Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

Marty24

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 13, 2023
4
0
Hello,
I'm looking someone to give me advice on the set up for the two Macs I use. I have a new Mac Studio and currently an older 2012 Mac Pro. I use the Mac Studio for 3D work and the older Mac pro for Adobe Creative Suite, Billings Pro and Email etc... basically I want to have an external hard drive(s) that I can access from both machines. Ideally if I had two separate hard drives, one for all my 3D textures, materials and files which are quite large and the other hard drive for all my standard work files, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop along with folders of logos and stock images etc.... I would then look to use two small portable hard drives I have as Time Machine backups of each of the external hard drives so that I can have that backup off site in case anything happens to the main hard drive. The work I have for each sector of my business has never exceeded 1TB so two external hard drives of 2TB each would be more than enough to future proof for next 3/4 years easy. Basically can anyone tell me whether a NAS or DAS drive would do my job because I am getting confused with some drives being linked or only working with the cloud and I don't want or need any link to the cloud. My two machines are side by side on two desks. I have viewed tons of hard drives from Terramaster, Synology, WD, Lacie etc... but my head is fried. I'm happy to spend up to £500, I think anything I have seen costs less than that. I intend to upgrade my 2012 Mac Pro later this year to maybe an M1 Mac Mini but for now I need this external set up to work with my two existing Macs and then when I upgrade, it should be a simple plug and play option with all my work transferred to the external Macs.

I would appreciate any help or guidance which I can't seem to get elsewhere. If anyone needs any extra information, please just ask.
 

DarkPremiumCho

macrumors 6502
Mar 2, 2023
264
176
So you are saying that you:
  • have a Mac Studio and a 2012 Mac Pro
  • want to have an external hard drive(s) that can be accessed from both machines
  • don't want or need any link to the cloud
  • intend to upgrade the Mac Pro to an M1 Mac Mini
  • will need the external hard drive to continue work with the mini without compatibility problems?

I assume you also don't want to have LAN/network configuration involved. So within your £500 budget, you can just search 'External Solid State Drives', and pick 2 of them, from a reputable brand, that fits your capacity requirement, and your taste. Then it will be a simple plug and use matter.
 

Marty24

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 13, 2023
4
0
So you are saying that you:
  • have a Mac Studio and a 2012 Mac Pro
  • want to have an external hard drive(s) that can be accessed from both machines
  • don't want or need any link to the cloud
  • intend to upgrade the Mac Pro to an M1 Mac Mini
  • will need the external hard drive to continue work with the mini without compatibility problems?

I assume you also don't want to have LAN/network configuration involved. So within your £500 budget, you can just search 'External Solid State Drives', and pick 2 of them, from a reputable brand, that fits your capacity requirement, and your taste. Then it will be a simple plug and use matter.
Thanks for your quick response. You have my requirements spot on, but with regards the LAN/Network configuration, I have no issue there. I currently have my MacStudio linked to my 2012 Mac Pro because all my work files are on the 4 hard drives in the Mac Pro and that becomes an issue for linked files as both Macs need to be on all the time. In an ideal world, if I had a set up with 2 x 2TB hard drives that sat between my two Macs and I could access it from both machines at the same time or independently, that would be my ideal set up. However, from what I have read, you can't link an external hard drive to 2 Macs at the same time? My understanding is that you link it to one machine and then network it to the other machine or use File Sharing? Is that what you mean? If that's the case then the machine they are directly linked to would have to be on all the time, even if not being used? Have I picked that up correctly?

Apologies if these are silly questions but maybe you can see now why my head is fried when trying to make a decision on what to purchase.
 

ColdCase

macrumors 68040
Feb 10, 2008
3,358
276
NH
You should investigate putting a NAS box on your network to share the drives between your computers, but then you may be limited by your local network speed, if that matters to you. Only the NAS box needs to be on all the time. The computers would operate independently and the NAS box would arbitrate conflicts (two machines trying to write to the same file). As far as I know, there are no TB or USB attached storage device that offers shared drive space for a low price. In that case you would be investigating a RAID box to house the drives.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: pshufd and haralds

Marty24

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 13, 2023
4
0
You should investigate putting a NAS box on your network to share the drives between your computers, but then you may be limited by your local network speed, if that matters to you. Only the NAS box needs to be on all the time. The computers would operate independently and the NAS box would arbitrate conflicts (two machines trying to write to the same file). As far as I know, there are no TB or USB attached storage device that offers shared drive space for a low price. In that case you would be investigating a RAID box to house the drives.
Thank you, the NAS has been mentioned to me a few times but once a particular person mentioned it having to be accessed via the cloud only that put me right off, but that was maybe just one particular NAS device he was referring to. Another person mentioned the NAS and talked about a 4 bay with me using two and the other two being used as 'Mirroring', so basically backup for each, but that still leaves all devices on site at any one time, so not great security. With regards putting it on the network, is it the case then that I should acquire a Network switch and have the NAS attached to it and then both computers attached to the switch? Then as you say, only the NAS needs to be on and whichever computer I want to use and thus when I upgrade one computer it should simply plug and play once software uploaded? Have you any experience of particular NAS makes or models? Synology, Terramaster, Asustor etc... any preference?
 

