hard drive for Time Machine

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I upgraded to 10.5 and plan on using Time Machine (unless someone can tell me why I should stay with Chronosync.)

Anyway, I plan on buying an external usb drive. Are the ones with an external power cord more reliable for a drive that will always have the power on compared the the portable drive style that draws its power from the Mac's port?
 
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Are the ones with an external power cord more reliable for a drive that will always have the power on compared the the portable drive style that draws its power from the Mac's port?
Not necessarily. It depends on where you plug it in. If you plug your drive into the same AC power as your computer then no. The main concern is overloading your Firewire bus. A USB drive will not take enough power from the USB port to power the drive (2.5" drives excluded) and will require an external power source.

Some Firewire drives can be powered by the Firewire bus and hence do not require any external power. Some do not, and must be powered like a USB drive.

The main concern as far as reliability is concerned is the actual hard drive itself. Some are better than others (obviously) and you may pay a little more for that reliability. If you do your homework you will find that every maker will have some horror story floating around the Internet, but in my opinion (you knew it was coming!) Seagate drives have proven to be the most reliable. On the 5 servers I use, I have had to replace 1 drive after seven years of 24/7 use. Your mileage may vary of course, but in all my personal machines I use Seagate 7200 RPM drives of varying capacity. Just picked up a Seagate 320GB G-Shock drive for my laptop...

Time Machine will work well with any brand-name large drive. Depending on your Mac, you should use the 9-pin Firewire 800 port if you can or fastest access.
 
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I firmly believe you should get an external drive with its own power source and plugged into a different power strip than the one your computer is on. This is simply for safety's sake. One won't fry out the other if something happens.

Micky's very right about looking for a good HD company. I second Seagate for reliability although I have had good luck with WD also.
 
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I am going with usb 2 only because I can hook it up to a pc if needed.

I am using TM editor, which will do a backup at intervals you want. I am setting once a day at 2:10 a.m. Speed is not important.
 
Many external drives -- I know LaCie and G-Tech drives do -- come with several options for using whatever kind of connection one wants: USB, FW 400, FW 800, etc..... so it would be quite possible to plug in the drive via FW to your Mac and then unplug it from there and plug it in via USB to the Windows machine. Back in my early Mac days when I was still transferring files from my old Windows machines to the Mac, that's exactly what I did.
 

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