Rate and Assist with my First HTPC Build - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 47 Old 02-19-2012, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

I've been inspired by assassins thread to build my own HTPC. I've never built a computer but I truly believe a noob like me can do it with a little patience. With that said, I was hoping to get some input on the parts I plan to use. I used both Assassin's guide and a blog by the name of Tonymacx86. Tonymac is a blog specific to mac osx custom DIY builds.

Here is the Update (03/02/2012) list of components
***Already Purchased***

Item Model Price Store
CPU Intel Core I3-2105 $135.00 Amazon
Motherboard Intel BOXDH67GDB3 $90.00 Amazon
Memory Kingston KHX1333C7D3K2/4GX $30.00 Amazon
Power Supply PC Power & Cooling Silencer MKIII $60.00 Amazon
Solid State Drive Corsair 120gb Sata3 $120.00 NewEgg
Hard Disk Drive Seagate 2tb External to Internal Hack $- Own
Case SilverStone ML03B $60.00 Amazon
Operating System Windows 7 OEM 64bit $100.00 Amazon
Total $595.00



Thank you all in advance for any input that you could provide. I will post pictures as the build comes along.
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post #2 of 47 Old 02-19-2012, 09:16 PM
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That 80GB hard drive is probably going to be pretty loud.
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post #3 of 47 Old 02-19-2012, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puwaha View Post

That 80GB hard drive is probably going to be pretty loud.

Ok good to know... This is a great feed back because since I hardly have any clue about computer components I would've never had thought about this.

- What should I look for (Besides SSD) that will be a quieter alternative?
- Are there specific things that make a HDD quiet? Or are new models just quieter by default?

Thanks again!
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post #4 of 47 Old 02-20-2012, 04:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdastas View Post

Hi all,

I've been inspired by assassins thread to build my own HTPC. I've never built a computer but I truly believe a noob like me can do it with a little patience. With that said, I was hoping to get some input on the parts I plan to use. I used both Assassin's guide and a blog by the name of Tonymacx86. Tonymac is a blog specific to mac osx custom DIY builds.

Here is my starting list of what i'd like to use.
***May or May NOT NEED, depending on the input I receive***
Item Model Price Store
CPU Intel Core I3-2105 $135.00 Amazon
Motherboard Asus P8Z68-M Pro Micro - ATX $117.00 Amazon
Hard Drive Seagate 1.5TB ST2000DL003 $110.00 Amazon
Memory Kingston 8gb KHX1600C9D3K2 $40.00 Amazon
Power Supply Corsair 430CXV2 $45.00 Amazon
Case SilverStone ML03B $60.00 Amazon
Operating System Mac OSX 10.7 Lion $30.00 Apple
Total $537.00
- I have a copy of OSX 10.6 that I can use instead of 10.7... Could Save $30
- I have an old HDD that I could use just for loading basic prgms and OS.

With those savings, my builds price would become closer to $400, a price my wife would be much happier with and my original budget.

My reasoning for going the mac route is simply because I already have an established library and media center setup on my Macbook using Plex. Not to mention the $190 i'd have to spend on Win7 and the size comparison of the OS.

Things of Note:
- I have a Seagate 2tb ext HDD that I have all my media store on and will connect to HTPC via usb 3.0
- I have an old WinXP computer in my office that I was thinking of using for parts. One thing that came to mind fast was that I already have an old 80gb HDD from that computer that I could possibly use as the main HDD to keep my primary prgms like Plex and the OS. Being that this unit is so old (July 2003)... Is it really a good idea to use it? What kind of speeds should I expect?
Here is a pic:

Other things I was thinking about using were the power supply DVD rom. I really don't have an need for an Optical drive, but AFAIK, it would be the only way to load the OS on to the HTPC.

Thank you all in advance for any input that you could provide. I will post pictures as the build comes along.

You can get win 7 OEM for $90-100

If you want to keep it under $400 go with

ASRock H61M/U3S3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813157236

4 gigs of ram

I prefer the antec earthwatts psu's to the corsairs
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817371033
or this one because its on sale with free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...t-_-17-371-034
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post #5 of 47 Old 02-20-2012, 05:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdastas View Post

Ok good to know... This is a great feed back because since I hardly have any clue about computer components I would've never had thought about this.

- What should I look for (Besides SSD) that will be a quieter alternative?
- Are there specific things that make a HDD quiet? Or are new models just quieter by default?

Thanks again!

