The bottom line
An external FireWire hard drive is an easy way to increase your Mac’s storage capacity. Whether the right drive for you is a portable or a desktop depends on your individual needs. But in short, you can never really have too much drive space or too many connectors.
Of the approximately 30 hard drives I’ve tested recently, three stand out as Macworld Top Products (see the tables in this review). The Iomega Black Series Triple Interface drive is our winner in desktop hard drives, thanks to its various connection options, very quick speed (especially in copying data to the drive) and low cost per gigabyte. Our runner-up in that category, by just a hair, is Other World Computing’s Mercury Elite-AL Pro 7,200 rpm FireWire 800/400+USB2.
For a portable drive, you just can’t go wrong with the LaCie Mobile Hard Drive, Design by F.A. Porsche 7,200 rpm USB and FireWire. Its only flaw is that it doesn’t have a FireWire 800 port, but in some cases, it’s faster than drives with such a port. Other World Computing’s Mercury On-the-Go 7,200 rpm 8MB drive is the runner-up in the portable-drive category.
And as for a drive that goes perfectly with your Mac mini, you just can’t beat Newer Technology’s miniStack 7,200 rpm, with its FireWire- and USB-hub-like attributes and low cost per gigabyte.
Hard drives for Mac mini
|LaCie||mini FireWire 400 Companion Hard Drive, 250GB||$200||Fast; can boot OS X using FireWire; very low price per gigabyte.||No USB 2.0 ports.|
|MicroNet||miniMate 7,200 rpm FireWire + USB 2.0 Hard Drive & Integrated FireWire and USB Hub, 80GB||$135||Can boot OS X using FireWire; integrated USB 2.0 and FireWire hub.||Modest capacity, though other capacities are available; high cost per gigabyte.|
|Newer Technology||miniStack 7,200 rpm, 320GB *||$260||Can boot OS X using FireWire; integrated USB 2.0 and FireWire hub; large capacity; includes Retrospect Express; low cost per gigabyte.||None significant.|
* = Top Product. ¹All prices shown are the manufacturers’ suggested retail prices.