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Old Nov 10, 2012, 03:51 AM   #126
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Originally Posted by scottganderson View Post
Any insight into why the Fusion Drive is not available as a BTO option in the low-end 2.5 GHz i5 Mac mini?
To force you to pay more.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 04:02 AM   #127
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Originally Posted by karsten View Post
i'm not referring to trim slowdowns but rather the limited write-cycles available to all SSDs. fusion drive seems like it would put undue stress on the drive.
By writing data on 'TRIM" identified unused blocks, the limited lifespan of SSD's is prolonged, by avoiding over usage of certain data blocks, thus prematurely wearing those out, and spreading out usage more evenly amongst ALL blocks. Hope this clears it up.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 04:29 AM   #128
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Originally Posted by Mr-Stabby View Post
I'm not paying £200 extra on top of the already overpriced iMac to get a drive that performs the way a 2012 iMac should do. Sorry rant over.
Well, with the slower drive you should in theory get to add energy efficiency into the mix of advantages to a Fusion Drive. But I do agree that it's a poor offering; I could have understood bundling slower HDDs with the Fusion Drive options since it mostly eliminates the speed issue for your typical users, but otherwise they're a very poor showing as the only drive choice.


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Originally Posted by karsten View Post
i'm not referring to trim slowdowns but rather the limited write-cycles available to all SSDs. fusion drive seems like it would put undue stress on the drive.
As macs4nw points out TRIM lets the OS write to parts of the SSD that aren't being used, and due to the way Fusion Drive shunts less frequently used data off the SSD over time it hopefully shouldn't be writing to the same areas all that often at all. Since it doesn't really matter where data ends up on an SSD it's perfectly good practice to write files all over the place (within reason). Plus for your average consumer I doubt very much that there's any real threat of failing blocks on SSDs as the amount of data writing shouldn't be high enough at all; it's more likely the whole drive will pack in, though that isn't much of a consolation

Fusion Drive is an easy solution for casual users that aims to give all the speed of the SSD while hiding its limited capacity, and I think for the majority of users it will do just nicely. People running servers however may want to look at other solutions; personally I'd still like to see Fusion Drive expanded to allow you to specify an SSD as a proper read-cache rather than the read/write hybrid it is now, as that would be the better option for people buying Macs as servers.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 05:00 AM   #129
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Originally Posted by iGrip View Post
Are you surprised? The Mini is junk. Pure and simple.
I suppose it depends upon your perspective. If you are comparing specs with other teenagers in their bedrooms or playing games, the Mini probably doesn't rate very highly. If you are using it to get actual work done, I find it rather good. 16GB RAM/2GB of storage/quad core i7 for the cost of about 10 hours work, you can't really go wrong.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 06:14 AM   #130
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The mini is basically a 13" macbook pro without the screen (or comparable to a souped up air with SSD swapped in), at half the price (with the caveat that you need to supply your own screen, keyboard and mouse/trackpad).

If people are willing to buy a macbook to do work on, I don't see how the mini sucks compared to it. You get what you pay for, and I find it a pretty good deal relative to the rest of the stuff Apple is selling (in that while there are better options out there, they tend to cost more).
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 06:17 AM   #131
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So what happens if one of the drives fails (hardware fault)? Do you have to format the other drive and then rebuild everything?

Furthermore, if you keep a bootable clone of it on a single external drive with CCC and you decide to restore it onto the Fusion drive, how does CCC know which part of the backup goes on SSD and which on HDD??
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 06:49 AM   #132
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People tend to forget a thing about apples mobile 5400RPM disks.

My 2011 MBP cam with such a one too and I initially was absolutely shocked about it, given my mbp cost beyond $2500
But I went through benchmarks and performed own ones and as a matter of facts, OSX / Apple operates with these disks in a way that make them perform close if not equal to traditional 7200 RPM drives without the vibration, heat and power consumption that normally yields from it.
One might potentially get to feel a tad of it when moving around multi hundred to thousand mb files, but on normal day to day use, you will not be able to measure a time difference in a reasonable way or with a 'practical impact' of using it.

