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Ambrosia7177

macrumors 68000
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Feb 6, 2016
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Hi. I am about ready to purchase a new 14" MacBook Pro M3 Max with a 4TB drive.

It will be used 70% as a daily-driver, and 30% using DaVinci Resolve to do video-editing.

My current MBP is 10 years old, so I am behind the times on backup/hard-drive technology!

On my old 2015 rMBP, I use PNY 2TB CS900 SATA III 2.5" Internal SSD drives and have good luck with them.


My Wants:
- Simple external SSD that I can plug in, backup, and either carry with me, or store off-site.

My Needs:
- Reliable
- Reliable
- Reliable
- Affordable
- Ideally fast

My Concerns:
- I have heard of a lot of people having issues with M3 chips (or maybe Sonoma) as far as working with external drives?
- Have also heard about people losing data?
- Am also concerned about COST, because two (2) Samsung T7 4TB drives would add about $800 onto my purchase.

My Wish:
- I have been told that I should do all video-editing on an external drive, because it apparently saves my internal SSD, and will provide better stability because that approach allows your internal drive to focus on the OS and apps.
- So I need an external drive not only for reliable backups, but also fast enough to use DaVinci Resolve to do video-editing off of this external drive.


Hope there is a solution for me?
 

HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G5
Apple's Time Machine is free and works fine.

With cost considerations, buy 2 HDDs 3-4X or larger than the total storage of all Macs at your home that you will want to back up. For example, if you end up with 2 Macs and they each have 4TB, you should be aiming for at least 12TB in TM storage per drive... and the more, the better (meaning 14TB is better than 12TB and 18TB is better than 14TB).

Use BOTH drives for TM drives.

Store 1 offsite while the other is onsite actively being backed up. If you don't have a reasonably distant, safe place, a bank safe deposit box can be a great option for < $50/year

Regularly rotate offsite drive with onsite drive. In my case "regularly" means every 30 days but choose the amount of time that would fit your disappointment at losing the most recently added/created files.

A way to extend that time between swaps is to store more recent files in the free iCloud space, so you have it "offsite" backed up too.

If you can afford THREE drives, 3 is better than 2... though 2 should be bare bones sufficient. If you happen to have a Synology, it has a terrific TM backup app for that network storage- use it. Other NAS options can be good to use too.

Offsite means a location that is likely to survive a local disaster that might take out both your Mac and TM drive at home: flood/fire are most prominent scenarios. Be sure the offsite location is higher than local flood level scenarios and in a spot unlikely to be burned if your area was burned.

Others will chime in with SuperDuper and Carbon Copy Cloner app options for backups instead of TM and those can be fine too. The bigger deal is NOT thinking only one drive but at least two. The one drive mentality tends to fail you in flood/fire/theft scenarios. With just one recently-backed up drive offsite, you can near fully recover from about anything.

Your interest is speed (thus SSD) is not really that big of a thing with TM backups. You get it going in the background and let it do its thing. TM is not super fast anyway. But after the first backup- which takes a LONG time- subsequent backups are relatively fast, whether HDD or SSD.

Nevertheless, if you want SSD and only SSD, with 4TB and the 3X guideline, you probably need to think dual 8TB SSD RAID storage, which will be expensive. With a stick of 8TB going for around $650-$700, you could get twin 20TB SSDs for the price of just one of those.
 
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Ambrosia7177

macrumors 68000
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Feb 6, 2016
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Apple's Time Machine is free and works fine.

Thanks, but I don't want incremental backups, so TimeMachine is out.


Store 1 offsite while the other is onsite actively being backed up. If you don't have a reasonably distant, safe place, a bank safe deposit box can be a great option for < $50/year

Regularly rotate offsite drive with onsite drive. In my case "regularly" means every 30 days but choose the amount of time that would fit your disappointment at losing the most recently added/created files.

Yes, I already do that.


A way to extend that time between swaps is to store more recent files in the free iCloud space, so you have it "offsite" backed up too.

If you can afford THREE drives, 3 is better than 2... though 2 should be baritone sufficient. If you happen to have a Synology, it has a terrific TM backup app for that network storage- use it. Other NAS options can be good to use too.

That is part of why I am posting here. The Samsung T7 is $340 which will kinda hurt my pocket after buying a new M3 Max!

Currently, I have 3-4 backup drives for my laptop, but that is going to take a while with these higher priced drives.



Offsite means a location that is likely to survive a local disaster that might take out both your Mac and TM drive at home: flood/fire are most prominent scenarios. Be sure the offsite location is higher than local flood level scenarios and in a spot unlikely to be burned if your area was burned.

Good advice. Yes, I have one off-site an hour away, and another one 1,500+ miles away!


Others will chime in with SuperDuper and Carbon Copy Cloner app options for backups instead of TM and those can be fine too.

I am loyal to CCC.


The bigger deal is NOT thinking only one drive but at least two.

I agree.


The one drive mentality tends to fail you in flood/fire/theft scenarios. With just one recently-backed up drive offsite, you can near fully recover from about anything.

I agree.


Your interest is speed (thus SSD) is not really that big of a thing with TM backups. You get it going in the background and let it do its thing. TM is not super fast anyway. But after the first backup- which takes a LONG time- subsequent backups are relatively fast, whether HDD or SSD.

I was talking about speed in the context of doing video-editing from the external drive.

And, no, I'm not doing everything on one drive! This thread is about newer drive technology for a.0 Backups, and b.) A "scratch disk" or whatever I was advised to do is called.



Nevertheless, if you want SSD and only SSD, with 4TB and the 3X guideline, you probably need to think dual 8TB SSD RAID storage, which will be expensive. With a stick of 8TB going for around $650-$700, you could get twin 20TB SSDs for the price of just one of those.

I travel for work and need a mobile solution. No RAID or NAS. (Of course, I still have off-site backups - especially because I travel!)

So is this a good choice: Samsung 4TB T7 Shield Portable SSD

As mentioned in my OP, I have read online about people having issues with external drives either with M3 chipsets and/or Sonoma, so that is another thing I am concerned about.

Not sure if these issues relate to which external drive you choose or not?

I believe the Samsung T7 is one of the best around, but maybe you all disagree?
 

HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G5
You seem to have expanded your OP since I replied in #2. So here's my revised best recommendations:
  • Ideally, you need 2 SEPARATE things: backup drive and video editing drive. Best scenario is not making those the SAME drive.
  • I'd seek out a fast SSD for the video editing (or faster SSD RAID 0) and
  • a SET of big fat HDDs for the backups. If this new Mac is going to have 4TB and it's the ONLY Mac you want backed up, you need two 12TB HDDs or larger. If you have other Macs to backup, add their total storage to the 4TB and multiple by 3+.
  • If not TM, then Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper for backup software. Reads like CCC is a favorite of yours.
  • If you want FASTEST video-editing, seek a thunderbolt enclosure with more than 1 SSD drive in there as RAID 0. I've seen some with 2 bays, 4 bays and 8 bays. AND,
  • I'd carefully rethink the stance on incremental backups. I presume you are mirroring "whole Mac" backups which is fine but incremental can recover a file(s) that got corrupted some time ago. If you are leaning on whole Mac backups, you'll have a copy of only that corrupted file(s) should you need to recover. If incremental, you can go back in time to recover the last good version. That's quite a good option for backups.
Now, the above FAILS on the "cost" side as you are buying that T7 plus spending probably towards $400-$500 on dual big drives, etc. But that's a very good way to go IMO. Since you already have some kind of backup drives in place, maybe you can do it a step at a time and get what you immediately need now (which sounds like the video editing drive) and then add a big HDD while still using the existing drives too... and then the other big HDD at which point you could retire or repurpose the other drives for something else.

If you are really just looking for confirmation that that Samsung T7 is a good drive, OK, it's a good drive. But you shouldn't be using the same drive for these 2 very different tasks. Can you? Yes, you can. But should you? If you can avoid it, I suggest you do NOT do that. Why? Among other reasons, if the same drive is doing both jobs, you are keeping it with that laptop everywhere you go. One theft of laptop is probably a theft of backup in the same "grab." Dedicated drive back at home base/office means you could lose that laptop but still recover nearly everything.
 
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Ambrosia7177

macrumors 68000
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You seem to have expanded your OP since I replied in #2. So here's my revised best recommendations:
  • Ideally, you need 2 SEPARATE things: backup drive and video editing drive. Best scenario is not making those the SAME drive.

Right, but ideally finding one type of drive that I can use in both scenarios so I don't have to have two families of drives.


  • I'd seek out a fast SSD for the video editing (or faster SSD RAID 0) and
  • a SET of big fat HDDs for the backups.

So you mean a traditional, platter-based drive?



  • If this new Mac is going to have 4TB and it's the ONLY Mac you want backed up, you need two 12TB HDDs or larger. If you have other Macs to backup, add their total storage to the 4TB and multiple by 3+.

I only do one backup per drive. Putting 2+ backup on a single drive defeats the purpose of protecting your data. (So now when my place burns down, I have three copies destroyed?) ;-)



  • If not TM, then Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper for backup software. Reads like CCC is a favorite of yours.

