External hard drive Solution - 4bay enclosure in uk

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by LERsince1991, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. LERsince1991 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
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    UK
    #1
    Hi,

    I'm 20 and at uni, using a mbp with 500gb hd and a 1tb external. I've got 100gb of music, 100gb of photos in aperture and about 200gb of documents from past and current projects (Architecture). My external HD is 2 partitions, 500gb for HD movies, with is full, and 500gb for time machine which is always full but does the job :)

    So I'm looking to get a bigger hard solution here as I'm running out of space. I don't want to upgrade the internal macbook hard drive as its already been upgraded to 500gb and i've heard the 1tb drives arent good for a main hd. I also dont want to modify it and use an ssd and replace the opti bay with the 500gb internal as the ssd is a little pricey, im not sure i'll notice the performance increase enough to be worth it and I dont want to modify my macbook (yet).

    So I'm left with the need for a larger, better external solution. i believe I want a 4 bay external hard drive enclosure or a few separate hard drives.

    Option 1:
    4-bay enclosure linked via USB (unfortunately the only option).
    1 - HD Films
    2 - Document archive, aperture past projects archive.
    3 - Time machine backup of all drives (1,2 and internal mb drive)
    4 - spare?

    then just keep the current projects and all my music on my internal MBP HD.
    I could probably buy 2 smaller hard drives and merge them in a raid config to boost speed and reduce cost of large time machine drive?

    Option 2:
    multiple external hard drives -> USB hub

    Looking at capacities of;
    1-2tb for hd films
    1tb for document archives
    Time machine - capacity of all drives inc internal added up and rounded off.

    I'm in the UK and really don't want to spend a lot at all. :/
    I hate deleting past work so my data is always going to be growing, unfortunately! :(
    p.s. I don't need it to be a NAS as I have no need for this and it'll be slow anyway. (I dont think my airport express can share hd's anyway)

    What would people recommend doing and why?
    Maybe you have this sort of setup yourself?

    I would like it cheap and decent. Not too bothered about looks but would be better if it looked good. More concerned about speeds, reliability, least sounds, and minimal lights etc...

    THANKS!
    Luke.
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #2
    4-bay enclosure alone will set you back by hundreds of £. I would take a look at separate externals if you don't need the features that 4-bay enclosures often offer (RAID 5, 6, 10 etc). There are ones up to 3TB so maybe two of them would be fine (one for data, one for backups).
     
  3. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    I want to be able to backup my media and archived docs and photos too or I could just loose it all if that hd fails.

    I think your right about 4-bays costing too much, Looking at £200 for the enclosures alone.

    Heres a couple of new options I'm weighing up.

    Option 1:
    2x 2-bay enclosures, about £50 each - here

    I'll install all 4 HD's, my existing 1tb - docs. a new 2tb WD caviar green £65 for media.

    Then in the other enclosure have 2x 2tb wd caviar green drives, raid-0 from disk utility on my mac. Used as a 4tb time machine backup system to backup everything on my other externals and my internal.

    TOTAL - 2(£50) + 3(£65) = 295



    Option 2:
    4x single externals

    existing 1tb - docs
    new 2tb - £75 - films
    2x new 2tb - 2(£75) - TM backup, raid-0.

    Through a usb hub.

    TOTAL - 3(£75) - £225

    so theres £50 in it if I decide to spend that much and what do I get extra?
    Well, a simpler setup I suppose?

    Anyone see any flaws/advantages with either that could help me decide. Or a better way of doing this? I can backup external HD's with TM from my mac right?

    Cheers.
    Luke.
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #4
    I wouldn't use RAID 0. In case one of the HDs in RAID 0 array fails, ALL data is lost. Since you will be using USB, you wouldn't even gain the speed that RAID 0 delivers. If you want the 2x2TB to be a single array, use JBOD (the enclosure you linked supports this and so does Disk Utility). It is basically like RAID 0, i.e. it creates a virtual disk that is the size of the HDs added together (4TB in this case). It does not provide speed benefits but on the other hand, it is not as vulnerable as RAID 0 since if one of the drive fails, only the data in that drive is lost, although the minus is that you cannot decide what goes to what drive (I think).

    2-bay enclosures solution provides a bit simpler setup (less cables), nothing else I think. You can use TM to backup externals as well.
     
