Large external hard drive recommendations

It is time for a new external hard drive for TimeMachine backups. I am looking at ones which are 4tb to 6tb.

Does anyone have a recommended brand/model? Be nice if it was quiet and needs to be USB-A connection, for a 2015 iMac. Thanks all.

I recently got a La Cie d2 & it’s noisier than expected, and the flashing light drives me crazy.

If you are not too constrained for money, go for a spare internal SSD and chuck it into a generic enclosure. They are completely silent and they have become kind of affordable (especially when you are on the lookout for good prices). I did that, it was costly (350€) but the silence is a blessing when you work all day at your Mac.


I have a 4TB western digital portable drive hanging off my iMac. It’s very quiet and was about $90 on amazon

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While not aesthetically pleasing, this film (also available in white) helps cut down the bright lights of bad design. (Such as my cable box that likes to wake up at night and flash its light.)



I’ve rarely had problems with Western Digital or Seagate and would recommend either.

But all drives die eventually.

It might also be worth googling for Backblaze’s annual drive stats.


I’m perfectly happy with my Seagate Backup Plus 4TB drive.

I browsed the Backblaze stats the other day and came to the conclusion drives are good reliability-wise, don’t worry about which one to get from that point of view (that’s also what I thought when I was in that industry). But, there’s a real chance of failure for any drive, so backup is advisable.

I bought this WD 3TB external USB3 HD from Amazon last month. I have always had great luck with WD, and the one time I didn’t a decade ago, they got me a new drive within a week. (It comes in larger sizes.)

What surprised me about it is I don’t hear it, ever. That might because of my setup/lack of hearing, but it seems pretty great to me. I also expect that to change with age.

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Another vote for the LaCie brand…

I have the 20tb Thunderbolt 3 model and love it. Completely agree with the statement that it is a bit noisy. It is expensive, but it made me finally consolidate my data from at least 20 different HD’s. RAID features are nice and all I wanted was sheer storage space. Almost 4 years of use and it is working great for me.

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I have a small stable of WD drives that I use for backups. Some continuously running, others that I rotate out. As I’ve stated elsewhere, I replace them every couple of/few years, and store the old ones.

I have 3 of these, 2 rotated for every month backups, and 1 runs continuously for a daily ChronoSync backup.

This one runs continuously, and holds an hourly Arq backup, as well as an archive.

I have four of these in my NAS which are now two years old, with no problems.

I usually do a little spreadsheet like this when pricing drives to consider storage cost and how much I want to spend (this is the latest pricing for the drive at the last link).

TB Price $ $/TB Best price point
1 60 $60.00
2 73 $36.50
4 114 $28.50
6 146 $24.33 *
8 196 $24.50
10 265 $26.50
12 310 $25.83
14 384 $27.43

That seems really expensive - don’t you mean $/TB? :wink:

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Here - they just released last week or so

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Thanks all for the thoughts and recommendations. The Backblaze article is very interesting @geoffaire .

Looking on Amazon now for some of the models recommended.

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Thanks @anon85228692 . Do you have a recommended enclosure?

Not really, anything from a reasonably reputable brand will do the trick I think, in the 20$ range more or less to be sure you have something reliable.

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This is my preferred method over buying a prebuilt solution which always seem to have build problems or short life. Terabyte drives are extremely well priced and enclosures are cheap, and swapping drives can be done in minutes.

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I have an OWC drive enclosure with a WD hard drive in it. I like it, it’s metal, looks nice, has an activity/power LED, and an on/off switch. The problem with is it it is loud. I can hear the drive, even when the drive in it is brand new. There is not much of anything to suppress sound like there is on prebuilt external drives.

I have 4 external hard drives sitting on my desk. One in the OWC enclosure, and 3 WD external drives ranging from 1 month to 8 years old. The oldest is still going and silent. I don’t hear any of the WD external drives. Ever. I hear the OWC drive every time it starts up or does anything. I am sure I could get a quieter drive for it, but then the price is going up.

This has not been in my experience at all. Quite the opposite in fact. I find the external prebuilt to be the much better option.