External Hard Drive for media? Powered or unpowered?

DaGrandMastah

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 19, 2011
634
13
I'm getting ready to buy a new iMac to replace my old 2011 iMac and plan to move all of my media files (music, movies, comics, etc) to an external hard drive. It's where I'll store my entire iTunes media library.

I have a couple of questions that I was hoping someone could answer:

1. Should I go with a regular powered or usb powered HDD? ie a 4 tb portable or a 4 tb powered hard drive
2. Does it make sense to spring for a Thunderbolt USB C drive or would a regular USB 3.0 drive suffice?

https://www.amazon.com/LaCie-Rugged-Thunderbolt-Portable-STEV2000400/dp/B0718XFV2M/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1509251985&sr=8-3&keywords=external+hard+drive+thunderbolt&th=1
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,170
5,529
USB3 is all you need. Don't waste your money on thunderbolt. For a single external drive, there will be no noticeable speed differences between them. A USB3 enclosure (that is specifically stated to support "UASP") might even be FASTER.

That said, I doubt you're going to find any drive larger than 2tb that can be "bus powered".
And those that -are- will be 2.5" drives.
I'm not sure what the "limits" of bus power are. This really depends on the drive, the enclosure, etc.
You'd better figure on having some kind of "external power block" for such a drive.

I see that there are 2.5" 4tb drives available now. I have no experience with them, however.

Insofar as external drives go, I don't buy "ready-built" drives (that is, a drive already in an enclosure that you take out of the package and plug in).

Instead, if I need a drive, I buy a SATA "bare" drive, an enclosure, and assemble it myself. The advantage of doing it this way is that I get to choose the drive I want and the enclosure I want, and enclosures bought this way are easy to "get into and out of" when necessary.

You didn't tell us just how much space you're currently using for your media files.

IMPORTANT:
IF you move these files to an external drive, then you're going to need at least one more external drive to serve as a backup. Having the files on one drive only IS NOT ENOUGH. If you lose that drive, where are the files going to be?

So, once you settle on the drive/enclosure you want, you will need to buy TWO of them.
Your "primary external storage", and your "external backup".

I recommend a disk cloning app (such as CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper) to maintain such an external backup. Fast and easy.
 
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DaGrandMastah

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 19, 2011
634
13
USB3 is all you need. Don't waste your money on thunderbolt. For a single external drive, there will be no noticeable speed differences between them. A USB3 enclosure (that is specifically stated to support "UASP") might even be FASTER.

That said, I doubt you're going to find any drive larger than 2tb that can be "bus powered".
And those that -are- will be 2.5" drives.
I'm not sure what the "limits" of bus power are. This really depends on the drive, the enclosure, etc.
You'd better figure on having some kind of "external power block" for such a drive.

I see that there are 2.5" 4tb drives available now. I have no experience with them, however.

Insofar as external drives go, I don't buy "ready-built" drives (that is, a drive already in an enclosure that you take out of the package and plug in).

Instead, if I need a drive, I buy a SATA "bare" drive, an enclosure, and assemble it myself. The advantage of doing it this way is that I get to choose the drive you want and the enclosure I want, and enclosures bought this way are easy to "get into and out of" when necessary.

You didn't tell us just how much space you're currently using for your media files.

IMPORTANT:
IF you move these files to an external drive, then you're going to need at least one more external drive to serve as a backup. Having the files on one drive only IS NOT ENOUGH. If you lose that drive, where are the files going to be?

So, once you settle on the drive/enclosure you want, you will need to buy TWO of them.
Your "primary external storage", and your "external backup".

I recommend a disk cloning app (such as CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper) to maintain such an external backup. Fast and easy.
Thanks for the reply. Way ahead of you on the backup.

I already have 1 4 tb drive that will be used as my backup drive...Time Machine is my friend!

Thanks for the heads up though - I guess I'll look for some 3.0 drives come Black Friday. Works out since I'll probably be able to get 2 for the price of one of those thunderbolt ones.