Advice on large scale storage solutions for Macs

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by shai-hulud, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. shai-hulud macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    #1
    Hi. Hope I'm posting in the right place. Been lurking here for about a year - long term powerbook user, finally got rid of my XP desktop and went completely Apple in December when buying a new iMac. Life is good, apart from one small issue that is causing me no end of grief, and something, I hope, that you good people might be able to assist with.

    750G isn't enough storage space. On my Windows desktop I had close to 2 terabytes of internal storage, yet that obviously isn't possible with an iMac. So I've been thinking external. This is where the fun starts. Disregarding NAS and time capsules for the time being, I thought I'd be happy with a few massive firewire drives (eSATA would have been nice, but alas we aren't quite there yet).

    However, I've got so many old internal SATA (and IDE) drives lying about from my Windows days I thought it would be nice to save a few bucks and incorporate these into my new setup. So I began investigating the wonderful world of drive caddies / enclosures (not sure on the correct terminology...) and found...not much. There seems to be very limited information out there on this type of setup, especially with Macs. Many of the manufacturers are unknown to me, so I have no idea what the quality of such a device would be like, and reviews I've read have been mixed. Can anyone recommend a decent solution, preferably one that incorporates firewire 800 and keeps noise levels reasonable? I don't mind a bit of fan activity, as long as it doesn't sound like a jet engine is taking off in my room.

    Speaking of fans...how reliable is this kind of setup? How likely is it that an internal drive, housed externaly, will meet a sticky end in a puddle of meltedness / random death? They can seemingly take a fair bit of heat when housed in a tower setup, but I have no idea how robust these things really are (I'm guessing a lot of it comes down to quality of the product you buy - is anyone able to recommend anything in particular / have any horror stories?)

    I thought this setup might be cheaper than buying an out of the box 1TBish external drive, but the saving isn't as great as I'd have thought. A lot of the products I've looked at seem horrendously overpriced considering all you're getting is a home for a hard drive, a connection method and a fan...or is there more to it than that?

    Ideally I'm looking for something that can house around four drives, but I can drop lower if the overall solution is more reliable / quieter / cheaper and buy en masse instead...I'm assuming there shouldn't be a problem daisy chaining such devices (although I've heard this can cause issues with firewire speeds...not sure if this relates to specific products or is a problem in general). I was eyeing up the drobo (again seems a tad on the pricey side for something that is seemingly little more than a glorified drive bay) but with USB as the only connection method this has put me off somewhat.

    Are there any Mac friendly firewire 800, cost effective, reasonably quiet alternatives to the drobo out there from reliable manufacturers? I'm not too concerned about RAID and all that, as I have backups of backups as it is. I'm based in the UK, but I guess I can always import if the right product is out there. Apologies for the essay, hope my questions are appropriate for the forum / site and any suggestions (or redirections) would be gratefully received!
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #2
    Mixing IDE and SATA drives in one enclosure is probably going to be difficult (although perhaps not impossible). There are a number of potential solutions out there, for example this. This company makes similar products for SATA, but they don't seem to make any that allow mix&match...
     
  3. shai-hulud thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    #3
    I'm not too fussed about mixing and matching SATA and IDE (seperate solutions for each would be fine, but it's the SATA drives I'm more interested in). The Stardom box you've linked is the kind of thing I'm looking for, but I have a terrible feeling it's going to sound like a vacuum cleaner. Do you have any experience with them, in terms of reliability / ease of use etc?

    Thanks for the reply, appreciated!
     
  4. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #4
    I use the same companies single-drive Ice Docks. They are fanless, work perfectly and have been perfectly reliable (no failures amongst my 3 or the approx 10 in use with friends). But I've never used their larger solutions...
     
  5. Jebaloo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    #5
    You should maybe have a look at Drobo. This may be of use to you.
     
  6. shai-hulud thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    #6
    Looked I have. It's great, apart from the lack of firewire 800. :(
     

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