Mac Mini Owners... What are you using for additional storage?

VirtualRain

macrumors 603
Original poster
Aug 1, 2008
6,304
114
Vancouver, BC
I'm building a HTPC around a Mac Mini and I've already got a 2TB WD Green drive lined up for media storage duty, but I'm torn as to what direction to go with what to house it in... NAS, single drive FW800 enclosure, dual drive FW800 enclosure, etc.

What are you guys using for mass storage with a mini?
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,076
580
Finland
I don't have Mini but I have iMac and four external HDs, three 1TB LaCies and old 500GB Philips. Two of the LaCies are used for extra storage, mainly movies, TV shows and music and the last LaCie is used for backups. The Philips drive I use for storing all kinda crap and some backups as well.
 

pyrodex

macrumors 6502
Jul 10, 2008
498
3
Atlanta, GA
I also have 2 Drobos. My Mac mini is on 24/7 and acts as a file server for my other computers.
Are you daisy chaining the drobos on the FW connection? I currently have a DroboV2 and a DroboShare, the slowness of the DroboShare via USB is making me think about giving it up and using a MacMini as a Second Desktop/File Serve. I'd like to use the FW800 connection but he MacMini only has one and I noticed the Drobo has 2 connections so I assume daisy chaining.
 

pastrychef

macrumors 601
Sep 15, 2006
4,520
1,017
New York City, NY
Are you daisy chaining the drobos on the FW connection? I currently have a DroboV2 and a DroboShare, the slowness of the DroboShare via USB is making me think about giving it up and using a MacMini as a Second Desktop/File Serve. I'd like to use the FW800 connection but he MacMini only has one and I noticed the Drobo has 2 connections so I assume daisy chaining.
Yes, I have the two Drobos daisy chained through Firewire. Since I only have a rev 2.1 Mac mini, I used a FW400 to FW800 cable to connect the first Drobo. The Mac mini and my Mac Pro are on gigabit ethernet. While it could never be considered fast, I find speeds perfectly acceptable. I've never done any tests and it could very well be placebo, but moving files to/from the Drobos from my Mac Pro feels faster than a locally connected USB2 HD.

There are also three laptops that access the Drobos through Wifi, but it doesn't happen often and I can't really say how performance is.
 

Yvan256

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2004
5,032
886
Canada
My setup isn't as fancy as most people, it's simply a 500GB Western Digital 2.5" external drive connected via USB.

Why a 2.5" drive and why USB you might ask:
- I used to use an external, dual 3.5" WD drive connected via FW400. Yes it was fast, but it was about 10 times louder than my Mac mini, because of the dual 3.5" drives enclosed together. The fans are almost as loud, if not louder, than an old PowerMac G4 tower. I said enough is enough!
- being low-power, it draws power directly from one of the USB port of the Mac mini (intel Core 2 Duo), so there's no power cable and no wall wart for that drive
- being low-power, it practically doesn't make any noise
- it doesn't take much room on the desk

My plan is to never use 3.5" drives ever again. Too big, too power-hungry, too noisy. By the time I need another 500GB of storage that same drive will probably be on sale for a quarter of the price I paid for mine.
 

MWPULSE

macrumors 6502a
Dec 27, 2008
706
1
London
I have an imogea 1TB drive via firewire.. i have 3 cases for external WD drives that have gone bust, and am gonna get samsung F1s in there, 4tb of space lol!! :)
 

jzuena

macrumors 6502a
Feb 21, 2007
997
31
Lexington, MA, USA
I have a NewerTech miniStack 2 with a 320GB drive (with my iMovie media) and a Seagate FreeAgent with a 1TB drive (with my Time Machine and a Carbon Copy Cloner copy of my main drive) connected via FireWire and a SmartStor NS4300N NAS box with 4x 400GB drives in a RAID 5 config. This basic setup goes back to 2006 when I got my original mini and has been migrated over to my new 2009 mini. It has been running 7x24 from the beginning, although the FreeAgent has had the drive replaced.
 

tbayrgs

macrumors 604
Jul 5, 2009
6,506
3,427
I have my Mac Mini connected via FW 800 to this dual HDD enclosure housing two 1 GB Seagate Barracuda in a RAID 0 configuration. Drive installation is screwless, takes all of a few seconds, and the drive is very quiet (with adjustable fan speed). Key selling points for me were easy installation, RAID configuration is done with a pair of switches on the back of the unit (supports RAID 0, 1, BIG, and JBOD), style complements the mini and is a nice small form factor for 2 drives.

