Late 2012 iMac 27" & CalDigit 4TB AV Pro External Drive: Experiences

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Skyjamma, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. Skyjamma macrumors member

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    Aug 21, 2008
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    Maryland
    #1
    Howdy.

    A query to any folks who are using the CalDigit AV Pro 4TB (or any size) single drive solution with their late 2012 iMacs. Please comment on the following, if possible:

    1) Drive configuration type: 2.5" SSD or 3.5" HDD?
    2) USB 3 or FW800?
    3) Brand of SSD/HDD?
    4) General comments about the AV Pro's performance (Likes/Dislikes)

    Appreciate your feedback. Cheers.
     
  2. FCPEditor35 macrumors newbie

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    Feb 19, 2013
    #2
    1. The type of drive you choose depends on what your needs are. The SSD is faster. 430MB/s v 200MB/s. However, the HDD version can give you storage capacities up to 4TB. The great thing about the AV Pro is that it has the removable drive, which means that if you get the 3.5" HDD version, you can always upgrade to the SSD in the future.

    2. There's two models of the AV Pro, one with USB 3.0 & FW 800, and one with just USB 3.0. Obviously USB 3.0 will give you the speed if you have USB 3.0 on your Mac.

    3. The AV Pro uses Hitachi 7,200 RPM for the 3.5" HDDs, and Intel for the SSDs.

    4. Performance wise, the AV Pro is super fast with the SSD. It's faster than single drive Thunderbolt solutions, and it's a well built device for professional use. It's also bus powered which is always handy.
     
  3. Skyjamma, Mar 4, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013

    Skyjamma thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    @FCPEditor35: Thanks for your feedback. Much appreciated. In regards to the 4TB 3.5" HDD version, I'm assuming one can upgrade to a larger capacity drive when the initial 4TB drive that comes with the Caldigit unit is full?. I believe only the SSD version is bus powered, although I'm not a 100%.
     
  4. FCPEditor35 macrumors newbie

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    Feb 19, 2013
    #4
    Yeah, because the AV Pro has a removable drive you can just take the drive module out of it, and put in a new one. Caldigit sell extra drive modules.

    The SSD version is bus powered, as it requires less power. The 3.5" HDD version is not bus powered. But you can always get an SSD drive module in the future to put in it.
     
  5. thedeske, Mar 7, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013

    thedeske macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Just back from an install out of state for a long time client. She is a heavy Lightroom user. New 2012 iMac 27 with 2g vid, 32ram, etc.

    The Caldig rig is 2- 4TB AV Pro drives (one USB only & the other with firewire for any possible guest needs) 3 additional 4TB modules.
    We set up 1 drive for Lightroom only Raw & Catalogs. An older 4TB OWC USB3 drive is in place to archive all photos. The 2nd Caldig is for redundant safe copies & hardware redundancy. 90% of the time the Lightroom drive is the only one in use.

    Initial tests with large catalogs, 1 to 1 previews was very positive. Almost no draw time when arrowing across 100's of large raw images. The iMac's Fusion drive is nice for opening the app, but we noticed a vast improvement attributed to the Caldig AV, since the catalog and images are always external.

    During the first safe copy between the 2 drives on USB3, I noticed the speed was right in the claimed ballpark of 200mb. The folder was just over 1.2TB, so it took some time preparing to copy several thousand items. Anyone not familiar with 5 platter drives might think they're a little slow to boot. That's a bunch of spinning metal, so patience. Once they're up, it's about as fast as USB can deliver right now on HD. No experience with the SD version here.

    The drives stay amazingly cool. I have them enclosed in a small cabinet with a temp sensor fan, but the fan didn't come on during the first few hours with the door closed (see pics) Very impressed with the case quality. I don't think anything compares in a single drive enclosure.
    The monitoring software is nifty, but I doubt it will get much use from my client.

    pics - http://thedeske.smugmug.com/Other/Caldig-Install/28325030_g8sbrN#!i=2397682607&k=24JGVtH
     
  6. Skyjamma thread starter macrumors member

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    Maryland
    #6
    Hey thedeske, thanks for sharing. Funny enough, I will be setting up Lightroom on my iMac once it arrives, so this is VERY beneficial to me.

    Just to make sure I'm on the same page as you, what I understood from your post was that you installed the software (LR4/CS5 et al) on the FD, and placed the RAW image files and catalog files on the CalDigit AV Pro. Please confirm if that is an accurate statement on my part.

    If so, I wanted to ask why not place the RAW files & catalog on the FD as well. Looking forward to your reply.
     
  7. thedeske, Mar 7, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013

    thedeske macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Yes, raws and cats on 1 AV Pro. No other file types on that drive.
    Lightroom was already on the Mac. Transferred from her MacBook Pro during setup. Didn't do anything special on the iMac other than pulling it out and making the transfer. Yes, you can put the Cat files on the FD if you wish. It runs slightly faster that way. She prefers everything on external for several reasons. One is space, the other is Hardware redundancy if the iMac goes down, etc. She can just plug into a portable and keep going.
    The raw files on board? If you have space, why not? Looked at Caldig Raid, but it didn't fit the specific Redundancy pkg she required. It would for others that don't mind the routine.

    It's easy enough to imagine a 3TB FD with everything on it, and just back up to an external.
    Should fly nice, but this was a different though process for the clients specific needs. If I had a small (less than 500GB) Lightroom set and Apple's 700GB SSD on the iMac, it might be perfect. Several ways to skin a cat. Always like to say, there is never "The Way" to do it. Only several versions of "A Way" to do it.
     
