iMac external storage

Discussion in 'iMac' started by bmat, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. bmat, Nov 21, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010

    bmat macrumors 6502

    Nov 24, 2004
    East Coast, USA
    I'm curious what people use for external storage on their iMacs.

    I have a Mac Pro which is getting a little long in the tooth. I'm debating whether to get a new Mac Pro or to get an iMac, which would be a pretty good speed bump from my Mac Pro 1,1. I'd get the ssd drive, and the 2TB harddrive and get aftermarket RAM.

    But what I like about the Mac Pro is the upgrades you can do. And I like the four hard drive bays, for storage and backup. I've got over 3 TB of photos and music/tv/movies, so I'm going to need an external drive. In addition, I'd like to be able to backup everything. Is there an elegant way to do this on an iMac with an external drive that isn't super loud and hot?
  2. Jim738 macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2010
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    I have a couple of external storage options on my iMac. Firstly I have the airport router with the built in drive that looks good and works a treat. Plugged into this I have a buffalo Nas drive that gives me more storage and good transfer speeds. It also has a built. In web interface a torrent downloaded if you need them.
  3. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Synolgy DS110j NAS, works like a charm with my MacBook and supports Time Machine.
  4. Freis968, Nov 21, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2010

    Freis968 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2007
    Winter Park, Florida
    You only have 3GB worth of data to back up? I think you perhaps meant 3TB.

    If you can afford the iMac 27" w/ the SSD and 2TB option, MAN, more power to you! I would have purchased that in a flash if it was not $1,000.00 for that upgrade. I just could not justify the price to myself.

    I just made the switch from a Mac Pro 2008 to the 27" iMac i5. To backup my data I have an Airport Extreme w/ a HD hot swappable "toaster" hooked up to it with one of my leftover 2TB HDs from my Mac Pro. It sits next to my Airport Extreme and is on the other side of the room on my printer dresser and backs up wirelessly using Time Machine. In additon to that I have four redundant WD My Passport HDs that I keep in my desk drawer...well, one I keep off property and three in my desk drawer. I lost a TON of information a few years back and so four WD Passport drives and the left over SATA drives from my Mac Pro keep me backed up pretty good.

    I look forward to hearing how that switch goes for you.
  5. lee14160 macrumors regular


    Nov 28, 2009
    Fruitland, Idaho
    Most external HDD's are actually very quiet. I have A WD 1.5 external, and the 640 WD that came with my iMac (installed an SSD) installed into an external shell. And, fortunately neither one is loud in fact I don't even notice them being there.
  6. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I use an iMac, but in my case, all of my "primary data" fits comfortably on the 2TB internal drive. By "primary data"... that includes all of my documents, photos, music and H.264 versions of my entire video library. In total, that comes to about 800 GB and is growing at a slow, but steady pace as I take more photos, and purchase more DVDs. All of this is backed up twice... once locally to a 2TB TC, and also offsite to the cloud via Crashplan+.

    Beyond what fits inside my iMac... I prefer to use Network attached drives. I like NAS because most of my "external data" is media... and I can easily stream the data to other devices from a NAS. I keep the full MPEG2 copies of my movies on a 8TB windows home server (used as a NAS) which has about 2TB of data on it (4TB used with duplication). Other than the built in redundancy of the WHS, I do not bothering backing it up because I do not want to spend the bandwidth when it would be trivial to re-rip the DVDs in case of disaster.

    So... my overall data size is probably pretty close to yours.

    My advice is to determine if you really want to back-up all of your data... or if there is a big set (like my MPEG2 movies) that are unnecessary to back up.

    If you need it all... then I would recommend replacing the Mac Pro with another. OTOH... if you really only care about 1TB or so... then a 2TB iMac is a pretty good choice.

    In my case... I am pretty comfortable that my "non-MPEG2" data set will not grow over the 2TB limit over the lifespan of my iMac. It will probably not get too much larger than 1 TB.

    I think they key is determining what you want backed-up. Once you start spanning several disks (especially if any are networked attached)... then backup seem to grow in complexity.

  7. aussie_geek macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2004
    Sydney Australia
    2TB western digital usb HD for time machine partitioned into 750 GB for time machine, the rest for media etc. I only used 750GB as the other 250GB on the iMac HD is for boot camp.