Been using it for like 8 years now. My only complaint is that you can no longer create bootable clones - but that is Apple's fault.


  • If you want FASTEST video-editing, seek a thunderbolt enclosure with more than 1 SSD drive in there as RAID 0. I've seen some with 2 bays, 4 bays and 8 bays. AND,

Good to know, but again, I am mobile so I only want to work with one drive.

What do you think about the drive I linked to above?


  • I'd carefully rethink the stance on incremental backups. I presume you are mirroring "whole Mac" backups which is fine but incremental can recover a file(s) that got corrupted some time ago. If you are leaning on whole Mac backups, you'll have a copy of only that corrupted file(s) should you need to recover. If incremental, you can go back in time to recover the last good version. That's quite a good option for backups.

I see what you are saying, but ironically I avoid incremental backup for that very reason.

When your Time Machine backup goes south, you have lots of pieces and no whole.

When my CCC backup goes south, I still have, whole, intact, usable files.

CCC does have a way to check to make sure you aren't backing up "bad" files, so it already addresses that concern.

Right now I have 5-6 backups. When I have some major change in life or how my hard-drive is organized, I set that back aside so I can roll back to "how it was before".

As mentioned, I have 1-2 drives off-site an hour away, and at least one set 1,500 miles away - that should cover most things up to a nuclear war - or really bad luck!

At $400/pop for the drive I linked above, that is $800 at a minimum to safely backup my new Mac. (So I figured I would come here and make sure I wasn't missing anything obvious.)

I also checking to see if I can use a smaller drive to backup my data, since I only have 2TB right now.


Now, the above FAILS on the "cost" side as you are buying that T7 plus spending probably towards $400-$500 on dual big drives, etc. But that's a very good way to go IMO.

Not to fork things, but since you are implying something, I might as well ask now.

Recently I learned that SSD's apparently only hold data for like a year before they start losing data if left unpowered (e.g. in a storage unit).

Is this true?

And if so, then I guess I need to add platter-drives to my backup regimen, right?


Since you already have some kind of backup drives in place, maybe you can do it a step at a time and get what you immediately need now (which sounds like the video editing drive) and then add a big HDD while still using the existing drives too... and then the other big HDD at which point you could retire or repurpose the other drives for something else.

Yeah, that is what i was thinking.

Another option, is that I just use the new MBP for video editing and leave it naked for a while, and keep using my old MBP - with 2TB internal drive - and then I am set on drives. (I have like 30-40 2TB in storage!!)


If you are really just looking for confirmation that that Samsung T7 is a good drive, OK, it's a good drive. But you shouldn't be using the same drive for these 2 very different tasks.

As mentioned above, I would NOT do that.

But what I prefer doing is finding one acceptable make/model drive for ANY purpose. If ACME-123 drive is fast enough for editing, and not super expensive, then that is what I will also use for SEPARATE backups.


Can you? Yes, you can. But should you? If you can avoid it, I suggest you do NOT do that. Why? Among other reasons, if the same drive is doing both jobs, you are keeping it with that laptop everywhere you go. One theft of laptop is probably a theft of backup in the same "grab." Dedicated drive back at home base/office means you could lose that laptop but still recover nearly everything.

We agree! ;-)
 

HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G5
So you mean a traditional, platter-based drive?

Yes.

I only do one backup per drive. Putting 2+ backup on a single drive defeats the purpose of protecting your data. (So now when my place burns down, I have three copies destroyed?) ;-)

I think our definitions of "incremental" are different. But yes, whether 1 copy or 50 incremental copies of some file are all burned/flooded/stolen, you lose THE "backup".

Incremental- such as in TM- is about having many copies of the same evolving files. Example: you writing the great American novel in- say- the Pages app. You work on it for months. Somewhere along the way, something corrupts chapters 1-3. You are writing chapters 18-20 to finish it off. Done. One final proof pass and you discover the corruption. Now what?

With incremental backup, you start stepping back in time until you find the last version of that file that has an uncorrupted Chapter 1-2, recover them, drop them into "the rest" and you have an entire book again.

The "whole backup" approach- even across a few drives- risk losing them if you don't detect the corruption early (before the last drive is updated with a new whole copy).

While this might sound unusual (scenario), it's saved me some file recreations several times over the years. I share with you to help you consider such opportunities in your own work. If the video part of that is a big part of your work, it is EASY to corrupt RAW video files. So if your backups are attempting to prevent the loss of that kind of data, I'd be all over "incremental" instead of "whole drive" copies.


Been using it for like 8 years now. My only complaint is that you can no longer create bootable clones - but that is Apple's fault.

Amen to that. Since you have some drives already, if the above makes you adopt incremental, continue to do whole drive backups too. That's a best of both worlds.

Good to know, but again, I am mobile so I only want to work with one drive.

What do you think about the drive I linked to above?

Fine. But again, I wouldn't do video editing (scratch drive) AND backups on the same drive.

I see what you are saying, but ironically I avoid incremental backup for that very reason.

When your Time Machine backup goes south, you have lots of pieces and no whole.

Yes, but when it does, it tells me and immediate makes a fresh TM backup on that drive. Meanwhile, I've got my last "whole" TM backup available too.

And, in my case, I actually have more than the minimum 2 backups, as I also use a Synology NAS for a "live" third TM backup... so that's 2 TM backups in the same building as the Macs... and 1 stored securely offsite at all times. I feel very confident at all times about recovery.

But yes, one "whole drive" backup looks the same as my regular file system and I can use it in place of the internal.

Not to fork things, but since you are implying something, I might as well ask now.

Recently I learned that SSD's apparently only hold data for like a year before they start losing data if left unpowered (e.g. in a storage unit).

Is this true?

I don't know. I doubt that's true but don't know.

And if so, then I guess I need to add platter-drives to my backup regimen, right?

Yes. contrary to modern consumer perception, the bulk of global storage is still stored on HDDs. Store something on an HDD and- with reasonable care- it's still recoverable 10-20 years later. I just did this recently when I needed some very old files stored on a long-retired drive. No problem.

Another option, is that I just use the new MBP for video editing and leave it naked for a while, and keep using my old MBP - with 2TB internal drive - and then I am set on drives. (I have like 30-40 2TB in storage!!)

Naked vs. backup are in direct conflict. Backup whatever important storage you have.

If anything, I'd simplify: maybe sell the 30-40 drives and put that towards 2 or 3 12TB+ drives to be a smaller group of BIG storage drives for backup... while using fast SSD or SSD RAID for the video editing.

I've offered what I can to your question- just trying to help and offer best suggestions. Much of your replies seem like your mind is made up on these matters. If so, just proceed. That Samsung T7 has good reviews. The beauty in caring about backups enough to have them- IN ANY FORM- means you can "just go for it" and even if it proves to not be idea, you still recover.

I hope all this effort helps in some way and that the drive(s) you choose serves you well for both needs.
 
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Ambrosia7177

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I think our definitions of "incremental" are different. But yes, whether 1 copy or 50 incremental copies of some file are all burned/flooded/stolen, you lose THE "backup".

An incremental backup means only the changes are saved. Not exactly sure how TM works, but in general, if an incremental backup gets messed up, you lose all data - similar to how if a parity drive fails in a RAID array you are toast.

With my CCC backups, each file stands on it's own and is a WHOLE file. Not as efficient for storage, but much safer.


Incremental- such as in TM- is about having many copies of the same evolving files. Example: you writing the great American novel in- say- the Pages app. You work on it for months. Somewhere along the way, something corrupts chapters 1-3. You are writing chapters 18-20 to finish it off. Done. One final proof pass and you discover the corruption. Now what?

The spreadsheet I am working on for work is named MyWorkSpreadsheet_v175.xls

I always manually save a new version of a file every 15-20 minutes or so - poor man's incremental backup!

Yes, I could forget to do this, but I backup my backups in a lot of ways like that to prevent such an issue.

Some day I'll set up RAID so I have backups to the second, but because of my mobile lifestyle, I have workarounds.

But there are benefits to TM over say CCC - although I think you can program CCC to sorta act like that.



With incremental backup, you start stepping back in time until you find the last version of that file that has an uncorrupted Chapter 1-2, recover them, drop them into "the rest" and you have an entire book again.

Understood.


The "whole backup" approach- even across a few drives- risk losing them if you don't detect the corruption early (before the last drive is updated with a new whole copy).

Again, CCC has a way to (in theory) prevent that.


While this might sound unusual (scenario), it's saved me some file recreations several times over the years. I share with you to help you consider such opportunities in your own work.

And I appreciate you challenging my workflow!


If the video part of that is a big part of your work, it is EASY to corrupt RAW video files. So if your backups are attempting to prevent the loss of that kind of data, I'd be all over "incremental" instead of "whole drive" copies.

You go me there - and that is something I will have to learn what my options are and take according actions.

I guess you would say the simple solution is to always leave TM running in the background as I edit video?

If so, the problem is that I would have to have two external SSD's dangling from my laptop at the library or in my car or at a hotel. Doable, but not as user-friendly as being at home at your desk where you never move your computer.



Amen to that.

Apple prohibiting bootable clones is good for computer and data security, but bad for recovery. Life is about tradeoffs...


