Resolved Is the concern for onboard storage valid in 2015 and beyond?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by brinary001, Jul 6, 2015.

  1. brinary001 macrumors 6502a

    brinary001

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    #1
    I'm about to buy the new (or newly updated anyway) Retina MacBook Pro 13", and the one thing stopping me from pulling the trigger right now is storage. I'm looking at the 128 and 256 gig from B & H Photo, a MacRumors partner. They are $1229 and $1400 respectively. Of course I'd like the most powerful MacBook I could get with the best processor, abundant RAM, and plentiful storage, but I just don't have that kind of money at the moment. I wouldn't mind spending that couple hundred more for double the storage, but I can always easily double the storage later on with flash cards and sticks, and even more so with hard drives. However, anything read from or written to these expansions would have slower speeds than Apple's built-in PCIe-based flash storage, correct? I know a hard drive definitely would. I'm just worried that, even with all the RAM in the world, an application I have cached on an external source would open slower simply because it had to travel through a slower bus.
     
  2. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

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    #2
    It's strictly preference.

    Some prefer to have a large internal drive to store all of their applications, media, and other files and some don't mind using externals later on given that they are paying less for the machine upfront in the short term.

    You seem to have a pretty decent idea of your options, the differences, and an understanding of your own situation so you just have to decide what you prefer. It's not valid or invalid, right or wrong, preferable or not by default. It depends on the user's preferences.

    RAM will have no effect. I wouldn't worry too much as transfer speeds have picked up quite a bit. USB3 and Thunderbolt are quite snappy interfaces. They are plenty adequate for acting as media drives if you want to store all of your applications and system files on the internal SSD.
     
  3. brinary001 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    brinary001

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    #3
    Thank you so much! Think I'll go with the 128 and use the money I'll save on a nice external hard drive. While I have you here, do you have any preferences on them? Of course the thunderbolts are probably the best and definitely the SSDs, but they're also the most expensive... I've been eyeing the LaCie Porsche drives (that were apparently co-designed by Porsche??) and they seem pretty well-received by consumers for both design and performance. Just curious what you recommend.
     
  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #4
    Hard drives are a tough things to reccomend, some people will swear by western digital others by seagate or Hitachi, they all have around the same failure rate, so just buy reputable and don't worry.

    I would say that if having to keep plug it in and out is a chore then think about a wifi equipped hard drive great for use with computers, phones and tablets and you can just leave it on in a bag or wherever in the house and still access the information on it.

    There are a couple of ways to do this:

    Something like this a hard dricve with built in wifi.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_n...ifi+HD&ie=UTF8&qid=1436257441&rnid=2941120011

    or this a wifi hub that will take any sort of media storage device USB or SD card (I have used these and they are great they work really well as a wifi router or extender when wired internet is all you have a available as well, and as a battery pack...)

    http://www.amazon.com/Kingston-Digi...1436257575&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=mobilelite
     
  5. newellj, Jul 7, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2015

    newellj macrumors 601

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    #5
    I have used both the Seagate and WD wireless HDs. They are painfully slow - I would not recommend using them via wifi for anything other than something like background backup.

    I'm a committed user of external storage (there are three Seagate and one WD 2TB HDDs on my desk as I type this), but there are trade-offs.

    External HDs are another thing to carry around. They take up space on your work surface, including the 2" or so that the connector adds to the width of the laptop (4" if you stick on in on each side, as I often do). They are subject to physical damage if you drop or bang them around.

    Cloud/wireless storage assumes that you have access whenever you need it. That's not true for me; you should carefully think access issues through before you rely on cloud storage.
     
  6. mlts22 macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 28, 2008
    #6
    I was debating on this, and wound up going with the 512 GB SSD. To add space, there are drives which fit into the SD card socket which give another 128 GB of storage, and I'd also look at a Thunderbolt based external SSD, just because the physical drive form factor is a little bit bigger than a Zippo lighter, so not too bad to tote around, and fairly fast as well.

    As for cloud storage, I'd consider it for backups... but I'd also make sure files are saved on an external drive first (Time Machine, perhaos), since the drive will be there regardless of presence/absence of Wi-Fi. Some cloud storage providers, you need to have the HDD space anyway for syncing the files.
     
  7. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

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    United Kingdom
    #7
    I think it all depends on your usage scenarios.

    If you travel a lot with your laptop and really need the files on your external HD, I'd consider long and hard before buying the MBP with the lower storage. Carrying around and plugging in external drives all the time isn't fun, and you'll soon tire of doing it.

    On the other hand, if your MBP will mainly stay at home (or you don't need the files on your external HD wherever you go), external storage may be the way to go. It's a lot slower than Apple's PCIe storage they use in their laptops, but it does the job in most circumstances.

    I replaced my 1TB HDD with a 512GB SSD earlier this year so had to transfer some data to external HDs - I currently have a 1TB and a 2TB drive daisy-chained via FireWire 800 on the back of my Thunderbolt display - one used for backups, one for external media like movies and Steam games.

