External Storage for rMBP

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Rudolph II, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. Rudolph II macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2013
    I bought a Retina MBP a few months ago for photography and schoolwork. I also have a PC Dell XPS 8500 desktop that I have been using for my photography for a year. I am trying to decide if it would make sense to sell my PC desktop as I mainly use it as storage for 600gb worth of images. Currently, I do all my editing on the rmbp but transfer all the images to my desktop as it has a large storage capacity. The specs of both the mac and desktop are below:

    15” Retina Macbook Pro: 16gb RAM, i7 2.7ghz, 512gb ssd
    Dell XPS 8500 Desktop: 16gb RAM, i7 2.3 ghz, 256gb ssd boot drive, 2tb hard drive

    If I were to sell the Dell desktop, I need to add an extra 2tb of storage through two 1tb external hard drives that I have salvaged from previous desktops. I will be editing the images directly on the external drive (not the internal mac 512gb ssd) so I think disk performance is important for editing speed. Does it make sense to buy a usb 3 2-bay RAID0 enclosure or buy a 2 tb thunderbolt external drive for better disk performance? If you have recommendations or other thoughts on this matter, I would be glad to hear them!

    Thank you,
    Rudolph II
  2. grayskyz macrumors regular


    Nov 21, 2008
    Los Angeles
    Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 hard drives are good way to future proof your Photo archive. But as far as performance goes you'll always be limited to the slow spinning hard drives, that is the bottle-neck. I'm not sure why disk performance is an important for editing speed? If your batch converting a lot of Hi-Res images or dealing with gigabyte files then a fast hard drive is important but, if you're just editing a few photos, I wouldn't get too hung up on that. You're going to pay a huge premium for the thunderbolt connectivity with a raid hard drive box. My other advice is stay away from Drobo it's painfully slow and they don't support operating systems passed a couple of years unless you pay a yearly fee. OWC is probably one of the best retailers for what you're looking for http://goo.gl/VKaI7I I have had this http://goo.gl/nS8Lv for the last few years and I would definitely buy this again but, you can roll your own USB 3.0 read box pretty inexpensively as well. I've been a professional photographer for the last eight years and I wish someone would've talked me into building a permanent hard drive solution from the get go. Let me know if you have anymore questions I'd be happy to answer them.
  3. Rudolph II thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2013
    Thank you so much for the response, grayskyz. I will take a look at these options.
  4. rmwebs macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2007
    I've got a couple of USB 3.0 drives on my rMBP and the speeds are perfectly acceptable. I actually have a bunch of apps, and virtual machines on one of them and you'd never know it was coming from an external drive as the speed difference is negligible. Personally I wouldn't bother with the expense of thunderbolt unless you expect to be doing a massive amount of data transfer daily.

    You can pick up decent USB 3.0 hard drives and enclosures pretty cheap now. The only one I recommend avoiding is the 'Seagate Expansion Drive'

    I've got one of those and whilst it works perfectly fine, its noticably louder than the 'Seagate Backup Plus' which runs near silent - highly recommend the backup plus.

    Also the backup plus has the added benefit that the bottom power/usb3.0 panel can be detached, and replaced with a thunderbolt one should you ever decide to use thunderbolt instead. It's future proofed really well.
  5. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    As others have said, inexpensive USB 3.0 drives are excellent for massive amount of storage and backup and offer pretty good performance. It is not until you get into massive aperture libraries, more complex photo adjustments, and video editing that you would notice the benefit of a thunderbolt RAID. There are some out there that provide great responsive feel but at near $2000 for 20TB. USB3 is certainly fine, and if that's what you are used to using, you wouldn't know what you are missing.

    3TB external USB 3.0 drives will soon be less than $100. You need two drives, one as a backup to the other.


  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    [[ If I were to sell the Dell desktop, I need to add an extra 2tb of storage through two 1tb external hard drives that I have salvaged from previous desktops. ]]

    Are these all SATA type drives?
    (As distinguished from older ATA 40-pin connector drives)

    Can you afford $25?

    I'd suggest you get a USB3/SATA docking station and try that for mounting/swapping of those drives you have laying around.

    There are also "dual bay" docks, as well.

    What I would NOT suggest is RAID, unless you have a backup of the RAID'ed drives.

    With a couple of docks (or a dual-bay dock), you could swap drives as needed, and the second dock would give you the capability to "dupe" any drive as well, for backup purposes.
  7. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    Run two Seagate USB3.0 3TB drives in a RAID 0 setup. Use Apple RAID in the Disk Utility app. They are exceptionally fast for 7200rpm drives. Almost as fast as the Velociraptors. I get about 280MB/s on black magic in RAID-0. Stand alone I have got over 200MB/s as well. The RAID speed is similar to a lot of SSDs, but you also get 6TB of space on 2 3TBs and the drives are fairly cheap.

Share This Page