New iMac need advice on external storage

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by AZRickD, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. AZRickD, Feb 25, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016

    AZRickD macrumors newbie

    AZRickD

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2016
    #1
    I've been backed into a corner. The only solution is to buy stuff.

    My 2006 MacBook Pro was choking (multiple re-sets per day) under the weight of my recent upgrade to Lion. iMovie was a little slow before but now requires slow-clicking for even the most basic activity. As well, its 512 GB SSD was at 400gig and climbing with every video project. My 3TB Western Digital FireWire 800 external hard drive is stuffed with digitized home movies from the 60s and 70s, various video formats from the 1980s and 1990s. And some higher def stuff from the last fifteen years. It no longer will accept more data.

    And… my Airport Extreme is of the N-variety and is several years old. I might replace it with an ASUS. Not sure.

    So, after a couple weeks of internet research I figured out what I think I need for my basic AZRickD YouTube videos and photography. I don't game -- at all. I clicked the Buy button on the following 27" i7 iMac (plus Apple Care). And, I'll bump the RAM to, maybe 32gig, eventually.

    http://www.apple.com/shop/product/G...uad-core-intel-core-i7-with-retina-5k-display

    What I need now is advice on external storage (Thunderbolt, if possible). It essentially has to store my 3TB of raw video with enough extra space to serve as a RAID 1 (mirrored). Apparently I'll need some cables to go from FireWire800 to TB2.

    Maybe a double 4TB WD or OWC. Double 6TB? Others have suggested a single drive augmented with cloud storage (Crash Plan). I might go cloud. But not very soon.

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. MacBadger.com macrumors newbie

    MacBadger.com

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Location:
    Tampa Bay, FL
    #2
    Good questions!

    It's important to remember that RAID is not a backup. It certainly reduces the risk of data loss, but it's not failsafe: What if two drives fail at once? What if the RAID configuration becomes corrupted? What if you accidentally delete an important file or faulty software makes your data unusable?

    All those things happen in real life. RAID 1 won't protect against any of that, but backups will.

    The most cost-effective solution would probably be a single external hard drive and a $5/month cloud backup service.

    If you do go with cloud backup, be aware it can seem frustratingly slow compared to a local backup, and when you download or import video for a new project, it could take days to back up. According to backblaze.com/speedtest my cable internet at home would back up 52 GB in a day, if I set the backups to take the entire internet connection. However, I'd expect the backup to go a little slower in real life.

    On the other hand, it doesn't matter too much how long the backup actually takes — because it works in the background without you having to do anything. Concerns about security can be eliminated by encrypting your data with a private key that the backup company doesn't have. (I think most online backup services offer this feature.)

    When I used a cloud backup service, I loved Backblaze. It sets itself up for you and it tells you clearly if there's a problem backing up. Going to restore data from backup only to find that you weren't backing up all your files — or finding that backups were failing but you weren't being notified — is heart wrenching.

    Here's a solution that doesn't involve an online backup service: Have two external drives. Use one for your data, and the other for backing up both your external data hard drive and your iMac's internal drive. Depending on the size of your data drive, you might decide that the backup drive should be a RAID 0 array.

    Honestly, the hard drive brand doesn't matter too much. If you want, check reviews and compare speed benchmarks. Most drives on the market now are perfectly respectable. Just remember: Every hard drive will fail.

    Hope some of that info is helpful. Good luck with everything!
     
  3. AZRickD thread starter macrumors newbie

    AZRickD

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2016
    #3
    You have just thrown me a curve ball.

    I had earlier considered the two separate drives, but discounted them in favor of a dual RAID drive.

    If I could get a spinner for the back up, and a Thunderbolt hybrid for the main external data, that might be workable.

    Back to the Internetz for me.
     
  4. AZRickD thread starter macrumors newbie

    AZRickD

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2016
    #4
    I just purchased 8x2 gb of OWC RAM which will bring me to 24gb.

    The computer and RAM will arrive on Monday ---

    --- so I'd really appreciate a potpourri of external storage advice... ;)

    Like specific model numbers to help me narrow it down.
     
  5. MacBadger.com macrumors newbie

    MacBadger.com

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Location:
    Tampa Bay, FL
    #5
    Oh sure. Were you looking for recommendations on brands of external drives? Or did you have other questions?

