2TB external hard drive options, which is best?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by aperantos, Jul 14, 2009.

  1. aperantos macrumors member

    Feb 18, 2008
    I have a 1TB MyBook Home which is used to store photographs (raw files and the big edited TIFFs) and my iTunes library which is now full. So I am looking at getting another TB of storage, plus the same again for backup.

    As I only have a MacBook I am looking at Firewire 400 solutions, at least for the main drive, and have narrowed it down to these options:

    1) MyBook Home II 2TB - This is the 2TB version of what I have now, so it would become my main drive. My Current one will then become the backup drive, along with the pair of 500GB drives onto which it is currently backed up. [Cost: £196.59]

    2) MyBook Studio II 2TB - The same as the above option, except it contains 2x 1TB drives in a RAID 0 configuration. Although stripping offers no resiliency, it is no worse than the single drive solution. [Cost: £195.09]

    3) A pair of MyBook Home II 1TB - One would just simply be the backup for the other. [Cost: £185.28]

    4) MyBook Home II 1TB plus WD Elements 1TB - As a backup drive the Elements would only be connected when syncing, so I can accept it being USB only. It would be faster to sync than connecting it over the same firewire connection anyway. [Cost: £161.60]

    The last option is simply being considered because it is the cheapest. It, along with option 3, is also a 'collect in store' option so I could get it today without waiting on shipping

    Otherwise though there is not much price difference between the first three options, I am just not sure which is best way of going: single drive, stripped drives, or physically separate drives?

    Option 3 should be more resilient as one drive failure will not affect the other half. But it means another device to plug in, both to the mains and my single firewire connection, and will take up more space.

    Incidentally, although I could set the Studio to work in RAID 1 and essentially act as its own backup, I want to be able to keep the backups in a different location to the main drive so this is not an option.

    Any suggestions would be most appreciated.


  2. carlosbutler macrumors 6502a


    Feb 24, 2008
    London City
    If you photographs are already on the external hard drives i would recommend that you get two, 1tb hard drives. this is because if one of them does fail, it means to still have the other one. when i mean fail, i dont just mean the hard drive but anything, ie connections, power supply whatever.

    if you were to only have one 2tb drive, if one of the drives inside failed it might still work but if anything else fails you may be left with a working hard drive with no access to it
  3. aperantos thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 18, 2008
    Well everything will be backed up whichever option I take. I currently have a 1TB drive which is backed up onto a pair of 500GB drives. So if I buy one of the 2TB drive then my current ones will simply become the backup to the new one.

    The advantage of two drives only seems to be that in the event of one failing it would be quicker to recover, as I would only need to restore up to 1TB onto a replacement. But this is such a minor problem it is not something I see as much benefit.

    Otherwise the two drive solution is cheaper, but means more cables and plugs etc. So I am not sure whether a single unit would be better, and if so whether it is better to go for one with a single drive, or whether a stripped pair would be better?

  4. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    I would go with numero dos, You seem to have made my argument for me.
  5. cube macrumors Pentium

    May 10, 2004
    If you only have 2 1TB drives, you'll only have 1 TB of storage if you want redundancy.

    If you use 2 1TB drives without redundancy, the probability of losing everything is double than if you had a single drive with double the capacity and the same reliability characteristics as one of the drives in the pair.

    If you use RAID 5 with 3 drives, you only lose 33% of the raw capacity (so, with 3 1TB drives you actually get 2TB of storage).
  6. aperantos thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 18, 2008
    Thanks, thegoldenmackid.

    That is a fair point, but I want protection against fire and theft as well as simply failure. So although it is inefficient and means manually syncing everything, this way I can put the backup drives in a fire safe.

  7. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    Buying an enclosure that can hold either a two disk RAID of two 1TB drives, or an enclosure that can hold a single 2TB drive is cheaper and gives you much better hardware. Judging by the fact that you plan on keeping the drive in a safe, I would assume physical space is a premium, so a 1 x 2TB drive solution is best. I would recommend taking the drive out of the enclosure and place it in an anti-static bag while it is in the safe to save space.

    Plastic cases can't expel heat and risk destroying the drives inside, so it is better to find your own aluminum enclosure.
  8. Tterb macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2009
    In that case, you should consider an ioSafe Solo - these eHDDs are waterproof, fireproof and can be bolted to the floor (I really want one of their NAS units but, alas, they are a bit beyond my budget!).

    Should you choose to do this, be sure to carefully check the specs of the safe. Some get pretty darned hot inside, even tho' they are advertized as being fireproof. Example (copied from here):


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