How to manage a too-small SSD?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ghoti, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. ghoti macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2008
    I have been using a late-2006 C2D MacBook and just now sprung for a rMBP (refurb).

    Here is my problem: I have been using a 500 gig HDD in my MacBook and am stepping back to a 256 SSD. The 512 SSD just wasn't in the budget but I figured I'd manage. Now the question is: how do I go about managing the lack of space? I have 220 GB of music and 120 GB of photos.

    I don't use my music on my computer much at all -- so I was figuring I'd get them onto my backup drive and then go with iTunes Match to take care of that issue. Will that work ok?

    I don't need much access to my photos, so I am fine putting those on the backup drive as well. However, how do I get iTunes to manage two libraries? I'd like to be able to send new photos to the rMBP but most can remain only on the backup. I have a hard time expressing what I am trying to say so I hope that what I wrote makes sense.

    Anyone have any good solutions for managing media with a too small drive?
  2. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    What are you using for photo management? iPhoto, Aperture, or other? With iPhoto and Aperture you can create multiple libraries and access them on the external drive.
  3. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    It would cost extra but you could also get something like a Buffalo Live NAS drive. That can handle an iTunes server which usually works better then external libraries. Also you can access it from any device.

    For external photo libraries I found iphoto library manager over google. It allows switching libraries and also to easily put them wherever one wants.

    For iTunes I never found a decent way to manage multiple libs. Never had a big library and now I use Spotify which for choice and space is better. I would find it annoying having to add the external drive anytime I want to listen to some music. That is why I think NAS is more convenient or any online streaming solution but the latter is a bit touch with a 220GB library unless you can slim it down to the essentials of some 20GB.
  4. Dwinguel macrumors member


    Feb 2, 2010
    Geneva, Switzerland
    There is also the possibility to carry around a USB key (64 GB for example). It won't be fast but that way you can carry around easily some data (music I guess) that you need to access regularly. It's a kind of extension of your drive, albeit a slow one compared to the speed of your SSD.
  5. Brandon263 macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2009
    Beaumont, CA
    iTunes Match is an option, but if you're music is less than FLAC quality, I'd recommend moving to Spotify (high quality streaming, huge catalog for $10, ability to download tracks when you want to and correct tags/album art)


    1. Buy a fast router with a Shareport and hook up your external hard drive. Store movies and photos on the external drive.

    2. Store documents in iCloud.

    3. Delete unimportant stuff.
  6. ghoti thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2008
    I primarily use iPhoto right now but have been wanting to use Aperture more, but my MB can't handle it. I make an edit and then wait... and wait... and wait... I am really looking forward to moving to Aperture as soon as I get my rMBP.

    I didn't realize I can have libraries that reside on externals and that iPhoto and Aperture are ok with that. That's great news. Thanks!
  7. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Laptops are designed for portability, not storage. So use external drives to keep you iTunes library, photo libraries....etc.

    I carry my much my iTunes library in my my iPhone. I carry photo libraries on my iPad. No need for carrying either on my MBP. That leaves me just over 500GB to collect photos during 2 week photo trips. When I get home I cull/edit and move photos to the external storage drives....that are backed up with TC.
  8. Nioxic macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2011
    If it was me..

    i'd have an external harddrive at home (can the timecapsule be used as that? or only backup? maybe that could be an option for 2 for one..)

    for on the road.. get a 512GB USB 3.0 stick. get one of the faster ones.. they are pricey, obviously. but they take next to no space and can contain a ton of files
  9. srsub3 macrumors 6502


    Mar 10, 2013
    external usb3 hard drive or thunderbolt.... when you carry a laptop, the weight of an external hdd is unnoticeable
  10. Peace macrumors Core


    Apr 1, 2005
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    Go with the thunderbolt external hard drive. It is the future. You will be glad you did.
  11. ghoti thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2008
    Aren't iPhones and iPad designed for portability even more so than a laptop?

    I understand what you are saying about keeping the iTunes and iPhoto libraries on externals, as that is what I am asking -- the best way to manage storing media off of my main computer.

