Question for those with SSD drives

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jazzer15, Nov 23, 2014.

  1. jazzer15 macrumors 6502

    Oct 8, 2010
    What are you using for bulk storage? How many external hard drives are you using?

    I was considering a 3TB fusion drive, but many have suggested SSD instead. I currently store quite a bit of music for streaming, lots of photos used with Lightroom, plus the other typical things.

    The selling point of an all in one machine to me is reducing the wires and plugs, of which I already have too many with various devices. Once you start adding in a DVD drive, USB hub, etc. (not to mention a router, modem, box for voice over internet, speakers with subwoofer, microphone and audio interface), that clean look goes away quickly :).
  2. touchUpInside, Nov 23, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    touchUpInside macrumors member


    May 4, 2014
    UTC -07:00
  3. bjmoose macrumors member

    Oct 4, 2011
    Depends what you're using it for. The SSD for things you use often is great; if you have archival stuff, a regular spinny-disk is good. If you have multiple machines, a NAS is handy and can be a Time Machine backup destination. If you have more ultra-fast access needs than the internal SSD, a Thunderbolt-2 SSD in RAID 0 can provide more of the same, like the for example.
  4. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA

    Simple, most peoples large storage needs is for their media, e.g. photos, music & movies. That stuff is easily stored on an external HD. I strongly recommend OWC Mercury Elite Pro series, you can find them at
  5. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    Exactly. My media library and Time Machine backups are all external, meaning I have a fast SSD to do everyday stuff with. I use a 3 TB Thunderbolt 7200 RPM that's actually quite fast for an HDD.
  6. forg0t macrumors member

    Aug 13, 2014
    But then again, if you're going to spend $1300 on a TB2 RAID external hard drive, you might as well max out your iMac's SSD. I found this out the hard way when I took the base 256GB RiMac and bought a 256gb RAID0 external for $300... which is more than getting the 512GB upgrade in the first part -.- Returned it and bought a 6TB MyBook TB RAID for cheaper, at least that's reasonable.

    Calculate all the cost before you configure your mac.
  7. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    I have a Promise Pegasus 2 R4 connected over thunderbolt. It's expensive at £1,200, but you get what you pay for. If you need plenty of relatively high-speed storage then its a very good option. If you live in the US there is a diskless version, but unfortunately not in the UK.

    From the standard 2TB drives supplied with it I'm getting over just under 600MB/s sustained on sequential workloads. I've not done any random I/O tests but it's more than good enough for workloads in VMWare - I was intending to use some SSD's for this but so far the Pegasus has proved to be fast enough to not bother with SSD's.

    I store my lightroom catalogue on the internal SSD on my nMP, and keep all the RAW files on the external drive. It works very well.
  8. Icaras macrumors 603


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
    Once Apple releases iCloud Photos for Mac, 100% of my media will be cloud based.

    For folks willing to buy deep into the Apple Eco system and trust in the cloud, storage only needs to be considered for apps really, which is what my current setup is based on.
  9. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    For "bulk" or off-computer storage, where "capacity" is more needed than is "speed", I think platter-based HDDs connected via USB3 will be "fast enough" for most folks.

    I would not suggest RAID unless the RAID storage was -also- backed up to another drive. As is often stated, "RAID is not a backup".

    USB3/SATA docking stations, combined with "bare drives", is an easy way to connect/disconnect several HDD's (or even SSD's) to a Mac...
  10. tyche macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2010
    Synology NAS located in my basement. All my computers & devices can access its contents.
  11. TheBearman macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2008
    Cary, NC
    I second NAS. I'm not a big fan of additional wires or devices on my desk. For media I find my network more than fast enough.
  12. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    I am super happy with a Plugable USB 3 caddy. I use it for TM backups, and swap 2 big drives every three days so I can always have one stored offsite. I also it for manually archiving some media files, and for photos that I can share with my laptop via USB.
  13. repentix macrumors regular

