External Drive Plan for Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Howard54, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. Howard54 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    #1
    I am new to Mac and have a Mini with a 320G hard drive. I am used to Windows desktops where I just kept adding additional and larger internal or external disk drives and get the accompanying new disk drive letters when I add new storage. I am trying to devise the proper scheme for adding disk drive capacity to my mini.

    From what I have read, the best solution seems to be to leave the original 320G drive in place and then add one or more external hard drives as needed. As I understand it, the new drive(s) will show up in the Finder's Devices section but any data, documents, photos, etc. on the external drive would show up in the appropriate Places section without regard to which physical disk it was located on. In other words, the added external drives would become just part of a pool of total storage as far as Places are concerned, even though the new drives would show up as separate listings in the Devices section of Finder. Is this a correct understanding? If so, if I added a second external drive (either daisy chained or separately attached) I assume it would simply be added to the total storage pool similar to the first external drive added. Do all applications need to be installed on the internal Macintosh HD drive, or can they be installed on the external drive, and is there a performance hit if an application is installed on an external drive?

    Is this the proper way to plan for external drive expansion, or is there a better way?

    Also, I assume that Time Machine backs up data on both internal and external drives as part of its backup scheme.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. agentphish, Dec 25, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2010

    agentphish macrumors 65816

    agentphish

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    #2
    This is incorrect. Data resides on the drive in which it is saved. Not in a "pool". That is true of any computer unless you were running some sort of system with a RAID setup or "Drive Extender" (I think thats what they call it for Windows Home Server)

    Each drive is it's own separate area of storage on a Mac. Unless you are using a RAID.

    See attached photo. It's how my Mac Mini looks with my drives plugged in. I have 2 1TB WD FW800 drives chained to my MacMini. They each have several partitions for boot/installs/storage space, which is why you see so many drives that seem to be attached. In reality it's only 2 physical drives.
    drives.png

    Edit: forgot to attach photo
     
  3. lythium macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Location:
    IL
    #3
    The solution you are looking for is a RAID configuration. Not really an option with external drives. RAID requires a raid controller, unless someones invented a usb raid controller.

    Your best bet is go with external storage and just use that for media(itunes, movies, pics, porn), and use the external for apps(OSX, FF, Etc).
     
  4. Dalton63841 macrumors 65816

    Dalton63841

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2010
    Location:
    SEMO, USA
    #4
    Actually Disk Utility can make a software raid of external disks, mirrored, striped, or concatenated.

    However what the OP is talking about actually sounds more like ZRAID, which is native to Solaris.
     
  5. agentphish macrumors 65816

    agentphish

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    #5
    OP sounds like he's talking about Windows Drive Extender technology which I guess is a software RAID type solution from what I'm reading.
     
  6. lythium macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Location:
    IL
    #6
    True, but if you software raid with an external drive and then unplug said drive, the box will probably not respond kindly. I believe that tool's purpose is more for internal drives like the new mini with dual 500s for example.
     
  7. Dalton63841 macrumors 65816

    Dalton63841

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2010
    Location:
    SEMO, USA
    #7
    Oh yea...Disk Utility doesn't like that. If you RAID with Disk Utility, it should stay plugged in. I just meant that it can be done.
     

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