Yes I would have preferred a 7200 RPM with a similar gain, but lets phase it: my 512GB Samsung 830 SSD makes anything apple offers look like a kids toy, at prices that makes apple look like what they are, absolutely greedy little business men when it comes to RAM and harddisk which traditionally were always absolutely overpriced and underspeced (I paid $120 for my 16GB RAM in this MBP, apple does not even offer it on 2011 mbps)

And I agree to the fear of '2 disks fail more likely than 1' though the SSD is unlikely to be the one that fails as it uses a raid5 / raid6 setup internally to have at least one fallback chip
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 07:15 AM   #133
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Apple should sell their own branded external Fusion HD

I'd buy one and so would lots of others.....so I doubt Apple makes them.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 07:22 AM   #134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iGrip View Post
Are you surprised? The Mini is junk. Pure and simple.
The iMac isn't better designed than the Mini (the new iMac is a severe candidate for heat issues, it lacks pure SSD except the 768GB option -which looks like a joke-, and it doesn't come with a Retina display either).

And the Mac Pro is way old, and waiting for a very needed redesign.

Conclusion: If the Mac Mini is junk, all the current Mac line is junk in this moment.

On the other hand, if the Mini allowed a good GPU, it would be the top of the line Mac, with unbeatable features, at an incredible price.

Just imagine:

4-core i7 at 2.6GHz
16 GB RAM
256 GB SSD (you can add an external USB 3 HDD if you wish)
2 GB GeForce GTX 680MX

If you take a look at current official Apple Mac Mini prices, it's clear Apple could offer this configuration for about 2000 euro. No competition, a great price for a real killer machine.

In other words, the only (I mean the only) thing the Mini needs to be the best and more powerful Mac in town is just a 2 GB GeForce GTX 680MX. Add that, and you get the best Mac ever produced. Period.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 07:32 AM   #135
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Originally Posted by John.B View Post
Can't you clone your existing Fusion drive to an external drive, boot from the external drive and repartition the internal Fusion drive from there? Then clone the external back to the internal Fusion drive?
actually finally solved by attempting to create a third partition. It ultimately ended up merging with the unaccessible "free space" portion of the drive to become another 2nd partition, then i went into recovery mode and deleted that partion to get my full 1.1TB single partition drive back that I started with.

a very roundabout way of fixing a problem that vexed me for pretty much all of yesterday.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 07:37 AM   #136
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For me this doesn't make the Fusion Drive look good, but the regular 5400 rpm drive look ridiculous in such an expensive computer. And I'm not gonna start on those iMacs…
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 07:58 AM   #137
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I'm still not sold on this. The video is comparing the startup of an SSD to a 5400rpm drive. The operating system is loaded onto the SSD to be speedy so why are some people surprised its so much faster? I don't see the difference in just loading the OS onto the SSD and then keeping your files on the second drive in the mac mini. I understand that the purpose of the fusion drive is to keep your most used or recent files on the SSD but you don't benefit in keeping lets say for example photos or music on an SSD. You'll notice the real performance in apps and the OS. If anything, you run a higher risk of one of the drives failing and losing everything because of all the read and writes its constantly doing. It essentially looks like a RAID 0 setup with some artificial intelligence to it.

I have a setup like this in my macbook pro but with 2 SSD's. The reason I have 2 SSD's is because I had an extra drive after upgrading to a 6G drive. I keep my music, photos, documents, etc on the second drive and my OS and apps on the main drive. If I ever had a problem or corruption with OS X, I'd just reinstall OS X and reinstall my apps never having to worry about my other data. Sure, Apples answer to this will be get a time capsule or plug in an external drive but what about the people who can't spend the money on a time capsule and don't remember to plug in their external drive every day. You're bound to lose something.

And for those wondering why Apple uses 5400 RPM drives, I suspect its all about being green and using less power. Of course its not a deal breaker for us but I would think they'd like to keep power consumption as low as possible. 7200RPM drives use more power. Is it a lot more? No, not necessarily. The advantages of a 7200 aren't as drastic as some people think they are. Most boot times might see ~3-5 second difference and a 20-30 second difference in duplicating a 4GB file. Again, I assume apple weighs the pro's and con's of speed and power to decide on using a 5400rpm drive.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 08:35 AM   #138
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Originally Posted by macs4nw View Post
By writing data on 'TRIM" identified unused blocks, the limited lifespan of SSD's is prolonged, by avoiding over usage of certain data blocks, thus prematurely wearing those out, and spreading out usage more evenly amongst ALL blocks. Hope this clears it up.
TRIM just synchronized the "free OS blocks" list the File system has with the "free OS blocks" list the SSD controller has. That doesn't necessarily significantly diminish over usage. If the SSD's garbage collect is bad/simplistic/crippled perhaps but that is not necessarily the case. TRIM is a necessarily crutch for bad collectors. However, it is not at the core of wear leveling.

