External SSD or HDD with new 2017 iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by rjsounds, Jul 18, 2017.

  1. rjsounds macrumors member

    rjsounds

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2017
    #1
    Hi guys,

    I'm waiting on my new 27" i7/580/8GB/512SSD iMac to come in and I would like to know what would be a good external storage drive to add. This computer is mainly for music production with Logic Pro X, as well as everyday use / entertainment. I currently have a 2010 21.5" iMac with a 1TB hard drive which is almost full, at around 700GB. Most of this is Logic Pro project files and audio samples. I'm a music producer and a podcast editor, so I need to hold on to client files for at least a year in case I ever have to go back and make changes, which does happen from time to time.

    My only real concerns are where to store the Logic Pro project files and all of my audio samples (I have close to 100GB of samples) I'd probably be looking at either a 1TB SSD or a 2 or 3TB HDD. If I go with a non-SSD hard drive would that defeat the purpose of the internal SSD? Are there some files that are better kept on the internal SSD versus others that would be fine staying on an external hard drive?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #2
    Samsung' T3 SSD external drives come in varying capacities, including 1 TB and 2 TB. They are about to release a new version, the T5. In 2015 I went from a pretty full 1 TB spinner drive in a 21.5" iMac to a 512 SSD in a MacBook Pro, and that is when I realized that I needed to not only stash stuff away for storage/backup but also to have other stuff still fairly easy to access even if it was not on the computer' s internal drive. I've been using several external drives for this purpose, with the T3 (started out with the T1 until the T3 was released) being used as what I refer to as "the supplemental drive," meaning that I can plug the thing in and immediately pull up data and files that aren't needed all the time but which do need to be available and quickly accessed when necessary. The speed of the SSD is welcome in the supplementary drive, while not really quite as necessary in a drive meant for backup/storage.
     
  3. JasonMovieGuy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #4
    What is the difference between a RAID external drive vs a normal one? Like from Seagate? Also with the RAIDs, I noticed in the link you provided the first one contains 2 separate drives in one unit. Would you be able to configure one drive specifically for Time Machine, and one for backups? Or is that process a pain to set up?
     
  4. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #5
    I'd call those recommendations a tiny bit on the high end. :rolleyes:

    I think a 3 to 4TB HD in a USB3 enclosure (of course redundant backup elsewhere, cloud, etc) at a fraction of the cost would be more than enough for the OP's purposes.

    I have a $30 JBOD USB3 cradle with 2x3TB HDDs in it that works just fine for the Photos and iTunes libraries, Time Machine, a daily CCC image, etc.

    I have a 500GB SSD in a Delock TB1 enclosure for BootCamp. Now there the speed is needed.
     
  5. driftless macrumors demi-god

    driftless

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago-area
    #6
    Yeah, in a similar thread I also recommended LaCie single bay drives.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 18, 2017 ---
    RAID, is an acronym for Redundant Array of Independent Disks, and RAID comes in various flavors. RAID 0 for fastest speed, RAID 1 for most redundant protection; and, RAID 5 for a combination of speed and protection. There are numerous other configurations as well. There is also JBOD as well, which is an acronym for "Just a Bundle of Disks". Not as fast RAID 1 and no redundancy.

    OK, so what does that mean? RAID Arrays, multiple bays, give you the fastest read/write. Huge RAID arrays are used in high-end video production. For the consumer, single bay, non-RAID drives work well. Single external SSD's are not as fast as RAID HDD/SSD's.

    So, not knowing the OP's needs I posted a couple of links. My picks were on the higher end because he is a professional. I like a higher capacity drive as my back-up; which is addition to cloud back-up.

    I prefer a high-capacity back up all drive. A fast iTunes and files I am likely to want to access drive. And a really fast external drive for work projects.

    IMHO. YMMV.
     
  6. JasonMovieGuy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #7
    Thanks for this! I am a video editor, so I think I will consider the RAID. Also the one you showed had the dual drives- can one be for Time Machine?
     
  7. driftless macrumors demi-god

    driftless

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago-area
    #8
    No, not really. RAID needs multiple drives to achieve speed and/or redundancy. Partitioning a multi-bay drive for Time Machine eliminates the benefits of that drive. I have separate, slow drive that Time Machine backs everything up to. I also use BackBlaze to back-up everything to, along with iCloud and Drop Box.
     
