Looking for Firewire external hard drive enclosure

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by RouseyD, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. RouseyD, Jan 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012

    RouseyD macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    #1
    Hello all,

    I've been reading these forums for a long time, having gone from Windows over to Mac last year, and have found them to be really valuable (as well as entertaining!).

    I have searched the forums but not found the answer, but apologies if it is there somewhere.

    Here is what I have:

    I have an iMac, MBP and MBA - a Time Capsule handles the backup for all of them.

    I have an external USB enclosure connected to my iMac (which I leave on all the time) which holds two hard disks. I have my iTunes library mirrored over these two disks using RAID 1 which I set up with Disk Utility. Because this is attached by USB, Time Machine includes the drive in backups. I put the iTunes library on the external drive so as not to clog up the drive on the iMac which I use for home photo editing, video editing etc. and to give the library breathing room to grow - its about 600gb at the moment.

    Additionally I have a ReadyNAS Duo - originally bought for backing up my old Windows desktop. I tried putting my iTunes library on this but as Time Capsule/Time Machine doesn't back up network attached disks, I now plan on using this as a periodic mirror of the Time Capsule disk to keep off-site.

    I also have a few SATA disks of varying sizes from 500gb to 1gb which I'd like to put to good use.

    I have it set up this way as it kinda grew organically, and the NAS and extra drives are left over from pre-Mac days. If there is a much more sensible way to do things, I'm all ears!! If it helps to know, I also have an Apple TV and airport express feeding music to a Zeppelin - hence why I leave the iMac on all the time.

    Here is what I want to achieve:

    The external USB enclosure is a few years old and has had its fan replaced twice. I am still a little uncomfortable about whether it is offering suitable ventilation for the drives in it. So I would like to replace this with something that gives me extra space and is quicker.

    Ideally I would like to connect to the iMac with Firewire to make use of the increased speed, and I would like to make use of a couple of my spare SATA disks. I would then look at freeing up some space on the iMac by moving photo libraries and video files over.

    So I've looked at a few 4-bay external drive enclosures, and found that they are pretty expensive for what they are (£200+ for one which supports firewire). Drobo do a unit I think, but the reviews were mixed and I don't need any of the bells and whistles it offers.

    I also considered getting a PC case and putting all the drives in there, but I don't know how to connect this to the iMac through USB or preferably Firewire, or what controllers I would need to put in the PC case as the interface. I know this would probably cost about the same but if I bought a big case I could fit more disks inside. I have built PCs from scratch before so am reasonably confident about being able to fit this out.

    Before it's rightly pointed out, I know that if my iTunes library grows so big as to actually use all the extra space, I will have outgrown the capacity on the Time Capsule! Problem for another day methinks.

    As the £ sign above will have indicated, I'm in the UK.

    So, if anyone has had a similar conundrum and managed to solve it, I'd be really interested to hear how; and if anyone can offer advice, I'd really appreciate hearing it. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #2
    I don't think you're going to get as much of a speed increase as you think you're going to get. For TM the indexing process is usually the bottleneck, not the transfer medium.
     
  3. RouseyD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    #3
    Thanks for the quick response.

    I may not have been very clear originally; I'm not concerned about how long the Time Machine backup takes - the bit I would like to speed up is access to the external drives which currently house my iTunes library - this is then used by an iPad, Apple TV and speaker system via an Airport Express.

    The main think I'm asking though is about recommendations for buying or building a 4-bay hard drive enclosure which will connect to the mac by something faster than USB2.
     
  4. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #4
    Still... the bottleneck is most likely not the USB connection. In this case it's the speed of the wireless network.
     
  5. RouseyD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    #5
    I get what you're saying now - point taken.

    The speed issue is secondary - but if I can get something quick enough then I would move photo and video editing files to the external drive and run them from there rather than on the drive in the iMac.

    I would like to have a degree of future-proofing in whatever I buy, hence suggesting erring away from USB2. Thunderbolt external drives are out of my budget and as I can't see a straightforward way of connecting a SATA box to the mac (which there doesn't seem to be), I defaulted to Firewire.
     
  6. kpgh554 macrumors regular

    kpgh554

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Location:
    iver england
    #6
    have you tried lacie they do a few external setups also if speed you want you'll need one that uses firewire 800 as the 400 is slower than usb2
     
  7. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    www.emiliana.cl/en
    #7
    Sure, but they are not very reliable.

    In real applications, FW400 is much faster than USB 2.0 (nearly 2x faster than USB 2.0). The speed of a FW800-connection is usually 95 MByte/s (2x faster than FW400).
     
  8. RouseyD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    #8
    Thanks all for your suggestions - I had investigated Lacie but have also found mixed reviews as to their reliability.

    As an 'off the shelf' solution, I have looked at this: http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components/harddrives-external/harddriveenclosures/ib-rd3264use2.html but it seems like a lot of money for what it is, hence why I wondered whether buying a PC case with PSU and a controller board might be cheaper, plus give more extendability by way of the number of drives it can accommodate / lower noise through careful selection of PSU and fans etc.
     
  9. kpgh554 macrumors regular

    kpgh554

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Location:
    iver england
    #9
    have you tried ebuyer or maplins
     
  10. RouseyD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    #10
    I had tried Maplins but found nothing suitable (at least that was comparable on price etc).

    I'm looking at ebuyer now - thanks, I had not come across them before.

    I guess I will probably end up spending a couple of hundred quid - which is ok if that's what it costs.

    I am interested whether anyone else has bought a PC case and controller card and achieved a 'build your own' solution. www.span.com appears to sell the controller cards to do the job, but I am not totally sure what I would need - and probably won't hear back from my enquiry to them until tomorrow at the earliest.

    I want to avoid creating a file server with it's own motherboard / OS etc if I do go down this route.

    Thanks all for your inputs; much appreciated.
     
  11. lc25 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    #11
    Something by IcyBox is normally good, Personally i use the MyBook 2 4Tb's and currently have 4 all have been flawless.
     
  12. ibarnett, Jan 29, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012

    ibarnett macrumors regular

    ibarnett

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Location:
    Gold Coast, Australia
    #12
    OK, look here
    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/
    You might like the Newertech Voyager or
    OWC Mercury Elite Pro
    FYI I have 4 firewire devices in a daisy chain, from my 2011 iMac, all working well.
    They are 3 OWC enclosures, 2 of which are HDD, the other Bluray.
    Plus a WD external bookcase drive.
    I tried the Newertech Voyager, but all the devices wouldn't play together, so I ditched it from my setup.
     
  13. FireWire2 macrumors 6502

    FireWire2

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    #13

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