As long as the SSD's free erased block list is long enough to keep up with the writes ( the performance aspect) *all* the writing is going into blocks that were pre-erased anyway.


[IBM image from article an on write amplification http://www.anandtech.com/show/2829/4 ]


Which blocks that are being written to is already fixed. ( in most cases the free block list is going to be an extremely simply "first in, first out" queue. ).

As long as all the writes to CoreStorage are always directed to the SSD eventually the SSD's controller effectively gets the same information as the file system eventually. TRIM just assures that happens sooner rather than later but eventually the core information trickles down through the writes made.



Quote:
As macs4nw points out TRIM lets the OS write to parts of the SSD that aren't being used,
Not really. The SSD can write to any part of the SSD. The SSD controller has its own logical mapping of where the data is. It is completely free just as CoreStorage is to move those blocks around were it feels it better serves the needs of the overall system.

So if data has been sitting in a block for a long time and it appears the user is never going to write this again for the foresable future, but that particular block has a very high expected write liftetime, then the SSD can move that data to an older block that is probably closer to "read only" stage of its lifetime.

Again TRIM is useful because there are two logical mappings of where the data is that should be synchronized. However, it isn't necessary, just marginally better.


Quote:
and due to the way Fusion Drive shunts less frequently used data off the SSD over time it hopefully shouldn't be writing to the same areas all that often at all.
From the experiments so far Fusion Drive only start swapping memory when the disk is effectively full. This is exactly the context where trim is of limited usefulness to a volume block level manager like Fusion Drive. If all the blocks are being used then there is no large gap between the SSD's concept of free and that volume block level manager. The volume manager wouldn't be moving stuff off if its list weren't empty. The SSD also will have every block ( except that in its over-provisioned area ) marked full also. There is no significant gap. So TRIM can't synchronize any better than that.

Quote:
Since it doesn't really matter where data ends up on an SSD it's perfectly good practice to write files all over the place (within reason).
The writes won't happen all over the place ( there are likely some aspects of the OS that are pinned. ) but yes as long as the read/write access move around the SSD the areas swapped out will also move around.

There are usage corner cases where the HDD is empty (so no spilling) and large gaps between the file system notion of what is empty and the SSD's notion could creep up but those likely won't be normal. The relatively large amount of space of Fusion Drive will tempt most folks to fill it up at least past that of the SSD.





Quote:
Plus for your average consumer I doubt very much that there's any real threat of failing blocks on SSDs as the amount of data writing shouldn't be high enough at all;
There is always a threat of failing blocks with a SSD. What really talking about is whether the drive fails in 2-3 years versus 5-6 years. It is going to fail for most folks after what the normal warrantee is on the drive.

SSDs, along with HDDs, are consumables. If you use and abuse them at high data rates you'll need to buy a new one sooner rather than later.


Quote:
People running servers however may want to look at other solutions; personally I'd still like to see Fusion Drive expanded to allow you to specify an SSD as a proper read-cache rather than the read/write hybrid it is now, as that would be the better option for people buying Macs as servers.
Depends upon the server. A server that has a 5:1 read/write ration probably would benefit from Fusion Drive. Your presumption is that either the very high number of users aggregrate to very high write rates or that a lower number of users are storing large files on the system.

A web server , a causual file collaborate file server , or even a backup server isn't that big of a deal.

A DB server? Sure. But then the consumer grade HDD in a typical Fusion Drive set up is an issue there too.

However, can you just change components. A enterprise grade HDD and a enterprise grade SDD (e.g., http://www.anandtech.com/show/6433/i...0-200gb-review ) would work just fine in most server contexts.

Last edited by deconstruct60; Nov 10, 2012 at 08:47 AM.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 08:48 AM   #139
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Great product, Apple. However, price-raping your customers for one was a bad choice.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 09:30 AM   #140
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Originally Posted by amberashby View Post
I'd buy one and so would lots of others.....so I doubt Apple makes them.
There is no actual "Fusion Drive". There's an ordinary hard drive, and an ordinary SSD drive, and some very clever software that combines them. That software is part of MacOS X 10.8.2.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 10:43 AM   #141
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Originally Posted by Abazigal View Post
The mini is basically a 13" macbook pro without the screen (or comparable to a souped up air with SSD swapped in), at half the price (with the caveat that you need to supply your own screen, keyboard and mouse/trackpad).

