Replace HDD or do NAS?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by chssvl1, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. chssvl1 macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2014
    My wife and I are thinking about replacing our venerable 2007 Macbooks with a single iMac. However, as we really only need it occasionally, are on a tight budget and don't need the mobility, we're thinking about buying a used mid 2011 21.5" iMac.

    There is one significant issue though: Storage. Just my Macbook has about 500GB of stuff and my wife's probably has an extra 300GB, mostly music and pictures (recently bought an SLR camera so taking pictures like crazy, each coming out at over 4MB).

    The stock 500GB drive will not do so I could upgrade the HD (maybe 2TB), but I've heard the horror stories about the fan going crazy with non-apple HDs. The other option (and for which I am absolutely ignorant) is to use a NAS or some sort of external drive.

    My main question is whether these NAS drives would provide seamless functionality with my mac. For example, can I store all my music there and will iTunes read it from the NAS rather than the internal drive? Will the same happen with iPhoto, my documents, etc? Will it work with different user accounts?

    Would I need a specific NAS drive to pull this off or would any drive do?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    A NAS unit won't be as seamless as using an internal drive. You'll be hamstrung by moving data over the the ethernet wire or wifi. For streaming, that won't be a problem but for basic file operations you may not like the performance hit.

    Another option is a DAS unit, i.e., external disk that connects to your USB or better yet Thunderbolt interface. You get increased storage at a much faster performance then the NAS.


    Personally though, I'd upgrade the drive instead of those two options.
  3. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2014
  4. mdelrossi macrumors member

    Jun 22, 2005
    1TB of files is not a lot. If I were you I'd get three 2tb external drives. 1 for working off of and the other two as backup, preferably one off site at a friend or relatives house. Every so often swap the offsite drive with the backup to keep it up to date.
  5. chssvl1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2014
  6. nrubenstein macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2008
    Washington, DC
    Avoid Seagate like the plague if you like your data. Their failure rates are far higher than anyone else's in Backblaze's extensive testing. And on an anecdotal basis, every single drive that I have lost in the last decade has been a Seagate.

    Personally, I would get a 3-4TB drive. 2TB drives aren't meaningfully cheaper and you'll regret having saved the small amount of money if you need more later.

    OWC has a hardware solution to the fan issue, or you can use a software fan controller (not nearly as good).
  7. chssvl1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2014
    Thanks! Any particular recommendations? I've seen some WD but they don't have blue above 1TB. Only black (quite pricey) and green, red and purple which don't seem to be particularly good in terms of performance.
  8. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2010
    If you are talking internal drives for a computer, not a NAS, then get the black drives, they are pricey for a reason, they last, and they come with a 5 year warranty. If you are looking for internal drives for a NAS, then go with WD's RED drives, they have a 3 year warranty and are designed for NAS use, although they function just fine inside a computer as well. The problem you'll find with external drives is they have relatively short warranties usually from 1-2 years only. If you get an external enclosure that houses 2 drives, then you can buy regular internal drives and use them. Remember that you still have to do backups, having an external drive for your data, even if it does RAID, is not a backup, so heed the advice of others in this thread and get yourself one or two extra drives for backups as well.
  9. chssvl1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2014
    Thanks. yes, considering the internal HDD option now.

    As for the backups, yes, fully aware. I actually have an external HD (USB) in which I have a full backup copy (image) of my HD. Also have a couple smaller external HD where I have standalone copies of my documents and pictures. I think (hope) that my wife is doing the same.

    Indeed leaning towards the Black, but the price difference is significant (almost 2X).....but if it's worth it.....
  10. chssvl1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2014
    Hi everyone. Just wanted to giv you guys an update. Did what you recommended, i.e. bought the WD black, installed it and now running without a single hitch.

    The really striking thing is that I've had no issues with the HD fan and I didn't install any special software or hardware. I wonder if either apple or WD recently changed their firmware to address this issue......

    In any case, thanks a lot for the help

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