Since you have some drives already, if the above makes you adopt incremental, continue to do whole drive backups too. That's a best of both worlds.

Oh, that goes without saying!!

(Before Apple took away bootable clones, I used to periodically manually copy over all of my data to a second external drive - similar to my concerns about incremental TM backups - so that I at least had my whole raw data files.)


Fine. But again, I wouldn't do video editing (scratch drive) AND backups on the same drive.

Don't worry, I never would do that.



Yes, but when it does, it tells me and immediate makes a fresh TM backup on that drive. Meanwhile, I've got my last "whole" TM backup available too.

But my understanding of how TM works, is that as you update your 20 chapter "great American novel", TM stores chapter 21 in a new file "fragment".

And when your HDD/SSD drive loses a sector, you might not be able to recover ANY of your 20 chapter novel.

This is definitely true for RAID. You lose ONE BIT in the wrong palce and your entire drive of data is lost.

CCC makes copies of EACH FILE - even bootable clones worked this way.

And if you use CCC's integrity checker, it does it's magic to make sure that a new file doesn't write over a bad file. (Could that procedure fail? Sure. But at least you are working with whole files that can stand on their own.)



And, in my case, I actually have more than the minimum 2 backups, as I also use a Synology NAS for a "live" third TM backup... so that's 2 TM backups in the same building as the Macs... and 1 stored securely offsite at all times. I feel very confident at all times about recovery.

Maybe sometime later this year you can teach the "old man" some new backup tricks? ;-)



I don't know. I doubt that's true but don't know.

I'll start another thread on that topic...



Yes. contrary to modern consumer perception, the bulk of global storage is still stored on HDDs. Store something on an HDD and- with reasonable care- it's still recoverable 10-20 years later. I just did this recently when I needed some very old files stored on a long-retired drive. No problem.

I migrated to SSD a couple of years ago for fear my HDD's would rust in storage.

Now I hope I didn't lose Terabytes of data on SSD's?!

I need to get back to HDD's as well!!



Naked vs. backup are in direct conflict. Backup whatever important storage you have.

What I meant was this...

If CCC will not allow me to backup a 4TB drive - with only 2TB of data - onto a 2TB drive, and $$$ is tight, then I can leave my day-to-day 2TB of data on this old MBP, and just keep backing up my old MBP's 2TB drive to my external 2TB's and thus my daily data is still safe.

(Of course I would back up my video-editing on my new MBP to a drive as well.)


If anything, I'd simplify: maybe sell the 30-40 drives

You can't do that - that would be like selling dirty underwear to make $$$ for a trip to Europe?!


and put that towards 2 or 3 12TB+ drives to be a smaller group of BIG storage drives for backup... while using fast SSD or SSD RAID for the video editing.

Before I buy the new laptop, I will have to have at least ONE 4TB external drive for "A" backup.

Will look into how much a 4TB HDD would cost.

All of this just hurts, because I will be shelling out $5,500 with tax for a laptop?!

(Sure hope I keep my contract for a while!!)



I've offered what I can to your question- just trying to help and offer best suggestions.

And I welcome your advice, thoughts, and challenging my current thinking! :)



Much of your replies seem like your mind is made up on these matters.

Well, using separate drives for each backup, and backup up WHLE files using CCC, yes.

But I think you missed most of what I was asking for in my OP... ;-)

What I need advice on is WHICH TYPE of drive to buy...

(I had another thread that turned into a novel discussing all of the intricacies of USB4, Thunderbolt4, and so on.)

For example, is that Samsung T7 I linked above, the best, most modern drive to work with a new 14" MacBook Pro M3 Max?

A salesperson earlier today said that drive would only save data at 10Mbps, yet the specs for TB4 say 40Mbps.

That is more the flavor of what I need advice one, however I welcome your thoughts on TM and what-not, so nothing lost!




If so, just proceed. That Samsung T7 has good reviews. The beauty in caring about backups enough to have them- IN ANY FORM- means you can "just go for it" and even if it proves to not be idea, you still recover.

True, but coming from a world where you only have USB-A, I want to make sure I take advantage of all of the features and power that this VERY EXPENSIVE laptop has to offer!!



I hope all this effort helps in some way and that the drive(s) you choose serves you well for both needs.

Hey, I appreciate your help, and I will follow up with you about TM and NAS down the road.

For now, I could use more help and more opinions on the very specific things that I outlined in my OP.

Thanks!
 

HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G5
An incremental backup means only the changes are saved. Not exactly sure how TM works, but in general, if an incremental backup gets messed up, you lose all data - similar to how if a parity drive fails in a RAID array you are toast.

No, TM "incremental" doesn't work as you think it does. It is file based incremental, not fragment based... meaning whole file at a time when that file is updated.

And no, the odds in both your new Mac and your TM getting corrupted at the same time are towards zero. The bigger risks of total loss in that combo is fire/flood/theft. But that's where that THIRD backup offsite saves the day. The risk in all 3 being wiped out together probably involves you being wiped out too.

Otherwise, as soon as a TM drive backup fails (which is not very common but does happen), you get a notice and begin a new backup. If your Mac drive just happened to be wiped out before that completes (highly unlikely in real-world scenarios), you recover from the offsite backup. Else, the TM new backup will complete and now you have THREE solid backups again.

And no, it's not true if one bit of the TM backup is bad that you can't recover files. It's just not as user simple as the "whole drive" backup that is basically a duplicate of the file system you see when browsing Mac. You can, in fact, go into the backup and manually locate the (whole) files you seek... UNLESS they are in the corrupted part... but you should still have those in "whole" form on the Mac and also on the offsite backup.

It's not like a RAID array loss much at all. You can manually recover from TM backups if needed, unless all of it is corrupted. If so, let it create a new TM backup and resume. Your Mac still has your files, as does the offsite backup. There is no catastrophe with a TM backup even if you see the "corrupt, need to rebuild" message. At that point in time, you still have the original files on Mac and a TM backup on offsite drive for recovery... and some numbers of hours later, you'll have a fresh third backup in play again too on the TM drive at home/office.

I guess you would say the simple solution is to always leave TM running in the background as I edit video?

TM defaults to running every hour on its own. However, if your mobile situation is stuff that you need more control of "when" (it backs up), you can put it in manual mode and wait until you are going to be stationary for a while and then manually trigger the update with a menu selection.

If me, I'd have TM set up at home base or office, hooked to a MB dock or hub and let it do its backups when I return from being on the road. While on the road, I'll backup small files to the free iCloud space. If I'm on the road for a long time and/or my new files are too big for free cloud space, I'll use CCC as you are now for those situations.

I happen to be on the road right now, so I'm doing exactly that. As soon as I get back, my laptop will sync new files to the desktop Mac, which is attached to a stationary TM drive AND the Synology NAS (2 TM backups at home, automatically backing up each every 2 hours- TM alternates between drives where there is more than one chosen for TM backups). Offsite backup will add them on the next drive rotation (no more than 30 days for me).

If so, the problem is that I would have to have two external SSD's dangling from my laptop at the library or in my car or at a hotel. Doable, but not as user-friendly as being at home at your desk where you never move your computer.

Correct. So, if I'm you, I'd TM at home base/office and keep doing what I've been doing when on the road.

But my understanding of how TM works, is that as you update your 20 chapter "great American novel", TM stores chapter 21 in a new file "fragment".

No, you end up with many copies of your "book" each bigger than the last because you are writing more chapters. If you wrote a bit every day for 30 days, you'd have 30+ growing (full) copies of your book. In my scenario (switching local and offsite every 30 days), I might have 1 latest copy on my Mac, 30+ on my local TM backup drive and some number of backups on the offsite too (any of which could be used to recover the corrupted chapters 1 & 2 in my example).

TM is not storing bits of files as new content is created in them, but new copies of whole files. This is why the advice of multiplying total internal storage by 3 or 4 or more times applies... so you have plenty of room before it automatically switches to deleting oldest copies to make room for new versions when the drive is full. That book writer might end up with 100+ copies of the Pages file on their current TM backup. If the chapter 1 & 2 corruption occurred on backed up copy #39, he can go "back in time" to version #39 to recover those chapters and then bring them forward to drop them into the remaining chapters to have a complete book again.

And when your HDD/SSD drive loses a sector, you might not be able to recover ANY of your 20 chapter novel.

Depends on the level of damage... but that takes losing BOTH backup drive and the copy in your MAC at the same time... which, in your scenario, could most easily happen with a single theft (taking laptop and the drive you carry for everything). Even in that scenario, you get home, buy your replacement MB, bring home your offsite TM backup, restore and you are almost "whole" again, losing only the very newest data you created since the last offsite backup. If you stored the newest stuff in the free iCloud space, you are fully whole again... even in a theft scenario.

I migrated to SSD a couple of years ago for fear my HDD's would rust in storage.

Depends on that storage. In my house, HDDs from about 20 years ago will still boot and function. I would make no argument (yet) that SSDs are more dependable than HDDs for long-term storage. The big advantages of SSDs vs. HDDs is size, weight and relative speed. Long-term reliability needs more "long term" time to really tell that tale.