  8. Skyjamma, Mar 7, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013

    Skyjamma thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    Indeed. Thanks for the breakdown. Your clients hardware redundancy requirement, and the desire to not skip a beat if the iMac fails, are more than enough good reasons to set things up the way you described. I haven't quite figured out my needs just yet. Was planning on installing LR4 and CS6 on my iMac's 3TB FD, along with my RAW files and catalog files, and do Time Machine backups to my 4TB CalDigit AV Pro. I do have a Mac Book Pro, but I don't really use it as part of my photography workflow.

    We'll see. Thanks again.
     
  9. thedeske macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 17, 2013
    #9
    Sounds like a sweet rig. We use SuperDuper smart update on schedules once the files are copied.

    She builds a new trip catalog on tour with an Air and merges to several on return. Friends in her travel group just bought Retinas, so the Air could have a short life this year ;)
     
  10. ed45 macrumors newbie

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    Mar 9, 2013
    #10
    I have a late 2012 27" iMac and I've been considering the AV Pro as aTime Machine / Memory Clone / portable drive solution using multiple modules with one enclosure. However, I've read about Time Machine issues for some USB 3.0 drives and the new iMacs - specifically: some drives dismount when the Mac goes to sleep. Then I saw this review a few days ago, indicating that this same issue exists for the AV Pro (which otherwise received a pristine review):

    http://dancarrphotography.com/blog/2013/03/12/caldigit-av-pro-review-hot-swapable-single-drive-bay-with-usb3/

    Has anyone else experienced this issue with the AV Pro? Is there a possibility that it was resolved with the latest OS X update?

    Thanks.
     
  11. Skyjamma thread starter macrumors member

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    Maryland
    #11
    @ed45: What superb timing for your question. My AV Pro arrived over this past weekend. I set it up on my late 2012 iMac, which is running the latest update (10.8.3). Set up was quick and easy. And then I stepped away for breakfast, and came back to meet a sleeping iMac. I hit the space bar, logged back in and lo and behold, there was a "Your drive was not ejected correctly" error message on the screen. The AV Pro had gone to sleep and dismounted itself. I even unchecked the checkbox on the iMac's energy saver preferences pane, which essentially is supposed to prevent the "Put hard disks to sleep when possible" directive from occurring. No dice. The AV Pro continued to eject & dismount itself once the iMac went to sleep.

    Ironically, I did some research on Google, found Dan Carr's blog and made a comment of my experience on his review of the AV Pro, where he also mentions having this same issue. I see you found his blog post as well.

    I've put in a support e-mail to CalDigit, and I'm waiting to hear from them.

    It Kinda SUCKS.......:(
     
  12. ed45 macrumors newbie

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    #12
    I'm sorry to hear that. Please let us know how this gets resolved.
     
  13. thedeske macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Interesting news, but not new. While it's not common practice for everyone, most of the studio guys I've known over the years and myself have fallen into the practice of never sleeping any drive on Macs. A few never shut down unless it's required for software & updates, etc. We not only uncheck the box, but also slide computer sleep to Never.

    The main reason has been sleep issues or even the possibility of them for years. The audio community likes to keep drives spinning for other reasons. I tend to mix shutting down at night with leaving the system on for days, etc. I think everyone sleeps the monitors though.

    It's possible there is a new USB3 only issue, but experience in my circle shows a long history of sleep problems. We try not to give it a chance, or perhaps we lost trust with Apple on the issue a long time ago. Over the past few years, I've rarely experienced problems with Firewire and USB Docks, External cases plugged and on for days.

    I'd bet the problem is on Apple's end.
     
  14. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

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    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #14
    Not the system you are looking for ... however:

    I use a Pegasus J4 Thunderbolt enclosure containing 4 ea. 1TB 7200rpm 2.5" drives and it sleeps and wakes along with the iMac without any problems. I currently have it configured as a pair of 2-drive 2TB RAID-0 arrays testing at 250 MB/s transfer rates.

    You have individual access to each of the 4 drives with Disk Utility so you can configure them as you please. They deliver 500+ MB/s when configured as a 4-drive RAID-0! :)
     
  15. Skyjamma thread starter macrumors member

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    #15
    @thedeske: Yes, this will be my stop-gap as well, for the interim. Thanks for sharing.
     
  16. thedeske macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Looking forward to your take on the drive ;)
     
  17. g4cube macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Perhaps a firmware issue with the Caldigit drive. Report this to them to see if there is a fix.

    A properly working USB 3.0 drive should survive sleeping/wake-from-sleep operation on the Mac.

    I have one each of the USB 3.0 drives from the Apple store, and all work as expected going into sleep, and awakening. Seagate, WD, G-Tech, and LaCie.

    My favorite is the Porsche Portable 9223 from LaCie. Sort of a unibody casing and bus powered.

    Yes, in case you were wondering, I like gadgets.
     
  18. Skyjamma thread starter macrumors member

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    Maryland
    #18
    Update

    @ed45: No resolution just yet. Finally heard back from CalDigit yesterday. They've asked that I use another USB3 cable, to see if I can replicate the issue. Personally, I'm not optimistic about this approach, but will try this out over the weekend. I HOPE its the cable........

    Stay tuned.
     
  19. ed45 macrumors newbie

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    Mar 9, 2013
    #19
    I'm curious if the "dismount upon sleep" issue has been resolved yet. I needed a couple of different drives for my iMac, and I settled on a USB3 WD MyBook Studio as a Time Machine drive. So far it's performance has been seamless, and my iMac goes to sleep several times a day. I'm now looking for a media/external storage drive, and I see that Caldigit has several new Thunderbolt drives coming out this summer. I'll definitely consider them as an option, but I'll also be paying attention to how the issues discussed in this thread play out.
     

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