There's plenty of backup hardware for you to choose from

Apple Time Capsule
Price: £239 (1TB), £396 (2TB)

Time capsule

Time Capsule is definitely one of the easiest ways to get a local backup for your Mac. And it doesn't require much in the way of setup or maintenance. You connect to your home network, either via Ethernet or Wi-Fi, and using OS X's built-in Time Machine software, back up directly to it.

And the good bit is, once it's set up, it's more or less invisible. However, the only drawback is that because you're backing up over a network, it's noticeably slower than using a hard drive directly connected to your Mac - with a big drive, the first backup can take many hours. But after this, you'll barely notice it working away in the background.

G-Technology G-Drive Mini
Price: £70

G-Drive mini

If you have a laptop and use it away from home or office, having a drive that's portable can be important. The G-Drive Mini is a low-cost drive that you can use with Time Machine or other backup software; it's small and light enough to be carried around anywhere.

We like it because it supports both USB2 and FireWire 800, which makes for fast backups when used with a MacBook Pro. If you're backing up a lot of files and want to do it fast, this is a nice solution.

Iomega Minimax Hard Drive 1TB
Price: £109

Iomega

One thing that can put people off using external hard drives for backups is they can often look really ugly and out of place next to your great-looking Mac. The Iomega MiniMax series bucks this trend, and is designed to sit happily underneath a Mac Mini or Time Capsule, to form a neat stackable storage system.

It includes both FireWire 800 and USB2 interfaces, and there's three additional USB ports, which basically gives you a USB hub too - making it particularly useful if you have a Mac Mini. It also comes with Iomega Protection Suite, which is free to download.

LaCie Little Big Disk
Price: TBA

LaCie

If you have one of the latest Macs with a Thunderbolt interface, then one of these drives will be an excellent option for backing up at the maximum possible speed.

The Little Big Disk has two Thunderbolt ports, which means you'll be able to daisy-chain other peripherals off it. And, to ensure you get the maximum speed, inside are two 250GB Intel SSDs, which means you're getting a drive that can keep up with the speed of the Thunderbolt interface.

However, given the technology, it might be only for the well-heeled at first.

Buffalo LinkStation Pro
Price: £425 (2TB)

LinkStation

Buffalo's LinkStation series of network-attached storage (NAS) devices could be compared to Time Capsule on steroids…

In addition to acting as a hard drive, they can access files over a network and stream music, video and pictures using the cross-platform DLNA protocol. They can also be used as a volume for backing up with most standard software.

Although the price looks a bit on the steep side, it's worth checking out online retailers who often have big discounts on home NAS systems, which can cut the price to significantly less than the cost of a Time Capsule.

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First published in MacFormat Issue 237

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