Best Backup Scheme


macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 27, 2012
I have a MBPr and Thunderbolt display. I just ordered a Lacie Thunderbolt external hard dive which I will use for mostly a working drive for images with Lightroom.

For backup with Time Machine would I be better off using an external USB hard drive or another Lacie Thunderbolt drive? The display has USB 2 ports and the MBPr has USB 3 ports. The USB drives are lower cost but I don't want to bogg things down with the USB 2 drives, I know USB 3 drives are fast (I am using a small Hitachi 7200rpm USB 3 drive now). Using the Display USB ports for the USB drives would be nice since the MBPr would only need the Thunderbolt cable from the Display to connect up. I guess my question is would the USB 2 external backup slow things down, or should I use the MBPr USB 3 port, or just bite the bullet and get another Thunderbolt drive. BTW I do want to backup the Lacie as well as the MBPr internal.

Anyway, sorry for the dumb question. I am new the Mac World and trying to get started on the right foot!!

Thanks in advance,


macrumors 6502a
Apr 30, 2008
USA (Virginia)
Nice setup, and good question. My opinion, FWIW, is you should use a USB2 external drive. Preserving the single-cable setup will be worth it whenever you move your MBP, and a Thunderbolt seems way to fast (and expensive) for just a backup drive. I *think* the USB2 speed will be fine for Time Machine backups, though I can't say from experience (I use a TC). At least, if the USB2 turns out to be too slow somehow, you're not out as much money as the other options...


macrumors 65816
Apr 25, 2007
I have an external 1TB My Book with USB 2.0 and it works quite well as my Time Machine backup hard drive. It backs up my MacBook Pro every hour and I've had no problem with it's speed.

Additionally you should consider using a cloud service to make an extra backup of your most important files. I, for example, backup my personal and project documents into my Google Drive. This allows me to not only have them available from any computer and mobile device I use, but also provides me with an extra layer of backup for my most important files should my computer and external hard drive ever fail or are stolen.


macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
I use LaCie 2Big Thunderbolt 6TB set up as a RAID 1 3TB array. The backup is performed to a Time Capsule 3TB. I would not use a drive directly attached to the Mac (via thunderbolt, USB, FW) for backup. The reason is that if you every get a virus or other problem that wrecks the Mac file system, it should not hit the backup which is part of another computer's file system. So consider a Time Capsule, NAS, or other file system to backup your MAC's file system. Don't put all the eggs in one basket (file system).
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