Matching and external drive to your iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by roadkill401, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. roadkill401 macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #1
    I currently have a Lacie thunderbolt external drive that is 3tb hard disk. I use it as my overflow to keep files that really don't need the speed of my 500gb SSD inside my iMac. The drive is great but I have found that I have filled it up rather faster than I had anticipated and have come to the other side conclusion with my iMac with the OS. Apple does like to bring out a new OS every year and sadly to say the upgrade process for me has not been that smooth. It would be nice to have the option to try it out for a bit on an external drive to make sure it works fine before committing to the internal.

    I have tried several USB3 solutions that turned out to be more trouble than help. I am wondering if going big like a OWC Thunderbay 4 or the mini would be a worthwhile investment. I have only had this iMac for 1.5 years and can't see myself affording to buy another in the next few years (or six). I gather that thunderbolt is a stable connection and offers some advantages over USB3. I don't know how long the Lacie will last for, it is a spinning hard drive so it has the average life expectanty warranty of a couple of years but unlikely to make it to 7. Is going an open standard drive bay that you can add/remove/change drives as need a better investment over buying just another USB drive for $140 and knowing it's just a 1-2 year solution until it dies and then get another?

    What do others do with the yearly bug patch/upgrade for their iMac?
     
  2. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #2
    I have a Thunderbay 4 on my 5K iMac which is working great for me. It contains 2 hard disks and 2 additional SSDs to support the internal 1TB SSD of the iMac.

    The drives are used as:
    3TB Hard disk: partitioned 1TB daily clone of the internal SSD and 2 TB of library and archive storage.
    6TB Hard disk: TimeMachine backup of all data
    960GB SSD: scratch disk at the moment
    500GB SSD: Windows 10 Bootcamp

    I have also used the Thunderbay Mini with this system and it works great as well. I do prefer Thunderbolt external drives as I have had some annoying issues with USB 3.0 and disconnects (plus SSD TRIM works over Thunderbolt).
     
  3. roadkill401 thread starter macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #3
    Did you buy or consider buying the RAID bundle? I took a look at the SoftRAID and to buy it by itself is rather expensive, but bundled with the Thunderbay 4 it's an extra $45. But I don't think I'd ever really need it as I do have a NAS but it's not nearly as fast and you loose the boot options (like your Win10 bootcamp).

    The Larger TB4 does sound more versatile over the TB4mini yet I have heard the mini is really quiet. On the side of the larger unit, spinning disks are cheep and plentiful. However, the future I am sure is going to be in SSD.
     
  4. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #4
    I do have a pair of Thunderbay IV units running SoftRAID-5 on my Mac Mini Server and am very pleased with the SoftRAID product. It is a lot cheaper to buy the software with the hardware from OWC. I also have a Synology NAS, but I prefer the Mac Mini running OS X Server for my needs which are hosting TM Backups for all the household computers, online repository for archive data, libraries, etc., and acting as a iTunes server for music, movies, and photos to all the computers and AppleTVs in the house.

    A popular mod for the 3.5" Thunderbay units is to replace the supplied fan with a Noctua NF-89 ultra-low noise fan ... but you might still hear the disks themselves running depending on brand (although my server is in another room).
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0014I9K30/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
     
  5. cynics macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
  6. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #6
    I have had Time Machine backup corruption, usually after a OS X update, with a couple of NAS systems which were listed as Time Machine compatible. My Mac Mini Server backs up several Mac computers here and has been totally reliable so far. It also seems to mount quicker than my Synology NAS. I am finding several other Server features to be useful to me, such as download cache when updating multiple machines.
     
  7. cynics macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #7
    I was more referring to the OP. Seems for his uses it might be a good solution.

    However, how did you find out the TM was corrupted? I've never had a problem however I'd like to be proactive to avoid problems or at least quickly repair them.
     
  8. roadkill401 thread starter macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #8
    As I have said in one of my previous posts. I do actually own an NAS.. Well really 3 of them. I have used an older Synology DS209 as a dedicated timemachine backup though as this is my first iMac, I have no idea how to use timemachine and was told by a Sr. Apple Support person that when after my first set of issues with my iMac after an update patch that restoring from the backup with just propagate the problem.

    I bit the bullet and ordered an (OpenBox) OWC Thunderbay 4 mini RAID for $329usd along with a second drive bay kit for the family Mac Mini that I have to put an SSD inside of that. When I get it, I will see if I can sell off the license for the SoftRAID 5 on kijiji to help bring down my cost.

    The plan is to buy a couple of the Mushkin Triactor 480gb ssd drives when they come back on sale for $125cad. One for the Thunderbay so that I can make a new clean install of my OSx 10.11.5 to see if it will help clean up some of my lingering hardware/software issues that AppleCare so far have not been able to figure out / duplicate on other machine or more importantly fix. It will also give me a drive available to CCC between the internal SSD for when macOS 10.12 comes out so I can test it out to make sure I have not corrupted myself and back into the crap like I have for the past 2 OSes that have graced this iMac.

    Down the road I can add some 1 or 2tb SSD's when the price falls to a more reasonable level (thinking black friday / christmas sales). I would prefer to have a copy of Window 10 on an external drive so i have some space and can play some games if I'd like.
     
  9. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #9
    It has been awhile since I switched over to the Mac Mini Server for TM backups, but as I recall I got an error dialog box stating that the TM Backup couldn't be updated and to create a fresh backup from scratch. After this happened twice, I switched to the Mini, and since the historical backup data seemed somewhat important to keep, I implemented a RAID-5 to assist in the event of a simple disk failure. I have my main TimeMachine computer using 3 backup destinations rotating each time a backup is done, probably overkill for my "enthusiast" level photo libraries, but since I had the hardware sitting around anyway ... why not.
     

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