Touro Mobile Pro USB External 7200 rpm Hard Drive
$80 US for 500 GB or $92 US for 750 GB
GoFlex Turbo USB External 7200 rpm Hard Drive
$120 US for 500GB or $140 for 700GB
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Four important points before we begin:
1. These hard drives connect to your Macintosh via USB, not FireWire. USB is slower than FireWire, with equal reliability. USB version 3 is the new standard. Macs don’t have USB 3. Macs have USB 2. These drives are USB 2 compatible
2. Hitachi requires Mac users to reformat their new drives immediately. Hitachi recommends standard Mac OS Extended (Journaled) formatting, which is well documented on the Internet. Seagate’s Mac Installer process can be a little confusing to non-geek mortals (see comment in italics below). Seagate has tech support staff available to assist, if necessary.
The Seagate representative reminds MyMac:
Seagate’s line of GoFlex hard drives are the first to provide compatibility with both platforms. Seagate has provided a simple work around for households and offices that use both Windows and Mac OS X computers. The easy to use Mac Installer will provide the option for Mac users to read and write to a Windows formatted drives. Turbo is also capable of being easily formatted as a HSF+ drive by selecting this choice while using the Mac Installer. By clicking on the MacInstaller file on the drive, the installer will walk the customer through the process of setting up the drive for how they use it. Answer the questions about how you will be using the drive and the installer will format accordingly. Seagate also offers a line of GoFlex drives for the Mac only customers that are immediately compatible with TimeMachine and come pre-formatted as Mac OX Extended (HSF+ journaled). [Editor's note: MyMac reviewed these units. See our review of both portable GoFlex Mac drives here.]
3. Standard Mac backup methods, including Time Machine, Carbon Copy Cloner, and Super Duper, are possible with both companies’ drives. Seagate doesn’t care what you use to backup your Mac (or PC, since Turbo is cross-platform), in spite of mentioning automatic backup with their software, on the product’s web site. Hitachi provides backup software called Hitachi Backup. MyMac does not recommend any hard drive manufacturer’s proprietary backup software, for many reasons not being covered in this Nemo Memo.
4. You must not partition Seagate’s GoFlex Turbo. Seagate requires people to use specific formatting to assist with data retrieval, which is a major feature. You can partition Hitachi’s Touro. Partitioning is not for everyone. If you don’t understand partitioning, it probably isn’t important to you anyway.
Touro and Turbo are similar in size, shape, appearance, and performance. (See speed test results below.) Touro mounts on a Mac slightly quicker than does Turbo. Both units are sturdy in construction and compact in design. There is no deal breaker difference between them for routine backups and archiving.
If you live and die by the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format, Hitachi’s Touro is your choice. If you are more flexible about drive filesystems, or you have both a Mac and a Windows PC, Seagate’s Turbo is your choice. Touro is slightly less expensive, but the Seagate Turbo has a huge extra feature.
Seagate’s SafetyNet recovery service guarantees that once within two years of purchase the company will retrieve lost or corrupted data, either over the phone or via mail-in, as appropriate. The slight premium in the price of Turbo over Touro includes SafetyNet, which is very cheap insurance when you need to claim it. See DriveSavers‘ pricing structure for an example of how expensive commercial data recovery can be.
Hitachi provides “3GB of cloud storage” that I did not try. I don’t have enthusiasm for most cloud storage methods, although I am willing to keep investigating. Touro’s hardware guarantee is also two years, without any data retrieval service.
The Hitachi representative tells MyMac:
I think that users looking to backup their data are lucky in that there are a wide array of options available for doing so. Personally, I tend to stick with whatever software (free or otherwise) came with my device, but I can certainly appreciate the diverse amount of cloud options available to consumers.
Hitachi’s stance is that it’s proud to offer its users a simple solution for safe-guarding, accessing, and sharing digital content from as many computers as they like with HitachBackup.com. Users who purchase the Touro Mobile Pro get 3GB of free storage space in the cloud and have the option to upgrade to Hitachi’s 250GB storage limit for an extremely competitive annual price.
While users can back up their Hitachi hard drives in a variety of different manners, the cloud storage options available through HitachiBackup.com offer a straightforward method for them to access their data from devices ranging from their personal laptops to an iPod with a Wi-Fi connection.
This is a first look Nemo Memo, not a review. These affordable external USB units are new products. MyMac will continue to use and report on them, when appropriate. My transfer and archiving experiences so far have been positive. I have used Seagate’s USA phone tech support, with reasonable success, but I have not contacted Hitachi tech support to date for any reason.
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Comparison 1 data transfer speed test: 13.24 GB iPhoto Library.
Results: 25 minutes using Seagate Turbo, and 29 minutes using Hitachi Touro Mobile Pro.
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Comparison 2 data transfer speed test: 7.38 GB Music Library
Results: 6 minutes using Seagate Turbo, and 7 minutes using Hitachi Touro Mobile Pro.