External drive with new iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by timcullis, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. timcullis macrumors member

    Oct 9, 2012
    I'm fairly new to Apple and after a couple of months using a MacBook Air I'm ready to take the next step on the long conversion from our Windows network by buying one of the hopefully forthcoming new iMacs.

    I have large media libraries so probably need 2TB disk space. But I love the speed of the SSD in the MB Air, so I'm thinking of getting a model with 256GB SSD then adding an external third-party disk drive that will be dedicated to the iMac.

    Some questions (please excuse the neophyte nature of these):
    - what is the best interface - USB3, Thunderbolt?
    - how does OS X determine where files will be stored?
    - if I have to determine what goes where, what's the best strategy?
    - will Time Machine automatically include the external drive in backups?

  2. canman4PM macrumors 6502


    Mar 8, 2012
    Kelowna BC
    I can answer a couple of those questions.

    -I assume Thunderbolt would be best overall, but it maybe more expensive than it's worth - I don't know much about TB, but that it's way faster and daisy chainable.

    -All OSs tell assign an electronic "address" to things when they're first loaded into the computer. You may have noticed this at times when using a download wizard of some kind or other, asking if you want to specify a location for whatever it is you are downloading.

    -Best bet from what I've read/seen is to put the apps/OS, etc on the SSD and the data/files (pics, video, music, etc) on the HDD.

    -As soon as you plug in the HDD, Time Machine will ask if you want to use the drive as a back up drive. Just answer no.

    Others will, no doubt, correct me if I made any errors.
  3. Dr FranknFurter, Oct 23, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012

    Dr FranknFurter macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2012
    Cambridge UK
    Hi Tim

    I also have a Macbook Air and i'm planning on getting a new iMac IF they ever come out:D

    I brought a Western Digital My passport USB 3 drive as its quick, quiet and relatively cheap. It's a given that the new iMac with have USB 3 so I will then be able to use the drive with both machines.

    Also it's easy enough to buy a WD (or other) formated for Windows and simply reformat using your Air to Mac OS X Entended (journaled) that's exactly what i did as the same drive from apple was 10-15% more expensive

    As above poster a TB drive is faster than USB 3 but it's way more expensive, not much choice and unless you are read/writting very large files continuously I doubt you will see much difference in speed.
  4. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
  5. timcullis thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 9, 2012
    Well, I guess today's announcement with the new Fusion drive answered my questions.

  6. b06tmm macrumors regular


    Jul 23, 2009
    South Louisiana
    Hi Tim,

    I just picked up a maxed out 27" iMac.

    3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    16GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM -4x4GB
    2TB Serial ATA Drive+256GB SSD
    AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB GDDR5

    I was also concerned about keeping just the OS, applications and library files on the SSD for speed, and my data on the internal 2TB drive.

    What I did was create a symlink (symbolic link) to the data (documents, music, movies, pictures, etc.) on HDD2 as per this post here: http://mattgemmell.com/2011/06/21/using-os-x-with-an-ssd-plus-hdd-setup/.

    So far, everything is working great! I did my first Time Machine backup this morning and everything I had linked copied over to my external drive. I'm still in the process of installing all of my apps and preferences again, but that's half the fun.


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