    Come to think of it -- seeing as my 2006 MB isn't worth much anyway, I suppose I can just use that as my "desktop" machine and keep media stored on that... hmmm
  12. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
    I don't understand. Your only recourse it to get some external storage. :confused:
  13. meme1255 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2012
    Czech Republic
    rMBP has SDXC slot, you could buy it to store unimportant data here (you should have backup of them, SD cards aren't the most reliable media..
    Kingston SDXC 128GB Class 10 cost about +- 92€ or 110$ .. That's the same as much bigger (about 1TB) ext HDD, but that card is better to carry around :)
  14. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Permanent storage on external drives/NAS with backup. Tunes and music you want to carry...use phone or pad.
  15. hkim1983 macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2009
    I just want to note that unless you have extremely good ears and you're using decent headphones or have decent speakers, the difference between a well-encoded high bitrate .mp3 or AAC file is negligible, that is, if you can hear the difference at all (the only obvious difference is that the FLAC file may be louder). I personally can't, and I'm pretty sure most people would fail a blind, random test involving that too.

    To the OP, I think having an external storage solution is the way to go, and just keep temporary files and essential files on your laptop. I honestly think a NAS is a little overkill for the average consumer (although the redundancy can be useful), and a USB 3 multi-terabyte drive is usually sufficient.

    For files that you want to bring around, a USB stick or SDHC card are usually sufficient.
  16. ghoti thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2008
    I stated in the first post that all that media will have to go on an external drive. I'm just asking about management.
  17. case2001 macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2010
    I had similar issues with photos, movies, and music. My rMBP is the 256gig model.

    I moved all my music, movies and photos to an external hard drive. I can connect to them when I am home no problems. I have a second external drive. Once a week I clone my data drive to for backup. I have plenty of room on my rMBP and I do a better job of backup.

    I only use 30gig of space with all application, OS X, and working files. Itunes works fine. I believe there is a guide on the forum which shows you how to move your iTunes library. It is easy. I do not use Aperture or iPhoto. But I would imagine they have similar capability.

    I access my external hard drive via a WD TV Live box that is connected to my router. The great thing about this is I can access my libraries when my rMBP is off from any other computer on my home network and from the WD TV Live player connected to my TV.

    Big improvement from the way I used to do it.
  18. james1758 macrumors regular


    May 26, 2013
  19. ghoti thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2008
    Good to know -- right now I can't afford that but I will think about it for the future. Thanks for the suggestion!

    I will check that out -- looks promising. Thanks again!

    I definitely can't slim it down 90% -- it is already slimmed down quite a bit, actually. When you say you "use Spotify" do you mean that you just use it for listening to music instead of listening to your own library?


    Thanks for that suggestion. I guess I wasn't clear -- I am trying to figure out how to manage my library as in: say I keep all of my iTunes music on an external. I download a new album off of eMusic or something like that. It then goes into my iTunes music library on my rMBP -- how do I put that onto my external music library? Do I just have iTunes access the external library and then copy the files to it? I've just never dealt with an external music library.
  20. ghoti thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2008

    Wow -- I really like Spotify. Thanks!


    Great ideas, thanks!


    I will probably do this for temporary file storage. Thanks.
  21. NewishMacGuy macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2007
    All of the above suggestions are logical, but were unpalatable to me for various reasons. Perhaps the thing to do is wait a bit longer for Apple's rMBP and SDD prices to drop. Buy a 2011 uMBP-15 off of CL and either upgrade to a 500+GB SSD for $350 or a 750+GB hybrid drive for $125.

    That way you can get yourself into a modern computing experience (w/ Thunderbolt & Sandy Bridge) that has most of the computing power and speed of the 2012 rMBP-15 for a LOT less without having to jury rig a sub-optimal solution for lack of onboard storage space.

    This is what I did last year when I needed to replace my 2006 wMB-13, and I'm not missing the rMBP at all. I still want it, but have no problem waiting until the 16GB/512GB price becomes more reasonable (and when it does, I'll also get 802.11ac to boot).


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