If people are willing to buy a macbook to do work on, I don't see how the mini sucks compared to it. You get what you pay for, and I find it a pretty good deal relative to the rest of the stuff Apple is selling (in that while there are better options out there, they tend to cost more).
Actually the $799+ Mini beats the pants off the 13" MacBook Pro, as all the 13" models are only dual-core while the Mini is quad-core. So actually the Mini is a vastly superior machine for processor intensive tasks than the 13 "pro", even terms of graphics, and the Mini again beats the 13" in memory since it can hold 16GB of RAM.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 11:14 AM   #142
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When buying my mini I opted not to get the fusion drive.
For $250 I purchased a 256g Samsung drive and a
Seagate 750 momentus 7200 drive. Both with a 3 year warranty as opposed to the 1 year from apple.
The 2.3 i7 screams and I couldn't be happier.
If there is any performance gain through the fusion the 3 year warranty on both aftermarket drives is worth more to me than afew milliseconds.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 11:22 AM   #143
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After reading through the arstechnica article, it seems that the fusion drive software works independently of the file system on top of it, and independently of other parts of the operating system (this is slightly different from what I thought they did).

Apparently the fusion drive software divides the total available space on both drives into blocks of 128 KByte, and decides for each block to which drive it goes. That means moving data between the two drives is quite efficient as it always copies chunks of 128 KB. It also means this is totally independent of the files. If iTunes for example reads the album art in your music files to display it while you scroll through your music, but doesn't read the rest, than the 128KByte blocks containing the album art would move to the SSD, the rest would not. It also means that Parallels or other VM software benefits from the Fusion Drive automatically in exactly the same way.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 12:35 PM   #144
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I don't have time to read through 150 messages. Is Apple or does Apple have an external Fusion drive for older iMacs? Mine is an i7 27"(2008 I think?). The Superdrive doesn't work anymore so a new option would be nice without having to buy a whole new computer. The i7 seems to be very a good computer and an SSD woul dbe a huge upgrade (is that part of what a fusion drive is?).
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 01:09 PM   #145
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I'm genuinely curious what a medium sized iPhoto/iTunes library is. My family keeps telling me I have too many pics and too much music. ~ 95GB of the former, ~130GB of the latter.
Medium. May depend on your age: one album per month for 10 years is pretty modest for an active listener, occupying about 60GB.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 01:14 PM   #146
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When buying my mini I opted not to get the fusion drive.
For $250 I purchased a 256g Samsung drive and a
Seagate 750 momentus 7200 drive.
So when you install these in the mac mini, do you get to use "fusion drive"? How easy is it to add a drive to the mini? I replaced the HD in my iMac.. that kind of sucked but was doable.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 01:24 PM   #147
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While the Fusion Drive is certainly a fast option, i think everybody is forgetting that the iMac and the Mac Mini do not come with this option by default. It is a £200 upgrade. And what's more, the drive that it DOES come with (even the high spec iMacs come with this drive by default) is a pathetically slow (as we can see in the video on this article) 5400rpm drive. Apple should have put a 128gb SSD in the iMacs at least by default, but instead they've actually put in a drive that's a lot slower than the model it replaced. I'm not paying £200 extra on top of the already overpriced iMac to get a drive that performs the way a 2012 iMac should do. Sorry rant over.
I think the 128G SSD costs more and they need to keep the entry price down as far as possible. Obviously, Fusion Drives are very attractive, but it requires a drive and SSD memory to do it. Now, I'm not sure that the speed of the drive makes much of a difference. I wonder if there would be much of a speed difference between using a more costly faster RPM drive vs a less expensive slower RPM drive when using them in Fusion Drive mode. Which I think is the whole point in creating the Fusion drive concept. Makes a slow, less expensive drive into a fast SSD speed drive with the capacity of a traditional hard drive.

Kind of off topic, but the 1TB Seagate drives that had problems, were those 5400 or 7200 rpm drives? Does anyone know?
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 01:24 PM   #148
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I wonder if faster I/O will be a big advance for the overall speed of computers.