    May 26, 2013
    I am using two 120GB kingston V300 now in raid 0 with three additional HDD's for different purposes. One 500GB HDD for backing up my raid, an additional 500GB HDD with old files stored on it and another 4TB HDD for different puposes
  14. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

    Sep 27, 2008

    There has been a lot of great suggestions given here. Here are my views:

    SSDs are great for immediate speed, both in terms of your operating system and the data that you need to access on a daily basis. By going with a SSD only (and not a spinning hard drive in your iMac), you also reduce heat. Also, while SSDs are not infallible, it is nice to remove the remote possibility of crashing the head on a spinning drive if someone jars your desk or knocks your iMac while the spinning hard drive head is writing.

    Even though a Fusion Drive includes a spinning hard drive, it is still an excellent solution for those looking for speed for their operating system and perhaps most importantly, affordability. If you are just an everyday user that surfs in the internet, edits and stores family snapshots/pictures, and edits the occasional family video, then a Fusion Drive is an excellent choice. It will give you fantastic speeds, is extremely cost-effective for your needs, and does not leave you to deal with external wires, drives, or the management of these devices.

    A NAS and/or a RAID is a good solution for those that require a lot of storage, often measured in many terrabytes.

    A NAS is great for those that require massive amounts of storage space. Its outstanding for sharing your data across many devices. And its good for creating your own personal cloud, giving you the ability to access your data from anywhere in the world. You can also bury your NAS away in a closet or a separate room, which makes for an elegant home solution. A well-designed NAS can be fast, but for power users that require blazing fast speeds, such as video editors or heavy-duty photography professionals, a directly attached RAID device is the best way to achieve the fastest speeds.

    A directly-attached RAID is designed to be used with one computer at a time. Diving into the specifics of the various RAID configurations is far beyond the scope of this post, but in a nutshell, a direct attached RAID can give you blazing fast speeds, fault tolerance, and some of the best uptime rates possible. Not to be confusing, but a NAS RAID can also give you the last two things I mentioned (fault tolerance and uptime rates), but it cannot give you the speeds that a direct attached RAID can deliver.

    In my humble opinion, this is how I would classify the best fit for different user's needs:

    Fusion Drive: great fit of the every day user.

    SSD only: great fit for power users and enthusiasts that can spend money on top of the line items.

    NAS: great fit for those that require lots and lots of storage space. Good for families and power users. Can be a relatively simple setup, or more elaborate for those that desire RAID.

    Direct Attached RAID: excellent fit for heavy power users that truly require very fast speeds.

    I hope this overview helps. Any questions or comments, ask away and I'll do my best to help.

  15. iczster macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2014
    I am using both a 12 TB NAS for media storage, global access and inter device compatibility.

    Also have directly attached RAID storage via Thunderbolt 2 (LaCie 2big 6TB) I would highly recommend this in RAID 0 for FAST access.
  16. jazzer15 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 8, 2010
    Thank you everyone for the great input and suggestions.

    Bryan, many thanks for your detailed response. I think for now a fusion drive and perhaps a NAS may make sense for me.

    I have a 2TB HDD on my late 2009 iMac and it is less than 40% full. Most of the space is taken up by Lossless music files which are also duplicated as mp3s (probably a waste) and jpeg/RAW image files. I am doing more photography these days and only started shooting and editing RAW on a regular basis about a year ago, so I do expect my storage needs to grow over time. However, I am a hobbyist and do not have the needs of a professional photographer who is shooting and editing in volume on a daily basis.

    I also do some occasional home (music) hard disk recording for which a faster drive is helpful.

    All in all, I would say I may do somewhat more than a typical every day user, but I am probably closer to that end of the spectrum than to an enthusiast to the degree that many are on this forum.
  17. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

    Sep 27, 2008

    I'm glad our thoughts have helped you in your decision making. There certainly are a lot of choices out there!

    In my opinion, a 3 TB Fusion Drive would be perfect for you. It will be fast, and I suspect that you wouldn't need more than 3 TBs of space for at least 3 years, at which time, you could add an external solution.


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