external hard drive options

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by adamcarvell, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. adamcarvell macrumors regular

    adamcarvell

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    #1
    been having problems lately its the contents not showing up on my external usb drive at boot up so i was thinking of replacing it with a lacie d2 or a g-tech drive that has two thunderbolt connections .
    would i be able to plug this into the mini then my monitor which is DisplayPort into the hard drive daisy chain ?
    anyone recommend a drive ?.
     
  2. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    If the specs on your monitor explicitly states that it supports Thunderbolt, you should be able to daisy-chain off the drive. If the specs don't mention Thunderbolt, then it almost certainly doesn't support it. All Thunderbolt 1/2 devices have a port/cable with the Mini Displayport connector. Most monitors with a Mini Displayport port don't support Thunderbolt.
     
  3. adamcarvell thread starter macrumors regular

    adamcarvell

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    #3
    it's currently connected by display port to mini display port acer
    G277HU monitor
     
  4. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    From what I see on the Internet, the G277HU is not Thunderbolt so you won't be able to daisy-chain off of another Thunderbolt 2 device. There may be some converter that can take a Thunderbolt signal and convert it to DisplayPort or HDMI - BUT, a big BUT is that most of the devices that will come up in a search are not converters, they take the Displayport signal (not the Thunderbolt signal) and simply output that to a different connector. The Mini Displayport connector on the Mini is capable of outputting either a Displayport or Thunderbolt signal - you plug in the cable and it knows which signal to send out (a true Thunderbolt cable has electronics in it). Once you plug in a Thunderbolt 2 device, it takes the Thunderbolt signal and you can no longer do Thunderbolt-or-Displayport on the daisy-chain output.

    I presume you have a 2012 Mini or earlier, 2014 Mini's have 2 Thunderbolt/Mini Displayport ports. For the 2011/2012 Mini's, if you're not using the HDMI port, it looks like the G277HU has an HDMI port.
     
  5. adamcarvell thread starter macrumors regular

    adamcarvell

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    #5
    thanks for replying yes i have the 2012 i7 one . the problem ive been having is external hard drives one mounts but wont show contents on boot up unless i turn the drive off and on again ive ran disc utilty comes back fine btw im thinking it might be on its way out only two years old a wd black drive any idears about that one ?
    --- Post Merged, Jan 30, 2017 ---
    oh im using the displayport to mini to get the high res from the acer btw.
     
  6. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    You're correct - the 2012 Mini doesn't support 2560x1440 on the HDMI port.

    As for the hard drive - it's difficult to say. Some guesses:
    1) It may be the USB electronics in the drive rather than the drive itself which may be the issue. On some external HD's, you can extract the drive and put it in another enclosure. If it's possible/practical to try it on another Mac, I would try that.
    2) If you've upgraded your OS recently (to Sierra), there may be something there.
    3) Something is wrong with the computer - try another external USB HD if you have one to see if it has the same problem.
    4) If you're using software that came with the HD, that may be an issue (there may have been a software change on the computer which is now conflicting with the HD software).

    If the external HD has been used as the OS disk, a two-year life wouldn't be unreasonable. For light-to-medium non-system disk usage, I would expect it to last longer.
     
  7. adamcarvell thread starter macrumors regular

    adamcarvell

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    #7
    THE DRIVE IS IN A ICYBOX EXTERNAL CADDY IVE TRIED VARIOUS PORTS BACK OFF THE MINI NOW USING AN ANKER USB HUB . LIKE I SAY ONCE IVE TURNED DRIVE OFF AND BACK ON EVERYTHING IS FINE DRIVE BEHAVES NORMAL STAYS MOUNTED ALL FILES VISIBLE ETC .
    I TURM MY MAC MINI OFF AT THE WALL EVERY NIGHT GOOD PRACTICE OR NOT ?.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 31, 2017 ---
    OH BTW IVE GOT TWO EXTERNALS ONE MY STUFF ETC THE OTHER FOR TIME MACHINE . THE TIMEMACHINE ONE WORKS FINE. THE WD NOT HENCE THE REASON FOR SWITCHING TO THUNDERBOLT BUT THATS OUT THE WINDOW AS I USE THE DISPLAYPORT CONNECTION TO DRIVE MY MONITOR.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 31, 2017 ---
    ONE THING IVE NOTICED IF I JUST RESTART THE PC WITHOUT TURNING THE POWER OFF AT THE WALL THE DRIVE WILL APPEAR OK ON THE DESKTOP MOUNTED WITH CONTENTS SHOWING
     
  8. adamcarvell thread starter macrumors regular

    adamcarvell

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    #8
    IF I REPLACE MY H/D WHICH S RECOMMENDED LOOKING AT A G-TECHNOLGY G-DRIVE OR LACIE D2 DRIVE OR ARE THERE BETTER ONES ?.
     
  9. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    When you mentioned "WD Black", I should have known you had an external enclosure, not an external drive that includes the drive and enclosure in one package.