I remember back in the bad old days, you could easily bite off more than your computer could chew just by opening a couple of programs at once - say Netscape and Word. The hard drive would start chattering, and everything came to a grinding halt (only if you were lucky - the alternative was having the whole damn machine crash...)

We don't have to suffer through that stuff these days, with 4 gigs of ram coming standard on even the el-cheapo rigs.

But will faster data access be the next big thing in computer speed? ISTM that for most stuff, the processors used today are sufficient. The CPU used to be the bottleneck, but these days we see mid-clock range quad core CPUs even in cellphones (fer chrisskes!). The CPU is no longer the magic bullet for throughput.

So will these dazzling new data storage and retrieval capabilities be a real defining characteristic of a fast(er) computer in the near future? ISTM to be a good cheap and effective way of doing things, and I think that the speed increase could be noticeable enough to be extremely welcome.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 01:33 PM   #149
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Originally Posted by patseguin View Post
I don't have time to read through 150 messages. Is Apple or does Apple have an external Fusion drive for older iMacs? Mine is an i7 27"(2008 I think?). The Superdrive doesn't work anymore so a new option would be nice without having to buy a whole new computer. The i7 seems to be very a good computer and an SSD woul dbe a huge upgrade (is that part of what a fusion drive is?).
Apple has an external Optical drive that can be used to add an optical drive, but in terms of an external Fusion Drive? I think Apple is going to leave that up to the third party drive people like LaCie, Promise, G-Tech, Seagate, Western Digital, etc.

I'm wondering if these Fusion drives would help in a RAID array for the large storage solutions.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by bruinsrme View Post
When buying my mini I opted not to get the fusion drive.
For $250 I purchased a 256g Samsung drive and a
Seagate 750 momentus 7200 drive. Both with a 3 year warranty as opposed to the 1 year from apple.
The 2.3 i7 screams and I couldn't be happier.
If there is any performance gain through the fusion the 3 year warranty on both aftermarket drives is worth more to me than afew milliseconds.
Well, the AppleCare warranty is far superior to any standard warranty coming from these component suppliers, since Apple answer their phones quickly, and they also cover EVERYTHING and AppleCare on a MacMini is only about $50 a year and is transferable to the new owner should you decide to sell it and upgrade. Third party turns out sometimes be a coin toss as to the reliability because they aren't always tested to the same level that Apple has components tested. I've had name brand memory, etc. fail more often than Apple labeled memory, drives. Unfortunately, we can't spec out ZERO defect platters or have the memory test to certain number of passes with zero errors. If you've good luck with third party, consider yourself lucky. I know it costs more, but I would rather circumvent the finger pointing and have the "one throat to chock" concept.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 01:35 PM   #150
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thefourthpope View Post
I'm genuinely curious what a medium sized iPhoto/iTunes library is. My family keeps telling me I have too many pics and too much music. ~ 95GB of the former, ~130GB of the latter. What do you think: low, mid, high?
All the articles I can find reference services like TuneUp, whose users will necessarily have larger collections than the average.[COLOR="#808080"]
Pretty high for both.

But so what? In today's world, that is irrelevant.

Buy yourself a nice 3 Terabyte external drive, attach it to your home network, and triple the size of your collection. If you are the least bit creative, you could then have your entire collection available to you wherever there's a web browser handy, with no loss of privacy and no monthly fees for any "cloud" bullsh.t.

These days, massive storage is cheap. I've started using .flac files for music, because it makes no sense to lose the quality just to save on storage space. Not anymore.

Hell - buy two multi-terrabit drives and put them in a simple rack on your bookshelf, ready for another to be hot-swapped in there when you need it. Something like that is no more than several hundred dollars to buy, and a fun mini-project to set up.

If you want easy and somewhat cheap, check this out from the Apple website:

URL="http://store.apple.com/us/product/H8282VC/A/western-digital-4tb-my-book-thunderbolt-duo-dual-drive-storage-system][/URL]

Six Terabyte, Seven Hundred buck. So for a few hundred bucks, you could offload everything onto your own private little world, in which you would have multiples more free space than used space, where you could store everything and anything, and be able to call it up from any computer in the world, just like it was on your local hard drive.

Tell your family that you have a solution for their problem, and that all your excessive "stuff" is going into a little magic box where they will never be concerned with it again.

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