I was ready to purchase a pair of LaCie Quadra's but after reading (probably too much) about individual experiences, seemed like having the ability to service/replace the HDDs myself was most important.

While definitely not the cheapest option, the ability to service/replace the HDD myself was work the extra cost.
 

VirtualRain

macrumors 603
Original poster
Aug 1, 2008
6,304
114
Vancouver, BC
From what I've read FW on the Mac's is much better than USB... anyone disagree? Unfortunately it seems drive enclosures supporting FW are at least $50 more than similar USB enclosures. :mad:

I'm considering this Sans Digital dual-drive enclosure with FW800...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822110002&Tpk=ms2c1



The reviews say it's loud, but since I'm using WD Green drives, which don't seem to give off any appreciable heat, I'll probably just disconnect the fan altogether.
 

rtrt

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2008
546
0
Firewire is is much, much faster than USB2. If you can afford it, go for Firewire. You won't regret it.
agreed.

in my experience fw400 is 2 x usb speed for large transfers.

fw800 is faster again - can't remember how much tho
 

srexy

macrumors 6502a
Nov 19, 2006
536
1
I have a Mercury Elite Pro dual drive enclosure w/a WD Green 1.5tb drive and a Seagate LP 2tb drive set up as JABOD. I partitioned the 2tb drive to backup the 1.5tb drive and my MacMini drive (500gb Scorpio Blue) using Carbon Copy Cloner. When this setup runs out I'm going to pony up and get a Drobo I think and pop the drives in there.

The reason I'm using CCC vs Time machine is the increased flexibility of my scheduling. I was noticing Plex acting odd during Time Machine's frequent activity - I just set CCC to back up every other day for my media drive and 1x/week for my boot drive.
 

maghemi

macrumors 6502
Aug 7, 2009
317
0
Melbourne Australia
I personally use WD MyBook Studio editions with the firewire connection. They work well for me. All of my machines have at least 1 connected for TimeMachine. A couple of the machines have daisy chained drives on them.
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,076
580
Finland
agreed.

in my experience fw400 is 2 x usb speed for large transfers.

fw800 is faster again - can't remember how much tho
USB 2 - Up to 480Mbits per second (60MB/s)
USB 3 - Up to 4.8Gbits per second (600MB/s)
FW 400 - Up to 400Mbits per second (50MB/s)
FW 800 - Up to 800Mbits per second (100MB/s)

In theory, FW400 should be slower than USB2 but yea, I agree that it's faster. It would be cool if those all would be bytes instead of bits :cool:
 

Superman07

macrumors 6502a
Aug 28, 2007
699
1
I purchased a MacAlley external enclosure and a WD green drive from Newegg. I had not installed the MacAlley software, which is perhaps why I'm having issues with OS X not booting if the drive is not on. Overall though it does the job for extra store and time machine (via partition).
 

f00f

macrumors 65816
Feb 18, 2009
1,080
39
New Yawk

rtrt

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2008
546
0
USB 2 - Up to 480Mbits per second (60MB/s)
USB 3 - Up to 4.8Gbits per second (600MB/s)
FW 400 - Up to 400Mbits per second (50MB/s)
FW 800 - Up to 800Mbits per second (100MB/s)

In theory, FW400 should be slower than USB2 but yea, I agree that it's faster. It would be cool if those all would be bytes instead of bits :cool:
Was more referring to real world transfers speeds i've seen on my externals.

iirc correctly i'd see approx 20MB/s on USB and 40MB/s on FW400.

Think FW800 was somewhere between 60 and 80MB/s - but thats a bit hazy.

These numbers weren't from any benchmarking app - either i used a stopwatch or istat menus - cant remember as it was a long time ago.

It's one of those things where I remember just enough to be useful - yep i am getting old :D

My rule of thumb from the testing - was a few files / a few hundred MB then use the fastest interface you have a cable for right there.

if it's more than that then the time saving is enough to get me off my ass and go get a FW cable if one isnt to hand :D