SSD is fine too but your needs are for much greater storage than you are choosing. A 4TB Mac should have 12TB of backup storage or more. You are talking about portions of a 4TB T2 and/or a bunch of 2TB drives on hand. Yes, you can do backups to these other storage options but your core storage is apparently GROWING... so your backup storage should GROW too. And one want is simple, and TM is VERY simple (do almost nothing for dependable backups). Your current methods are relatively complicated of manually saving multiple files for another kind of incremental backup as well as fitting your backups onto many small drives. Add a 3X+ size drive(s), turn on TM and you don't have to do anything after that but occasionally swap the one at home with another offsite.

You can't do that - that would be like selling dirty underwear to make $$$ for a trip to Europe?!

If you can get $20 for each 2TB drive and you have 30 of them, that's enough to buy yourself a couple of 20TB drives.

If you can get $10 for each 2TB drive and you have 30 of them, that's enough to buy yourself TWO 12TB drives.

Before I buy the new laptop, I will have to have at least ONE 4TB external drive for "A" backup.

If that's also the drive you intend to use for Video editing, you are starting with less NET storage space than MAX internal storage space. Of course, you likely use only a fraction of the 4TB you are buying, so < 4TB external can hold up to ALL of it. However, if you are going to edit video, that can easily HOG up 4TB of space and then some. My video scratch drive for relatively simple projects is 8TB and it can fill up with heavy edits of even 20-minute 4K videos. Backup when I need more is a 28TB HDD RAID 0. I haven't overloaded it yet with some bigger projects but I have had libraries swell up into the teens (of TBs) for a single video.

Will look into how much a 4TB HDD would cost.

Again, if you are seeking good advice, you should be multiplying all storage to be backed up- at least 4TB in your case- TIMES 3 or more... not matching the storage space you are choosing in the new Mac. That works for how you do things now, but you have only the ONE copy of all files when backing up 4TB to 4TB. If you opt for the TM approach, you might have MANY copies of files when backing up 4TB to maybe 12TB or 16TB or more. And that's why discovering file corruptions gives you the ability to step back in time to recover chapters 1 & 2 in that book vs. the "whole backup" approach which could very quickly jettison access to those chapters when "whole backups" use up available drives.

Besides, given bargain pricing of HDDs, you'll find that the difference between 4TB and 8TB to be maybe $20 or $30... with 12TB not that much more. Cost per TB seems to fall as size goes up.

What I need advice on is WHICH TYPE of drive to buy...

Yes, and I've already offered that Samsung should be fine. About any well-rated SSD should be fine. I don't see a lot of horror stories about SSD storage if the drive has pretty good ratings on Amazon & similar. Beware of the un-rated or poor-rated drives.

(I had another thread that turned into a novel discussing all of the intricacies of USB4, Thunderbolt4, and so on.)

For example, is that Samsung T7 I linked above, the best, most modern drive to work with a new 14" MacBook Pro M3 Max?

A salesperson earlier today said that drive would only save data at 10Mbps, yet the specs for TB4 say 40Mbps.

Thunderbolt is theoretical speeds in marketing- not reality- and the ONLY path to maxing out actual Thunderbolt speeds maximums would be a substantial SSD RAID with MANY sticks in RAID 0... and some kind of drive with many simultaneous connections to multiple Thunderbolt ports (vs. using only 1 of them) to get towards hyped speeds of a single port. I don't even know if such a drive with enough slots for SSDs exists. I've seen 8-stick models for consumers/prosumers "in the wild" that don't get close to Thunderbolt 4 marketing numbers. There will be NO 1-stick SSD that is going to get anywhere close to Thunderbolt maximums. The one inside your Mac is likely to be fastest and it- directly accessible by Silicon (vs going through the Thunderbolt protocol)- is much slower than Thunderbolt hype speeds.

In general, for even 4K editing with intense edits, GEN 4 or newer SSD with good ratings in a Thunderbolt 3/4 enclosure/hub is likely fast enough. If you need faster, you probably need an SSD RAID... which doesn't align with your call for keeping costs low.

Again, just trying to be helpful here... if not for you, then for others who might read this thread looking for good backup storage advice.
 
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Ben J.

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I read thru the thread, and it's clear that many misunderstandings here are due to not grasping new technology, and mistakingly trying to apply outdated ways of thinking about these things.

I'm old too. Just turned 60. I've used macs since the eighties. I just want to give a few input points on things that I think needs to be cleared up.

SSDs will not start losing data after a few years, but no storage technology is perfect and everlasting, of course.

It's perfectly possible to have a bootable backup on a modern mac and macOS, even with apples' 'signed system volume' thing that doesn't let you copy a whole boot disk and restore it, like we could in the old days. My main CCC backup volume on my external disk is a clone of my internal, is updated everyday, and is bootable, so I can switch to it and continue working, should something stop working on my internal. (except if there is hardware failure)

"you need 3-4 times the size on the backup drive than on the used space on the drive you're backing up"
That would need very, very special sircumstances to be true. Depends on the data thruput each day, but a backup of a video work drive to contain a few weeks of restorable data shouldn't have to be more than twice the size of the drive, usually much less.

"Fragmented backups", "whole file backups".
Both TM and CCC are simple apps that uses simple file comparing and copying commands to make one volume a perfect clone of another. You could, if you want, create a "whole file" clone by making a disk image file in Disk Utilities f.ex, but that .dmg could also be mounted and modified, so not much difference.

APFS snapshots.
Both TM and CCC use snapshots to enable you to restore a volume to an earlier state. Snapshots are a function of APFS filesystem. In CCC I can set it to keep, say, one daily snapshot for a few weeks, and forget, "prune", delete, all earlier snapshots and their associated files, thus freeing up space on the backup drive.

The way this works is to put it simply; any file put in trash and deleted will NOT be deleted if it's present in any snapshot. It will look like it's not there anymore, but the filesystem will not erase it, and the amount of free space will not increase. If you delete some old snapshots, you will see free space increase, because some files are no longer present in any snapshot and their sectors on the volume is now cosidered free space.

So, snapshots are effectively lists of files not to be deleted, because you want them to be recoverable.

You can manage snapshots in both Disk Utilities and CCC, and CCC lets you also browse the contents of snapshots and restore single files, like in TM.

I remember the times when we could clone and restore system drives, and the flexibility of that, but I've learned the new ways of these things, and I'm happy with how it works.

I could go on and on, but that's what I have for now. I'm sure I've forgotten lots. Sorry, I'm not an expert on storage devices.

(Added: As I have limited space on my internal drive, I've set CCC to not create snapshots there. Instead, I have enabled snapshots on two of my three CCC clones of that drive, one going back a few weeks, and one going back to december when the drive and mac was new. This last one shows 300GB used, and 165GB used for snapshots. But then, I don't work with terrabytes of video data.)
 
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Ambrosia7177

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@HobeSoundDarryl,

No, TM "incremental" doesn't work as you think it does. It is file based incremental, not fragment based... meaning whole file at a time when that file is updated.

Okay.


And no, the odds in both your new Mac and your TM getting corrupted at the same time are towards zero. The bigger risks of total loss in that combo is fire/flood/theft. But that's where that THIRD backup offsite saves the day. The risk in all 3 being wiped out together probably involves you being wiped out too.

Apparently you haven't heard... Don't stand too close to me! ;)



Otherwise, as soon as a TM drive backup fails (which is not very common but does happen), you get a notice and begin a new backup. If your Mac drive just happened to be wiped out before that completes (highly unlikely in real-world scenarios), you recover from the offsite backup. Else, the TM new backup will complete and now you have THREE solid backups again.

And no, it's not true if one bit of the TM backup is bad that you can't recover files. It's just not as user simple as the "whole drive" backup that is basically a duplicate of the file system you see when browsing Mac. You can, in fact, go into the backup and manually locate the (whole) files you seek... UNLESS they are in the corrupted part... but you should still have those in "whole" form on the Mac and also on the offsite backup.

Okay.


It's not like a RAID array loss much at all. You can manually recover from TM backups if needed, unless all of it is corrupted. If so, let it create a new TM backup and resume. Your Mac still has your files, as does the offsite backup. There is no catastrophe with a TM backup even if you see the "corrupt, need to rebuild" message. At that point in time, you still have the original files on Mac and a TM backup on offsite drive for recovery... and some numbers of hours later, you'll have a fresh third backup in play again too on the TM drive at home/office.

I'm too overwhelmed right now to do a deep dive into Time Machine, but over the years I have just heard about a lot of people having issues when TM gets screwed up.

But I will take your advice that maybe it isn't that bad, and I did agree that TM would be a good addition to my backup solutions. (Now just isn't the right time.)


TM defaults to running every hour on its own. However, if your mobile situation is stuff that you need more control of "when" (it backs up), you can put it in manual mode and wait until you are going to be stationary for a while and then manually trigger the update with a menu selection.

If me, I'd have TM set up at home base or office, hooked to a MB dock or hub and let it do its backups when I return from being on the road. While on the road, I'll backup small files to the free iCloud space. If I'm on the road for a long time and/or my new files are too big for free cloud space, I'll use CCC as you are now for those situations.