    We're happy to help here :)
     
  6. AZRickD thread starter macrumors newbie

    AZRickD

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2016
    #6
    Brands would probably be WD and OWC unless there's a reason to go elsewhere.

    The usual USB-3 vs TBolt. And how much storage will I need if I make movies from 40 years and nearly 3TB of files.

    I am leaning toward your wisdom of buying two separate drives. A backup drive, a working drive, and maybe down the road an terabyte of external SSD via TBolt to place raw video files that I have to work on (editing or converting).

    Thanks for your time.
     
  7. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #7
    I'm a documentary video editor. If your work is important, you ideally need two or more backups. But just having *any* backup puts you ahead of many people.

    You need adequate media storage plus plenty of slack space for growth. How much "on line" media you need impacts storage and backup. E.g, some video production is highly project based -- after the project is done they rarely need it again, so it can revert down to a single off-line archival backup.

    Other production styles have multiple projects underway at one time, and/or often reference a large body of past material. In those cases your media storage and backup needs will be larger.

    The 1TB HGST Touro S is relatively inexpensive and is probably the fastest bus-powered USB 3 portable drive. I have several dozen of these I use for archival backup: http://amzn.com/B00IVFDQ48

    If you now or ever plan on shooting 4k this will increase storage size by about 4x. If your editing software cannot handle H264 4K without transcoding to a lower-compression codec this can increase storage size by 8x.

    In general you do not need extremely high speed SSD for most video editing. The data rate of H264 1080p and even 4k isn't that high, else the camera itself could not record it. What's more important is the drive subsystem be *relatively* fast, plenty big enough, and backed up.

    One of the least expensive halfway decent strategies is using the 4TB Seagate Backup Plus Fast, which is a USB 3.0 bus-powered drive. Internally it is RAID-0 so it does about 220 MB/sec: http://amzn.com/B00HXAV0X6

    The G-Tech G-RAID is a Thunderbolt RAID-0 drive available in 4TB and 8TB sizes: http://amzn.com/B00846Z4YY You could use a 4TB for your media than an 8TB to back up your media and iMac. You generally need more backup space than actual storage space to keep multiple backup versions, whether using Time Machine, Carbon Copy or whatever.

    Note starting with El Capitan, Apple removed RAID-0/1 support from Disk Utility. It is still available in Terminal but you have to issue the commands. So software RAID solutions like the G-RAID will require this or SoftRAID Lite ($49) if you want a GUI: https://www.softraid.com/pages/features/softraid_lite.html

    The OWC Thunderbay 4 series is probably the least expensive quality RAID subsystem: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Thunderbolt/External-Drive/OWC/ThunderBay-4
     
  8. MacBadger.com, Feb 26, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2016

    MacBadger.com macrumors newbie

    MacBadger.com

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Location:
    Tampa Bay, FL
    #8
    Fine suggestions, @joema2.

    To clarify, @AZRickD, Thunderbolt isn't going to be noticeably faster than USB 3 for a mechanical hard drive. You may see improvements with Thunderbolt if you have a solid-state drive or RAID 0, but with a single mechanical drive, Thunderbolt is not needed at all.

    Enjoy your iMac!
     
  9. AZRickD thread starter macrumors newbie

    AZRickD

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2016
    #9
    That simplifies things. Cheaper too.

    I can try an SSD via TBolt later.

    Thanks, All.
     
  10. matreya macrumors 65816

    matreya

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    #10
    This will muddy the waters a little, but there is a bug in OS X since 10.8.4 whereby USB drives randomly eject (in that it doesn't happen every time) when you put your Mac to sleep. Thunderbolt drives don't suffer from the same issue.

    From personal experience, I would recommend a pair of OWC Thunderbay 4 enclosures, running RAID5, and use Carbon Copy Cloner to do mirroring of files from one to the other, with CCC's safety net option turned on, so that any files deleted from the source drive are not immediately deleted, but rather moved to another folder, which can then be checked occasionally and it's contents deleted by the user manually.
     
  11. AZRickD thread starter macrumors newbie

    AZRickD

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2016
    #11
    Yes. I'm already thinking against USB3 and toward TBolt. Seems rational and workable, despite price and a smaller list of drives to purchase. I still want to avoid RAID.

    Made a trip to the local Apple story for FW800-2-TB adapter and a TBolt cable.

    A trip to Fry's Electronics was fruitless.

