External Storage Advice Needed.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Simplesimon101, May 31, 2010.

  1. Simplesimon101 macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2006
    Hello, I've had a look on these forums and had a look on the web but I'm still confused by what I need to get to meet my external storage needs.

    Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.


    I'm going back to university next year to study animation so I've just ordered a Macbook Pro and I will be selling my '08 Mac Pro fairly soon to pay for it.

    I'm doing this because I need to be able to work from where ever. I know if I need to do any massive renders University has equipment I can use.

    What I am looking for...

    Animation obviously takes up a lot of Hard Disk space so I need someway of storing, accessing and backing up all of my work that wont fit on my laptop.

    This is a basic summary of what I need it to do.

    - Store old projects (that can be 100's of Gb)
    - Easily backup MBP harddrive (500Gb) & old projects on other drives.
    - Work directly on it on large animation projects.
    - Be expandable in the future.
    - Fairly easy to set up and use.
    - Cheap is good but I'm happy to pay more if the benefits are obvious.
    - Any extra bonuses are good (like working wirelessly, etc) but only if it's not loads extra.

    I don't know if all these things are possible but be very grateful for any help regardless.
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    If you only want to store those projects, then any USB or FW HDD is capable of that.

    Any USB or FW HDD is capable of doing that.
    You can use Time Machine or a cloning application like SuperDuper / CarbonCopyCloner to make backups.

    Do you want the HDD to be portable? There are some 2.5" HDD enclosures with FW800 ports.

    Get an HDD enclosure (3.5" or 2.5") and buy the HDDs yourself and change whenever you want, or are you looking for some kind of expandable RAID?

    Depends on what you want - enclosure for single drives or a RAID enclosure.

    FW800 ports cost more, but FW800 gives you more than double the speed of USB 2.0.

    That would slow down your read and write speeds to 5-7MB/s, which might be really, really slow depending on your projects.
  3. Simplesimon101 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2006
    Thanks for the quick reply!

    I need it to do all those things really (or find a suitable balance of them)

    I don't need the HDD to be that portable. Perhaps once or twice a year when I move it to university for extended periods to work on but what I may need it to be is fast enough to work off if I need to. I don't know if I could connect it directly with an ethernet cable if that'd be even better than FW800?

    The only problem with using a standard external HDDs is that I'm currently using about 2.5Tb on my Mac Pro HDs (including TimeMachine) and I expect that to go up in the future.

    re. working wirelessly. I wouldn't animate that way. It'd just be for streaming music/videos etc.

    I have a basic understanding or Raid and I've seen something called NAS. would either of these be good for me? or are they better for other uses? or would it be better if I just got a series of external HDDs and use them as and when I need them?

    Many thanks :)
  4. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    I have an old machine hooked up to my network with 1.5TB HD space (Pentium 4 2.0GHz with 768 MB ram)
    I can mount the HDs on my desktop and access them wirelessly, or with cable when i need more speed. (via 1GB ethernet I reach about 25-30MB/sec, via wireless 54mbit I guess i get like 4-6MB sec, still oki for streaming!)
    This works great for storage and backup.
    If you have an old machine, simply buy a few disks and put them in it, or hook up a USB2.0 drive to it.

    For things that require speed I use a LaCie D2 FW800 disk. Ideal for videoediting or anything else that requires more speed.
    (70-85MB sec read/write)

    For portable use I have a Western Digital Passport USB 2.0 disk, it's slower than the LaCie (35-45mb sec)
  5. wkw macrumors 6502


    Mar 23, 2004
    Eugene, OR
    have you checked out Drobo? high cost initially but pretty reliable so far for me. I use it with my early '09 iMac connected to FW800. I have 3x2tb hitachi and 1x1tb seagate. Its very quick read/write and is simple to use and setup.
  6. oplix Suspended


    Jun 29, 2008
    New York, NY
    Spend a little extra and get a Firewire 800 device. ;)
  7. Ronnoco macrumors 68030


    Oct 16, 2007
    United States of America
    I use a Maxtor 7200rpm Firewire 800 external and that thing is LIGHTNING FAST...:D
  8. bella92108 macrumors 68000

    Mar 1, 2006
    I agree with the other posters. I recently sent in my 2TB firewire drive for repair (the fan started making noise so I figured I'd get it repaired or replaced while still in warranty.) so I bought a WD MyBook USB 2.0 TB drive to use while it was in repair... And let me say, IT SUCKS!!! Since the drive is USB it uses less power, but with that comes the fact that it spins down so sometimes when I click it to access it there's an annoying 2-3 second lag until it spins back up (it's not a setting, it's the drive, no way around it), and then the USB 2.0 transfer speed is like a snail compared to the FireWire 800 I'm accustomed to... ugh, my original drive ended up getting replaced with a brand new one and will be delivered and I can't wait to get back to using it...

    Bottom line, spend the extra few bucks... for Firewire 800.
  9. Simplesimon101 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2006
    Thanks for the responses.

    FW800 Ok, thanks hearing you loud and clear on that.

    Drobo I've looked this up and it looks interesting but it's a bit more expensive than I had in mind. Is the main advantage that it's simple? If so I'm not sure I can justify the price tag.

    Daisy Chain? Do you think it would be worth just buying a few drives and just daisy chaining them together?

    An Array? Someone I know mentioned that I could buy a device that I can just slot drives in and out of as when I need (so I can just keep backups on random drives). Would this be the best solution?
  10. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    I would get a 2.5" drive with at least 640GB. If you find you need a lot of backup storage space. The cheapest is to buy one of this Adapter stands where you simply plugin a naked sata drive and transfer your data. Then store the drive somewhere. 1.5TB drives 3.5" without anything are really cheap.

    FW800 is the best you can go on a MBP unfortunately. What drive is in the 2.5" ext. case doesn't really matter as even newer 5400rpm drives are now fast enough to be limited by FW800.
  11. psingh01 macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2004
    I use an HP Media smart server for storage. It's a NAS with 4bays. I just plug the ethernet cable straight to my MBP and it works fine. Have to enable Internet sharing to the Ethernet port, if you have a router all the better. It can also work as a time machine target. Probably not as fast as other solutions but it works fine for me.
  12. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    Good idea.

    It's loved and hated, but I don't have any opinions.

    I would buy something with multiple drives, but not multiple units. It's not cost effective and takes up a lot of spaces. Multiple drives allow for RAID etc...

    This might help.
  13. Tanto macrumors member


    Jun 1, 2010
    My solution to your problem (I have a lot of movies digitized) was to use velcro and put it on the outside of my Speck case (god forbid applying directly to laptop lid!). I put one side of the velcro in a rectangle cut to fit the profile of my 640GB external and then did the same to my external HDD and voila! There it sits no matter where I take my laptop and I can easily remove it so it fits in my laptop case. The only bad part is that all the USB ports are on one side so you can't really attach another one to the other side of the lid unless you had a longer USB cable.

    So I guess if you had the cable you could have about 1.5 TB of external storage on your lid with 2 HDDs. With just one on there, I don't have any balance problems with it and I suspect that you would be fine with 2 HDD because the laptop base has a fair bit of heft to counter it.

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