Solid External HD to Work Off Of?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by elgrayso, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. elgrayso macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2013
    #1
    I am going to get a mac pro (refurbished) within the next month or so.
    However I realize how small their hard drives are (256GB or so, starting model) and am looking for a solid, dependable, fast external hard drive to work off of (music projects, photoshop, etc).

    Can anyone recommend a hard drive like this? I only need 500GB or so.

    I know the flash based storage is very fast, so I'm not sure if I will be missing out on anything if I work off of an external instead of the internal flash drive. If the difference isn't that big, an external for all my working files is probably the way to go...
     
  2. MetalGamer09 macrumors member

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    May 6, 2014
    #2
    Solid External HD to Work Off Of?

    The flash storage is nice but only really important for the operating system and things you access regularly. The speeds of a external hard drive shouldn't be a problem for everything else. If you so choose they do make external SSDs (flash storage) that use thunderbolt so they would be faster but be prepared to pay a pretty penny for them. Guess you would have to decide if that gain in speed is worth the extra cash.
     
  3. ColdCase, Jan 20, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2015

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #3
    Many here use something like the OWC Thunderbay (non RAID version).

    I installed two 7200 rpm fast 2TB rotational drives and used Disk Utility to RAID0 them (4TB) and then a third rotational drive (4TB) for backup and a 500GB Samsung 850pro SSD for scratch. I may have spent more for the SSD than the three rotational drives combined.

    The two drive RAID set provides near the same data rate as the single SSD, about 350MBps read and write. Internal flash is around 1GBps. A slower drive RAID0 set gives you about 250MBps. USB3 around 100MBps.
     
  4. elgrayso thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 20, 2013
    #4
    thanks for the replies.

    is there anything to look for in the specs?
    RAID, SATA, rpm, etc... I don't really know which are important.

    I know its a super noob question :eek:
     
  5. ColdCase, Jan 20, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #5
    There is some judgement calls here, and what exactly you need may be subjective.

    My last go around I looked for the drives with the longest warranty that are suitable for a multidrive enclosure to deal with the vibration. But I was willing to pay the price for the durability. So called NAS drives are good for multibay enclosures but are also designed to produce low heat and draw less power at the expense of performance. Enterprise drives are designed for durability and performance at the expense of power, heat, noise. Desktop models run the gamut of performance and durability but are designed for single drive computers or enclosures (a vibration and thermal thing). You can also chose the equivalent consumer type drives at a lower cost, but they typically have a one sometimes two year warranty. From what I've read here it seems that drives often fail just after the warranty runs out, although I've had some running a decade now. Both Seagate and Western Digital make some good drive models, some not so good. Samsung, Crucial are a couple big names in SSD

    This may be overkill for what you are doing and being a noob type learning environment but since you are spending some cash on the MacPro, you may not want to skimp on storage. This is what I ended with up a couple months ago:

    Samsung 850 pro MZ-7KE512BW, 512GB SSD at $320 warrantied for 10 years. I use this for scratch (temporary files) and you probably don't need this... but with pre-planning an empty bay you can easily add it later.

    Two Seagate Constellation ES.3 ST2000NM0033 2TB at $150 each. These are designed for high performance enterprise enclosures and have a 5 year warranty. The 1TB version which may satisfy your current need is currently about $88, $176 for the pair. I work off this drive set, this is where my current working video and image libraries are located.

    One WesternDigital 4TB Red Pro NAS WD2001FFSX at $240. This is a slower but durable drive with a 5 year warranty. The 2TB size that may match your needs is $140. This is my backup

    I put these into a OWC (macsales.com) Thunderbay 4, a TB2 enclosure at $450. Comes with a short cable, its another $38 for a 2 meter cable.

    Prices vary from day to day, week to week. BH Photo, Amazon, NewEgg are places to look for drives, sometimes Bestbuy has a deal. So if you are willing to spend $700- $1300 on storage and need durability and performance to handle the main storage load you will be getting something like the above. You can start compromising one thing or another to save $$ if you wish. Don't even think about USB :)

    There are a bunch of ways to skin that cat, however.
     
  6. elgrayso thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 20, 2013
    #6
    thanks for that thoughtful reply.

    "dont think about usb"... should I get a thunderbolt or firewire instead?
     
  7. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #7
    Thunderbolt is better, FW is OK but old technology that is slowly fading away. USB has too many quicks and too much latency to work well as a "working" drive. If you have no other choice, they can work as a backup destination... but I've been much happier since I've dropped USB drives off my main machine.
     
  8. elgrayso thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 20, 2013
    #8
    I don't think I'll be able to afford thunderbolt yet.
    I think I've narrowed it down to a couple drives.
    Let me know if you have an opinion on which is better

    G-Technology G-DRIVE 2 TB 7200 RPM Professional-Strength External Hard Drive, Silver (0G02529)

    OWC Mercury Elite Pro 2.0TB External Drive

    My reason behind these two are the good reviews, 7200 rpm, eSATA.
    I'm leaning towards the OWC, but I like how the G Tech lies flat physically (I've been thinking of building a shelf under the desk to store the drives on. Lying flat would help this a lot)
     
  9. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #9
    I don't see a eSATA port on these enclosures.

    I have both of these from years ago, still working fine. I personally like the OWC better, but that is subjective, and you can also set it flat.

    Both will be slow as a "working" drive but they may tie you over for awhile. But slow is subjective and you may not notice unless you do a lot of image or video editing, especially if you have never used a fast computer.

    I don't think the new MacPro model has firewire ports, but there is a $29 TB to FW adapter that Apple sells that works just fine. Or just try USB3 and see how it works for you.

    What is your backup plan/strategy for this drive?
     
  10. elgrayso thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2013
    #10
    yeah i will probably just use the USB3 on this.
    I havent figured out my backup plan yet. right now I have my internal harddrive backing up to an external drive using Time Machine. this works well but i will need to figure out a solution now that I am splitting my files between multiple drives.
    ... actually i guess for backing up i'll just have to add another 2tb, like a seagate or something. and the speed wont matter much because its just backup...

    ----------

    oh and you are saying that i can have this OWC drive lay flat?
     
  11. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #11
    You say you want fast and 500gb will do.

    If speed is key you can get a Thunderbolt external enclosure for $159 (a OWC -- perhaps less elsewhere) and a 500gb ssd for circa $200.

    But it sounds like you’re looking at multi tb spinners. The advantage being you can dedicate a partition for backups. But speed wise they don't come close to an ssd on a quick bus.

    If funds are a constraint, consider Fusion and any interface for a backup external. As much as I prefer an ssd, I must say the 2 Fusion drive iMacs I've used were quick.

    As another said, I also ditched my initial move to usb3. After 5 enclosures tested with multiple spinners and an ssd they were more of a problem than they were worth. If I was going to employ a usb3 enclosure, I'd dedicate it to backups. Schedule a boot time, schedule a backup soon thereafter, have the drive ejected upon completion of the backup and never look at it.
     

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