External Hard Drive for New iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by milesc3, May 24, 2014.

  1. milesc3 macrumors member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Good Morning,

    I am somewhat new to a MAC but not to Windows, Linux, and etc. as I am a DB System Administrator in a large health care organization. I am getting ready to order a fully loaded 27" IMAC with a 512 GB SSD. I am looking for advice on a high quality HD array (probably JBOD) where I can run 2-4 drives. One drive will be Time Machine, one will be used to images using CCC, and the others will be used for miscellaneous projects. My primary concern is quality and longevity. I have read so many threads, blogs, and etc. that I'm somewhat confused on what the top of the line products really are. I will probably opt for USB 3 as opposed to TB as since I don't plant to run RAID it will likely be just as fast and probably more cost effective.

    I would appreciate any advice that you could provide me in this endeavor. Thanks in advance!
  2. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    I use a couple of Thunderbolt JBOD enclosures with mine.

    I have been using a Promise J4 which holds 4 disks of 2.5" size in which I have used 4 ea. HGST 1TB 7200rpm drives set up as a pair of RAID-0 arrays (using OS X soft-raid). Currently I have just 1 pair of the disks in RAID-0 along with a pair of 256GB SSDs also in RAID-0. I have recently seen that the J4 may be discontinued, possibly to update it to Thunderbolt-II capability. There may be stock still available at stores possibly at closeout prices.


    I just recently acquired a OWC "ThunderBay IV" which hold 4 standard 3.5" disks and is JBOD. I am still testing configurations, but will probably end up with a pair of SSDs in RAID-0 along with 2 standard hard disks.


    Both of these are very quiet and fast. :)

    Let us know what you end up with...

  3. milesc3 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Thanks for the suggestions! I am now thinking of going with Samsung SSD drives. Saw several enclosures from OWC, Lacie, and Pegasus that would likely work. I would welcome anyone's past experience with these enclosures.
  4. FreemanW, May 26, 2014
    Last edited: May 26, 2014

    FreemanW macrumors 6502

    Sep 10, 2012
    The Real Northern California
    That you are familiar with IT, you know, they make one type of hard drive, the one that's going to fail. The only question is whether you will be using it and/or if it is the only location you have stored the Holy Grail of files when it does fail.

    I have been impressed with the transfer speed of USB 3.0 (I'm aware that TB is even faster) in comparison to 2.0; and have one external USB drive for my Carbon Copy Cloner. I also have a 3TB Time Capsule that is used only (mixed environment LAN) for my Time Machine. I've just built a new Windows 7 computer that contains a 6TB RAID5 that I may utilize as NAS.

    I've recently dealt with a failing Crucial memory episode on my iMac (3TB Fusion) that included RMA replacement and a fresh install of Mavericks. Curiously enough, I did not employ the Time Machine backups but elected to utilize the CCC image on a 3TB USB 3.0 hdd.

    Just tossing things out for your thoughts.

    My suggestion would be as much redundancy as you can afford without creating confusion.

    I will say that SSD's are sweet. I elected to go with a 480GB SSD as the primary in the Win7 build.

    Ultimately, you may want to go with Enterprise platters in a nicely sized Synology enclosure.
  5. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    Keep in mind that the "trim" functionality for SSDs isn't available over a USB 3.0 interface like it is with Thunderbolt. As with all non-Apple SSD installations, you will have to enable it manually in Terminal or with a utility program such as the excellent "Trim Enabler" written by forum member Cindori. Using "Trim" with your SSDs will keep them running fast and clean when using Thunderbolt to access them. This won't be applicable if you are using hard disks, although you may experience "sleep disconnect errors" due to a bug in OS X when using USB 3.0 external drives.

  6. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Your two uses for the drives were time machine and a second backup using CCC. And SSD is kind of over kill for both because you should not care how long a backup times.

    Also the Time Machine drive really needs to be about twice as large as the data you are backing up so it has room for versions. I'd buy the largest of those WD"green drives they make which is either 3TB or 4TB. Use that for backup.

    The CCC is redundant because yourTime Machine backup will always be more up to date. A better plan is to install a second identical Time machine drive. TM will "ping pong" between the two drives and switch every hour.

    A CCC backup is not bad but don't keep in on-line. Make the CCC copy them remove it to a fire safe in some other room. An electrical problem or theft of the equipment will take the CCC backup down at the same time as the other copies. The only backup that I'd keep powered up full time is Time machine. Other backup as best kept in a safe.

    I use a "disk dock" for CCC type backups. It allows me to place a disk drive on end and write to it. The drive is only plugged in while being written to. Then it goes back in the plastic cover box and then in the safe.

    For data on an external drive SSD is good but the size is limited. Get which ever works. But remember that the Time Machine drive needs to be 1.5x to 2x as big as all the data you have on both the internal and external eta drives

    As for enclosures. This is were you should but the money. Thunderbolt really is better.
  8. milesc3 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Excellent suggestions from all of you, this looks like a very good plan as I am extremely anal about backups as I have lost everything on one occasion about 10 years ago.
  9. macuser453787 macrumors 6502a

    May 19, 2012
    Galatians 3:13-14
    I agree. If you don't necessarily need the speed of SSD then you might consider Enterprise-class HDDs such as this or this...?

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