A way to speed up your Mac

Firewire 800 portThis post is only for Mac users. Sorry, rest of the world.

If you have a Mac with a Firewire 800 port (see pic), you can save some of that frustrating “spin-up” time when your external hard drive awakens.

This applies if you are using Time Machine. (If you are not, please start right away! It may save your day – as it has for me, many times.)

Anyhow, do not use a USB 2.0 external drive for your Time Machine disk. Instead, buy a Firewire 800 drive, like the Iomega* I recently bought. It will save you maybe 2 minutes a day of waiting on your hard drive. That’s 8 hours a year.

If your Time Machine backup drive is not plugged in all the time, this post won’t apply to you. But the benefits of having access to lost data makes always-on Time Machine worth it for me. Particularly with a FW 800 drive.

* Not an affiliate link.


4 Replies to “A way to speed up your Mac”

  1. Only 1TB, Paul?! I only that too, but I did see a 4TB Western Digital hard drive in an Apple store. With RAW photos, even that’s not really much space!

    Good advice Paul. Another tip: best to buy a dedicated Firewire 400 to 800 lead, for older hard drives, rather than an adapter. The adapter I have is temperamental and can easily lose connection (not good when you are watching a movie from an external drive).

    1. Good additional tip, Ed.

      My 500 gb drive lasted for at least a year. I’m guessing my new 1 gb drive will last at least another 2 years. I don’t use it for anything but Time Machine backups, and I don’t have much video and almost no raw photos. Currently, my computer’s hard drive has 173 gb used out of 320. My Time Machine drive has 346 gb used out of 1 tb. And it has backups going back a year. (I cloned the drive’s contents from another drive I was using.)

  2. I don’t have a Mac, but this is reminding me that I really need to set up a backup of some kind. My life is on my computer: thousands of photos, thousands of songs. If anyone stole it at this point I’d lose all of that. Dell offers a service that I haven’t looked into yet. The simple alternative would be a couple of thumb drives that I copy stuff to every week or so and stash in a drawer.

  3. Tim, you could also investigate online backup options (services), although I don’t do that, so can’t say if they’re any good. I use a 1tb external hard drive.

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