  8. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #9
    If it's a chassis with drives configured as JBOD you can do that: https://www.storagecraft.com/blog/jbod-vs-raid-enterprise-storage-systems/

    However you normally want a totally separate drive for Time Machine. A chassis can fail just like an individual hard drive. If the chassis fails you can't access your Time Machine backup, unless you take the chassis apart, remove the bare drive and install it in another dock or chassis. Depending on the type of video you edit you might want a two-drive RAID-0 array, then another drive to back up that and the system drive.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 18, 2017 ---
    The OP is a music producer who just bought a 4.2Ghz i7 iMac with 512GB SSD. As you described, he could get a bare drive and stick it in a USB3 cradle and it would cost under $150: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0378/4593/products/dock5_1024x1024.jpg?v=1427177899

    The $226 4TB Seagate Backup Plus Fast is faster than that, bus-powered and could be velcroed behind the iMac: http://a.co/amVGWPn

    Or for $499 he could get an 8TB Thunderbolt RAID-0 array that is about 2x the performance of a single drive, quieter and looks better:

    http://a.co/bo9vdDX

    Of course whatever he gets will require yet another drive to back everything up on.
     
  9. rjsounds thread starter macrumors member

    rjsounds

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2017
    #10
    Thanks for all of the replies everyone.

    I appreciate the recommendations but those are definitely more than I would need (and can afford...).

    So the "plus fast" version is just faster read/write speeds? Honestly for now I think the 2TB would be enough for the forseeable future. But it doesn't list the read/write speeds. Two of those would be less than the price of the 4TB version. And what do you mean by velcroed?

    Would it make sense to keep projects that I'm actively working on on the main internal SSD, and everything else for storage can sit on the other hard drive and when I'm ready to work on a project stored there, I can move it to the main SSD drive? I'm only used to working on the regular internal hard drive of my current 2010 iMac so this whole multiple drives thing is new to me. I just want to make sure that I'm seeing the benefit of the SSD - would keeping all of my audio files on the other hard drive be fine or would that slow down workflow? Sorry for so many questions!
     
  10. hfg, Jul 18, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017

    hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #11

    This is the Seagate Plus Fast 4TB RAID-0 bus powered drive velcroed to the iMac stand. You can purchase adhesive backed velcro (hook and loop) strips and dots at most stores which easily stick on the stand and disk drive allowing easy removal and attachment. They can be removed entirely without damage to either surface.

    I have mine partitioned for 2TB bootable daily clone of the internal 2TB SSD, plus 2TB of archive/library/music files. I then use TimeMachine to backup the SSD and archive files to a Mac Mini RAID server over the network.


    iMac with attached disk drive.jpg
     
  11. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #12
    It is about 2x the read and write speed of other bus-powered USB drives because internally it is two drives in a RAID-0 configuration. This increases performance but theoretically hurts reliability, although there are likely single-spindle drives which are less reliable. No matter what drive type, whether SSD or spinning, you always want everything backed up. Any drive can fail at any time, whether SSD or not.

    The dilemma is it's very easy to throttle overall performance of a fast computer like a 2017 iMac 27 with a slow external drive. Either using an AC-powered external drive or a two-drive RAID-0 unit like the Seagate Backup Plus Fast or the G-RAID helps avoid this.

    That depends on the I/O demands of your app and the performance of the external drive. If (for example) you use a cheap, slow 5400 rpm bus-powered, single-spindle external USB drive, and if your software needs rapid access to this data, your main tasks would be slowed down. Then you'd have to frequently be moving data back and forth, which increases the chance of error, plus waiting for all those moves takes time.

    If the drive is faster or if your software doesn't need high-bandwidth access to that data, you could just leave it on the external drive. There is no simple answer because it depends on the software, how you use it, your expectations, drive speed, etc.
     
  12. SaSaSushi, Jul 19, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017

    SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #13
    I agree with this. I experience no perceivable loss in performance/slowdowns with the iTunes and Photos libraries on my external JBOD drives but storing my Linux and Windows Parallels virtual machines there made them next to unusable so I keep those on the iMac's internal 512GB SSD in spite of the fact that they take up close to 100GB between them.

    Not having any experience with Logic Pro, I can't speak to it personally but from what I've read sustained throughput is not really an issue with music production and especially not for samples.
     
  13. rjsounds thread starter macrumors member

    rjsounds

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2017
    #14
    Thanks everyone for the advice. I've also posted on the LogicProHelp forums and the overall consensus there seems to be "keep your project files and audio samples on an external hard drive."

    I really like the idea of the hard drive velcroed to the back of the iMac, it's out of the way and can just act as a storage and backup with time machine. I may definitely consider buying the Seagate Plus Fast.

    Are you a music producer using Logic Pro? And you keep all project files and audio samples on the external drive?
     

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