How much space do you really need for backing up data?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dvader123, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. dvader123 macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2010
    I am deciding between a 500GB or 1TB HDD for external storage. I own a mbp15 with 4GB of memory. I'm using the laptop for simple internet, email, WORD, Excel, Powerpoint, Keynote, etc. The only thing that I think would take up a lot of space would be music and maybe a few downloaded tv shows.

    Would 500GB be enough or did you find that 500GB filled up real fast.

  2. frunkis54 macrumors 65816


    Apr 2, 2009
    A few as in a season or 2 the 500 would be fine. if you start alot of seasons along with alot of movies they add up fast and i would get 1tb.
  3. tpg macrumors regular

    Mar 19, 2010
    It really depends on your usage. My music library is about 50 GB, but will (hopefully) increase quite a bit soon when I get around to re-ripping everything as lossless!

    Also, would you be using this as additional storage, as a time machine backup, or both? For a time machine backup, you want at least the size of the drive in your mac, and maybe more depending on how frequently you want to store backups and how quickly you generate new content.

    I use a 2TB drive for storage of music / DVD rips (physical discs keep getting scratched - only way to be safe!), and a 500GB for time machine backup :)

    If cost is your concern, consider getting an SATA 3.5" enclosure and buying the hard drive separately. Often ends up cheaper, and you can keep the enclosure and just upgrade the drive!
  4. dvader123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2010
    I plan to use the drive exclusively for backup. I lost all my data because of a hard drive fail, and I do not want to make that mistake again. The size of my drive is 320GB (4BG was my memory). I guess then 500GB should be plenty, no?
  5. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    If you're doing incremental backups (as opposed to a clone), the standard recommendation is twice the size of the source.
  6. Gabriel GR macrumors 6502a

    Gabriel GR

    Jul 12, 2009
    Athens, Greece
    Get the TB. They are dirty cheap and you'll need it sooner or later.
  7. willieva macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2010
    You should decide what strategy you want to use for backup. If you want to be able to retrieve files you might have lost as well as rebuild a failed drive if necessary then you are doing incremental backups. The amount of disk space you buy depends on how far back in time you want to be able to retrieve files.
    Time machine is a decent tool for this kind of backup, and it's already on your system.

    If you're just looking to be able to recover a disk that has failed then you need to buy a 320GB drive. SuperDuper and Carbon Copy are two popular solutions for this type of backup.
  8. Batt macrumors 65816


    Dec 17, 2007
    Syracuse, NY
    500 will be plenty.
  9. dvader123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2010
    Hi. I guess my strategy is to do backups every once in a while (i.e. once a week). I plan to use Time Machine to do backup my data because it's built into the mbp system.

    If I backup data for 5 years, it's very likely that I won't need something 5 years ago. It would be nice to delete those older backups so that I have room for newer ones. Does it sound like 500GB is enough?
  10. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    Once a week?


    I mean I guess that's better than nothing but not by much.

    It doesn't take alot to make a sound backup plan, the problem is just getting it setup.

    My suggestion:
    1. Buy the drive. 1 TB Would be nice, but you can't get by with 500 GB, assuming you don't fill up the drive.
    2. Partition the drive. If 1 TB, partition it to 320 (the size of your internal) , with the remainder for time machine. If 500, partition about 150-200 for your internal, with the rest for time machine. This assumes you will not fill your primary to capacity.
    3. Using CarbonCopyCloner(free) or SuperDuper($$), make incremental backups of your primary drive on the smaller of the two partitions. This allows you to have a bootable copy that can be handy incase you need to ship your computer off for repairs. It'll also allow you to restore very quickly if you need to replace your disk drive. Most importantly, it will allow you to boot your current installation and all it's files on any recent mac, straight from the disk.
    4. Using time machine, backup to the larger partition as often as you want (time machine default is one (freaking) hour, but you can set it to something more reasonable i.e. every 6 hours or every night).

    I know what you're thinking: Wow. What an epic waste of time. Why would I have to implement such a solution?

    Think about each solution on its own. If you only have time machine backups, you'll be safe from accidental deletion. But what if your entire machine is hosed and won't start up? What if you cannot find the original system disks? An install disk is required to restore the time machine backup to a new install.
    What about just a full backup? Well, what happens if you delete that video file of your child's first words at 11:59 PM and your backup is schduled for 12:00 AM? Congratulations. Your memories are gone on your master and backup.
    Using both will allow you to quickly bring up your machine in the event of a catastrophic failure, decrease the lag time between your recent most backup and your current master, and give you days or weeks worth of copies to work with (depending on the size of your time machine backup).

    ( If you look in my sig you'll see my little ¬.¬ message. It's because i've dealt with an increasing number of users who are frustrated after data loss (much like yourself) after i've told them repeatedly to "back it up" :) )
  11. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    those downloaded tv shows will eat up your storage space pretty faster if you plan on keeping them once you've watched them
  12. dvader123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2010
    Wow! Thanks for the advice. Sounds like once a week is not enough. Anyway, I don't get the point of partitioning (at least the way you described). Sounds like I'm using both partitions (smaller and larger ones) for backing up.
  13. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    Get the 1TB drive. Seriously, what's the difference in price? $20? Get 1Tb.
  14. willieva macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2010
    You should back up as often as your needs dictate. If you just use the computer to check email and surf the web then a weekly backup is probably fine. If your using your computer as a data acquisition device then you probably want a raid system with hourly snapshots and offsite storage in case the lab blows up.

    As long as you're doing a regular backup you're way ahead of the pack anyway.
  15. bamf macrumors 6502

    Feb 14, 2008
    If you are using time machine it will back up changed files every hour.
  16. tpg macrumors regular

    Mar 19, 2010
    This is definitely playing it safe - although IMO a time machine backup is sufficient. A full bit-for-bit copy would only be useful in a very few circumstances. The time machine backup contains all your data, settings applications (everything on the hard drive), and I would say not being able to get hold of an installation disc is an unlikely scenario. Worst case - go to your local Apple store and they'll probably lend you one while you're there to get you up and running again.

    As for frequency, just leave the time machine disk connected when you can, and it'll backup very frequently by default. You can always delete backups later, so I think there's no harm in leaving it at the default setting.
  17. yishiang macrumors member

    Oct 21, 2008
    Get the 1TB.. or 1.5TB.. you are getting the 3.5" drive right?
  18. Batt macrumors 65816


    Dec 17, 2007
    Syracuse, NY
    Let Time Machine do its hourly thing. It doesn't actually run every hour because your Mac isn't awake every hour. It doesn't actually keep every hour's backup. It consolidates them into daily and rthen monthly archives. I've been letting TM do this on my 500GB Time Capsule for well over a year and a half and I'm not even close to having it automatically start to delete the oldest files. Buy the 500GB and let TM do what it's designed to do.
  19. dvader123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2010
    I was planning to get the G-Tech G-Drive mini which I believe is 2.5". Honestly, I don't know the difference. They seem to be the same in terms of reliability and performance.

    Is that correct?
  20. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    Not really.

    I'd consider the G-Drive (Formally "Q") to be more reliable than the G-Drive Mini . You'll also pay less per gb for the G-Drive (3.5") and have slightly higher performance.

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