External HDD/Overall General iMac Query

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Smithy122, Dec 12, 2014.

  1. Smithy122 macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2014
    Hello Everyone,

    Im in the market for purchasing a new iMac, the Late 2013 Model or the Retina Model, i have yet to decide, and keep jumping between the two.

    I have been reading this forum now for well over 5 months, possibly every topic thats been posted, however, none are specific to my requirements, therefore the only thing i can do is post my story for your assistance.

    Currently i am using a Late 2006, Macbook, 160Gb Hard-drive. Believe it or not, it is still going!

    I have been in the market for a new Mac for several years, but have have never gotten around to it, however, this is now not capable of doing anything due to its age.

    I mainly working on video editing, nothing 4k that requires huge strain, and most of my data is held on Disc/USB or deleted. I dont store lots of Photos or Music, so believe it or not, the 160GB HDD has lasted me 8 years!

    Im in a position to spend some money (But not a Kings ransom, i.e a 1TB SSD). I was considering the Late 2013 iMac, with either the 256GB SSD or the 512GB SSD - Considering you cant upgrade the internal without voiding the warranty and going to trouble, i was thinking, as i tend to keep the machine for some years, the 512GB SSD might be worth it.

    But after reading posts on here, i soon realised that if i was to go Pure SSD, then why lumber it with all my data, along with the security/back up risks. As a result, i then considered purchasing a 3TB External HDD, to keep all my Videos in one place, rather than deleting them or storing them on unreliable disc.

    My issue is here. Despite owning a Mac for such a long time, i dont really know much about this area. My understanding is, i can plug in my iMac, have it running on Pure SSD for Apps/Boot up, and then store everything on the External Drive, I.E Files/Data/Videos/Photos.

    Then i saw if i wanted to use an External drive, i would need to use Time Machine also? Im not sure if this is true, either way, i then figured i could Partion the 1 External Drive, and lets set have 1TB for Time Machine, and 2TB for External.

    I know some people will shout for me to go the route of Fusion, however, as storage isnt such an issue for me, as i have lasted 8 years with 160GB HDD, i am looking towards speed.

    In reality, im looking for tips/advice from you guys out there, does this sound realistic/am i going about it the right way?

    In respect of my battle between choosing the Late 2013 and Retina iMac, i am yet to decide, i was swaying more towards the Maxed out Late 2013 Model, as i have no need for Retina and the price difference on Maxing out the Late 2013 over the Retina is quite significant.

  2. RUQRU, Dec 13, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014

    RUQRU macrumors regular


    Apr 14, 2011
    Mac Addict!
    Here is my setup which works for me:
    • 256GB internal SSD for OS X and Apps (5K Retina iMac)
    • Main storage is WD MY Book 4TB Thunderbolt RAID 0 *
    • Backup is 4TB Seagate Thunderbolt single drive - Time Machine
    • Photoshop scratch disk is external 256GB Samsung 840 SSD connected via a Seagate thunderbolt adapter that I pulled from an old Windows machine. (may find better use for this)

    I don't know where you saw Time Machine is required when using an external drive, or any drive. Time Machine is something you choose to use or not.

    * You can run this in RAID 1 but then it would be 2TB mirrored. You can also get an 8TB version. Prices on these are very good right now. So if you do video and need lots of storage these devices are the way to go.
  3. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    My advice:
    Get the 256gb SSD, and use the money saved to get a good-sized external HDD.

    It could be either USB3 or thunderbolt. USB3 is better in my opinion, just as fast for less cost.
    Just plug it in and use it.

    Keep the OS and apps and account folders on the SSD (you will probably want to keep most of your music, pics, videos on the external)

    For backup, you'll need ANOTHER external drive (or drives).

    If you get a large enough drive, you could partition it in two or more partitions.
    Use the first partition to create a bootable clone of your internal SSD.
    Use the second partition to backup the "primary external" drive.
    If there is sufficient space for a third partition, you might use that as a Time Machine backup of the internal SSD (to cover changes between cloned backups).
  4. Smithy122 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2014
    Thank you both for your replies.

    As i said in my original post, the choice between the Late 2013, and Retina are this stage void as im still at the early stages of understand how to set it all up.

    At the beginning, i was under the impression, that i was going to buy an iMac with a 256GB SSD, and a 3TB External USB3 HDD, and have all my files on that, and run the OS/Apps on the Internal SSD and store everything on the External, along with running a partion for Time Machine.

    After reading your posts, i understand that is still possible to some extent? However, i may of missed something and in hindsight, i guess if im putting all my files onto my External Drive, and then partioning my drive for Time Machine, you could argue that it becomes redundant?

    Because if my External HDD drive fails, with all my files on, then so will my Time Machine! haha - Which is why i guess some people have Two External drives, one with a Pure Time Machine, and the other with all there files, whilst having the SSD internal for Boot/Apps.

    Excuse my ignorance, as i said, iv used Macs for years, but not to this degree. My understanding was i could buy an SSD iMac, and then use all my files on just 1 External, but it seems now that i need a multitude?
  5. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    Running an external drive that's partitioned for Time Machine and Other Data is a crazy way to handle things, because WHEN the HDD fails, you have no backups and you've lost all your data.

    It's true if you go down the path of having a small SSD for system/apps and using an external drive to keep all your music, photos and other data, you should have a 2nd external drive, with a capacity 50% larger than the sum of the other external drive and the internal drive, to be used as a Time Machine backup.
  6. RUQRU, Dec 14, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2014

    RUQRU macrumors regular


    Apr 14, 2011
    Mac Addict!
    There is a big problem running backups on the SAME drive as data. I run multiple drives without any problem - data separate from backups. But I chose to go Thunderbolt rather than USB 3.0 for performance. I am also using RAID 0 for my data drives for a performance increase. The risk of RAID 0 is that if one of the drives in the array fails you need to restore from backup. The thing to know is that ALL spinning drives WILL FAIL one day. That is why a backup strategy is so important

    This is a good data drive for under $500: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00F0JXE0Y/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Then use something like this for Time Machine: http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Backup-Desktop-External-STCA4000100/dp/B00829THLE/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1418559630&sr=1-1&keywords=seagate+4+tb+external+hard+drive+thunderbolt

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