    As I mentioned before, if you started having problems after a OS update/upgrade or another type of software installation, I would look at that first. One USB docking station I have did not work initially (Mountain Lion OS) with my 2012 Mini but does now with El Capitan. USB hubs can also be a problem but you mentioned that you have tried the enclosure both with a hub and directly connected and it doesn't get recognized on boot in either case.

    The enclosures you mention (LaCie, G-Technology) are what I would consider high end and for the money you pay, you should expect it to work (make sure you can return them if they don't).

    An alternative to consider - I don't know what prices are like in England, but an all-in-one drive-enclosure from Seagate or WD might be less than what you pay for the enclosure alone. In a lot of cases, prices for an internal drive is about the same as an external drive+enclosure from Seagate or WD so it's you're not going to be paying less when it comes time to replace the drive. I've had different Seagate drive+enclosure drives and I've never had a problem like the one you're having (I power on the computer at the start of my day).

    As for turning off the computer at the end of the day, some people feel strongly one way or the other. I'm not one of those people. The Mini, when idle, doesn't consume much power, the enclosure may be another story.
     
  10. adamcarvell thread starter macrumors regular

    adamcarvell

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    #10
    right the wdblack is in an icybox enclosure not lacie or g drive they are the options should i replace the wd black the enclosure I'm using is ICY BOX IB-366StU3+B
    it mounts fine but struggles to display its contents get info says its three quarters full etc its only a power down of the icebox enclosure and power back up the contents appear and once they do the whole time the pc is switched on . problem is only ay first boot which makes me wonder if its on its way out ?.
     
  11. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    If a drive doesn't list it's contents but does on a power reset, my guess is that it's 50-50 enclosure or drive with perhaps OS software playing a role. A partial listing would change my guess more towards the drive and probably not the OS.

    There are various tests you can do (some of which I suggested earlier) but these might not be practical for you.
    1) Try the drive in a different enclosure or computer (for a 3.5-inch drive the computer would have to be an older iMac or a Linux/Windows computer that can read the Mac OS file system).
    2) Try a different drive in the enclosure.
    3) Look at Disk Utility and see if it reports a S.M.A.R.T. status for the drive. Just about all USB enclosures will NOT report the S.M.A.R.T. status. Usually the drive has to be connected via SATA or possibly Thunderbolt to report the status - again if you have a Linux/Windows PC, you may be able to do this.
    4) You can get software that will test the drive. The diagnostics which comes with the Mac will not test USB drives. I don't recall seeing a recommendation for free disk-testing software here on macrumors. I use Scannerz and I've seen a few others here on macrumors use it. Some download sites list some sort of free download - a lot of people have warned about downloading software from these sites. Otherwise, it costs $30-$40 (for a downloadable version). I bought it because I have more than a few drives - a lot of them used for backups that I test periodically.

    http://scsc-online.com/Scannerz.html
     
  12. adamcarvell thread starter macrumors regular

    adamcarvell

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    #12
    do you think when my old monitor short circuited xmas eve causing power failure in the house it cauld have done something else cause since then the issue started. but thinking about it now ive two hard drives the other a ten year old one i use for timeshare and that wouldn't mount sometimes without powering it off either but the wdblack would maybe my mac only likes one usb drive plugged in at boot i don't know.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 31, 2017 ---
    will have a look at scannerz when i get home from work thanks btw
    new drive lacie or g-tech which is the better ?.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 31, 2017 ---
    was thinking of buying 3tb one and just using the one drive with separate partition for timeshare etc.
     
  13. adamcarvell thread starter macrumors regular

    adamcarvell

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    #13
    im thinking back now ive had problems with mounting external usb drives and sticks in the past had to use the hub on the monitor for the time machine drive and sticks . is there a correct way to put the drives in the usb ports power wise or are all 4 just plug and play ?.
    currently got the wdblack in one put back of the mini and a usb powered hub so have two available with the timemachine drive and keyboard into the powered hub.
     
  14. JackRoch macrumors member

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    Jul 12, 2010
    #14
    I’ve got whole collection of defunct la Cie, Seagate and Western Digital drives (in their own enclosures).
    Initially I thought my PowerBook was at fault – until I got my 2010 iMac and the problems continued.

    Occasionally I find there has been been a power outage overnight (cooker timers are zeroed and blinking) but only rarely enough to shutdown the iMac which I leave on 24/7. Like you, I can’t help feeling that that can’t be good for drives, spinning or SSD.

    Conclusion:
    either 1) they’re all horrible
    or b) we have a rubbish electrical supply here in Warwickshire (I’m in Leamington)

    So, put simply, I’ve given up trying to find the cause. I probably should buy a decent power supply. But for now I simply keep DiskWarrior, Drive Genius and Carbon Copy Cloner up-to-date and as soon as there’s sign of trouble (e.g. intermittent mounting), buy another drive and use said software to transfer/recover files.
    Not a very helpful/longterm 'solution' I know!
     
  15. adamcarvell thread starter macrumors regular

    adamcarvell

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    #15
    DiskWarrior, Drive Genius and Carbon Copy Clone WHERE DO YOU GET THEM FROM BTW ? ARE THEY FREE OR PAID FOR
    --- Post Merged, Feb 1, 2017 ---
    PC BEEN LEFT ON FOR LAST 3 DAYS 24/7 ALL MOUNTED STILL ALL FILES SHOWING ETC MY PROBLEM SEEMS TO BE AT START UP ONLY ?
     
