FW800/TB for constantly working on external drive (photography)

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by nochnia, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. nochnia, Jul 20, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011

    nochnia macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2011
    Hy guys.
    I'm going to buy my first mac. It's going to be an i7 27" iMac with 16GB RAM and I'm going to replace the standard hdd with a Vertex 3 SSD. I like the idea of a almost silent system.

    As I'm a photographer I do have a lot of data which I have on a external disk. I already own an FW800 enclosure and 2x WD Caviar Green WD20EARS HDDs.

    My plan is to connect one 2TB hdd via FW800 to use it as data disk.

    My first question*
    Is it possible to work constantly on this disk via FW800 in a photographic workflow where I use lightroom and photoshop ?

    Later this year, if some thunderbolt enclosures become available, I guess I'm going to use a TB enclosure as my main drive and the FW800 as Backup enclosure.

    And my second question*
    Should I change the WD Caviar Green for a faster 7200rpm disk or doesn't it matter at all via the FW800 connection?! I guess for TB it makes sense then?
  2. nochnia thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2011
  3. occamsrazor macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2007
    You can check the specific transfer rates of that drive elsewhere at somewhere like storagereview.com, but generally speaking most single desktop drives these days will max out a FW800 connection, so it wouldn't make much difference.
    That's why FW800 is long out-of-date and eSATA, USB 3.0, or Thunderbolt are needed to take advantage of the higher transfer rates.
    Overrall I think your plan sounds fine...
  4. classicaliberal macrumors regular


    Jul 19, 2011
    It will absolutely work, and work well. FW800 is just as good for this task as USB 3.0. Don't try it with USB 2.0 or FW400. Thunderbolt would be best, but it'll be expensive and drives aren't even available in mass yet.
  5. dgr macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2011
    Yes it will work with 16GB of memory. The import/export process will be slower but whether or not it's fast enough is up to you.

    That's really two different types if measurements. Your connection will be restricted to the 800mbps but your latency/data access times will improve with a 7200RPM drive. With all things being equal the 7200 rpm drive will still feel faster.
  6. occamsrazor macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2007
    Sorry but that's just not true.... Being a 5400rpm drive the WD20EARS is amongst the slowest (although high capacity and good value), but even a single one of these will max out a FW800 connection. You'll see here that it can sustain well over 100MB/sec in sequential read/write, which means FW800 will be a bottleneck on it.
    What "dgr" said above about latency is true though. Still, latency is more important for reading lots of small files. As you will be using it for photo and vidoe work I'd imagine that most of the files are relatively huge, and so this won't be a major issue.
  7. Battlefield Fan macrumors 65816

    Battlefield Fan

    Mar 9, 2008

    It should be noted that the new iMacs contain hard drives with special firmware. Every user who has tried to add their own drive has run into the problem of system fans running at 100%. The only way to make it stop is to reinstall the stock HDD.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. This article was on the front page a month or two ago.
  8. nochnia thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2011
    I got my iMac 27" i7 last week.
    I replaced the standard 1TB Harddrive with a 240GB Vertex 3 :)
    It's running very well without any problems.

    The lightroom catalog is on the SSD + the current photo project files. The old photos + other documents + data is on the external data drive connected via a FW800 enclosure...

    Since I don't need much speed on these other files, the FW800 connection is ok for me. Backups of the system and the data partition run to a USB 2.0 enclosure...

    As I stated in the first thread, my idea was to replace the FW800 enclosure with a thunderbolt one when they are out and use the FW800 for my backup stuff. But unfortunately the USB 2.0 enclosure is so extremely slow :(

    Another thing is. I like a quiet workplace. And I don't know if that's possible with 7200rpm drives. I took the 7200rpm drive that's been in the iMac and used it in my pc system. This drives is so extremely loud :( but I can't hear my 2 WD Caviar Green 2TB drives at all :roll eyes:

    So what do you think. If I go with the 5400 drives, waiting for thunderbolt enclosures doesn't make sense at all?!

    Or are there any 2-3TB 7200rpm drives that are quiet?
  9. nochnia thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2011
    Guys I really would appreciate some help. I don't want to stay too long in the state of unbackupped ;)

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