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# 143615 21-Apr-2014 10:46
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I have an early 2013 Macbook Pro which is running out of disk space on its SSD. As such, I'm looking to purchase an external USB HDD to free up some space.

The MBP is primarily used for Windows development, which is all done in a few Parallels virtual machines. I will be running one or more VMs off the portable HDD, so speed is reasonably important. I know I'm going to be sacrificing some speed when compared to my SSD, but the intent is to keep my primary VMs on that and use the HDD for lesser used VMs. This may even mean swapping VMs from the SSD to the HDD from time to time.

Ideally I'd like a 2TB drive, but would contemplate going down to 1TB if it meant getting a faster model without increasing the budget too much (which currently has a "it seems like a reasonable upper limit" $250 ceiling).

It looks like the Seagate Backup Plus Slim is quite well regarded, as is the Western Digital My Passport Ultra, with the Seagate reported to have slightly better transfer rates.

I see that I can get a Western Digital Elements 2TB portable for $169, which is a pretty keen price. But I've not really seen it pop up in the portable HDD shootouts I've read.

I know I can get a cheaper external drive if I look at the desktop models, but as I contract to a San Francisco based company, I'm looking for a solution that would be better suited to being thrown in my laptop backpack and trekking with me across the Pacific.


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  # 1028704 21-Apr-2014 20:38
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Have a look at the Transcend USB3 models.  Not a well known brand but among the most rugged of the traditional drives.  If budget is less important than performance, consider putting a WD Dual Drive into a USB caddy or if rugged is the most important feature then just put an SSD into a USB enclosure.




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  # 1029163 22-Apr-2014 15:06
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Dynamic: Have a look at the Transcend USB3 models.  Not a well known brand but among the most rugged of the traditional drives.  If budget is less important than performance, consider putting a WD Dual Drive into a USB caddy or if rugged is the most important feature then just put an SSD into a USB enclosure.


Thanks for the Transcend recommendation. They may be worth considering, due to their robustness. Currently scouring the web for reviews now.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1029183 22-Apr-2014 15:38
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Okie doke.

I've just re-read your original post.  While I've never run VM's from a USB HDD, I suspect you are going to need to be patient.  Perhaps borrow someone's external USB HDD (any configuration) to test it.  A USB Powered 2.5" drive will be 20%-ish slower than a desktop USB drive.  (Statistics sourced out of thin air and vague recollections of benchmarking sites.)

Do you *really* need heaps of space?  A "256Gb USB3 SSD" should get you reasonable performance for under $300.

Cheers
Mike





"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams



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  # 1029188 22-Apr-2014 15:46
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Dynamic: Okie doke.

I've just re-read your original post.  While I've never run VM's from a USB HDD, I suspect you are going to need to be patient.  Perhaps borrow someone's external USB HDD (any configuration) to test it.  A USB Powered 2.5" drive will be 20%-ish slower than a desktop USB drive.  (Statistics sourced out of thin air and vague recollections of benchmarking sites.)

Do you *really* need heaps of space?  A "256Gb USB3 SSD" should get you reasonable performance for under $300.

Cheers
Mike



Space is needed, and 256GB will not cut it. My three current VMs total 360GB.

The plan is if I find speed on the external HDD to be too slow, I'll essentially use it as a swap space, with the VM I'm currently using stored on my laptop's SSD for maximum speed. I can probably even get away with storing two of my three current VMs on my SSD, with the third kept externally until its needed. 

If external SSDs were more affordable, I'd consider that. But I'd want a minimum of 512GB, and I suspect that would blow out the budget too much.



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  # 1029193 22-Apr-2014 15:52
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Dynamic:  A USB Powered 2.5" drive will be 20%-ish slower than a desktop USB drive.  (Statistics sourced out of thin air and vague recollections of benchmarking sites.)


I'm also wondering whether a desktop USB drive would be sufficient. But as I work for a US based company, there may be the occasional trip over there, and I'd worry about the fragility of transporting a desktop drive (both when travelling there, and on the 20 minute each way trek from the hotel).

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  # 1029195 22-Apr-2014 15:56
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Fair enough.