    Also factor in backing up your data - remember "Schofield’s Second Law of Computing", which states that data doesn’t really exist unless you have at least two copies of it. If you buy an external HD, be prepared to buy another one of at least equal size to create backups. (Unless you use Time Machine wirelessly or have enough space on your current backup disk, in which case this won't apply.) Time Machine is really good as it allows you to backup external drives.

    Lots of internal storage definitely makes life easier, but you can cope fairly easily with external storage. Things are a little harder to organise, of course the chance of data loss increases dramatically, but generally it's not too bad.
     
  8. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

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    #8
    I tend to prefer Western Digital or Toshiba, but my advice would be to pay attention to the warranties offered for each drive no matter what brand you're looking at. It's easy to forget that in the inclusion of the price, and while two different drives might both be $60, one could have a 1 year warranty and the other could have a 5 year warranty. I would just go for something reputable - LaCie is fine if that appeals to you. I also must stress to NOT purchase anything that says "for Mac" or anything to that effect - don't pay an extra $20 or $30 for a drive that comes pre-formatted for OS X as it is beyond simple to do that on your own.

    There's also other things to consider besides its interface like the form factor of the drive. I'm sure you know, but 3.5'' drives usually (or always) require a power adapter while 2.5'' drives are powered through their interface alone. Just something to think about - and I usually stick with 2.5'' drives personally.
     
  9. Jabar18 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2015
    #9
    I'm interested in hearing other's opinions on this topic, because it directly affects me. I have a 2007' MBP that's still kicking! I swapped out the OEM 120gb HD for a 7200RPM WD Scorpio 320gb HD about five years ago. Now, the laptop is dying. The screen's almost gone and it's running painfully slow on Mavericks, even with an upgrade of 4GB RAM.

    I'm used to having all my data on my hard drive, but I've almost maxed out my 320gb drive, and I find using external drives unwieldy. I want to open my laptop and have everything there. Photos, music, everything. The one thing I can compromise on are movies. However, I just got married this past year and the wedding photo files are almost 30gb just on the their own. So clearly a 512gb or a 1TB MBP is in my near future.

    However, I can't justify getting a 512gb SSD MBP when I'm already over 1/2 there with storage, but the 1TB SSD adds an additional $500 going from a 512gb SSD. But then again much of that $500 would surely be used with extra HDs, etc.

    Help! Ideas?
     
  10. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

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    Apr 19, 2014
    #10
    How about a non-Retina with a 1 TB HDD? It would be significantly cheaper than an SSD of the same size and any 2011 or 2012 would be an upgrade over your 2007.
     
  11. Jabar18 macrumors member

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    Feb 8, 2015
    #11
    Good idea, but since my MBP from 2007 has lasted me this long, I'm looking to get a 2015 maxed out MBP to do the same. I'll hopefully have that machine until 2020 at least.
     
  12. venom600 macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #12
    Do not get a 128GB model. It simply isn't enough storage. I stupidly bought a 128GB Macbook Pro a year ago to use at work because it was such a good deal, and I regret it everyday. Even if you fully embrace the cloud, storing any type of multimedia (music, photos, movies) onboard will be difficult. Those SD cards that are made to expand storage aren't all that useful either since they aren't made to be written to as much as the computer will. I've replaced three in the last year from PNY and Transcend. Walking around with an external USB drive isn't fun either.
     
  13. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

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    #13
    It certainly can be!

    It depends on what you do - and with many alternatives like cloud storage and physical externals it can more than likely be feasible. I realize it is not an option for some people, however.
     
  14. venom600 macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 23, 2003
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    Los Angeles, CA
    #14
    I'm sure it can be enough today if it isn't your primary machine or you are willing to carry a bunch of external drives or trust that you'll always be connected to the internet. But remember that the machine is essentially locked from then on. If you decide you need more later, your only option is to spend ridiculous money for an Apple service part on ebay and void the warranty. And some things just don't work from external storage. 128GB basically precludes you from using Boot Camp in any meaningful way. If you are limited by income to the base Macbook Pro, I'd recommend the 13" Macbook Air with 256GB of storage and an upgrade to 8GB of memory. 256 is doable... 128 is painful.
     
  15. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

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    #15
    Understandable. In any case I agree with you - all of this can be avoided if you know what it is that you need. Depending on what you are using the computer for - 128 GB could be plenty, or even more than enough for some - be it a main or secondary driver. I understand your points but on that same respect, a lot of users may not care about things like bootcamp or not have a lot to store locally beyond system files and applications.

    I don't need to explain it to you as you've clearly got the idea, but even less is more than capable for some users. This is how Chromebooks operate, for example's purpose. It just truly depends on what you are using the computer for - and you bring up good points regarding cloud storage, but physical external storage can be accomplished in one 2.5'' drive solution in the matter of a case like this were doubling the 128 GB internal storage is in question. Small 2.5'' drives powered by USB or other interfaces alone are in the TBs as far as storage - not a pain to carry around in my opinion.
     
