Management Options 3.5" drives with 2011 Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by jmwils1, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. jmwils1 macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2014
    I have a 2011 Mac Mini with USB2 and Thunderbolt but without USB3. This is used as an Itunes server (mp3 and movie files) and sits in a large but non-ventilated closet. It currently has a 256GB SSD used for the OS only and a 500GB HD that houses the iTunes media.

    I have 3 3.5" 2TB drives that I use to backup photos, videos and music (flac cd backups). I also have USB2 external drives that I have cloned backups of these drives. Currently, I keep everything in the original packaging and bring out a "toaster" style dock to use the 3.5" drives. They are only used maybe every 3 months or so when I want to find something.

    I've been thinking of putting the 3.5" drives into an OWC Thunderbay 4 and just leaving it on so I can more easily access these drives. Are there other options that I should consider? The one Thunderbolt RocketStor 5212 doesn't seem to be very reliable. The other Thunderbolt enclosures seem to be more expensive. I do have an Elgato thunderbolt dock with USB3, but it gets pretty hot and I don't know how reliable a USB3 enclosure would be if it were run through this.
  2. AppleNewton macrumors 68000


    Apr 3, 2007
    1 Finite Place
    if this were my set-up, I'd go for a higher capacity SSD 750GB~1TB
    and for external storage grab a pegasus.

    but since a pegasus may be out of your price range/budget, I'd say just grab some startech dual bay docks (they have 2-4 bays) and the drives operate as independent disks (no raid, etc).

    They have USB 2 and USB3 specific ones, for browsing photos and whatnot I doubt a thunderbolt drive would necessarily provide much advantage to you, unless you want to get a RAID system going for more redundancy.
  3. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    I have two of the Thunderbay IV enclosures (the previous model with TB1) and they are excellent. They keep the drives cool. You could use the 4th bay to house a 6TB drive to backup the 3 x 2TB HDDs. And when the time comes to replace the drives, you can increase the size without hassle. I've used a 5TB hard drive in one of my Thunderbay IVs without issue.
  4. jmwils1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2014
    Thank you for the replies.

    Re: SSD - I broke the IR sensor adding the second drive to the Mac Mini and would prefer not to have to open it again. Also, the 2TB cd backup is almost full so that would not be a cost effective option.

    A Pegasus would be too expensive. I already have a Startech dock. I move 50-100GB of photos off our main computer to the backup disks every 3 months and doing so over USB2 is pretty slow. I wish I had USB3 on the MacMini, but I don't and the dock gets pretty hot, so I don't like leaving it plugged in. I also worry about leaving the bare drives in the Startech. I'm sure they are fine, but it feels wrong to leave them exposed.

    I think the Thunderbay might be my best bet. I wish it weren't $450 but I don't see a better solution.

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