    Back to google. ;)
     
  12. AZRickD thread starter macrumors newbie

    AZRickD

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2016
    #12
    Alrightie…

    I'm thinking of using this OWC dual 3.5" enclosure that can take two HDDs and can be set up in RAID 0 or 1 or… independantly -- as I would probably opt to do.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/METB7DK0GB/

    OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual
    Multi-Interface Performance RAID Enclosure Kit
    Mac / PC / Thunderbolt / USB 3.0 & 2.0

    *** Now --- Which bare drives to put in it? ***
     
  13. matreya macrumors 65816

    matreya

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    #13
    I recommend either HGST Deskstar NAS or Toshiba X300 in capacities of 4 to 6 TB each.
     
  14. AZRickD, Feb 27, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016

    AZRickD thread starter macrumors newbie

    AZRickD

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2016
    #14
  15. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #15
    Look for a recent dual enclosure capable of at least 300MB/s with 2 drives in RAID0.

    I have some older 4x (eSATA, USB3.0) and they are only able of 200 MB/s. When I put the same 4 drives in a not much more recent Thunderbolt 1 enclosure, I get 500 MB/s.

    If you plan to stay with a small RAID 0, 1, or 10, I think desktop drives might be preferable.

    The Toshiba derives from HGST.
     
  16. AZRickD thread starter macrumors newbie

    AZRickD

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2016
    #16
    I agree with all but the RAID. Not sure if I want to go that route or just keep the two external drives independent.
     
  17. matreya macrumors 65816

    matreya

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    #17
    I think your plan of 4 and 6 TB drives in independent mode should work fine. You only need to go for RAID 0 if you want greater speed. And then you'd need a 2nd drive for backups.
     
  18. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #18
    4TB is on the way out. Buy 6TB which are still affordable.

    Or there's a brand new desktop Seagate 8TB which might be affordable.
     
  19. AZRickD thread starter macrumors newbie

    AZRickD

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2016
    #19
    The new iMac arrived yesterday. I put my old MBP in Target mode and hooked it up with a FireWire (800) adapter and walked away as the 400gb transfer churned at 8 to 16 MBytes/sec. I put a window fan on the poor laptop to keep the heat down.

    I woke up this morning, some nine hours later, to find the process with 2 more hours to go (8 MB/sec). Off to work.

    Still pondering hard drive solutions. Thinking of that OWC TB2 dual bare drive enclosure that can hold a combination of either two HDD or two SSDs or one of each.
     
  20. matreya macrumors 65816

    matreya

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    #20
    If you're going to go down the external SSD path, I would not recommend the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual as it has plenty of speed to cope with 2 hard drives, but not enough when dealing with 2 SSDs.

    If you go with a dual SSD system, then I would recommend something like this:

    http://smile.amazon.com/Akitio-Thunder2-Duo-Pro/dp/B0113F1A4A/

    Or you could go with the Thunderbay 4 (not mini) and use 3.5 inch to 2.5 inch adapters to fit SSDs and still have plenty of bays for a couple of hard drives for storage/backup.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/TB2IVKIT0GB/
     
  21. AZRickD, Mar 1, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2016

    AZRickD thread starter macrumors newbie

    AZRickD

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2016
    #21
    I was thinking of one HDD paired with one SSD in a TB2 enclosure.

    As I look at the ThunderBay 4, it's expandability is intriguing. I could even see it creating a 2-drive RAID, plus another drive for back-up only. Makes me wonder if the 4th bay occupied by an SSD would beneficial or not as a quicker working drive for video.

    One issue for me would be the limitation of tying all four drives under one power supply. How robust are the OWC enclosures?

    Is there any strong reason to make the HDD a hybrid? I am not sure if the tech or software is up to the level of an Apple Fusion.
     
  22. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #22
    There are enclosures that allow you to make a hybrid with an SSD.
     
  23. matreya macrumors 65816

    matreya

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    #23
    Using a single SSD inside a Thunderbay 4 would get speeds of around 380MB/sec I think. So a bit more than double the speed of a good 7200 RPM hard drive.

    I've had a Thunderbay IV (the Thunderbolt 1 original model that came out before the Thunderbay 4) for 22 months without a single problem.

    No reason whatsoever to make a hybrid drive. You also have the problem of having a drive that relies on two pieces of gear to work perfectly, and if one fails, you lose all the data.
     

Share This Page