  5. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #5
    Awesome cheers,

    It's still bloody expensive, more than I thought!
    I suppose I could buy it in parts but it doesn't really help might as well just get it sorted in one.

    I guess other people just delete their data? or have no backup.
    I don't see any other solution really.

    Guess I'll have to splash the cash!
    Could have done with a million other, more exciting things to spend the money on!
     
  6. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #6
  7. Mike Oxard, Mar 20, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011

    Mike Oxard macrumors 6502a

    Mike Oxard

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2009
    #7
    This enclosure might be of interest, quite cheap, they used to do a 4 bay version but it seems to be deleted now:

    http://www.cclonline.com/product-info.asp?product_id=27676&category_id=589&manufacturer_id=0

    You can also get enclosures that are easy to swap the hard drive if you don't need it all the time, I use one of these for my offsite backup:
    http://www.storagedepot.co.uk/Hard-Drive-Cases/sc884/p975.aspx

    Also you might be paying more than you need if you get the WD cav green for £115, I got a WD 2TB external drive complete from Tesco for £105 the other day.


    Have a look here for cheaper internal HD's, the one you were going to buy is £62:

    http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Comp...=cF9wcm9kdWN0c1BlclBhZ2U9MjAwJnBfc3R5bGU9Jg==

    Edit:looks like I should have read your links before posting !!
     
  8. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #8
    ordered a 2-bay enclosure and 2tb caviar from amazon for £115

    I know the 2tb WD from amazon with enclosure is like £75 but I wanted to get the 2 bay enclosure for when I'll use the JBOD feature to merge the hard drives into one for the time machine backups. also easier to upgrade with bigger hard drives if needed :)

    Quite happy with the purchase, I hope, should come wednesday.

    the HD was £65 and the enclosure was £50

    Edit: lol, just saw your edit ;)
     
  9. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #9
    It's not too late... you could still cancel ;)

    Personally, I'd go go for single external drive boxes.

    IcyBox - yes, decent cheap brand, do good single external drive cases
    WD Green - yes, good choice for a cool running, high capacity drive

    The reason I'd go for single drives is that they're cheap and work well, and they don't use a fan. Small fans in low end enclosures can be loud, and I wouldn't want that if I was living/working/sleeping in one room.

    Plus it's also much easier to make a single backup drive and take it 'offsite' (leave a drive full of backups in your parent's loft or something like that).

    I have a 2 bay box and keep it switched off most of the time (noisy). I have several IcyBox single drive units, use them regularly.
     
  10. LERsince1991, Mar 20, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011

    LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #10
    true,

    thanks for the input :)

    I just feel drawn to the 2 bay enclosure for some reason. Guess I just like the idea of having them on my shelf lol. Not bothered about off site backup.

    As the hd's will be on my shelf I'm looking at 3m's of cable each run, having dual bay enclosures will minimise the need for so many extension cables and I dont like cables.

    good point about the noise. i'll check out how noisy the enclosure is I ordered.
    Still got all night to cancel if I do as its sunday :)
    Don't think I will though, like the idea of having them

    EDIT:
    quote from amazon review on the icy enclosure
    "Theres an adjustable fan on the back which doesnt make much noise at all. I dont usually have it on unless I am running the drives simultaneously for a period of time. But I think its always nice to have the option of passive/active cooling on a caddy."

    sounds good paired with my 'green' disks(?)
     
  11. Mike Oxard macrumors 6502a

    Mike Oxard

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    Oct 22, 2009
    #11
  12. jamin100 macrumors 6502

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    Sep 22, 2008
    #12
    If it was me doing it personally, i'd go for a RAID 1 solution in the 2 x Dual drive enclosures.

    So enclosure 1 & 2
    2 X 2TB (or 3TB) drives mirroring each other

    This way if you have a drive failure its all backed up on the other drive.
     
  13. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #13
    could do but I believe time machine would be a better backup solution than raid-1
     
  14. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #14
    Absolutely.

    RAID 1 isn't a backup - it just replicates your main drive. Accidentally delete something, write over something, get some sort of filesystem glitch and your data disappears off both RAID drives. At least with time machine, a historic record is kept.
     
