Best external HD for iTunes/media storage?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by 50548, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. 50548 Guest

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    Apr 17, 2005
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    Currently in Switzerland
    #1
    Guys, my iTunes library is always getting bigger (almost 150Gb now) and I am looking for an external HD from a reputable brand, with at least 2Tb but preferably 4Tb.

    My simple question is: WHAT do you recommend for my Intel iMac? My preferences would go in the following direction:

    - FW800 capable, preferably with daisy-chain;
    - fast HD, at least 7200RPM;
    - silent;
    - good aluminum-like design;
    - RAID1 perhaps?

    I already have a LaCie Quadra 1Tb and am very happy with it - what are your thoughts on a second external HD? Thanks in advance!
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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  3. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #3
    If you want +3TB of storage, then don't go RAID 1 as that is a mirror setup so 2x2TB drives would only give you an array of 2TB. What you might want to consider is RAID 0 or JBOD which both will give you 4TB with 2x2TB (RAID 0 is more vulnerable).
     
  4. 50548 thread starter Guest

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    #4
    Problem is, I've been reading about the risks of RAID0 - do you guys know whether this would be LESS reliable than a normal HD set-up? Or is it just about the same risk?
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #5
    Well, if one of the HDs in the array fails, all data is lost so yes, it is twice as vulnerable as a single HD. The other hard drive(s) will still be functional though so you would just have to get a new drive and create a new array.

    Other option is JBOD which creates a virtual disk but in case one of the drives fails, only the data in that drive is lost. However, you don't get to decide what goes to what drive, I think.

    Either way, no matter what you choose, always have a backup of all your data.
     
  6. And1ss macrumors 6502a

    And1ss

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    #6
    To me, I wouldn't go for RAID0...too risky imho. I would either go with RAID1 or RAID5. But with RAID5, you need at least three drives with one serving as a redundant drive = less total space (3x1tb=2tb total)
     
  7. 50548 thread starter Guest

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    #7
    So if I understand correctly, RAID1 on 4Tb would mean 2Tb of REAL storage? What about RAID5?
     
  8. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #8
    Yes. RAID 1 is mirror so everything that goes to the drive #1, also goes to the drive #2 (and 3, 4, 5... if there are more drive in the array).

    RAID 5 offers more security as one of the drives in the array is used for parity. One of the drive in the array can fail and no data is lost. The downside is that while RAID 0 and 1 can be done with Disk Utility, RAID 5 requires hardware RAID which adds up extra cost. You would need a 4-bay enclosure at least and a good one will easily cost 200-300$, without the drives. Add some 2TBs and you are easily looking at close to 500$.

    If you don't mind spending that much, then sure go ahead. It is a good option.
     
  9. And1ss macrumors 6502a

    And1ss

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    #9
    Yep 2x2tb on RAID 1 = 2tb of real space, but in this case if one drive is destroyed, everything is retained on the other drive..so pretty safe.

    As for RAID5, the person above made a good explanation above. RAID5 is technically best served with a hardware RAID controller = a bit more expensive. The general configuration of RAID5 enclosures are 4bay so either 4x500gb = 2tb total (1.5tb real), 4x1tb=4tb (3tb real), 4x2tb=8tb (6tb total), 4x3tb=12tb (9tb real). Also, it is not recommended to have mismatching drives like 1tb w/ 500gb, etc. So you want identical drives. With RAID5, you can tolerate one drive failure, but if two, you are kinda out of luck.
     
  10. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #10
    I've been using LaCie Little Big Disk back when 160GB was the largest 2.5" drive. http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?pid=11623

    Firewire bus powered portable RAID. SSD / thunderbolt version coming out in summer.

    Like all external drives, just wait awhile after ejecting before unplugging, so drives can spin down.
     
  11. 50548, Mar 22, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011

    50548 thread starter Guest

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    #11
    Thank you all for the advice and explanations; RAID5 is surely overkill for my needs, but RAID1 seems reasonable enough (I am probably going with LaCie again, as they've never let me down).

    Now my question is whether to wait for the new iMacs with bigger HDs and TB (in this case I would sell my current one), or simply go with the external HD...tough nut to crack! ;)

    p.s.1: another thing: I currently my LaCie Quadra disk with FW800 - can I daisy-chain it with another FW800 HD without incurring any performance loss? Tks!

    p.s.2: why, oh why do we have LaCie offering a TB HD with SSDs only? I want TB with 2Tb or 4Tb capacities, NOT less! Any technical reason for this?
     
  12. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #12
    If you are accessing both devices at the same time, then you may see a performance loss since FW800 is limited to about 80MB/s in real world and two HDs can definitely provide more than that.

    I wouldn't say anything until they are actually out. Might be that LaCie is showing the SSD version as a flagship model. Also, Promise is releasing HD versions at least.
     

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