DarkPremiumCho

macrumors 6502
Mar 2, 2023
264
176
In an ideal world, if I had a set up with 2 x 2TB hard drives that sat between my two Macs and I could access it from both machines at the same time or independently, that would be my ideal set up.
If I understand correctly, you want a hard drive or a folder or, shall I say, a place, that:
  • allows you save your 3D works files/standard work files to (from either of your Macs)
  • allows read/change/copy/move/delete as well
  • does not need your Macs to be on all the time

However, from what I have read, you can't link an external hard drive to 2 Macs at the same time? My understanding is that you link it to one machine and then network it to the other machine or use File Sharing? Is that what you mean?

I would roughly suggest that way but since you clarified, getting a NAS is the way to go. You can get a NAS that does not require cloud (cloud is optional).

I should acquire a Network switch and have the NAS attached to it and then both computers attached to the switch?

Depending on how your Macs are currently connected to the network. Elaborate so the community can give better suggestions.

that still leaves all devices on site at any one time, so not great security.
I would recommend the 3-2-1 backup strategy, but that's another topic. We could get into that after we are done with the 'files place' for your Macs.
 

Marty24

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 13, 2023
4
0
If I understand correctly, you want a hard drive or a folder or, shall I say, a place, that:
  • allows you save your 3D works files/standard work files to (from either of your Macs)
  • allows read/change/copy/move/delete as well
  • does not need your Macs to be on all the time



I would roughly suggest that way but since you clarified, getting a NAS is the way to go. You can get a NAS that does not require cloud (cloud is optional).



Depending on how your Macs are currently connected to the network. Elaborate so the community can give better suggestions.


I would recommend the 3-2-1 backup strategy, but that's another topic. We could get into that after we are done with the 'files place' for your Macs.
Thank you. Yes you have interpreted correctly exactly what I want!
However, once you mention network that's where I get lost. My two Macs are connected using an Ethernet cable and I have File sharing on so my new Mac Studio can access the files on my older 2012 Mac Pro internal hard drives of which there are 4 in use. The end goal here is to get all those files of that Mac Pro so I will be free to upgrade the Mac Pro to an M1 Mac Mini later in the year. Beyond that there's no network as such, I haven't ever set up a specific Network as such. I have got Wi-Fi in my office, there's no physical router, I simply have a TP link plug linked to the internet from the house Wi-Fi which allows both my machines which are Wi-Fi enabled to gain access to the internet, so in my head, that TP link and access to the internet is separate to me setting up my work files and getting access to them via both machines. I might be thinking old school but I don't understand what Wi-Fi and routers has got to do with connecting 3 pieces of equipment together via Ethernet cables, but I'm not tech savvy which I'm sure you've worked out by now. I thought something like a 5 port Netgear switch/hub linked to say a Synology 2 bay NAS with then both my Macs linked to the switch/hub and maybe even my printer, all using Gigabit ethernet cables was the way to go, but I could be way off and that's the reason I'm on here because I seem to be in a spiral and don't have a good grasp of the technology and how it works. I definitely don't want the cloud and don't even want to rely on the internet. It's no good if the internet goes of some day and I'm stuck with no access to anything. This set up is purely for the office, I don't need access to the NAS from mobile devices or ipads or anything else, it's a very basic set up or at least that's what I envisaged it would be. Not sure if that sheds any more light on my set up though or should I say lack of.
 

haralds

macrumors 68030
Jan 3, 2014
2,828
1,153
Silicon Valley, CA
I have had cheap NAS solutions around for years, but a few years ago I bought a Synology. I liked it so much, I upgraded it a year later and now have a DS 1520+ with an expansion bay. I have never looked back.
It's amazing how quickly 100TB gets used up. It's used for TimeMachine of all the systems in the house, a securely RAIDED backup bank for all files including work, and Virtual Machines for special applications.
It also servers as a media storage device and server.
If you use it for work, get a Synology NAS. You will not regret it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Marty24

