best backup drive option for Leopard?
November 5, 2007 8:10 PM   Subscribe

Best backup drive for Leopard, and options for multiple computers?

I've ordered Leopard, I'd like to back up both my Macbook and my iMac G5 before I install, and I think I might actually keep my computers backed up once I have Time Machine. What's the best value on an external drive that can handle all these things? Also, could I have one partitioned drive that I shuttle between computers and would that be a somewhat bad or terrible idea?
posted by lackutrol to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
500 GB drives look pretty cheap these days -- here's one for $150.

Yes, you can back up more than one machine to the same drive using Time Machine. I wouldn't bother partitioning it.
posted by kindall at 8:19 PM on November 5, 2007

You don't need to shuttle if the computers are networked together at all.

Connect it to the G5 and leave it there. Time Machine can mount it via file sharing.

I'm doing this now with four Macs. Time Machine's a little light on configuration options, but it's all working well enough so far.
posted by rokusan at 8:28 PM on November 5, 2007

Response by poster: Little more background: at present the Macbook stays in the office, the G5 at home. This may change but in the meantime shuttling betwen machines might be an option, or if there's a non-costly non-ridiculous backup method over the internet you might recommend, feel free to include that in your answer as well.
posted by lackutrol at 9:05 PM on November 5, 2007

Looking for the best value, eh?

500 GB drives look pretty cheap these days -- here's one for $99. You'll probably want some sort of external enclosure for it, and those go for about twenty bucks.

Yes, you can back up more than one machine to the same drive using Time Machine. I wouldn't bother partitioning it.
posted by majick at 9:57 PM on November 5, 2007

Unless you want to store stuff other than backups on it (I have a separate partition for videos, etc - although of course that partition isn't backed up!). But yes, Majick is right - you can store multiple computers' backups on the same partition.
posted by adrianhon at 2:09 AM on November 6, 2007

I don't think Time Machine will work over the Internet--it might work if you connect using VNC or something, but even then, it'll be slow like molasses.

Right now your option is to cart around the hard drive or cart around the Macbook. If you go for the former option, don't get the cheapest hard drive you can find--the construction on these is pretty sketchy. In fact, I'd spend extra to get something robust.

Or better yet, buy two drives--if you did this, you could actually rotate drives between office and home once/week (you can make Time Machine work with this setup), and always have ~week-old offsite backups for both, which would put you in the top 0.005% of backer-uppers in terms of security. The more I think about this, the more I think this is your best option.
posted by adamrice at 7:11 AM on November 6, 2007

Rokusan, how are you doing that? Is it a wired network or a wireless one, and could you point me toward instructions? I've got an Airport Extreme-based network at work and I'd love to back everyone (4-5 machines) up to one or two drives. Doable? (Hope this isn't a derail...)
posted by hwickline at 7:18 AM on November 6, 2007

hwickline--If you turn on "personal file sharing" for the computer with the backup drive, you can mount that on the desktops of the other Macs on your LAN and they all can use it (you'll need to futz with permissions a little, but it is doable).

In betas of Leopard, you could also back up to a hard drive attached to an Airport Extreme. That's been removed from the shipping version, but it could come back.
posted by adamrice at 7:58 AM on November 6, 2007

Thanks Adamrice-- appreciate it.
posted by hwickline at 9:35 AM on November 6, 2007

I bought a 500 gig Western Digital HD and put it in a Nextec enclosure. The drive was about $125 dollars, and the enclosure was $45. Things might be a bit cheaper in the US I would imagine. 500 gig drives look to be the sweat spot for HDs right now. The jump in price from 500 gigs to 750 gigs or 1 terrabyte is pretty huge, while the drop in price from 500 gigs to 300, 200, etc, is pretty small.
posted by chunking express at 1:02 PM on November 6, 2007

Also, I wouldn't both partitioning the drive.
posted by chunking express at 1:03 PM on November 6, 2007

Response by poster: OK, seems like 500 GB is the way to go, and it also looks like it's going to cost somewhere around $120-150. If anyone's returning to the thread and has a strong opinion, any recommendations on brand?

(500 GB sounds like a lot to me but I'm sure my next computer will come with a jillion-gig hard drive, so why not be somewhat ready for the future?)

Thanks folks.
posted by lackutrol at 8:26 PM on November 6, 2007

Seagate drives have always stood me in good stead; reliable, fast and quiet. I had a 500GB IDE drive fail on me after 3 months recently, but it was replaced promptly under their lifetime warranty...
posted by Chunder at 2:34 AM on December 13, 2007

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