Backup Plus Desktop Drive for Macintosh
Price: $110 to $190, based on 2TB, 3TB, or 4TB online purchase
Seagate’s semi-modular external drives are versatile gems of design and engineering. With only a few companies now manufacturing good-quality consumer backup drives, the latest lineup of Backup Plus Desktop Drive for Macintosh models offers reliability, excellent value for money, and a secret hidden feature in the removable bottom power and interface port base unit.
These desktop storage enclosures ship with USB 3.0 capability and cable, plus a power supply brick, that will be sufficient for most purchasers. Intrepid techies who need or want FireWire 800 and/or Thunderbolt connectivity can buy additional base units. I have one each USB, FireWire, and Thunderbolt base, and they all work fine when affixed to the larger drive enclosure segment.
iPad photo by Dennis Moore
When used for extended minutes or hours, this black plastic Backup Plus Desktop Drive is quiet, but it gets very warm to the touch. Performance is typical of consumer drives, relative to the speed of your Mac’s USB, FireWire, or Thunderbolt ports.
I put this external AC-powered drive to the test, doing a mission critical Time Machine backup of a total of eight 250GB partitions on the two internal 1TB drives of my 2009 MacPro running Mountain Lion OS 10.8.
The Seagate rep had recommended I reformat the internal drive using Disk Utility, although a company-provided formatting option is provided:
Either method will bring you to the same result. The Seagate Dashboard formatting is simply for convenience. By clicking on the MacInstaller.dmg file, you will be walked through a wizard to set up your drive for how you like to use it. In the event that you have a multi-platform office or household and you foresee the drive being accessed by both Windows and Mac OSX machines, we suggest that you simply choose the option that will install a software patch on you your Mac OSX computer that will allow you to read and write to the NTFS drive. Unfortunately, in this format you will not be able to use TimeMachine. If you do know you will only be using this drive with Mac OSX computers and plan to use it primarily as a backup drive, then the suggestion is that you choose the HFS+ formatting or Mac Only option. Again, this can be done through Disk Utility or by using the MacInstaller.dmg found on the Seagate Backup Plus drive.
Time Machine is set it and forget it. On the demo 2TB unit provided, my full backup initially took several hours, and thereafter runs automatically on the hour, as it should do.
Time Machine can be ornery when the drive is disconnected for days or weeks and then re-mounted, or when multiple partitions and multiple drives are being included. Backup Plus Desktop Drive for Macintosh only once got confused about being out of sync after a lengthy disconnect, and continues to perform flawlessly as my lead Time Machine external drive.
Would I buy one or recommend one? Yes, especially for the modular Thunderbolt base opportunity. Most people will be happy with this product as shipped with USB 3.0, and they won’t know or care about the removable base. Demanding users will appreciate the flexibility they can achieve when using this Seagate drive with different systems.
MyMac Review Rating is 8 out of 10, with a recommendation.