    Another 2 TB one hooked up to my Netgear WNDR 3700 over ethernet for NAS storage.

    What I do is mainly use the Hd in the iMac to store Apps, current projects and music. I use all the other drives for movies etc.

    I store all my documents via cloud based services. This way you can access them anywhere using any computer.

  8. Spike88 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    For me, external storage (re: External HD) is easy.

    Things like:
    - Its external and easy to install. re: 1 x wire to its FW800 port.
    - Being FW800, its fast. Very fast. Especially for Backup Data (using Time Machine) or external data storage of archive / less often used data files.
    - Being external, it has its own cooling. And if installed "inside" my iMac (if could be done), it would make the insides of my iMac very easy.
    - Being external, I don't see the drive. It sits behind my iMac and I don't hear is minor sound either.
    - Being external, I can also move the external HD to a different computer (if I needed to).

    With today's technology of external HDs, external is a good choice (for me). External HDs have come a long way - since the old days. If needing more DATA storage, I'd get external HD device again.

  9. richpjr macrumors 68030


    May 9, 2006
    I just went through this, replacing my 2006 Mac Pro with all 4 drive bays full of disks for an i7 iMac with a 1 TB drive (I too could not rationalize the extra expense for a SSD drive). I picked up a 3 TB Seagate GoFlex with the FW800 stand and an external FW800 housing for a 2TB drive I had in the Mac Pro. 6 TB of storage is plenty for me. I may at some point pick up a NAS for the other drives, but at the present I don't need them.
  10. rtrt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2008
    these 3TB Seagates run very hot if you have them transferring data for a long time.

    see anandtech review where iirc he saw over 70 degrees c.

    can vouch for over 60 on mine - i've opened the case up and extracted the drive and installed it in a mp bay - can see the max temp via smart parameters.

    appreciate if you have the imac then thats not an option. if it was me i'd at least open it up and see what i could do to add ventilation - you can leave the top off for example, could drill/cut/dremel come holes/slots. it wont look as good for sure - but it might help with temps.

    if you only do small file transfers - like incremental backups, then it might not matter too much.
  11. bmat thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 24, 2004
    East Coast, USA
    For those who use large external drives, is it better to just get a smaller internal hard drive because of the heat issues (or just use a ssd).

    I'm still a bit torn between the iMac and giving up the expandability of a Mac Pro.
  12. richpjr macrumors 68030


    May 9, 2006
    I read that article too, but mine really does not seem to run hot at all. I copied 2 terabytes of movies to mine which took hours to complete. I checked it periodically while the copying was going on, and it never got hot to the touch while this was going on - just warm like you'd expect. I did not measure anything scientifically, but I was very relieved to see.
  13. rtrt, Nov 23, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2010

    rtrt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2008
    yep but at a guess you left it in the case - so you were touching the plastic which is a pretty good insulator.

    probably the drive got to somewhere between 60-70 degrees - if mine and his experience are anything to go by.

    tbh the other option is just to use it as it is and if it fails during the warranty period you get a new one foc and since you hopefully have a copy of any important info on that drive then you'll be ok anyway.
  14. richpjr macrumors 68030


    May 9, 2006
    I have the movies backed up from another drive so I'll probably just wing it. Since you had the case off, a question for you - how hard is it to get off and on? I was afraid of breaking the tabs holding it in place. I ask because I saw the 500 gig version on sale for $49 the other day and thought about buying it, taking the 500 gig drive out and sticking it in a PC and putting a 2 TB drive I have laying around in it.
  15. rtrt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2008
    well ive opened up my fair share of cases and broken quite a few, so whilst i'd say it's not that difficult, i did break a couple of the tabs.

    i'm sure i can put another low power drive in there and re-assmble it but have to be honest and say i haven't yet done it.

    to get an idea of the parts have a look on xlr8 your mac as he posted some pics a while back.

    i started at the base on one of the corners with an old credit card and then once i'd got the base going and made enough space on the long side, i used something similar to an old plastic ruler on the long sides.

    once you get the base and the sides free, the tabs i broke are the ones at the top. if you have some kind of long screwdriver you might be able to save those too.

    at least thats how i'd tackle it if i were doing another one.

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