I happen to be on the road right now, so I'm doing exactly that. As soon as I get back, my laptop will sync new files to the desktop Mac, which is attached to a stationary TM drive AND the Synology NAS (2 TM backups at home, automatically backing up each every 2 hours- TM alternates between drives where there is more than one chosen for TM backups). Offsite backup will add them on the next drive rotation (no more than 30 days for me).

Sounds very cool! Maybe we can discuss this in a couple of months - assuming I survive the present?!


Correct. So, if I'm you, I'd TM at home base/office and keep doing what I've been doing when on the road.

No, you end up with many copies of your "book" each bigger than the last because you are writing more chapters. If you wrote a bit every day for 30 days, you'd have 30+ growing (full) copies of your book. In my scenario (switching local and offsite every 30 days), I might have 1 latest copy on my Mac, 30+ on my local TM backup drive and some number of backups on the offsite too (any of which could be used to recover the corrupted chapters 1 & 2 in my example).

Okay.


TM is not storing bits of files as new content is created in them, but new copies of whole files.

That sounds better to me.


This is why the advice of multiplying total internal storage by 3 or 4 or more times applies... so you have plenty of room before it automatically switches to deleting oldest copies to make room for new versions when the drive is full. That book writer might end up with 100+ copies of the Pages file on their current TM backup. If the chapter 1 & 2 corruption occurred on backed up copy #39, he can go "back in time" to version #39 to recover those chapters and then bring them forward to drop them into the remaining chapters to have a complete book again.

Okay.



Depends on the level of damage... but that takes losing BOTH backup drive and the copy in your MAC at the same time... which, in your scenario, could most easily happen with a single theft (taking laptop and the drive you carry for everything). Even in that scenario, you get home, buy your replacement MB, bring home your offsite TM backup, restore and you are almost "whole" again, losing only the very newest data you created since the last offsite backup. If you stored the newest stuff in the free iCloud space, you are fully whole again... even in a theft scenario.

True, but I don't do the Cloud... (That's another debate for another day!)



Depends on that storage. In my house, HDDs from about 20 years ago will still boot and function. I would make no argument (yet) that SSDs are more dependable than HDDs for long-term storage.

I switched because I originally thought they were, but apparently I was wrong.


The big advantages of SSDs vs. HDDs is size, weight and relative speed. Long-term reliability needs more "long term" time to really tell that tale.

What I read was pretty scary, but liek I said, maybe I can start another thread on this, because it is an important topic for everyone!


SSD is fine too but your needs are for much greater storage than you are choosing. A 4TB Mac should have 12TB of backup storage or more. You are talking about portions of a 4TB T2 and/or a bunch of 2TB drives on hand. Yes, you can do backups to these other storage options but your core storage is apparently GROWING... so your backup storage should GROW too.

Maybe you can tell my boss that my paycheck should be growing too! (Funny how that part of my life never expands, eh?!)



And one want is simple, and TM is VERY simple (do almost nothing for dependable backups). Your current methods are relatively complicated of manually saving multiple files for another kind of incremental backup as well as fitting your backups onto many small drives. Add a 3X+ size drive(s), turn on TM and you don't have to do anything after that but occasionally swap the one at home with another offsite.

Right now I'm spending most of my savings on trying to start a business, and I just made about a $2,000 purchase at Apple today. (Feeling REALLY STRESSED right now - and very broke!)

Before I can justify buying a new MacBook Pro, I have to have enough money for at least one backup drive, and ideally two. (It is unlikely that I would Frankenstein smaller drives together, but I was just saying in a bind, I only need to backup 2TB for another month or two - even if my new laptop would be 4TB.)


If you can get $20 for each 2TB drive and you have 30 of them, that's enough to buy yourself a couple of 20TB drives.

I'd never sell a used hard-drive - ever - for security reasons. Plus, I have my own very manual version of TimeMachine if you think about it... (I have snapshots of how my MBP and my data have changed back at least 10 years.)



If you can get $10 for each 2TB drive and you have 30 of them, that's enough to buy yourself TWO 12TB drives.

If I can afford $5,500 for a new 14" MacBook Pro M3 Max, I can come up with another $800 for two backup drives. (Of course I won't eat for the rest of July, but oh well?!)


If that's also the drive you intend to use for Video editing, you are starting with less NET storage space than MAX internal storage space. Of course, you likely use only a fraction of the 4TB you are buying, so < 4TB external can hold up to ALL of it.

Right, that is what I was saying before.


However, if you are going to edit video, that can easily HOG up 4TB of space and then some. My video scratch drive for relatively simple projects is 8TB and it can fill up with heavy edits of even 20-minute 4K videos. Backup when I need more is a 28TB HDD RAID 0. I haven't overloaded it yet with some bigger projects but I have had libraries swell up into the teens (of TBs) for a single video.

Are you shooting RAW or ProRes?

Not knowing video-editing yet, I can only speculate what may happen. However, I can say that I will only be doing the most basic of video-editing for the foreseeable future. (No RAW, ProRes, Log, or Color-Grading)



Again, if you are seeking good advice, you should be multiplying all storage to be backed up- at least 4TB in your case- TIMES 3 or more... not matching the storage space you are choosing in the new Mac. That works for how you do things now, but you have only the ONE copy of all files when backing up 4TB to 4TB. If you opt for the TM approach, you might have MANY copies of files when backing up 4TB to maybe 12TB or 16TB or more. And that's why discovering file corruptions gives you the ability to step back in time to recover chapters 1 & 2 in that book vs. the "whole backup" approach which could very quickly jettison access to those chapters when "whole backups" use up available drives.

Sounds like a reasonable approach.

I am open to your suggestion as soon as I have more time, money, and mental bandwidth.



Besides, given bargain pricing of HDDs, you'll find that the difference between 4TB and 8TB to be maybe $20 or $30... with 12TB not that much more. Cost per TB seems to fall as size goes up.

For platter-drives, you are probably correct.

So, what platter-drives do you swear by? (The quality of manufacturers and their drives has flip-flopped so much in the last 20 years, I don't know who to trust in 2024.)



Yes, and I've already offered that Samsung should be fine. About any well-rated SSD should be fine. I don't see a lot of horror stories about SSD storage if the drive has pretty good ratings on Amazon & similar. Beware of the un-rated or poor-rated drives.

Probably more true than platter-based drives.


Thunderbolt is theoretical speeds in marketing- not reality- and the ONLY path to maxing out actual Thunderbolt speeds maximums would be a substantial SSD RAID with MANY sticks in RAID 0... and some kind of drive with many simultaneous connections to multiple Thunderbolt ports (vs. using only 1 of them) to get towards hyped speeds of a single port. I don't even know if such a drive with enough slots for SSDs exists. I've seen 8-stick models for consumers/prosumers "in the wild" that don't get close to Thunderbolt 4 marketing numbers. There will be NO 1-stick SSD that is going to get anywhere close to Thunderbolt maximums. The one inside your Mac is likely to be fastest and it- directly accessible by Silicon (vs going through the Thunderbolt protocol)- is much slower than Thunderbolt hype speeds.

Bummer.


In general, for even 4K editing with intense edits, GEN 4 or newer SSD with good ratings in a Thunderbolt 3/4 enclosure/hub is likely fast enough. If you need faster, you probably need an SSD RAID... which doesn't align with your call for keeping costs low.

I just bought a new iPhone 15 Pro Max a little while ago, and based on what I learned in another thread, I picked up a USB-C to USB-C 40Gbps data cable, so I can get the quickest downloads of videos off of my new iPhone and onto my future new MacBook Pro.



Again, just trying to be helpful here... if not for you, then for others who might read this thread looking for good backup storage advice.

You are a wealth of information, wisdom, and patience - so thank you!!

And assuming that I survive this year, maybe I can start expanding my backup strategy, and hard-drive strategy, and video-editing strategy and implement some of your suggestions?
 

Ambrosia7177

macrumors 68000
Original poster
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@Ben J.,

I read thru the thread, and it's clear that many misunderstandings here are due to not grasping new technology, and mistakingly trying to apply outdated ways of thinking about these things.

Looks like I'm gonna get it now!



I'm old too. Just turned 60. I've used macs since the eighties. I just want to give a few input points on things that I think needs to be cleared up.

Sure.


SSDs will not start losing data after a few years, but no storage technology is perfect and everlasting, of course.

I hope you are right, because I found a million people online claiming to have lost all of their data in as soon as one year. And this was from enough sources, that it didn't sound like trolls.



It's perfectly possible to have a bootable backup on a modern mac and macOS, even with apples' 'signed system volume' thing that doesn't let you copy a whole boot disk and restore it, like we could in the old days. My main CCC backup volume on my external disk is a clone of my internal, is updated everyday, and is bootable, so I can switch to it and continue working, should something stop working on my internal. (except if there is hardware failure)

Yeah I remember those "good ole days" *sigh*


Everything I have read/heard lately says that an unpowered SSD will start losing data in 1-2 years. How true that is I don't know, but I know when I have money, I need to back up all of my stuff on platter-based drives as well, since it is an established fact that that technology can easily last for 10, 15, maybe 20 years in dry conditions.


