Need external storage advice for new MBP

BrushyHillGuide

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 6, 2011
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Sabinal, TX
i just ordered a 15” MBP with the 2.6Ghz i7 and 16gb of DDR4 but it only has a 512gb ssd in it. Stepping up from my old 2011 MBP that died a couple weeks ago. I just couldn’t afford the extra $400 for a 1TB drive. So, I’m looking for an external storage drive I can save for. I want it for backup but also for storing video and image files when I am doing some video editing - something I’m really getting interested in.

Am I correct in thinking that a external drive that’s Thunderbolt 3 (USB-c) connected loaded with 1 or more SSD drives will be the best option if I want to be able to work with video files located on that drive? This would be the fastest configuration in terms of data transfer, correct?

It’s my hope that I can begin managing my data better with this new machine and utilizing external drives and some cloud storage to keep plenty of space available on the MBP’s native hard drive. I know it’s better to work with files that are on the machine’s drive but, if the files are too big or there are too many of them, can I effectively use a setup like this?

Could I get some recommendations on some storage devices like this? I would prefer a device what would allow me to install or swap out the actual drives myself; and one that holds 2 or more drives that I can RAID however I like. I’m looking for some good quality here but value as well. I don’t need to have the very best if it’s 3X the cost for a 2% performance gain but I will scratch together what I need to for a good performer.

Thanks to all who reply!
 

Stephen.R

macrumors 65816
Nov 2, 2018
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I want it for backup but also for storing video and image files when I am doing some video editing - something I’m really getting interested in.
I would tackle these as two separate problems/solutions.

Video editing will have much higher I/O demands than backups. And if those video files are important, you have no backup then.

I’d recommend a large (eg 2-6TB depending on how much backup history you want to keep) spinning rust (aka mechanical) disk for backups - it’ll probably be USB 3.0 but type-c to 3.0 B/mini-B cables are pretty easy to come by.

For video files I’d expect you’ll want an ssd - either a SATA ssd in a 2.5” case or an NVMe. If you get the former, usb-c is fast enough. If you get the latter, TB3 will not bottleneck the device speed like USB will.
 
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Brian33

macrumors 6502a
Apr 30, 2008
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USA (Virginia)
Could I get some recommendations on some storage devices like this? I would prefer a device what would allow me to install or swap out the actual drives myself; and one that holds 2 or more drives that I can RAID however I like.
At around $350 (empty) it's pretty pricey, but you could consider Akitio's Thunder3 RAID Station (https://www.akitio.com/desktop-storage/thunder3-raid-station). I have what was essentially the Thunderbolt-2 version and it's very well designed, very well built, has been perfectly reliable for the 3 years I've had it (running 24x7 as the HDD component of my Fusion boot drive), super easy to install/remove drives, has a quiet fan, and is just a really nice device.

Put a big spinning HDD in for backups and a SATA SSD for your video, and you'll only need one device connected to your Mac. It's got RAID also, but I actually doubt you'll really need that.

However, Stephen.R's suggestion would probably work fine and be cheaper.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
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"I want it for backup but also for storing video and image files when I am doing some video editing - something I’m really getting interested in."

You could buy a 1tb external USB3 drive, then partition it into "two halves".
Use the first half to serve as the backup for the internal drive. I'd recommend a "cloned, bootable backup" created with either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.

Then, use the second half for additional storage.

But... if the stuff you keep on "the second half" is important, you'll want to back that up too -- to ANOTHER external drive.
 

Stephen.R

macrumors 65816
Nov 2, 2018
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Thailand
I'd recommend a "cloned, bootable backup" created with either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.
For the average user I don't think this is as useful as a Time Machine backup. I've never needed to restore a full backup of a computer or drive, but I've needed to recover a specific version of a single file numerous times. With recovery mode (and it's ability to restore from a TM backup) I don't quite see the purpose of a cloned drive as your sole backup.

if the stuff you keep on "the second half" is important, you'll want to back that up too -- to ANOTHER external drive.
At which point, surely it makes more sense to simply have two drives - each adequate for their purposes? I can't imagine how slow video editing would be using a spinning rust disk for storage.
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Put a big spinning HDD in for backups and a SATA SSD for your video, and you'll only need one device connected to your Mac.
This is not a bad suggestion, actually. It'll be interesting to see if any other manufacturers follow OWC and put NVMe slots in their multi-bay enclosures (like the Thunderbay6). This would allow for cheap/slow/massive, cheap/fast/medium, and expensive/ridiculously fast/small-medium storage tiers all in one device. With enough drive bays, you can even pair up and software-RAID1 your spinning rust drives (e.g. so a failed backup drive doesn't mean you have no backups until you replace it and lose any point-in-time backups like TM provides).