  15. jamin100 macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Yes I agree but then I'd just use a cheap 1TB USB Mybook or something attached to an airport extreme for wireless time machine backups.
     
  16. Mike Oxard macrumors 6502a

    Mike Oxard

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    Oct 22, 2009
    #16
    Raid is definitely not a backup on its own. We have (had) a Drobo attached to our computer with 3x1.5 TB drives in. We moved house earlier this month and the Drobo got dropped, smashing the casing and all the drives flew out all over the place. It wasn't a probem as I have the computer backed up daily to a NAS drive and also I have the USB drive I mentioned above for an offsite backup. The wife was very worried for a few minutes though, when she thought all the photo's and music had been lost ;)
     
  17. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    Location:
    .. London ..
    #17
    4x large drives connected via USB will take forever to fill up.

    I know you already purchased your enclosures, but perhaps consider usb/firewire dual port enclosures in future?

    The great thing is firewire can be daisychained, (and fw cables are cheap from monoprice(US) / cableuniverse.co.uk (UK)) so you get massive bandwidth to all the drives and only one cable to your mbp.

    Or, to save money, have one enclosure fw capable, and use that as your working large file repository, and the others for long term storage.

    Anyways all this *may* become moot *if* thunderbolt takes off. It's early days yet, but apart from Apple, I haven't seen any interest in tb from the PC world.
     
  18. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #18
    yeh I would have hands down gone for FW or waited for thunderbolt if my MB was capable. Its a late 2008 unibody and only has 2 usb. no firewire or tb or esata. I have planned to buy a mac pro in 2 years time for my 5-7th year of university in architecture.

    But in 2 years tb will hopefully dominate and I can just buy a new enclosure with tb for a mac pro or move the drives to internal mac pro drives.

    There is scope for expandability when I need it.
    Thats the way I see it.
     
  19. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #19
    That is because Apple was given an early access. I think Intel said that do not expect PCs with TB before early 2012.
     
  20. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #20
    Yeh I expect thunderbolt to take off like nothing else once products become available. Anyone with a new mac will use it. Why not. It's awesome
     
  21. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #21
    I can recommend this very enclosure: Click

    I use it with eSATA for over a year now and till now it works flawless.

    Edit: Apologies, this is the version with RAID mode. I've got the non RAID version.
     
  22. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #22
    Thanks but thats like £250.
    Stick with what I ordered.
    Looks good though!
     
  23. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #23
    250 quid? I paid 160€ for that enclosure from ebay germany brand new.
     
  24. RedTomato, Mar 23, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011

    RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    #24
    Grumble, why are external multi-drive enclosures so expensive?

    Standard USB 3.5'' or eSATA is what, £15-£20, and firewire £30?

    A multi-bay enclosure is only a bit more plastic, and a couple more small circuit boards, but only needs one power supply. Some single drive enclosures come in boxes big enough to hold a 4-bay unit, so physical size on the shop / warehouse shelf shouldn't be an issue. And a basic empty 4-bay unit shouldn't weight much more than a single drive enclosure filled with a HDD.

    4 bay USB should be around £50-60 for something completely basic. Let the OS sort out the RAID etc. I'd be happy with something I could chuck my spare disks into, even if it showed up as nothing more than 4x individual drives on the desktop.

    At going on £200 for a 4 bay unit, I'd rather use an old PC as a diskstation - buy a PC second hand, or use something lying about. If you're the type who needs to have 4 HDDs, you're likely to have an old PC in the cupboard.

    Grumble grumble.

    EDIT: Here's a 4-bay 2.5'' SATA HDD enclosure for only £60. Heavy duty steel, LED activity lights, hot swap trays, two fans, the works. Only thing it's missing to become a proper external enclosure is a mains power supply (currently it runs off two molex connectors) and 4x SATA-USB convertor boards (cost around £1 each to a factory). Don't tell me it costs another £100 to put these on.

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/icy-dock-mb994sp-4s-4in1-sas-sata-hot-swap-backplane-525-raid-cage
     
  25. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #25
    That's not a case, it's a hot-swap adapter which fits in a PC's 51/4 inch front-panel drive slot. It has no power or electronics - just hooks up to your PC wiring loom and SATA ports.

    So it's really no more than a metal box with a couple of fans.
     

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