You might be able to take the housing off your external drive and install it in your HTPC, which is probably your best inexpensive option. You will want to create two partitions a system drive maybe 60-100gigs and a data drive which is the rest of the space.
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post #6 of 47 Old 02-20-2012, 05:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

You can get win 7 OEM for $90-100

With a college student email account, you can even get 7 from the Microsoft store for $65.
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post #7 of 47 Old 02-20-2012, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

You might be able to take the housing off your external drive and install it in your HTPC, which is probably your best inexpensive option. You will want to create two partitions a system drive maybe 60-100gigs and a data drive which is the rest of the space.

Sweet - I'll google that HDD hack to see if I can do it. That sounds like a good idea if I can get it to work. I'll also have to figure out the partitions deal as well.

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Originally Posted by dph1077 View Post

With a college student email account, you can even get 7 from the Microsoft store for $65.

Awesome, both my wife and I have our .edu email addresses still active.
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post #8 of 47 Old 02-20-2012, 12:51 PM
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Normally I wouldn't suggest cracking open an external case for the hard drive, but with the costs going up due to the flooding it's not a bad option if you don't need the drive anymore. To answer a previous question of yours, drives are a lot quieter than they used to be. Also, they do have optional things you can use to quiet it further, such as sound dampening grommets which help absorb vibration.
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post #9 of 47 Old 02-20-2012, 01:11 PM
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I cracked open all three of the 2TB drives in my server from external cases. 1 Samsung and 2 WD.

No issues. Would do again in a heartbeat. I got them for $90, $90 and $85 respectively.
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post #10 of 47 Old 02-20-2012, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I cracked open all three of the 2TB drives in my server from external cases. 1 Samsung and 2 WD.

No issues. Would do again in a heartbeat. I got them for $90, $90 and $85 respectively.

I take it that it doesn't come off cleanly and will probably never be able to be used again?

***UPDATE FOR EDIT***

Did a little searching and came across this write up and video.

**Warning** The video has some random spikes of crackling noise that will scare the crap out of you if the volume is turned up.
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post #11 of 47 Old 02-20-2012, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdastas View Post

I take it that it doesn't come off cleanly and will probably never be able to be used again?

The wd cases are easy to open and you could likely reuse the external case. I had a toshiba case (samsung inside) that I had to break to get open.
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post #12 of 47 Old 02-20-2012, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is an updated list thanks to some of the input I received on this thread.

Item Model Price Store
CPU Intel Core I3-2105 $135.00 Amazon
Motherboard Intel BOXDH67GDB3 $90.00 Amazon
Memory Kingston KHX1333C7D3K2/4GX $25.00 New Egg
Power Supply Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D $40.00 New Egg
Hard Drive Seagate 2tb External to Internal Hack $- Own
Keyboard Mouse Rii Mini i8 Wireless Keyboard $30.00 Amazon
Case SilverStone ML03B $60.00 Amazon
Operating System Mac OSX 10.6 Snow Leapord $- Own
Total $380.00

- Looked through Assassin's thread again, came accross this Intel MB. I wanted one that had displayport and esata capabilities and this one does just that... And saved me about $35!

- Decided to downgrade the memory to 4gb, I guess 8gb was overkill anyway... downside because the Intel MB states it does not support 1600 so will have to go with 1333mhz... Is this really a big deal?

- I removed the HDD due to the fact I can disassemble my existing ext HDD and convert to it to an internal.

Thoughts?
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post #13 of 47 Old 02-21-2012, 08:31 AM
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Putting aside any noise issues, that 80gb hard disk you pictured is an IDE. You don't want to use it. Stick to SATA and you'll have fewer issues.

If you happen to live near a Micro Center, you can get an i3-2125 for $119.

Personally, I'd add $60 or so and find a 60-64GB SSD on sale for your OS and programs.
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post #14 of 47 Old 02-21-2012, 08:59 AM
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You won't notice a difference in going from 1600 to 1333 for a HTPC.

I just purchased that Silverstone case you have listed. If you do plan on using an optical drive (DVD or BluRay) be warned it's a tight fit. I just ordered some SATA power plugs that are at a 90° angle (already have right angle SATA data cable) due to only having about 3/4" between the drive and the power supply.
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post #15 of 47 Old 02-21-2012, 10:05 AM
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The advice that you are getting above on hardware is good however I'd really hesitate to take on building a Hackintosh as your first build. I've been looking at that website due to my own interest in building a Hackintosh just for the challenge but it is not clear to me that it is always simple to install and trouble shoot those systems.