ColdCase

macrumors 68040
Feb 10, 2008
3,358
276
NH
Thank you. Yes you have interpreted correctly exactly what I want!
However, once you mention network that's where I get lost. My two Macs are connected using an Ethernet cable and I have File sharing on so my new Mac Studio can access the files on my older 2012 Mac Pro internal hard drives of which there are 4 in use. The end goal here is to get all those files of that Mac Pro so I will be free to upgrade the Mac Pro to an M1 Mac Mini later in the year. Beyond that there's no network as such, I haven't ever set up a specific Network as such. I have got Wi-Fi in my office, there's no physical router, I simply have a TP link plug linked to the internet from the house Wi-Fi which allows both my machines which are Wi-Fi enabled to gain access to the internet, so in my head, that TP link and access to the internet is separate to me setting up my work files and getting access to them via both machines. I might be thinking old school but I don't understand what Wi-Fi and routers has got to do with connecting 3 pieces of equipment together via Ethernet cables, but I'm not tech savvy which I'm sure you've worked out by now. I thought something like a 5 port Netgear switch/hub linked to say a Synology 2 bay NAS with then both my Macs linked to the switch/hub and maybe even my printer, all using Gigabit ethernet cables was the way to go, but I could be way off and that's the reason I'm on here because I seem to be in a spiral and don't have a good grasp of the technology and how it works. I definitely don't want the cloud and don't even want to rely on the internet. It's no good if the internet goes of some day and I'm stuck with no access to anything. This set up is purely for the office, I don't need access to the NAS from mobile devices or ipads or anything else, it's a very basic set up or at least that's what I envisaged it would be. Not sure if that sheds any more light on my set up though or should I say lack of.
Basically devices on ethernet communicate via message packets. They need a way to find each other's address to know where to send the packets. Rudimentarily, devices can use ad hoc networking where they talk among themselves and self set addresses. So your two computers find each other and their internal files. When you have more than two devices, one ethernet cable between them is not going to do (unless the computer has multiple ethernet ports... but I digress). So you need some kind of simple ethernet switch to plug your devices into, one with enough ports for all your devices to plug into.

I don't know offhand if NAS's support ad hoc networks, but they should.

So use an ethernet switch and plug computers(s) and a NAS into it. Let them find each other and have at it. The switch and NAS needs to be powered on all the time.

Some wireless access points have switches built in as an alternative to ethernet cable.

You only need a router for internet access, like for updates.

Are you saying your computer(s) don't have internet access? If you do, then you should have everything in place to plug a NAS into and get back to work. Your router will have a DNCP server that manages addresses. Instead of self generating one, the computer asks the DHCP server for an address. Packets are routed on your internal network or out on the web, depending on the address.
 
Last edited:

DarkPremiumCho

macrumors 6502
Mar 2, 2023
264
176
My two Macs are connected using an Ethernet cable
One end plugs into the Studio and the other end plugs into the Mac Pro? That's an uncommon setup indeed. When you got the 3rd device (the NAS), you will need to connect them differently.

I don't understand what Wi-Fi and routers has got to do with connecting 3 pieces of equipment together via Ethernet cables, but I'm not tech savvy...I definitely don't want the cloud and don't even want to rely on the internet
I would suggest this simple setup for you:
  1. Get a switch and connect your Mac Studio, Mac Pro and NAS to it
  2. Configure these 3 devices to use static IPv4 addresses
  3. In Finder, connect to the NAS using that static IPv4 address
  4. So your current Internet/Wi-Fi setup will not be touched
Besides capacity, you need to consider what transfer speed you will need. A decent NAS with Gigabit Ethernet interface should give you 100-120MB/s. The speed is capped by the slowest part of your setup.
 

pshufd

macrumors G3
Oct 24, 2013
9,927
14,428
New Hampshire
I have an M1 mini, Studio and M1 Pro MacBook Pro. I have 2 WD MyBook HDDs for Time Machine backups on the Studio (I don't backup the mini or the MacBook Pro) and 2 external SSDs hanging off the Studio that operate as the home NAS. One is 2 TB and the other is 500 GB and I'm considering replacing both with a 4 TB SSD. If I need to do something that requires good storage performance, then I will do it on the local machine and transfer the resulting files over the LAN but I will otherwise just do it over the LAN.

The external SSDs are also backed up to the Time Machine HDDs along with the Studio internal SSD.

The MacBook Pro and mini are basically clones of the Studio which is why I don't need to back them up.
 

dholzer

macrumors newbie
Jan 15, 2008
18
9
Thank you, the NAS has been mentioned to me a few times but once a particular person mentioned it having to be accessed via the cloud only that put me right off, but that was maybe just one particular NAS device he was referring to. Another person mentioned the NAS and talked about a 4 bay with me using two and the other two being used as 'Mirroring', so basically backup for each, but that still leaves all devices on site at any one time, so not great security. With regards putting it on the network, is it the case then that I should acquire a Network switch and have the NAS attached to it and then both computers attached to the switch? Then as you say, only the NAS needs to be on and whichever computer I want to use and thus when I upgrade one computer it should simply plug and play once software uploaded? Have you any experience of particular NAS makes or models? Synology, Terramaster, Asustor etc... any preference?
Security is fine for NAS if you properly set it up. I have a Synology (4 bay), it’s pretty easy to set up for basic uses, and can also be configured to be your Time Machine backup. Synology should generally be connected to your router/switch by Ethernet, but your macs can be wired or wireless (as long as they’re on the same network). It can be pricy, as the NAS is $200-500 and the drives are $80-300 each (depending on size and quality). You’ll want to get at least 3x the space you need. Some extra for raid redundancy and then some extra for future expansion. With a 4 bay though it’s easy to get 10tb-20tb and pretty cheap compared to (but much slower than) SSD. (Edit: there is no need to use it on the cloud)
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.