If a client came to us asking about a 512Gb SSD connected via USB and price was a significant factor, my response would be around $480 including GST (using what I would consider to be reputable components with a decent - i.e. 3 year - warranty).

Cheers Mike

(edit - changed the GST)




"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams



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  # 1029196 22-Apr-2014 15:59
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Dynamic: Fair enough.

If a client came to us asking about a 512Gb SSD connected via USB and price was a significant factor, my response would be around $480 +GST (using what I would consider to be reputable components with a decent - i.e. 3 year - warranty).

Cheers Mike



I'll ruminate on a 256GB SSD, but I have real concerns that I'll outgrow that in no time. Heck, I bought this laptop in September last year, and thought I'd be more than fine with a 512GB SSD in it :-)

Thanks for all your advice. I reached out to my boss to see how likely future US trips are (I've had one already). That may help inform my decision.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1029199 22-Apr-2014 16:12
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Plan B - A desktop at your NZ office that you can access remotely from the Mac to run some/all of these VMs.

Plan C - have them provide you with the above from their office

Plan D - the above from a Cloud provider.  Amazon cloud services can be switched on or off so you pay for only the operational time.

None of the above are guaranteed to be cheaper, but would knock the portability issue on the head.




"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams



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  # 1029205 22-Apr-2014 16:22
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Dynamic: Plan B - A desktop at your NZ office that you can access remotely from the Mac to run some/all of these VMs.

Plan C - have them provide you with the above from their office

Plan D - the above from a Cloud provider.  Amazon cloud services can be switched on or off so you pay for only the operational time.

None of the above are guaranteed to be cheaper, but would knock the portability issue on the head.


Yeah, nah. RDP into remote VMs between here and California is less than ideal. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt :-)



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  # 1029698 23-Apr-2014 11:34
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I've ordered the Transcend 2TB USB 3.0 model. PB Tech have it on special for $171 ATM, and it seems to rate pretty well.

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  # 1029797 23-Apr-2014 14:17
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Too late for you but I'll chip in anyway...

 

I've got a 2TB and 1TB WD My Passport Ultra. Ordered them in from Amazon along with cases for them. I run two VM's on one of them via Parallels on my Macbook Air and couldn't be happier with it. Yes, transfer rates are slower than if the VM's were on the Macbook but not noticeable enough to bother me considering the tradeoff is space on the Mac's drive. 

 

The 1TB My Passport Ultra cost me US$69 and a Case Logic Portable EVA HD case for it was US$10. The 2TB drive was US$122.39 (this was the highest price - I wanted the red shiny one ;) ) The second case, different colour to the $10 one, was US$9.27. 


 

 



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  # 1029800 23-Apr-2014 14:19
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Elpie: Too late for you but I'll chip in anyway...
I've got a 2TB and 1TB WD My Passport Ultra. Ordered them in from Amazon along with cases for them. I run two VM's on one of them via Parallels on my Macbook Air and couldn't be happier with it. Yes, transfer rates are slower than if the VM's were on the Macbook but not noticeable enough to bother me considering the tradeoff is space on the Mac's drive.  The 1TB My Passport Ultra cost me US$69 and a Case Logic Portable EVA HD case for it was US$10. The 2TB drive was US$122.39 (this was the highest price - I wanted the red shiny one ;) ) The second case, different colour to the $10 one, was US$9.27. 


 


Thanks for the advice, Elpie. I was close to getting the My Passport, but the ruggedness of the Transcend won me over in the end. I also couldn't find the 2TB model locally anywhere near the price I could get the Transcend for from PB Tech.

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  # 1029811 23-Apr-2014 14:34
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Lacie do an SSD in a hard drive enclosure that can be connected to USB. 






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  # 1029813 23-Apr-2014 14:35
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TwoSeven: Lacie do an SSD in a hard drive enclosure that can be connected to USB. 


SSD was too far out of my budget. Otherwise that would've been my preferred route.

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  # 1029933 23-Apr-2014 16:43
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dclegg: I've ordered the Transcend 2TB USB 3.0 model...

Good choice.
You already have 500GB.
You think you will need 1 TB max.
Therefore you will really need 2 TB. smile




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