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.

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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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