macrumors 68000
Original poster
So, since large spinning disks are no longer an option, the best you can have for your main drive is a 1 TB SSD, and at no small cost. Putting aside whatever disappointment we might have over so small a drive and (only one inside the box), it is something that needs to be considered. My home folder alone is 1.33 TB at the moment.

While I have my own ideas about how best to utilize the internal SSD along with external drives, including putting my home folder off on an external drive, I am curious to hear what other people are going to do to manage everything, not just with their workflows but also personal storage, Boot Camp, FileVault, scratch space, and so on. How big an SSD are you getting with your new Mac Pro? What external drives are you going to have and in what arrangement? What is your set-up going to look like in terms of software?


macrumors 6502
Mar 8, 2009
I have long recommended moving the Home folder to another drive, or at least another partition. It makes the backup/restore process so much faster if you only have 100GB vs 1.3TB.

I bought the 1TB SSD and will partition 200GB for OS and Apps, 50GB for Bootcamp, and the rest will be for the home folder.


macrumors 68000
May 2, 2012
What's the correct way of doing this?

I have 128GB SSD and at next reinstall I would like to only have OS, apps, virtual machines on SSD.

I have a TM backup, however I never had to utilize a bare bone restore.


macrumors 603
Aug 1, 2008
Vancouver, BC
I suspect most people have about 100GB of OS and Apps (which will obviously live on their SSD) and then some mix of the following:

Documents (Office/iWork stuff)- this is probably a minor consumer of space and can live anywhere since performance is not all that important... SSD, external, NAS it probably doesn't matter for most. If you don't have massive amounts of this, just keep it on your SSD.

Media (iTunes, Movies, etc.) - this is probably a huge consumer of space and doesn't need the fastest storage solution. In a multi-computer household/office a NAS is probably best, if your nMP is the only computer that consumes this content, then external USB3 is probably the most cost effective.

Project files (Photo Libraries, FCPX Projects, Logic X Projects) - I would further break this down into current projects and archived projects. To get the most benefit from SSD performance, I would ensure you have enough SSD capacity to at least house your current project/library. Obviously the size and frequency of your projects will dictate the size of SSD you need in order to not be juggling files so often it becomes a PITA.

Archived Projects - Move older archived projects and libraries to spinning disks (TB or USB3). How fast you want or need this storage to be, will be somewhat dependent on how often you access it, and how patient you are. On one extreme, you can go for an expensive TB enclosure with a bunch of drives in RAID0, or on the other hand, you can just use a cheap USB3 SATA HD dock and put your archived drives in a drawer until you need to access something. I purchased a WD Velociraptor Duo which offers a nice mix of capacity, price and performance (2TB for $500 that has good random I/O and 350MB/s sequential I/O). I'll use this to house my last couple archived Aperture Libraries. So effectively, my current Aperture library is on the nMP SSD, my last two prior to that will be on the 2TB WD external, and anything older than that is stored on my NAS and an offsite backup (more on that below).

Collections (of clip art, stock photos, videos, audio samples) - Like media, this can be huge consumer of space but speed can be a factor as you're often using this stuff in your project work. In an ideal world, this stuff would all live on solid state storage with super fast response times, but if that's not economical, then putting it on a RAID0 array attached via TB is probably the next best thing. Again, this is where the WD Velociraptor Duo is a nice product (I have no affiliation, I just like this product now that the price is reasonable).

Backups - I'm one of those that doesn't believe RAID is a suitable backup. RAID can be a suitable solution for guarding against drive failure with data you don't need to backup such as media/collections that can obtained again in the event of a loss. However, the problem with RAID1 or Parity RAID, is that it adds complexity, cost, and can't protect you from corrupted data or dumb user mistakes. There's nothing worse than having a perfect/redundant backup of a corrupted file. Personally, I really like Time Machine because it works transparently in the background without me needing to do anything and stores multiple versions. So, my backup strategy is multi-fold... My main SSD (with OS/Apps/Projects) is backed up with TM to a Time Capsule. When I archive a photo library with my new setup, it will get copied to three places... the WD external attached to my nMP, a drive on my NAS, and a large USB3 drive I keep as an offsite backup (when the NAS or offsite drive gets full, I pull it, put it in a drawer and start a new drive). I don't backup my main media library as I can recover that if I need to by downloading it again.


macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
... it is something that needs to be considered. My home folder alone is 1.33 TB at the moment.

Your home folder or your Pictures+Music folder are 1.33TB? Moving those folders away and dropping in a smylink so that Apps can wander along those "well known" paths is pretty painless but still leaves loading preferences and local app settings on the internal drive.

Usually home folders this large are extremely skewed on 1-3 sub-directories.


splitting the commercial media from FileVaut can help. It isn't like this is top secret information when millions of people also have it.

How big an SSD are you getting with your new Mac Pro? What external drives are you going to have and in what arrangement?

There should be some substantial flux in external storage devices over the next several weeks. A decent number of "second generaton" Thunderbolt externals are likely to roll out at CES 2014 in a couple of weeks. 2nd/3rd generation USB 3.0 solutions also.

Gav Mack

macrumors 68020
Jun 15, 2008
Sagittarius A*
From my chaps I know who work in tv and video production they are dusting off the thunderbolt ports on their Drobo 5D's they got before the 2012 came out and were stuck on usb 3 instead!
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