"you need 3-4 times the size on the backup drive than on the used space on the drive you're backing up"
That would need very, very special sircumstances to be true. Depends on the data thruput each day, but a backup of a video work drive to contain a few weeks of restorable data shouldn't have to be more than twice the size of the drive, usually much less.

I would agree - even though I'm new to video-editing.


"Fragmented backups", "whole file backups".
Both TM and CCC are simple apps that uses simple file comparing and copying commands to make one volume a perfect clone of another. You could, if you want, create a "whole file" clone by making a disk image file in Disk Utilities f.ex, but that .dmg could also be mounted and modified, so not much difference.

APFS snapshots.
Both TM and CCC use snapshots to enable you to restore a volume to an earlier state. Snapshots are a function of APFS filesystem. In CCC I can set it to keep, say, one daily snapshot for a few weeks, and forget, "prune", delete, all earlier snapshots and their associated files, thus freeing up space on the backup drive.

I am aware of this, but haven't had time to learn how it works, and I'm a simple man, and having a complete copy of my data and apps is sufficient for me. (Although I understand I could get burned if something happened to my drive. Then again, i manually save most files I am working on ever 15 minutes as a new version, so that protects me as much as TimeMachine and probably more so.)



The way this works is to put it simply; any file put in trash and deleted will NOT be deleted if it's present in any snapshot. It will look like it's not there anymore, but the filesystem will not erase it, and the amount of free space will not increase. If you delete some old snapshots, you will see free space increase, because some files are no longer present in any snapshot and their sectors on the volume is now cosidered free space.

So, snapshots are effectively lists of files not to be deleted, because you want them to be recoverable.

You can manage snapshots in both Disk Utilities and CCC, and CCC lets you also browse the contents of snapshots and restore single files, like in TM.

@Ben J. so what is the difference between what Time Machine (TM) does and Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) does?


@HobeSoundDarryl, I would encourage you to check out Carbon Copy Cloner's website and educate yourself on all that CCC can do for you. ;-)




I remember the times when we could clone and restore system drives, and the flexibility of that, but I've learned the new ways of these things, and I'm happy with how it works.

It isn't as bad as I feared, BUT the first time your OS gets screwed up or your drive crashes and you are in a bind, it is still a major PITA.

A couple years ago, I'd plug in an external drive, option-boot, and wa-la, it would be like nothing happened. (And bootable clones saved my butt a couple of times for sure!)



I could go on and on, but that's what I have for now. I'm sure I've forgotten lots. Sorry, I'm not an expert on storage devices.

Learning how to use all of CCC's features is on my "To-Do" list.



(Added: As I have limited space on my internal drive, I've set CCC to not create snapshots there. Instead, I have enabled snapshots on two of my three CCC clones of that drive, one going back a few weeks, and one going back to december when the drive and mac was new. This last one shows 300GB used, and 165GB used for snapshots. But then, I don't work with terrabytes of video data.)

I'm more concerned about backing up my static data than video-editing - at least for now.

If I lose a document or email or spreadsheet or photos or videos I am screwed. (If I lose a video-edit, I just lose time.)

Protecting source data is my #1 focus.
 

HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G5
I'm more concerned about backing up my static data than video-editing - at least for now.

If I lose a document or email or spreadsheet or photos or videos I am screwed. (If I lose a video-edit, I just lose time.)

Protecting source data is my #1 focus.

With that piece of information, I'll suggest load up the 2TB drives with multiple copies of the static media files and spread out where they are stored.

If you want a bit more than that, borrow a Blu Ray burner and burn a stack of Blu Rays with the static stuff. Reasonably cared-for optical has a good chance of lasting a very long time. I think the burnable size is still 100GB per disc, so presuming you may have 1TB to burn, that's a skinny little 10 disc burn. If 2TB, that's 20 discs. That plus your stash of 2TB drives should get enough of the static files backed up and in several places that you should sleep well each night. Maybe burn TWO stacks of Blu Rays for dual "media library" backups.

Up until that, I was under the impression you wanted to protect lots of relatively live data. But if the worry is in long-term data like media, multiple backups to whatever you can get/have spread around geographically should be much more than most people do.
 
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Ben J.

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so what is the difference between what Time Machine (TM) does and Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) does?
The differences are small. They both use the basic APFS filesystem commands to manage file copying/deleting and snapshots. TM is very integrated into the mac user experience so-to-say and easy-to-use, while CCC is more like a regular app and can be more customizable but take a little more effort to learn how to handle.

(Clarification; They both do the same things - it's just different interfaces. Basically.)
 
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wonderings

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Personally I think 2 back up solutions are needed. I have a Time Machine backup, it is more functional if I need to go back a file version or something I can. Time Machine is out of the way and just works. Hard drives can fail and I think an offsite backup is a good thing to have. I use BackBlaze https://www.backblaze.com/cloud-backup/personal

Backblaze has unlimited storage, which can be used for external drives as well. This also works in the background and after the initial backup it is just not noticeable. Price is affordable as well, $99 a year. I don't work for BackBlaze, just been happy with their service over the years as a simple backup tool. I no longer think twice about an external hard drive backup going bad.
 

Ambrosia7177

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The differences are small. They both use the basic APFS filesystem commands to manage file copying/deleting and snapshots. TM is very integrated into the mac user experience so-to-say and easy-to-use, while CCC is more like a regular app and can be more customizable but take a little more effort to learn how to handle.

(Clarification; They both do the same things - it's just different interfaces. Basically.)

I need to learn how to use all of the capabilities of CCC.

I also need to get comfortable with TM and learn it in and out to make me a better user.

Thanks for the info!!
 
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Ambrosia7177

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Up until that, I was under the impression you wanted to protect lots of relatively live data. But if the worry is in long-term data like media, multiple backups to whatever you can get/have spread around geographically should be much more than most people do.

What I meant was I am more concerned about my daily-driver data than my video-editing.

By that, I also meant my long-term libraries of articles, videos, photos, etc.

Put another way, if money is tight - which it is - I will focus first on protecting source data, and then later on backing up video editing.

But at the rate I am going, I need to sell some body organs to keep up!

(Let's hope all of these "capital investments" that I am making pay off sometime soon with my startup business?!)

Thanks!!
 

Ben J.

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Hi. I am about ready to purchase a new 14" MacBook Pro M3 Max with a 4TB drive.

It will be used 70% as a daily-driver, and 30% using DaVinci Resolve to do video-editing.

My current MBP is 10 years old, so I am behind the times on backup/hard-drive technology!

On my old 2015 rMBP, I use PNY 2TB CS900 SATA III 2.5" Internal SSD drives and have good luck with them.


My Wants:
- Simple external SSD that I can plug in, backup, and either carry with me, or store off-site.

My Needs:
- Reliable
- Reliable
- Reliable
- Affordable
- Ideally fast

My Concerns:
- I have heard of a lot of people having issues with M3 chips (or maybe Sonoma) as far as working with external drives?
- Have also heard about people losing data?
- Am also concerned about COST, because two (2) Samsung T7 4TB drives would add about $800 onto my purchase.

My Wish:
- I have been told that I should do all video-editing on an external drive, because it apparently saves my internal SSD, and will provide better stability because that approach allows your internal drive to focus on the OS and apps.
- So I need an external drive not only for reliable backups, but also fast enough to use DaVinci Resolve to do video-editing off of this external drive.


Hope there is a solution for me?
I thought I might suggest how I might be spending my money if I were in your shoes. First a couple of things:

• Don't believe the people who say apple's internal drives will "wear down". It's not true, and they may last for decades. Besides, IMO gear should be used, and even pushed to its limits. What's the point of buying new fancy gear if you're not going to take full advantage of it?
• I'm sure you're aware that one of the things that makes Apple's "System-on-a-chip" so blazingly fast, is that both the RAM and NVMe internal SSD are soldered to the CPU processor chip. This also means that any modern mac can't ever be upgraded with more RAM or SSD. Worth mentioning.
• I also hear about "self-ejecting" SSDs on new macs. I haven't seen it with three different Mx macs and several external SSDs over the last three years. I'd say worry about it if it happens to you, and return the SSD for a replacement if it happens. Some say it stopped happening when they upgraded the macOS.
• One of the coolest things about APFS is 'volumes'. W/other filesystems you partition a drive to have it show as more than one, and you set a fixed size for each partition. W/APFS, you create 'volumes' instead, and don't set their sizes. Volumes "share" the free space, and can grow as long as there is free space.

The mac. Does it really have to be portable? If not, get a Mini with an M2 Pro 12-core processor. It's a powerhouse. Take a look at the Geekbench performance scores - try to find your old 2014 MBP, it's way down the list there:
(There is also a link to the multicore performance scores.)

RAM. I'd suggest 32GB since you're probably working on big video files. Otherwise 16 is also good.

Internal SSD. I'd get 1TB. Apple's on-board SSDs are almost double the cost of external storage. In most cases you'll not be working on projects that are more than up to a few hundred GBs tops, and the system, apps, and other files will usually require a couple of hundred GBs. So you're saving many many hundreds of dollars just on that versus the 4TB option.

