes in a 640G for $149.99. USB only

I've been really happy with my G-Drive Mini, but it's only 500G and $179.99.

Pretty sure the WD MyBooks can run without AC, but you should confirm (I wasn't able to do so)
posted by ivey at 12:26 PM on December 26, 2009

You're not going to find a large, bus-powered firewire hard drive for that price. Period. You have to let go of one of those requirements. If you're using the drive regularly for backup or large file transfers,and you can afford to spend a few dollars extra I would be a bit more flexible on price. Firewire makes a huge difference and it's worth paying for. If you can't, then there are any number of bus-powered USB options -- including one from WD, as ivey said.
posted by The Bellman at 12:52 PM on December 26, 2009

If you're willing to compromise down to 500GB, I'm a big fan of the Macally 2.5" Firewire cases. You can buy any 500GB 2.5" SATA drive, pop it in that case, and it'll be a great bus-powered drive that doesn't have the unreliability of USB-powered hard drives.
posted by aaronbeekay at 3:09 PM on December 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

aaron, I love that idea but why does it have to be limited to 500GB? Do I just use any SATA drive in it? The Newegg specs are pretty chintzy.
posted by Thrillhouse at 3:15 PM on December 26, 2009

The 1TB WD Pasport (USB-powered) is $200, and I haven't had any problems with the 500GB model. The 750GB model is $150, but has kind of mixed reviews--I think I must have a previous version, because mine didn't come with any annoying management-ware.
posted by hades at 3:19 PM on December 26, 2009

I have the previous model of the 750gb WD Passport Essential that I use for backing up my macbook when not at home. It's USB2.0, and doesn't need an a/c adapter. Currently the price is at about $140, though if you're willing to wait, I've seen the price drop by 40-50 before. My only issue with it is that it's slower at 5400rpm and 2mb cache. Otherwise, it works quite well.
It gets a bit harder if you're trying to find a faster hard drive with a larger cache, which I was trying to do originally.
posted by thebestsophist at 4:35 PM on December 26, 2009

In order to be bus-powered, a hard drive must be 2.5", not the larger 3.5" variety.
2.5" drives over 500GB are, at this point, either very expensive, very unrelaible, or both. That's why you don't see many external portable drives over 500GB at this time.
posted by raygan at 5:04 PM on December 26, 2009

I too have WD My Passports, which are tiny and USB powered, but they're previous versions to what they have out now. My two have been excellent - zero problems. I just bought my second one recently, and Amazon still has some of the older kind alongside the newer kind, but it looks like the older kind maxes out at 500gb.

I read a number of reviews complaining about the new kind by people who had also used the older kind. So I bought the older kind and am still happy with it. It's perfect for your needs if you can dip down to 500 gb, so just be sure to read reviews.
posted by Askr at 7:29 PM on December 26, 2009

USB can only supply 500mA of current to a device which is not enough to power a standard 7200 RPM 3.5" drive, so if you go USB it will have to be a laptop drive (2.5") or a slower drive (5400 RPM or 4200 RPM.)
posted by Rhomboid at 4:07 AM on December 27, 2009

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