Need help with best drive/backup/scratch setup please...

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by spiritlevel, Oct 25, 2014.

  1. spiritlevel, Oct 25, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014

    spiritlevel macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007

    I'm a graphic / web / designer / developer / photographer...

    I'm about to get a new retina iMac to replace my 2008 mac pro which has been a trusty beast but is now starting to really show its age.

    I'm going to get the upgraded CPU and Graphics card and stick 32GB of Crucial RAM in - that much I'm certain about. I'm going to get either 256 or 512 GB flash drive - which one will depend on answers here...

    I'm also going to get an OWC Thunderbay for file storage and backup. I plan to have 2 x 3 GB drives in RAID 0 for files. I need some help deciding on whats best to do with the other 2 bays. In another thread someone suggested putting 2 x 4BG drives in the other bays (Raid 0 again) and using CCC to make daily backups - the extra space on these backup drives allows for an archive to protect against deleted files. Backup does not necessarily need to be raided though and might be safer if its not.

    I also need a PC partition to boot up in Windows occasionally - I could use a partition on the internal flash drive for this but as its only used occasionally for light work and browser testing web dev it, an SSD isn't really necessary for this - could be a small partition on the raided files drive maybe.

    I also need a Photoshop scratch disk as I work on some big files. Ideally which is not a partition of the internal drive so it does not compete for I/O reading/writing etc. Another option for the 2 other Thunderbay docks might therefore be to have a 6GB single drive for backup in 1, and and SSD for scratch in the other.

    I have a 128GB Vertex 2 in the my current Mac pro and I could use that as a scratch disk in the new setup - not sure how far SSDs have come since the vertex 2 and whether its worth the price to get a new SSD for that. Another option would be to get a USB 3 enclosure for the scratch SSD and not use up a bay in the thunder bay and it might help having scratch going through the separate USB3 bus. Or I could use a partition of the Raid for scratch and not SSD at all - i don't know...

    I also need to work out how I'll backup the internal OS and apps drive and what role if any Time Machine should play. A new time capsule might be an option as my current 4 year old AEBS could probably do with an upgrade

    I currently use CCC to backup my 4 TBs of internal storage on the mac pro to a dual bay FW800 drive. The 2TB drives in there are only a couple of years old and I'm considering as using this for off some off site backup of key files. I know there's a TB > FW cable.

    Speaking of off site/online backup - what do you guys use? I recently got Fireblaze which looks like it will take about 2 years to backup my nearly 3 TBs of data... there must be a better way.

    To recap I need:
    256GB (min) SSD OSX and apps
    128 GB (min) PC windows disk
    128GB (min) PS scratch disk - as fast as possible within reason
    6 TB Raid 0 for files
    Backup of OS and Files

    As you can see I'm a bit confused by all the options and could really use some advice on the best way to go about everything. Your help would be most appreciated. thanks
  2. spiritlevel thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007

    Sorry if my OP was a bit long - trying to be clear about what I'm after...
  3. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    I dunno, but don't you want the fastest storage possible for scratch? Wouldn't that be the internal SSD or a folder on the SSD? Thats what I use for scratch, and save output/results off externally.

    Sounds like you need two daisy chained Thunderbays :)

    I'm not sure about the implications/contraints of booting bootcamp from external drives. Personally I use parallels with the VM storage on a USB3 SSD. Works well enough for occasional use.
  4. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    First, raid is not a backup, it's for fault tolerance. Second, never put a backup in the same enclosure as your data. One power surge can take out all of it. You also need off site backup.

    Any work in progress should be done on the SSD for best performance. Definitely put the scratch disk on the SSD.

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