Moving photo library to external HDD (USB3 or Thunderbolt) - need advice

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by whynot83706, Nov 25, 2014.

  1. whynot83706 macrumors 6502

    whynot83706

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #1
    I need some advice...I am getting MacBook Pro and I looking to move my entire Aperture/Lightroom library from my current computer that is on its last legs to External HDD so that it can be used with MBP. SSD is just to expensive as my library is close to 500GB and I would like to have room to grow. I will only use HDD for photos and my concern is will my Aperture/LR be visible slower since I am pulling photos from external HDD.

    So I am thinking of going with Segate/WD 2TB External Portable HDD USB 3.0 since I dont need power to connect HDD or Thunderbolt External Desktop HDD if External Portable HDD is not fast enough.

    Will there be any visible speed difference between USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt for what I am trying to do and are there any difference between Segate (Expansion Portable Hard Drive) or WD (My Passport for Mac) or any other.

    Thanks
     
  2. Attonine macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    Location:
    Kent. UK
    #2
    I recommend you switch to a referenced library. The original library file can stay in it's default location (your photos folder?), but the actual photos are moved to the external and Aperture 'references' the originals. If you google a bit and look at the Aperture user guide you can discover how to instruct Aperture to do all the moving around for you.

    I found moving to a referenced library resulted in the single greatest performance boost for Aperture, YMMV of course.

    I think working like this will answer both your questions; space saving and speed.

    I don't have any experience with LR, but I think is can be set up in a similar way.
     
  3. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    #3
    I'm running LR off of a USB3 drive and it works just fine. The only thing I would recommend is that you make sure the drive is desktop 7200 RPM model and not a mobile 5200 or 5400 RPM.

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    It looks like both of the drives you posted run at 5400 rpm.
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    I think the Thunderbolt interface requires a little less from the CPU.

    The suggestion to use referenced library is good ONLY for people who understand what this means. If you don't you can really mess up the library if you ever start assessing files using the finder. The speed advantage is because you can distribute the data over several disks.

    You are also going to ned some backup disks. These can be slower and cheaper
     
  5. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #5
    My app LR and its catalog always sit on my rMBP's internal SSD. They take up very little room considering they manage over 2TB of images. The edited raw and jpg files site on an external drive in a Photos folder. There I have LR sort them by date. These are referenced folders as LR only does referenced storage of original images. The Lr catalog, back on my SSD, contains the location of the originals, jpg previews of the originals, and the info on the non-destructive edits I have done in LR.

    This arrangement uses a minimum of space on the rMBP which give me max space for collecting images during trips. The edit images are moved to the external drive via LR when I get home. Naturally the external data drive is included in TM backups.
     
  6. Attonine macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    Location:
    Kent. UK
    #6
    This sounds exactly like the referenced library system I use in Aperture. By default Aperture is set to a managed library, so you need to manually set a referenced library structure, which is just something in preferences or one of the menus if I remember correctly. Then Aperture will move everything as required and you're set.
     
  7. whynot83706 thread starter macrumors 6502

    whynot83706

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #7
    Is there are big difference between 5400 that I was looking for and 7200?

    Also, how do you check if the drive is 7200, when i look at WD/Segate Desktop drives there is no indication of HDD speed?



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    Thanks, I will be looking into this.

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    I am good from the backup perspective, I have CrahPlan which is backing up my computer.

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    So I can have files stored at External HDD, but my LR Catalog needs to be stored at HDD in order for LR to be fast?
     
  8. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    #8
    A big difference? That depends.

    In sustained reads the drives will likely post similar results with the 7200 edging out the slower drive.

    For reading multiple smaller files, say loading a library of thumbnail images, the 7200 will outperform the 5400 by a wider margin.

    With USB 3 your bottleneck should be the drive itself and not the interface.

    As for finding out what drive is used in a particular product I do a Google search on the model. It takes a bit of digging but you should be able to find it. Sometimes it is on the manufacturer's web site, sometimes in the Q&A section of Amazon reviews, or perhaps in a review or tear down of the drive. Ten minutes of searching can often uncover the speed.

    Will it make a huge difference? Probably not for casual use. If cost is the #1 priority then go for the 5400. Otherwise I would personally opt for the added speed even if it were a modest gain.
     
  9. bgd macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Location:
    SG
    #9
    Yes. Keep the catalog on your mac and you'll get better performance. Make sure that any movement of photos is done from within LR. Don't use finder as you'll break the link.
     

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