Different external hard drives explained.

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by knarzie, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. knarzie macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2008
    Yes I have read a lot of the threads on this topic, but I still have a couple of questions (bear with me)...

    During my search for external storage solutions for the Mac mini that will arrive in 15 days, I have come across 3 different types of external HDs

    1. The basic ones, such as




    2. The ones that seem to be identical to the basic ones in terms of capability, but in more fancy enclosures, such as the g technology g force, or this one


    3. The ones with more storage (4TB+) and RAID capabilities, such as


    I realise some of the price difference are due to connectivity, but I am fine with USB3, no need for thunderbolt or FireWire.

    My usage: i will use them for a big shared itunes library, iphoto library possibly, movies, and timemachind backups from 2 MBAs. I'll probably leave the mini on 24/7 to access the itunes library.

    I will have them inside a cupboard underneath my tv, connected to a Mac mini. Does that mean I should go for type 2 rather than 1, as they have more sophisticated cooling mechanisms?

    RAID: was is this, and is it of any use for my usage? My initial instinct is that I rather just clone everything once a week or something like that for backup belong time machine.

    I've completely ignored NAS because its not practical for me to attach anything to my router, so attaching storage to the mini seems the way to go.

    Also ignored anything self built, because I'm lazy.

    Thank you for reading!
  2. WesCole macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2010
    First, any USB 3 drive would be fine for you. Now, it just comes down to how much storage you need. They sell some very large single drives if that is what you need to store all of your media.

    Regarding RAID, the only type of RAID that would benefit you is RAID 1. It is basically just two drives of the same size with identical data on them. This is in case one of the drives fail, the other drive will still have your data. Depending on how important or unrecoverable your data is, it might be a good option (although more expensive).

    I have a 3 TB drive that holds all my media connected to my iMac via FW800 and it works fine. I also use CrashPlan online backup services to backup my media, so I have no need for RAID 1.
  3. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Personally I use a LaCie 2BIG 6TB running in RAID 1 for my iTunes, photos, movies, documents...etc. My backup is to a 3TB Time Capsule. The combo works well for me.
  4. knarzie thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2008
    probably a silly questions but here it goes. All the hard drives with RAID capabilities are more expensive than the ones that aren't. Why is a 6TB LaCie 2Big better than getting 2x cheaper 3TB externals and just cloning one onto the other once a day/week?
  5. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    RAID 1 is real time via a controller. If one drives dies the other continues to be active. You can not do that with two independent drives. Also both drives are constantly being updated.
  6. mawyatt macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2012
    MacMall has the LaCie 2Big 4TB Thunderbolt refurb for $299, half price of the "new" one. I have two and they are very nice drives, and both have new (date code 2/2012) Seagate 7200rpm Barracuda drives, 2 in each box. These LaCie's 2Big are more than the USB drives, but the refurb helps. Seemed like good deal to me. You can configure each as a RAID 0 or 1, or combine them into a RAID 0 or 1. I have them setup up as a combined RAID 0, and Black Magic indicates 500M R/W speeds.
  7. knarzie thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2008
    Sounds good. No such offers here in the UK I am afraid. The 6TB version is almost as much as the mini itself.

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