External HD for Aperture/LR library

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by malizivko, May 3, 2014.

  1. malizivko macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 4, 2012
    #1
    It's time for me to upgrade my iMac to MacBook; since my Photo Library for Aperture and LR is around 250-300GB i will have to use External HDD. Can anyone tell me if there is Significant Speed upgrade to go with Thunderbolt vs. much cheaper option of USB 3.0? Also is there any speed difference between portable HDD powered by USB vs external desktop drive that needs power to work.

    Again this HDD will only be used for photos.

    Thanks
     
  2. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #2
    The bottleneck is in any case the disk speed.
    USB3 will transfer data way faster then any hdd can read/write.
    Do not even think about wasting money in a thunderbolt drive.
     
  3. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #3
    Desktop 4TB drives on USB3 are around the $100-150 range. Those larger drives are externally powered. Get two of them. One will be for your libraries (photos, videos, music..etc.) The second would be for Time Machine to use as backups of the first drive and your Mac's internal drive. For a max of $300 you will have a significant amount of storage and backup.

    Thunderbolt makes more sense if the external drive is an SSD or the external drives are running as a RAID 0 set. That would be useful if you were doing video editing and needed to move large amounts of data quickly. It don't sound like that is your use case.
     
  4. Hammie macrumors 65816

    Hammie

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    Location:
    Wash, DC Metro
    #4
    I have a few thoughts.

    Do you need access to ALL files or can some be archived on a backup storage device? This may allow you to get an SSD with an external enclosure for only the currently needed photos.

    I was fortunate that my photos were on an internal dedicated 512 GB SSD in my last laptop. I am in a situation where I just move to a rMBP with a 256 GB SSD. I cannot keep my entire 250-300 GB photo library on my internal drive.

    To resolve this, I recently purchase a USB3 enclosure for my 512GB SSD. I am seeing 500+MB Reads and 400+MB writes from it. BTW, the SSD is a Crucial M4 6GB SATA III drive. This is actually MUCH faster than the performance I saw in my old laptop where it capped at ~250MB Reads and ~200MB writes due to the internal 3GB SATA II connection.

    If you go with a Thunderbolt drive, you will be a bit more performance from a 6GB SATA II drive, but not much. I believe I read that USB3 maxes out at 5GB and thunderbolt is 10GB. Granted, you would get the full 6GB capability, but in real world performance, I don't really think it would be noticeable.
     
  5. malizivko thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 4, 2012
    #5

    Perfect, I definitely do not want to waste money on thunderbolt if USB 3 will be sufficient for what I am trying to do.
     
  6. malizivko thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 4, 2012
    #6
    No I will not be moving huge files so I think USB 3 will be just fine, I am just trying to avoid my Aperture or LR being slow since it's pulling stuff from external HDD
     
  7. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #7
    My LaCie 2Big drives only give me a read/write speeds of ~135MBs because of the performance of spinning drives in a RAID 1 configuration. And yet I never get a spinning beach ball working with Aperture or LR.

    The real performance items are the speed of the CPU and GPU, the amount of memory, and the performance of the disk with the OS and apps. Aperture and LR will respectively access their library and catalog files far more often that going back to the master/originals. So the master/original files are external drives but, the library and catalog are on my internal SSD.
     
  8. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #8
    I would suggest keeping your Aperture library on your laptop's SSD, and moving to referenced originals which would be stored on your external SSD.

    This would allow you keep Aperture very fast... and still have access to your entire library for viewing, organizing, rating, key wording etc even if you are not connected to your HDD.

    Lower the resolution/size on your previews to keep them small, since they live in your Aperture library. Your large originals which take up the majority of the space would only need to attached when needed.

    /Jim
     
  9. robgendreau macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #9
    It was unclear what you wanted to move externally in your OP; but as MCAsan noted you want the library/catalog on your internal or SSD, and referenced photos themselves on the external. I also keep some photos on the SSD while I'm actively messing with them with other programs; once I get finalized images that I am no longer actively messing with then I move them to an external (and that could be messing locally with everything from PS to Mail).
     
  10. MCAsan, May 4, 2014
    Last edited: May 4, 2014

    MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #10
    When I import from a card the files go to the internal SSD for culling and editing. One complete the work is moved to the external library drive.

    ----------

    When I import from a card the files go to the internal SSD for culling and editing. One complete the work is complete the originals/masters are moved to the external library drive.
     
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #11
    Don't be fooled by the speed across the interface. What you care about is the sustained read and write speed. USB3 is already faster than the sustained disk I/O speed.

    If you want best performance go with SSD. However the cost is high. For your purposes with only 300GB or so you can just use a 2TB or 3TB USB3 external. Buy one for data and two for backups. Maybe you buy a 2TB for your photos, another 2TB for backup and a 3TB for Time Machine.

    When I buy disks, I always used the biggest and newest disk for Time Machine and then use the old Time Machine drive for data. You have to buy a new one every year or two so that you are not keeping data on old drives and especially not using an older drive as a backup. Then after 3 or 4 years of service retire it.

    YES the larger desk top drive that use a plug in power cube are faster. Use the smaller bus powered portable drives only if you must transport them and use then on the road.
     

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