  16. brinary001 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    brinary001

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    #16
    Thank you all for your feedback. I love that this thread is taking off and I'll try to respond to as many points as I can.

    Regarding the main discussion of 128 gigs being too small, I think there are plenty of cases where it certainly is just that, too small. However, I am a college student, so I probably don't have to tell you all that I'm a media junkie. I realize this makes the case for more internal storage, but bear with me here. For things like music (I have 40 or 50 GB), movies (~400 GB but adding more all the time), and photos (30-40 GB) I wouldn't mind using an external 3.0 or thunderbolt drive because these things aren't accessed daily. Sure maybe the music category, but that's from my iPhone most likely. Therefore, I wouldn't mind grabbing the little 2.5" 2 or 3 TB drive for those days I need it for whatever reason. I don't have a big boy job yet, so I'm not doing any business traveling. Would be more along the lines of a small trip or vacation and a run-of-the-mill hard drive would be fine in these cases.

    Speaking of music, iTunes Match is holding on to my songs in the cloud for me, iCloud and OneDrive have my photos, but my videos are indeed vulnerable. As one user mentioned however, I would get a backup drive for my external drive to minimize risk and just to have for physical copies in the event of a massive Apple or Microsoft data breach, mutant overlords, nuclear war, etc.

    Someone mentioned the "made for Mac" branding on some drives. I've always known this to be a scam on the technologically challenged, so not only is it good to avoid to save money, but also because those universal drives are blank slates and can hop between OSes right out of the box, correct?
     
  17. Mr. Retrofire, Jul 7, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2015

    Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

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    #17
    I use this in this enclosure. No problems (supports OS X sleep functions). Silent and cool like a green drive, and fast as a 7200 rpm drive (NASware 3.0 (HDD firmware); 140 MByte/s read/write in the Inateck enclosure; Mac mini 2012; OS X 10.9.5). Very low latency via the SATA III/USB 3.0 UASP bridge (ASMedia ASM1153E).
     
  18. brinary001 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    brinary001

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    #18
    Wow that's a nice setup. Cheap but abundant and reliable storage. Plus Amazon was recommending to me underneath it a NAS box for a couple hundred bucks that could house my drive for use as, well, a NAS. Think it was made by Synology? Something to consider for a further point in time.

    I like the idea of NAS, but I'd want to be able to access my data from anywhere and not just at home. Internet storage, not intranet storage. I.e. Make my own personal Dropbox or iCloud.
     
  19. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #19
    You could do that by creating your own sFTP server: http://www.maclife.com/article/howtos/how_make_your_mac_sftp_server
     
  20. Zxxv macrumors 68040

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    #20
    pluggin in external drives to a laptop gets old real quick.
     
  21. brinary001 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    brinary001

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    #21
    That's certainly a good option, but wouldn't I need to have a computer always at home for that? Like I couldn't just leave a NAS or even a simple AirPort/hard drive combo and then access THAT remotely could I?
     
  22. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #22
    Exactly, you're going to need a computer to be on 24/7 just for the purpose of accessing it remotely. Think of it as a server.

    An NAS and an AirPort does not have a full fledged OS to handle all the server and networking stuff. You need a computer to setup the whole thing and manage the whole thing. There's a reason why it's called an sFTP server.

    I've got an older MBP dedicated just for running the sFTP server.
     
  23. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    Boston
    #23
    You are correct any external storage, be it SD card, USB or even TB, will be slower in then the internal storage. Thunderbolt though is pretty darn fast. I have a TB DAS on my MBP and its very quick for my needs. I don't take the drive with me, I have enough storage on my MBP to work with. I use the DAS as secondary storage that isn't needed for day to day usage.
     
  24. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    Jan 6, 2005
    #24
    I see a couple of issues with buying a 128GB model today. First, a new MBP is a fabulously powerful, and rather expensive machine that will likely have a useful lifespan of 5 years or more. If it's tight on storage today, what will it feel like 5 years from now? Second, I've tried to live with computers low on storage, and it gets old fast. You spend a lot of time managing your space. Using a hard drive is another expense, another thing to carry along with you, something easily lost or stolen, and something to drain your battery while watching a movie from it, etc. Will you remember that savings more over the next few years, or the fact that you have to constantly manage drive space and can't use this great computer to its full potential?

    Forget about any of the 'for Mac' stuff with regard to external drives and buy what you like. Anything you store on that drive should be backed up somewhere too if you don't want to lose it, so you may want to buy two.
     
  25. Zxxv macrumors 68040

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    #25
    How often will you be writing to and from it for it to be a problem? won't it be you shift stuff you want to keep for sentimental sake onto it and access rarely if ever?
     

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