Since this is your first build I'd suggest that you go the Windows 7 route using Assassin's subscription guides for setting up the software. I've built many PCs and recently set up a couple of HTPC based on his guides and I've been very satisfied with what I'm getting out of these machines. A W7 machine will be able to read and write to your MacBook and can run Plex if that is what you want to do. The Mac will also be able to read a NTFS disk in the W7 machine but it can't write to NTFS without an additional driver (~$30). I initially setup a Mac Mini at the same time that I was building the W7 HTPC so I could try both for utility and WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). For my uses the W7 machine was much better in flexibility, utility, and WAF.

If you really don't want to go with W7 due to cost issues then I'd try a version of Linux such as Ubuntu or Mythbuntu before I'd go the Hackintosh route.
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post #16 of 47 Old 02-21-2012, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwh1 View Post

The advice that you are getting above on hardware is good however I'd really hesitate to take on building a Hackintosh as your first build. I've been looking at that website due to my own interest in building a Hackintosh just for the challenge but it is not clear to me that it is always simple to install and trouble shoot those systems.

Since this is your first build I'd suggest that you go the Windows 7 route using Assassin's subscription guides for setting up the software. I've built many PCs and recently set up a couple of HTPC based on his guides and I've been very satisfied with what I'm getting out of these machines. A W7 machine will be able to read and write to your MacBook and can run Plex if that is what you want to do. The Mac will also be able to read a NTFS disk in the W7 machine but it can't write to NTFS without an additional driver (~$30). I initially setup a Mac Mini at the same time that I was building the W7 HTPC so I could try both for utility and WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). For my uses the W7 machine was much better in flexibility, utility, and WAF.

If you really don't want to go with W7 due to cost issues then I'd try a version of Linux such as Ubuntu or Mythbuntu before I'd go the Hackintosh route.

Ok so from what I understand, I won't have to reformat my 2tb HDD because W7 should be able to read/write to it... Correct? I think I may go with an SSD for OS/Prgms... The thought is growing on me more and more regardless of the cost.
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post #17 of 47 Old 02-21-2012, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

Putting aside any noise issues, that 80gb hard disk you pictured is an IDE. You don't want to use it. Stick to SATA and you'll have fewer issues.

If you happen to live near a Micro Center, you can get an i3-2125 for $119.

Personally, I'd add $60 or so and find a 60-64GB SSD on sale for your OS and programs.

I call Bovine Sediment, I use a mix of SATA and IDE and there are no problems. But, then again, I am not using Mac OS, Windows does not really care if you have SATA or IDE.


As to OP, an HTPC that is not capable or Live TV (with mandatory pause, rewind, scheduled and on-the fly recording) is not an HTPC, it is no different than $80 WD Live.... Save your money, and buy a WD Live or similar.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #18 of 47 Old 02-21-2012, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by jdastas View Post

Ok so from what I understand, I won't have to reformat my 2tb HDD because W7 should be able to read/write to it... Correct? I think I may go with an SSD for OS/Prgms... The thought is growing on me more and more regardless of the cost.

You will need to format the HD as you install any operating system onto it. One wise thing to do, especially with a big HD like 2TB, is to partition a portion for the operating system (say 60gb) then make the rest anothe partition and save your files (ie music, pics, movies, etc) to that. This helps you in case your main partition ever gets corrupted you simply reinstall the OS rather than lose all your files.
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post #19 of 47 Old 02-21-2012, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdastas View Post

Ok so from what I understand, I won't have to reformat my 2tb HDD because W7 should be able to read/write to it... Correct? I think I may go with an SSD for OS/Prgms... The thought is growing on me more and more regardless of the cost.

There was an assumption above that the drive was in the Mac. If you are wanting to take a drive that is formated HFS+ from the Mac to the PC then you will either need to reformat to NTFS or try a product like MacDrive to let you read the disk when it is directly connected to the PC instead of being accessed over a network.

Could you elaborate on what your goals are (Ripping, DVR, TV, Itunes, etc.) and how you are planning to use the various computers since that might impact some suggestions?
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post #20 of 47 Old 02-21-2012, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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There was an assumption above that the drive was in the Mac. If you are wanting to take a drive that is formated HFS+ from the Mac to the PC then you will either need to reformat to NTFS or try a product like MacDrive to let you read the disk when it is directly connected to the PC instead of being accessed over a network.

Could you elaborate on what your goals are (Ripping, DVR, TV, Itunes, etc.) and how you are planning to use the various computers since that might impact some suggestions?

My plans are to watch ripped movies, stream, and play iTunes for right now... If there is a way for me to get rid of my DirecTv box but still keep their service, I'm all ears?