  16. adamcarvell thread starter macrumors regular

    adamcarvell

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    #16
    just done a cold start reset sec and pram drive mounts but no content swapped it around in usb port as well run first aid message says updating boot support partitions for the volume as required unable to mount volume for repair as required operation failed ! any idears the other thing says i couldn't unmount it without had to turn drive off manually the ack on and its fine very strange
     
  17. JackRoch macrumors member

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    #17
    DiskWarrior from Alsoft (http://www.alsoft.com) $119.95
    Drive Genius from Prosoft (https://www.prosofteng.com) $99
    CCC from http://bombich.com £33
    …fairly hefty investment but they've all helped me over the years.
    DG and CCC offer a 30 day demo.

    CCC is not a problem-fixer as such, rather a tool for doing the copying to second hard disc.
    I'm no expert but DiskWarrior seems better for the more hardware-related issues whilst Drive Genius provides a more user-friendly interface for fixing a broader range of software issues.
     
  18. adamcarvell thread starter macrumors regular

    adamcarvell

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    #18
    tech guy at work said buy a mobile usb drive without all software on it or a nas drive instead
    --- Post Merged, Feb 1, 2017 ---
    once its mounted properly its not a problem left it running 24/7 for three days no problem but i usually turn off over night switch it on when i get home from work (not sure wether its good practice or not) ? just buggy as drive icon shows on the desktop but its not really there ! finder can't see anything and disc utility wouldn't let me unmount it said in use somewhere ?.
     
  19. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    On my 2012 and 2014 Mini's, my experience has been:
    1) No problems with numerous Seagate external drives mounting.
    2) No problems with USB flash drives mounting unless the flash drive had a problem.
    3) Problems with a couple different USB docking stations.

    In your situation, I can't make a good guess as to whether your computer is having a problem with it's USB hardware or your external USB devices are the problem. However, it does sound like your hard drive may be starting to fail.

    If you have power quality issues, then you should probably turn off your computer at night, even with a UPS.

    If you're looking for advice on G-Technology vs. LaCie, you might want to start a new thread with "G-Technology [product name] vs. LaCie [product name]" as the title.
     
  20. JackRoch macrumors member

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    #20
    I have a similar scenario where my internal drive mounts at startup (hence the presence of the icon) but later on when data needs to be read, things just freeze. I know it's a hardware failure since it fails the SMART test. It's partitioned with system on one partition and data on t'other so it seems the failure relates to the data partition. I can open the system partition icon but if I double click the data partition things just hang.

    So I used CCC to copy everything to a USB mobile disc (http://bit.ly/2ksUsQx) (like your tech guy suggested) and have been running off that for two years.

    So, like treekram suggests in post #19 I'd suspect impending disc failure.

    BTW have you tried different cables? It's a simple thing that usually someone suggests in these discussions and just once it turned out to be the (cheap) solution for my problem!
    The debate whether to switch off or not to prolong component life seems never-ending.
     
  21. adamcarvell thread starter macrumors regular

    adamcarvell

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    #21
    I've already decided g-technolgy but desktop or mobile ?
    shame i couldn't daisy chain and use thunderbolt
    --- Post Merged, Feb 1, 2017 ---
    just put a different cable in like you said funnily enough . so rued recommend mobile drives too rather than the desktop type powered ones ? don't mind paying for a decent one but which ? brand etc had decided on g-technology desktop .
    --- Post Merged, Feb 1, 2017 ---
    no cable didn't work turned power off at wall restart drive icon appears but no files showing again power down h/d and back up hey presto files back .
     
  22. adamcarvell thread starter macrumors regular

    adamcarvell

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    #22
    Looks like new h/d then just in case only video movies etc on problem drive rips etc.
    Desktop or mobile without the software built in etc which is best?.
     
  23. JackRoch macrumors member

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    #23
    I just used the mobile drives for their cheapness in emergency!
    Two downsides: 1) they all seem to be only 5400 rpm; 2) only one USB socket so you can'y daisy-chain.
    Because I'm running a pre-Thunderbolt 2010 iMac Firewire 800 is my fastest option so I've bought daisy-chainable la Cie Quadras in the past. Currently using Western Digital Elements.

    Next disaster I was going to try g-tech – so let me know how you get on! They do seem generally well-regarded though.

    Never ever used software that came with discs.
     
  24. adamcarvell thread starter macrumors regular

    adamcarvell

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    #24
    G-Technology G-DRIVE 0G04455 3000 GB External Hard Drive - Silver Looked at this on Amazon
    --- Post Merged, Feb 1, 2017 ---
    Im using my thunderbolt connection for my monitor so external is usb3 for me
     
  25. JackRoch macrumors member

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    #25
    Apple Authorised Centre in Leamington quoted £145 to fit SSD – provided I supply SSD+components. So you can see why I'm battling on with external disc for startup. Hardly worth investing thick end of £300 on a 2010 iMac!
    Hope all goes well.
     

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