Advice for External drive setup with new 5K iMac

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by nszasz, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. nszasz macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2015
    Ordered a new 5K iMac recently and want to rebuild a new workflow around it.
    (i7 cpu with 256 SSD) - couldn't getting a larger internal drive as had to keep cost of the single machine under a limit for tax reasons.

    Mostly general computing plus getting into photography with Aperture (for now) and RAW files, might switch to LightRoom. So thinking I want a fast external drive. I'm guessing 1TB directly connected to the new 5K iMac. Looking for advice on selecting one of those.

    But also have about 1 TB of other data I'd like to be able to access at any time on the iMac, but high speed not really needed.

    Also have 2 Airs which we want to have backed up with Time Machine regularly.

    I want to have an automated backup process for all three machines - so guessing Time Machine. The fast external drive will hold precious photos - so want a non-Time machine, direct copy backup of that.

    Currently use an older Airport Express (n) - so was thinking to get a new Time capsule 3TB as a central BU device and speedier (ac) wifi router.

    Before I do - can someone recommend a better way. Budget is not too tight - but don't want to over spend beyond what does the job well. Quiet and reliable are important. Not really thinking of cloud backup but will use Apple's future iCloud for extra backup of photos.

    Thanks in advance.

    (finally - live overseas, and was thinking of buying from OWC as they appear to ship where I am - but not limited to them)

  2. MCAsan, Feb 18, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015

    MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    fast expensive drive......1TB SSD over Thunderbolt (more expensive would be an SSD RAID 0 array)
    good not so expensive....RAID 0 drive array over TB1 or 2 (build it with 6TB drives)

    In either case, don't forget the separate backup drives for Time Machine or CCC.

    I have a LaCie 2Big 6TB RAID 0) via TB1 and chained behind it is a LaCie d2 6TB for TM backups. As soon as the warranty is over on my 2Big in August, I will replace the two 3TB drives with two 6TB drives and run the array as RAID 1)
  3. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    Time Capsule will cover backups for the new iMac and 2 Macbook Airs.

    If you want to go hard, get an OWC Thunderbay 4, a NewerTech AdaptaDrive (to put a 2.5" SSD into a 3.5" drive bay) a 1TB SSD (either Crucial M550 or Samsung 850 Pro/EVO), then drop in a regular 3.5" drive or two into the spare drive bays (there are 4 bays to make use of). Use a spare hard drive to run a direct time machine backup, another to clone your work (SSD) drive.

    Drive manufacturers I would recommend: HGST or Toshiba.
  4. nszasz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2015
    Thanks for that - sounds good.
  5. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    I use a ThunderBay IV with my RiMac which has the 1TB SSD internally for OS X.

    In the ThunderBay IV:

    A) 512 GB SSD for Windows 8 (bootable and virtual machine shared)
    B) spare (actually has another 512 GB SSD for scratch use)
    C) 4 TB hard disk partitioned as:
    -- -- 1 TB bootable daily clone of internal SSD
    -- -- 3 TB for storage of archive data, music, video, etc.
    D) 6 TB hard disk for TimeMachine backup

    I keep another TimeMachine backup on a remote NAS as well.
  6. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    TB SSD is nice, but RAID0 two 7200 RPM rotational drives provides about the same performance.

    I compared the performance of a 512GB Samsung 850 pro SSD to a pair of 2TB Seagate enterprise drives in RAID0 for working storage and libraries in a OWC thunderbay enclosure. I don't notice any difference in performance in a more demanding video editing and transcode workflows than you would find in your image editing. The RAID0 set is 4TB of fast heavy duty working storage for less money than a 512GB SSD. If you need faster, put three rotational drives in RAID0.... but for photo editing dunno if you would notice. If you were working with a Mac Pro instead of an iMac, perhaps a different story.

    So think about a OWC thunderbay with two drives configured with software (disk utility) RAID0, and a large NAS type drive for backup. A SSD (at least 512GB) for scratch would be handy but not necessary. Don't backup the scratch as thats just temp stuff, and use something like CCC to backup the 4TB RAID0 set to a 5TB drive. There are dozens of was to skin the cat, but this works well for me.

    Stay away from USB3, too quirky.
  7. nszasz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2015
    Interesting to hear this. True, I'm deal mostly with photo data (not video) - so maybe should consider a plan with fast HDs - at least for the next couple of years. Certainly faster than what I have now and SSD prices will drop - and i can switch then if I want.

  8. nszasz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2015
    RAID 5 (Stripe with Parity) - opinions?

    Just came across RAID 5 (Stripe with Parity) on the OWC website.
    Seems appealing, but how is it the real world. Is it working out well for users?

    Now considering their ThunderBay 4 RAID 5 Edition 8tb

  9. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    This test shows a RiMac with a ThunderBay IV with 4 ea. Seagate 3TB disks using SoftRAID in RAID-5 configuration.

    Attached Files:

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