Q&A: MacFixIt Answers

MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which I answer Mac-related questions sent in by our readers.

This week readers ask about how to swap an iMac's hard drive for a solid-state drive, what specifically Thunderbolt and FireWire ports are for, how best to transfer large files between Macs, and what to do about an iMac that no longer boots after a power outage.

I welcome contributions from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, please post them in the comments!

Question: Swapping an iMac's hard drive for an SSD MacFixIt reader Dave … Read more

WD ships new NAS-specific Red internal hard drives

WD has some great news for people with a network attached storage (NAS) server, such as the Synology DS1513+ or the QNAP TS-469 Pro: new Red internal hard drives.

These SATA hard drives are specifically designed for home and small office NAS systems that come with one to five drive bays. The new drives are available in both 2.5-inch (750GB and 1TB capacities) and 3.5-inch (4TB) designs.

The WD Red lineup is a family of regular internal hard drives that work wherever other SATA hard drives are used. WD Red drives are compatibility-tested with top NAS systems and … Read more

$199 game consoles aren't worth the money you're saving

The next-gen Xbox One and PlayStation 4 game consoles are both coming in November. In the meantime, current-generation Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles are more affordable than ever -- both available for the very reasonable sum of $199. But are these entry-level models so stripped-down that they're a bad investment? Or are they a budget gamer's dream?

The dilemma It's hard to imagine that anyone interested in buying an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 doesn't already own one (it's been a half-dozen years, people). That said, there's still a lot of fun to … Read more

Is this the worst ad Samsung's ever made?

Some ads, like some movies, can be so bad that they become a peculiar sort of good.

Then there are ads that maintain a deep worthlessness and cause only pain to the senses.

You must decide how you feel about this opus, created by Samsung.

Released a couple of weeks ago, it sat in the Internet's ether, hiding in plain sight. Then the critics at Reddit got hold of it and mused whether the world had ended early.

The ad, for Samsung's 840 EVO Series Solid State Drive, seems to have enjoyed a very strict casting brief: please … Read more

Samsung unveils 1TB 840 Evo solid-state drive

Following up on the SSD 840 series that came out in November 2012, Samsung today announced its new entry-level solid-state drive, the 840 Evo.

The main difference between the two is the fact that the 840 Evo offers up to 1TB of storage space, double that of the 840 series, and significantly faster performance.

Like the previous drive, the 840 Evo comes in the 7mm-thick, 2.5-inch design and supports the SATA 3 (6Gbps) I/O standard.

Samsung says the 840 Evo uses its compact 10-nanometer class 128GB NAND flash memory, which the company started mass-producing in April, and is … Read more

Samsung mass-producing speedier solid-state drives

Apple's new MacBook Air has adopted faster solid-state drives made by Samsung. But Apple won't be the only beneficiary.

Samsung announced Monday that it has started mass-producing new PCIe solid-state drives aimed at the next generation of ultrabooks. SSDs that use a PCIe connection offer faster speeds than those outfitted with SATA (Serial ATA) connections.

As one example, Samsung's XP941 SSD can read data sequentially at 1,400 megabytes (1.4 gigabytes) per second, the highest speed offered by a PCIe 2.0 interface. In the real world, that means the drive can read 500GB of data … Read more

Intel intros low-cost enterprise SSD for data centers

Intel today introduced the DC S3500 series solid-state drive, which brings enterprise performance at a cost that general consumers can afford. The new drive is optimized for read performance, which is important for data centers, or storage servers.

The new drive supports the SATA 3 (6Gbps) standard and is available in both 2.5-inch and 1.8-inch designs. The former is available in 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, 240GB, 300GB, 480GB, 600GB, and 800GB capacities, while the latter is available in 80GB, 240GB, 400GB, and 800GB capacities. Both designs are 7mm thick.

Intel says the new SSD uses its 20nm NAND flash … Read more

Does it still make sense to buy a big hard drive?

Today only, over at, you can buy a Seagate Expansion 4TB USB 3.0 hard drive for $139.99 shipped when you apply coupon code 5419C15 at checkout.

Four terabytes. For $140. That's quite possibly the best storage deal I've ever seen, at least in terms of price per terabyte.

On the other hand, what on earth would a person do with that much space? Sure, if you use your PC as a media center and record a lot of high-def TV shows and movies, this would be great. (Flip side: If you're hoarding 4TB … Read more

Seagate demos its 5mm Laptop Ultrathin HDD in Android tablet

TAIPEI--At Computex 2013, Seagate announced its latest 5mm hard drive for laptops and tablets, the Laptop Ultrathin HDD. The 2.5-inch drive was first talked about last year, and will now start shipping to Seagate's OEM partners.

The Laptop Ultrathin HDD will come in 320GB and 500GB capacities and is wrapped in a steel, rather than aluminum, case for toughness. Standard laptop hard drives are typically 7mm or 9.5mm in thickness.

According to Seagate's Banseng Teh, senior VP and MD for Asia Pacific and Japan, there is a "demand for storage in tablets, but people don'… Read more

Get a 480GB internal SSD for $299.99, shipped

Ready to get serious about solid-state storage? If you've looked into SSD upgrades for your laptop, you know that you can easily spend upward of $175 for a measly 128GB drive. That's fine for some users (myself included), but not nearly enough for others.

This should be enough: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Newegg has the OCZ Agility 3 480GB SATA III internal SSD for $299.99, shipped. That's after applying coupon code EMCYTZT3478 at checkout. (Note that you must be a Newegg newsletter subscriber in order to use the code.)

That's an … Read more