As vein as this must sound... I mostly want it for plex and some light web surfing and Netflix... Because my preferred plex client (visually) is the desktop version, I decided to use a htpc instead jailbreaking an appletv 2... Plus I wouldn't even get 1080p play back with an atv2. The ability to hook up rabbit ears and possibly use the htpc as a dvr in the future is also something I'd look at, but then i'd miss out on the non locals.. Right???

My MacBook sometimes freezes when i use plex so I'd much rather have a unit that is optimized for my needs.
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post #21 of 47 Old 02-21-2012, 04:00 PM
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IDE for OS drive is not a good idea.

Noise. heat. Slow.

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #22 of 47 Old 02-21-2012, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdastas View Post

My plans are to watch ripped movies, stream, and play iTunes for right now... If there is a way for me to get rid of my DirecTv box but still keep their service, I'm all ears?

No. You can use a capture card to record from a DirecTV box, but you can't get rid of the box.
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post #23 of 47 Old 02-21-2012, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

You might be able to take the housing off your external drive and install it in your HTPC, which is probably your best inexpensive option.

What's the advantage of removing the HDD from an external housing? I have a USB 3.0 external drive that I intend to use exclusively with my HTPC (which has plenty of room in the case to accommodate it and spare SATA data and power ports etc). I guess it would make it a more compact installation and remove the need to use the separate power adapter that came with the external drive?
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post #24 of 47 Old 02-21-2012, 04:39 PM
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What's the advantage of removing the HDD from an external housing? I have a USB 3.0 external drive that I intend to use exclusively with my HTPC (which has plenty of room in the case to accommodate it and spare SATA data and power ports etc). I guess it would make it a more compact installation and remove the need to use the separate power adapter that came with the external drive?

External drives are quite a bit cheaper for some reason. Sometimes as much as $50.
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post #25 of 47 Old 02-21-2012, 08:25 PM
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I just built an HTPC with that same case and it is a tight fit behind an optical drive for the power supply. The first PS I bought did not fit so I got this one http://www.performance-pcs.com/catal...ducts_id=28447 it's small and very, very quiet. This company ships quick and it was $12 cheaper than New Egg. The only other problem I had with the case was fan placement. there's enough room for 4 80mm fans down the right side but the holes don't line up so I could only get 3 in there. If you have a Dremel you could probably make it work but 3 seems to work just fine. The ML03 is a great looking and well constructed case for the $$.

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post #26 of 47 Old 02-23-2012, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
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**UPDATE**

Just got the MB and Ram delivered.

Now I'm looking for cases. I'm really wanting to keep a sleek look, something that looks similar to my existing components and possibly even match my AV Receiver. I even looking for details like "hi-fi feet" just because of aesthetics.

I came accross this unit on newegg tonight and I wanted to get some of your thoughts.

From the discription I believe it includes a PSU but am not sure if it is of any good quality.

Lian-Li PC-C37U $190 including shipping but saves me buying a PSU.



I also like the Silverstone ML03B $70 @ Amazon



I also like the Antec Fusion Remote Black $135 @ Amazon.

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post #27 of 47 Old 02-24-2012, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

External drives are quite a bit cheaper for some reason. Sometimes as much as $50.

It makes no sense. I just got Segate GoFlex 3 Tb from Staples for $114, same drive, but without the USB enclosure is $199 on newegg.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #28 of 47 Old 02-24-2012, 01:35 PM
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I have a $25 off $100 coupon for staples.

Anyone know a good deal going now?

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post #29 of 47 Old 02-24-2012, 02:38 PM
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Everything is fine, except Win7 64bit is definitely the better choice for an HTPC. I would never use a mac for anything other than basic web browsing.

Can your HTPC Media Center / DVR Do this??

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post #30 of 47 Old 02-25-2012, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwh1 View Post

There was an assumption above that the drive was in the Mac. If you are wanting to take a drive that is formated HFS+ from the Mac to the PC then you will either need to reformat to NTFS or try a product like MacDrive to let you read the disk when it is directly connected to the PC instead of being accessed over a network.

Could you elaborate on what your goals are (Ripping, DVR, TV, Itunes, etc.) and how you are planning to use the various computers since that might impact some suggestions?

So considering that I may use a small SSD drive for the OS/Prgms... I don't believe I have to reformat the drive. When I first purchased the drive, I selected to format for both Windows and Mac. I am able to hook up my ext HDD to my buddies win7 computer and share files back and forth as well as on my mac.
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