Suggest an external HD: 7200 vs. 5400, RAID/no raid, vs Thunderbolt Vs. USB3

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by CavemanMike, May 20, 2015.

  1. CavemanMike macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2013
    I need 4 or 6 TB of drive space as my "working" space for working with photos on a mac mini.

    I'd like a fast drive, but don't think I need drive striping (raid 0). And, raid 0 makes me more anxious because if either drive dies, you lose all the data.

    I'm not so anxious that I need raid 1 (mirrored). I plan on doing full off site drive backups monthly, and have access to NAS space for incremental backups mid month.

    With all that said, I guess the WD Duo doesn't make sense (although I really like the ability to easily open the case and replace a dead drive; I'm not a fan of sealed design).

    So, do you think a single external 7,200 USB 3 drive would be the best solution? If the WD Duo came with 7,200 rpm drives, I would get that in a heart beat.

    Also, is thunderbolt 2 really worth the extra money if you are running as a single 7,200 rpm drive? Isn't the bottleneck the drive and not the interface??

    I forgot to mention: I want it to be compatible with Apple Time Machine. I just leaned the WD Duo is NOT compatible with TM backups; how is that possible?


  2. Wahlstrm macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2013
    TB is great if you run 2+ SSD´s or 4+ HDD´s in raid0.
    Less than that you get the same speed at much lower price with USB3.

    You must have som amazing projects going if you need 6TB of photos on your workspace all the time? :)

    I use 2x 256GB SSD in my mini and one of them is for active photo projects only. I try to get the projects done ASAP and then transfer to an external drive since I most likely won't be needing those files any time soon.

    It´s easy to add upp all your files and think that you need 100´s of TB of fast storage but most likely you only need a few 100GB of really fast storage and the rest is just archive really. No need to spend good money on fast access to files you never use :)

    Maybe you use all of your 6TB of photos all the time and then it´s nice with super fast access but if you don't maybe a nice SSD and any cheap and big external HDD will do?
  3. CavemanMike thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2013
    You are right: Wahlstrm. Don't need all 6TB as "FAST"

    Great point Wahlstrm: The user would not be working on 6 TB of photos all the time.

    I was thinking of getting "fast" external storage because the +$300 (512 gig SSD) seemed too small for the OS/APPS and enough working fast storage).

    I didn't like the idea of a spinning internal drive inside the mini.

    +$800 for 1 TB of SSD internal seemed crazy expensive for a computer that costs $999.

    So, I thought if external drive was fast enough, the user wouldn't have to fuss with copying files from internal to external. This particular user is LAZY!

  4. Wahlstrm macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2013
    I have my Mini setup like this now.
    My original setup was raid0 on the 2x256SSD´s for a really fast 512GB drive.

    256GB SSD Boot (128GB would do just fine).

    256GB SSD for active project (would be nice if it was 500GB instead).

    64GB SDXC for Random stuff.

    If you keep it tidy that workspace don´t need to be super huge :)

    If you start to fill it up with music, downloads, games and stuff then of course it will not work any more :)

    Working on files from an external HDD sucks. It´s 1/4 the speed at best.
    Use it only for long time storage.
  5. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    My setup is a Promises Pegasus R6 12TB in RAID 10 configuration, that way I have performance and redundancy.
  6. grcar Suspended


    Sep 28, 2014
    Two words: LaCie

    Dear CavemanMike, I'm not in your league, but 6TB LaCie d2 Thunderbolt™ 2 costs $480, 6TB LaCie 2big Thunderbolt™ 2 (has RAID) is $599. You say you want time machine backups. The 12 TB LaCie 2big Thunderbolt™ 2 is $1k and you can daisy chain it off the main drive. I presume someone using hardware like this knows firewire and thunderbolt channels are run by embedded micro processor controllers so there is little or no load on your mac mini.
  7. CavemanMike thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2013
    Thanks everyone! Getting 512SSD + 8TB duo for archival storage

    The advice here has been great. I don't think my user would be happy working on the external drive for project work. I will get the 512 SSD (know that 256 is enough for the OS & APPs, and the other 256 will be FAST working storage).

    The user will just have to be responsible to move project to the external drive (which I will run in RAID 1 / redundancy).

    I have a NAS on the LAN for my macbook pro's time machine backup. I'll do time machine for this user to the NAS instead of having a separate external drive.

    I eventually decided to get the imac and not mac mini because the mac mini is still only dual core.

    I'm glad I didn't rush into making a decision because I've changed my mind a bunch of times but I think this decision makes the most sense.

    The imac will be the smaller screen but with 16 gigs of ram and the 512 SSD.

    Thanks again!


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