External SSDs. Get one reasonably fast one to store all the files that don't need extreme speeds, and you might create a CCC volume on that to clone your internal to. So a 2 or 4 TB NVMe in a Thunderbolt 3 or 4 enclosure will give you anything from 1.500B to 3000MB per second r/w performance.

Now you have a blazing internal drive for everything that needs speed (including current video projects if you feel that the external is too slow - which I doubt), and a very fast secondary external for large storage and a clone of the internal.

Lastly, you get a cheap, large, not-so-fast storage, to clone them both onto.

Remember that SSDs nowadays can be so fast (not all of them are, of course), they can go up to 6000MB per second read/write speeds. Old 7200rpm harddisks typically maxed out at 70MB/s. So, you very well might find that you don't notice any difference between working with the video files on an external Thunderbolt NVMe SSD with maybe 1500MB r/w speeds, or you work with them on the 6000MB/s internal.

The Mini is pretty portable, actually. Like moving between home and work, as long as there's a screen you can plug in. Any hotel room TV will also do fine.

You'll have to do the math yourself, but I think this approach will save you a lot of money compared to the 4TB M3 MBP. You might put those bucks into a nice big screen, and a cheap second hand M1 Macbook Air. Wonderful machine. And you can bring that little external ssd with all the video with you.

Welcome to the wonderful world of apple silicon.
You won't believe the power you get.
You'll think "Oh, why didn't I do this sooner".
 
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kschendel

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Dec 9, 2014
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I back up to a 1 or 2 TB USB hard drive, which I replace every few months, tossing the old one into a drawer. They are inexpensive; a 5 TB drive is going for $140 at the moment. I would definitely do archival backups to a hard drive rather than an SSD; while I don't think you will lose SSD data in just a year, long term retention is still a bit of an unknown for SSD's. I'm not sure I see the point of using an SSD for a backup drive for most people. It's not like backup speed is a limiter.

I also back up to a cloud service (Backblaze) in lieu of doing offsite rotations. The initial backup can take a while, depending on how much data you have; after that it runs quickly and invisibly.

I've heard people complaining about Time Machine over the years and I'm not 100% sure why. I've never had an issue with it, and I've been using it since it first came out.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,732
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My usual recommendation:

CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.

For a drive, either platter-based or SSD. The HDD will be much cheaper.
In fact, you might get TWO HDDs, for TWO backups.
Keep one backup close by.
Store the other one "away" at a different location (your "off-site" backup).

The advantage of a CCC/SD backup is that it won't keep "growing" as will a time machine backup.
Also... if you need a file... a backup created by CCC or SD is "just another drive", you can mount it "right in the finder" and just copy whatever you need (no other app needed).

I understand (but can't confirm) that the latest release of CCC has added features so that it can provide much of the same function as tm.

But as far as I'm concerned, cloned backups are better.

I've seen many MANY reports in this forum over the last 15 years from users of time machine who thought they had a good backup, and then in a moment of need, found they couldn't access their tm drive.

I've seen VERY few reports in this forum over that same time from users of CCC/SD who reported failed backups.
 

steve123

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Aug 26, 2007
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Thunderbolt is theoretical speeds in marketing- not reality- and the ONLY path to maxing out actual Thunderbolt speeds maximums would be a substantial SSD RAID with MANY sticks in RAID 0... and some kind of drive with many simultaneous connections to multiple Thunderbolt ports (vs. using only 1 of them) to get towards hyped speeds of a single port. I don't even know if such a drive with enough slots for SSDs exists. I've seen 8-stick models for consumers/prosumers "in the wild" that don't get close to Thunderbolt 4 marketing numbers. There will be NO 1-stick SSD that is going to get anywhere close to Thunderbolt maximums. The one inside your Mac is likely to be fastest and it- directly accessible by Silicon (vs going through the Thunderbolt protocol)- is much slower than Thunderbolt hype speeds.
There are many TB 3/4 SSD enclosures that achieve max TB speed with one NVMe SSD blade. For clarity, max TB speed for an SSD is when the TB controller tunnels 4 lanes of PCIe gen 3 data at 32 Gbps. Sonnet, ACASIS, Setachi, OWC, INDMEM and others all make enclosures that will achieve read/write speeds of at least 2800 MB/s with a single NVMe SSD that has 4 lanes of PCIe gen 3 or better IO. The most recent enclosures are using the ASMedia 2464PD controller that is a bit more efficient than the Intel controllers used in the older models and achieve speeds greater than 3000 MB/s.
 
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Ambrosia7177

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@Ben J.,

I thought I might suggest how I might be spending my money if I were in your shoes.

Sure, I welcome your thoughts!



First a couple of things:

• Don't believe the people who say apple's internal drives will "wear down". It's not true, and they may last for decades. Besides, IMO gear should be used, and even pushed to its limits. What's the point of buying new fancy gear if you're not going to take full advantage of it?

True.


• I'm sure you're aware that one of the things that makes Apple's "System-on-a-chip" so blazingly fast, is that both the RAM and NVMe internal SSD are soldered to the CPU processor chip.

Yes, I am aware of that.


This also means that any modern mac can't ever be upgraded with more RAM or SSD. Worth mentioning.

Right. Which is why I basically ignore people telling me to get a slightly lesser MBP to save money.

Personally, I have never bought a computer with too much RAM or too much storage, and since you can't upgrade, better make sure you buy enough to last at least 3 years, in my opinion.



• I also hear about "self-ejecting" SSDs on new macs. I haven't seen it with three different Mx macs and several external SSDs over the last three years. I'd say worry about it if it happens to you, and return the SSD for a replacement if it happens. Some say it stopped happening when they upgraded the macOS.

What are "self-ejecting" SSD's?

Do I have to be worried about the reliability of this new M3 Max I was hoping to purchase on Monday?


• One of the coolest things about APFS is 'volumes'. W/other filesystems you partition a drive to have it show as more than one, and you set a fixed size for each partition. W/APFS, you create 'volumes' instead, and don't set their sizes. Volumes "share" the free space, and can grow as long as there is free space.

When I was a Windows user, I used to format my drives - C: for OS/apps, D: Data, maybe E: More Data

Are you implying to do that with my Macs? (I have been told in the past that you should NOT create more than one volume as it isn't necessary on Macs.

Not sure where you are going with this?



The mac. Does it really have to be portable? If not, get a Mini with an M2 Pro 12-core processor. It's a powerhouse. Take a look at the Geekbench performance scores - try to find your old 2014 MBP, it's way down the list there:
(There is also a link to the multicore performance scores.)

Absolutely. I will be living on the road until end of year at least.


RAM. I'd suggest 32GB since you're probably working on big video files. Otherwise 16 is also good.

The plan is to get a...

14", MacBook Pro, M3 Max, 14-core CPU, 30-core GPU, 96GB RAM, 4TB SSD.

I can't see spending over 4 grand and only getting 16GB or 32GB of RAM.

I have a 10-year old MBP with 16GB of RAM, so I want a lot more on a new machine. (And I don't buy into the unified memory being so great you only need 16GB RAM.)



Internal SSD. I'd get 1TB. Apple's on-board SSDs are almost double the cost of external storage. In most cases you'll not be working on projects that are more than up to a few hundred GBs tops, and the system, apps, and other files will usually require a couple of hundred GBs. So you're saving many many hundreds of dollars just on that versus the 4TB option.

Problem is I have nearly 2TB on this old rMBP. And that 2TB is a library of files I access regularly for my day-to-day work and startup business.

So to make it for 3 more years, I need at least 4TB SSD.

(4TB SSD has nothing to do with video-editing.)

Whether I edit video on the internal drive or an external drive remains to be seen.

I guess you are recommending I use the internal drive? And normally I would agree, but since I have so much non-video data on my laptop, I am leaning towards segregating things and leaving video-editing for an external drive so it doesn't mess up my main internal drive.




External SSDs. Get one reasonably fast one to store all the files that don't need extreme speeds, and you might create a CCC volume on that to clone your internal to. So a 2 or 4 TB NVMe in a Thunderbolt 3 or 4 enclosure will give you anything from 1.500B to 3000MB per second r/w performance.

I was looking to get a Samsung 4TB T7 Shield Portable SSD

Sounds like that isn't fast enough?



Now you have a blazing internal drive for everything that needs speed (including current video projects if you feel that the external is too slow - which I doubt), and a very fast secondary external for large storage and a clone of the internal.

I like your idea, but as mentioned, I have a LARGE library of items that I really need to keep on my laptop at all times. And while you might say, "Well, just put it on an external drive and keep it with you!" My response would be, "I don't want to put my life on an external drive that can easily get lost of stolen - even if it is encrypted and backed up!"

So, for now, can I have 2TB allocated for my day-to-day data, and use the other 2TB for video-editing? Or, as a lot of "experts" clam, is that going to risk corrupting my SSD - or at the very least overworking m OS and DaVinci Resolve?

Also, if I get a blazing fast external drive, isn't that good enough for video-editing? or is the internal drive so much faster that external drives can't compete?


Lastly, you get a cheap, large, not-so-fast storage, to clone them both onto.

What do you say to all of the people online saying that unpowered SSD's start losing data after one year?

