Mac Mini External Hard Drive(s) Question

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by vwguy60, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. vwguy60 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2006
    Location:
    Southern California
    #1
    Hello all, hopefully someone can answer this... I have a Mac Mini 1.66ghz Core Duo (soon to be upgraded) with 2gb ram that I use for a movie media server. As of now I have two 750gb hard drives in Newertech Mini Stack V2 enclosures. They are connected by firewire 400 in a RAID 0 setup so that it shows as a single volume. The Mini is connected to a 37" Sharp Aquos (DVI to HDMI) in my home office and to a Pioneer home theater system to feed two other Apple TVs and numerous laptops (not all at once). For control I use multiple types, remote desktop from my mac pro, Snatch for my iPhone or a Harmony 880 universal remote control. An Airport Extreme base station is used for networking. The setup works great but I am out of hard drive space again.

    Here is my question... I set this up last year and the two Mini Stacks are for IDE hard drives. I upgraded my Mac Pro again and have a spare 750gb SATA drive. Is it possible to buy another Mini Stack (V2.5 for SATA) and add it to the RAID 0 setup? OWC says no but cannot say why. I know I will need to transfer the data off, reformat and start over but is there a hardware reason such as mixing the IDE and SATA that makes the OWC tech guys say no?

    I am hoping for a more technical answer other than no. At the time IDE was the only Mini Stack solution and I had a feeling it was a mistake. I know I can delete movies to make space but I am pack rat in terms of data.
     
  2. Cory5412 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Location:
    Arizona
    #2
    Once you commit to a RAID, either in software or in hardware, the setup is done until you, as they said, dismantle it (thus destroying the data if you haven't backed it up elsewhere) and re-establish it in the new configuration. I don't know if you'll actually be able to establish a 3-drive RAID-0 setup, but I do know that OS X Disk Utility has an option to do a concatenated disk set, also called "JBOD" or "Just a Bunch of Disks." which may be fine, if performance is not the number one concern.

    When you do a concatenated disk set in OS X disk utility, it doesn't really matter what sizes or interfaces the disks are. I've seen people do them with USB floppies, iPod Shuffles, and various sizes of USB external disks.

    If you haven't already bought the enclosure, and upgrading disks on a regular basis without worrying about the data being lost is important, I might suggest the drobo, at www.drobo.com, because the drobo handles everything in hardware, you just hook it up, put some drives in, and the drobo will format them, and tell your computer "look, here's a 16tb partition!" and then keep track of the actual capacity separately for you. It's got four bays, so there'd still be room to grow some more, and it's also more in line with what RAID5 does, so there's a bit of protection.

    The drobos are a bit costly, but they're really cool devices.
     
  3. vwguy60 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2006
    Location:
    Southern California
    #3
    Cory- Thanks for the quick response! I've seen the Drobo and is looks pretty cool! I understand the fact that adding another drive if possible will require a complete redo of the RAID setup. My main commitment to this setup is the IDE drives in the Mini Stack enclosures, I wish I would have went with my gut instinct and got other enclosures with SATA drives. Even the Drobo is SATA. As for protection, I know once a drive bites the big one in a RAID 0 setup, it is done and lost. Being it is something that is not really that important like work data or family pictures I went with it for the single volume space and speed it creates.

    I know in disk utility you can just slide in the drives you want to create the RAID volume with. My Mac Pro has two 500 GB disks in RAID 0 for added speed but all the data is stored on a 1TB and 1.5TB single disk. Can IDE and SATA be mixed? OWC says no and I do not know why? I have not purchased the Mini Stack 2.5 for the 750GB drive yet and it is the main reason for the question. If the answer ends up being that the OWC guys are correct, a Drobo or something similar will be looked into.
     
  4. Cory5412 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Location:
    Arizona
    #4
    If it's a hardware raid inside the enclosure, then yeah, you can't mix interface types, but if it's a software raid controlled by Mac OS X Disk Utility, then I don't see why you would have a problem creating a concatenated set. I odn't know the details on whether or not raid1 or raid0 will work with different interfaces.

    The other thing is that drobo only takes SATA disks, so if you have a bunch of existing IDE disks, you might just add the new disk to an OS X concatenated set, and then move to a drobo later on when you're ready to buy a drobo and a few new disks, although either way will work fine if you already have two or more sata disks you could use.
     
  5. vwguy60 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2006
    Location:
    Southern California
    #5
    Thanks again Cory! It is software RAID, if you haven't seen the NewerTech Mini Stacks, they are simple little enclosures but they are cool. They have firewire and usb hubs built in and are the same dimensions of a Mac Mini. That was part of the reason I selected them, it makes the little Mini look like a real computer when all stacked up. I am thinking exactly what you think too, I think it will work because it is only software raid. Raid 0 can have any number of disks and since it is not hardware raid, it shouldn't make a difference, it is a $79 test but at worst case I can always use another enclosure, maybe I will just buy it and see, I was hoping for a definite answer but maybe this is not as common as hoped. Plus I never knew I was going to have this many movies. 1.5TB on a Mac Mini is a bit extreme being is it a Mini, it was cool last year when I had more than enough space. Thanks!
     

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