500GB HD to big? Upkeep?

KevKaos

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 1, 2006
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Baltimore, Maryland USA
I am a PC user who is looking to switch to a 20" iMac. I would like to get a nice big hard drive in it, but I wonder if 500GBs is to big? Really what I am asking is what is the upkeep like on a 500GB hard disk. I ask because a 500 in a PC could be a nightmare if you don't have a super fast processor. I usually have to defrag my current disk (on the PC) at least once a month to avoid serious problems. Seems to me that when I used to work with Macs many years ago, you had to defrag them from time to time. I am just trying to get an idea if 500GB is going to be a pain or not. I can use the space. I plan to try and put all my CD's into iTunes, I download and save a few video podcasts and I plan on doing some home movie projects. Thank you for any advice you may be able to offer.
 

rogersmj

macrumors 68020
Sep 10, 2006
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Indianapolis, IN
Too big? No way. You're worrying about this way too much. It's not any harder on the processor than the 250GB. I can't say for sure about defragging, but I'm quite certain that at least you don't have to do it as often as in Windows, if at all. You won't have a single bit of performance difference (outside of any minor variations between the hard disk models themselves) between the 250 and 500.
 

Karpfish

macrumors 6502a
Sep 24, 2006
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no defragging eeded on macs. i dont see why it would be any different than a 160gb drive
 

xUKHCx

Administrator emeritus
Jan 15, 2006
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The Kop
Osx "defraggs" on the fly if the file is over 20 mb (IIRC). So it is not really an issue, i have been using macs for 2 years now and have never "defragged". It is really a non issue.
 

KevKaos

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 1, 2006
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Baltimore, Maryland USA
xUKHCx said:
Osx "defraggs" on the fly if the file is over 20 mb (IIRC). So it is not really an issue, i have been using macs for 2 years now and have never "defragged". It is really a non issue.
I thought I had heard that defrags are not needed on Macs, but wasn't sure. Sounds much like Unix. Either way, that is great news.

I guess my other question would be how well does Mac OsX handle working from external drives? Again, in PCs, working from an external drive can be a pain. Lets say I wanted to have all my iTunes music, videos and podcasts on my external drive, is that something a Mac can't handle rather seemlessly? On a PC, you sometimes can't do things like that easily because the Mac loses its links. Of course real Widows Gurus can probably do it, but I am looking to a Mac for ease after way to many years of fighting with my PC.
 

arkitect

macrumors 603
Sep 5, 2005
5,909
5,486
Bath, United Kingdom
KevKaos said:
I guess my other question would be how well does Mac OsX handle working from external drives? Again, in PCs, working from an external drive can be a pain. Lets say I wanted to have all my iTunes music, videos and podcasts on my external drive, is that something a Mac can't handle rather seemlessly?
I keep my whole iTunes collection on an external LaCie FW drive. Works beautifully. Just make sure the preferences in iTunes is set up to find the library "externally"
 

rogersmj

macrumors 68020
Sep 10, 2006
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Indianapolis, IN
KevKaos said:
On a PC, you sometimes can't do things like that easily because the Mac loses its links.
:confused: Huh?

At any rate, working with external drives on a Mac is very easy. Lots of people keep their music and videos on external drives. The volume mounting in OS X is much more robust than Windows.
 

sunfast

macrumors 68020
Oct 14, 2005
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London
arkitect said:
I keep my whole iTunes collection on an external LaCie FW drive. Works beautifully. Just make sure the preferences in iTunes is set up to find the library "externally"
My iTunes library is on a 250GB USB2 external and it works fine. ExternalTunes is quite useful if you are using an external for your library
 

NATO

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2005
1,692
28
Northern Ireland
500GB too big? I'm finding 500GB is not big enough :p

For a home user though, 500GB is probably more than enough. Get as much as you can afford, you WILL eventually use it.
 

KevKaos

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 1, 2006
400
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Baltimore, Maryland USA
As always, lots of really good advice on this site. I am limping along right now with a 60GB hard drive on my PC. I do have a USB2 100GB external drive that I intend to use with the Mac when I get it.

Here's another question. On a Mac with an exteranl drive, can you install a program on the external drive and run it from there? This is one of the things I have always had problems doing on a PC.
 

iMeowbot

macrumors G3
Aug 30, 2003
8,636
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KevKaos said:
Here's another question. On a Mac with an exteranl drive, can you install a program on the external drive and run it from there? This is one of the things I have always had problems doing on a PC.
Maybe. Each program does its own thing. Many applications run just fine from any drive, but some install system-wide libraries and need to install at least part of their stuff on the boot volume.

Drag-to-install programs (i.e. no installer) are usually happy to be placed anywhere. A few won't operate properly unless they are placed in the Applications folder on the boot volume. This may or may not be documented. You will simply need to grow a pair, stop crying "oh oh, I'm afraid of the big scary external drive, whatever shall I do?", and try it.

Programs that use installers do normally tell you if you can put their contents on an alternative volume.