And related to this, should I be backing up my life onto platter drives instead?



Remember that SSDs nowadays can be so fast (not all of them are, of course), they can go up to 6000MB per second read/write speeds. Old 7200rpm harddisks typically maxed out at 70MB/s. So, you very well might find that you don't notice any difference between working with the video files on an external Thunderbolt NVMe SSD with maybe 1500MB r/w speeds, or you work with them on the 6000MB/s internal.

The Samsung T7 I linked above says...

Drive TypePCIe SSD
Read SpeedMaximum: 1050 MB/s
Write SpeedMaximum: 1000 MB/s
Default OS SupportUniversal Computer/Mobile OS Support
System ConnectionUSB-C 3.1/3.2 Gen 2


is that good enough for editing video on an external drive, or do you have a better suggestion?



The Mini is pretty portable, actually. Like moving between home and work, as long as there's a screen you can plug in. Any hotel room TV will also do fine.

I will be shooting video out in the field and editing out in the field (e.g. my car, rest stops, libraries, etc.)

And external monitor isn't an option, unfortunately.



You'll have to do the math yourself, but I think this approach will save you a lot of money compared to the 4TB M3 MBP. You might put those bucks into a nice big screen, and a cheap second hand M1 Macbook Air. Wonderful machine. And you can bring that little external ssd with all the video with you.

I understand that Apple's internal storage is overpriced, but I want to come back to two key points...

1.) I hate external drives for my main data, because I know from yers of living on the road that external drives absolutely can get lost and damaged.

It's just one more stressor having to "babysit" an external drive.

Much easier to just have to manage one laptop.


2.) I have never owned a computer where I regretted buying too much storage. And especially since what you buy is what youa re stuck with forever, I'd rather err on the side of too much.

Then again, how many people do you know that have 2TB of working, non-video data?

I'm not a normal computer user. ;-)



Welcome to the wonderful world of apple silicon.
You won't believe the power you get.
You'll think "Oh, why didn't I do this sooner".

I sure hope you are right.

My ten-year old rMBP is officially as painful a root-canal.

Every time I close the lid, I can no longer connect to WiFi, or make VoIP calls, and Firefox acts up.

So I have to close 15 apps and 50 browser tabs, and reboot.

And I have so many anomalous things happening daily it isn't funny.

There is also the fact that I have shot over 20TB of video, and I can't preview most of it because this laptop is so old.

I want nothing more in life to get my VoIP working again, and have it be reliable. And to also be able finally learn and use DaVinci Resolve and start publishing my work would be a dream come true.

(I sure hope whatever you were referring to above - about some Apple bug - doesn't haunt my and my new M3 Max...) ;-(
 

Alameda

macrumors 65816
Jun 22, 2012
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Whether I edit video on the internal drive or an external drive remains to be seen. I guess you are recommending I use the internal drive?

I was looking to get a Samsung 4TB T7 Shield Portable SSD

Sounds like that isn't fast enough?



The Samsung T7 I linked above says...

Drive TypePCIe SSD
Read SpeedMaximum: 1050 MB/s
Write SpeedMaximum: 1000 MB/s
Default OS SupportUniversal Computer/Mobile OS Support
System ConnectionUSB-C 3.1/3.2 Gen 2


is that good enough for editing video on an external drive, or do you have a better suggestion?
For starters... I have no idea how you can fill a 4TB drive with data that isn't video.

BUT... let's take a look at that Samsung drive. It's rated at about 1 gigabyte per second, which is very fast. I looked up its benchmarks, and found this measurement. About 900 MB/second.
StorageReview-Samsung-T7-4TB_DiskSpeedTest.jpg



I ran the same benchmark program on my 4 TB SanDisk Pro Thunderbolt SSD (on sale at $399 at B&H): About 2.5 GB/second. That's a full 2.5x faster.
Sandisk Thunderbolt SSD.jpg


Last, I ran the same benchmark on my 2022 MacBook Pro 14" internal SSD: About 3.8 to 5.1 GB/second.
Internal SSD.jpg


Conclusion:
1) The external Thunderbolt SSD is very noticeably faster than the USB-based external SSD (Samsung also makes a Thunderbolt version).

2) Whether you buy the Thunderbolt SSD or not, I don't think it matters that much, because for your active video editing session, it's always going to be faster to use the internal drive for active editing, then move (not copy) the finished product to the SSD. Your active video session is only going to be a few gigabytes; it will fit on your internal SSD and then you can move it. The file copy might take 2.5x longer to the USB-based SSD, but that's probably not a big deal.

Two other points:
1) I still can't fathom how you absolutely need 4TB of accessible non-video related storage, but that's none of my business. Shy of having a lot of digital media files (audio/video/photo), that is just an incredible amount of data to have. My Documents folder contains at least ten years of data, without photos, audio and video. It takes up 36 GB. But, again, that's your business.

2) Cables matter a lot. These new ultra high-speed connections require extremely good cables. Take very good care of your high speed cables, and avoid flexing/twisting them. There's a reason why these devices come with very short cables. If you mistreat your cables, they'll still work but your speeds may fall dramatically. And not all USB-C to USB-C cables are the same! Don't mix up a USB-C charging cable with a USB-C ultra high speed data cable, or else your 2 GB/s drive will become a 480 mbit/s drive.
 
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MisterSavage

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Nov 10, 2018
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I'm too overwhelmed right now to do a deep dive into Time Machine, but over the years I have just heard about a lot of people having issues when TM gets screwed up.

To give a counterpoint I had an experience where my Mac got bricked by an update and the Apple Store ended up wiping it completely. My TM backup restored things to where it felt like nothing had happened.
 
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Ambrosia7177

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I back up to a 1 or 2 TB USB hard drive, which I replace every few months, tossing the old one into a drawer. They are inexpensive; a 5 TB drive is going for $140 at the moment. I would definitely do archival backups to a hard drive rather than an SSD; while I don't think you will lose SSD data in just a year, long term retention is still a bit of an unknown for SSD's. I'm not sure I see the point of using an SSD for a backup drive for most people. It's not like backup speed is a limiter.

I switched to SSD's about two years ago, because I was worried about HDD failure under extreme conditions - for example below zero temperatures in my car when I am away from home, over 100 F in my car on day's like today, potentially humidity in my climate controlled storage unit, and a general fear of the element with a delicate heaad and platters in a HDD.

I thought moving to all SSD backups was a SAFER way to backup and protect my data?!


I also back up to a cloud service (Backblaze) in lieu of doing offsite rotations. The initial backup can take a while, depending on how much data you have; after that it runs quickly and invisibly.

I'm not willing to put personal and business data on any shared environment regardless of how "safe" people claim it is.



I've heard people complaining about Time Machine over the years and I'm not 100% sure why. I've never had an issue with it, and I've been using it since it first came out.

Not claiming to be an expert, but I have just read too many things online with people's Time Machine backup getting corrupt and not being able to recover. (Seems more common if you use encryption, but I don't know.)

Also, in the days when you could create bootable clones with CCC, Time Machine was not a viable option for recovery, because who has time to recover a 2TB backup onto a new drive (or newly formatted drive)?

I thought in the past Time Machine's "incremental" backups involved fragments of actual files, and to me that was a non-starter. However, if it is true that TM works like CCC and is file-based, then maybe it isn't as bad as I thought?

Being a Mac user, I should definitely educate myself more on Time Machine - even if I don't use it.
 

Ambrosia7177

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Feb 6, 2016
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My usual recommendation:

CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.

For a drive, either platter-based or SSD. The HDD will be much cheaper.
In fact, you might get TWO HDDs, for TWO backups.
Keep one backup close by.
Store the other one "away" at a different location (your "off-site" backup).

Right, that is what I do now.


The advantage of a CCC/SD backup is that it won't keep "growing" as will a time machine backup.

Good point.


Also... if you need a file... a backup created by CCC or SD is "just another drive", you can mount it "right in the finder" and just copy whatever you need (no other app needed).

So how do you recover a file from Time Machine? Sounds like you can't load it in Finder like CCC and access it like it is just another drive?



I understand (but can't confirm) that the latest release of CCC has added features so that it can provide much of the same function as tm.

Because CCC meets my basic needs, I have been lazy and never looked into the many options it offers - including scripting.

But I can say that CCC probably offers more as a backup solution than anything else on the market - plus it is cheap!

I believe there is an option to keep multiple version of data, and not delete them when you do new bakups, so it is similar to TM - but I don't want to speak too much on CCC's full range of capabilities, because I haven't taken the time to learn them.



But as far as I'm concerned, cloned backups are better.

To clarify on the language, you can no longer do "clones" in CCC - unless you have an ancient Mac, ancient macOS, and ancient drive. (Apple stripped that ability away from end-users a couple years ago.)

When that was a option, though, bootable clone were SUPERIOR to anything else you could do.



I've seen many MANY reports in this forum over the last 15 years from users of time machine who thought they had a good backup, and then in a moment of need, found they couldn't access their tm drive.

I second that comment.



I've seen VERY few reports in this forum over that same time from users of CCC/SD who reported failed backups.

I have never heard of a failed CCC backup unless a drive physically died.
 
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