suggest an external HDD set-up (for iTunes library)

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by waiting, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. waiting macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2007
    (Apologies if this is the wrong forum. I think my question belongs here, but I could be wrong.)

    I've searched through several related topics here for the last couple of weeks and am now thoroughly confused as to what I need.

    I'm looking to move my growing iTunes library off of my MBP and to an external set-up, but I don't know what would be best for my needs:

    - an external HDD
    - a large capacity (~1TB) internal HDD in an enclosure
    - a 2-drive RAID-1 set-up (something like this one from OWC)
    - something else entirely.

    At this time, my CD library is somewhere around 800 CDs, but looking ahead I see a lot of space devoted to several daily and weekly podcasts (~30 - 90 min ea.) that I would like to keep.

    I would like to stay at ~$200USD or less, but would go up to $300 or so if it was necessary and would cover my needs for a couple of years.

    I'm worried that any single volume set-up leaves me vulnerable to a disk failure, but then the two-drive RAID starts to sound like overkill in my case. After turning this over and over in my head, I've lost all perspective and don't know which choice would be appropriate. Any feedback would be appreciated.
  2. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    I was going to say Drobo but that paltry limit won't even buy you the enclosure :D.

    You don't need RAID. For the record, a RAID setup (mirrored) doesn't suffice for a bonafied backup. If your itunes database gets corrupt or you accidentally delete half of your library with the secure erase function you're screwed.

    That said even with a large library speed won't be too big of an issue. I assume you will store only standard definition media for your own local consumption. If so, any USB enclosure will suffice, and 1TB models can be had on the cheap. There are plenty of threads about good enclosures, but from my own experience i'd stay away from WD MyBooks. They spin up and down way too often. Since they can be had cheap, purchase two. The ideal scenario (and a slight mirror of mine) would be perhaps a 500 Gb external and a 1 to 1.5 Tb external. This will allow you to store all of your music on the 500 Gb and backup it and your OS drive on your larger 1-1.5 Tb external. Of course if you get an even larger drive in the future (like a 2 Tb drive) it can be delegated to a backup role while you use the other two formally purchased drives.

    Now if you will be making the leap to high definition MKVs or are an impatient guy all together and think that you'll need to move your files quickly it may be worth it to get a FW (800) enclosure. Still for just music that'll probably be overkill. I see no reason why USB wouldn't suffice.

    So skip the raid, get two externals (one larger than the other) and use the larger as a backup drive for your OS drive and your music drive. Done.
  3. Chad H macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

    Feb 13, 2008
    Auburn, AL
    I'm also wondering this but my budget would be $800 or so. I have about 2TB of iTunes but need to move it to external but need to back it up also. Any suggestions?
  4. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    You could get something like two 2TB MyBook Studios and just do a weekly backup. That'd be the cheaper option. (though i'd skip mybook and go with another vendor)
  5. Chad H macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

    Feb 13, 2008
    Auburn, AL
    How would you suggest backing it up? Can Time Machine do that also or just do all of it to one huge external drive, including OSX?
  6. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    SuperDuper or CarbonCopyCloner. I'd suggest the latter since A) its cheaper and B) SuperDuper seems to tweak out on me for no apparent reason. Not good when trying to backup or restore a drive and i'm unable to do so without restarting for some random reason.

    Once you get the space you can leave your second drive mounted for convenience or just mount it whenever you need to backup. Nightly or Weekly would be fine. No need to do a live mirror if you can live with having to redo the past 24 hours of your work should something go wrong and you need to utilize your backup. CCC will also let you do scheduled backups and all the jazz .

    I don't utilize Time Machine so I can't comment on that.
  7. waiting thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2007
    Will new Time Machine drive "confuse" the old one?

    Thanks for the advice. This makes sense, given the needs and uses I described. (The differences between my relatively modest needs and others' made it difficult to apply other people's threads to my situation.)

    Earlier, I waded through posts on Drobo and looked into it, but (as you noted) I saw quickly that it was beyond what I was willing to spend. I was also concerned by what some wrote, that if for some reason the Drobo fails you would need another one to retrieve the data--that you couldn't just pull the drives and put them in something else.

    I already have a 500GB WD external w/FW 800 (that I've been using for backups via Time Machine), so maybe I'll buy a 1TB external HDD and set the two up as you recommended.

    New question, though: Having used my 500GB for Time Machine already, do you foresee my MBP having a problem designating a new external (the 1TB) as my permanent Time Machine backup from now on?
  8. paulisme macrumors 6502

    Dec 15, 2008
    Charleston, SC
    I use a 500GB LaCie Ethernet Disk Mini to store my iTunes library. The cool thing is that it has a UPnP server so I can stream music and videos to other devices in my house, like my PS3, Xbox and even my DirecTV receiver.
  9. Chad H macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

    Feb 13, 2008
    Auburn, AL
    Has anybody used OWC's external drives? Like the 2TB version? I'm thinking about buying 2 of them and using one for iTunes and the other backup of that library. :)
  10. CBlakeston macrumors 6502

    Jan 31, 2008
    I was in the same boat at one point. A growing iTunes library and wanted to plan ahead. I'd suggest getting a 1TB external hard drive for now and look toward something like a Drobo down the road - then you can break open your external drive and add that to your nextgen storage solution. That's what I did :)
  11. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    If your library is growing, a Drobo is good because it is obviously upgradeable and given your size needs you are going to spend near that kind of money anyway.

    Or you could be OCD, anal and paranoid like me and have two back-up drives...

    Other User's Recommendation's:
    Build Your Own: uberamd, kufford, SaSaSushi, nanofrog, Ti_Poussin
    Drobo: gatepc recommends it, further mixed discussion here.
    EZQuest: LizKat has owned a variety of Monsoons
    G-Tech: RebornKillah recommends the G-Drive Quad 500GB, but it's currently out of production; Digital Skunk notes the great warranty; jaysmith recommend G-Tech
    Hitachi: Trag (SimpleTech Signature Mini 500GB); Thedesolateone also recommends Hitachi.
    Iomega: mc3s (Ultramax 34495 1.5 TB); Justin Lee (eGo 500GB Portable Mac).
    ioSafe: Tterb recommends.
    LaCie: Note: there is an entire thread dedicated to LaCie, I have summed up support from users below, but simply a tally
    jrotunda85, (d2 Quadra 1 TB); RedTomato, gatepc & eVolcre, {although eVolcre owns the one with eSata and Firewire 400}(Hard Disk, Design by Neil Poulton 1 TB); iGary (LaCie Rugged); Gymnut (F.A. Porsche, out of production); VanMac (BigDiskExtreme, out of production); Digital Skunk (2Big Triple, out of production)
    Users expressing general support: cmcbridejr, dpaanlka, LethalWolfe, mpsrig, UltraNeo*, iPhoneNYC, chocolate632, Hellhammer, romanaz
    Users not so happy with LaCie: surfmadison (not a big fan), accacc57, dave12345 (Little Disk), jaysmith, Jerkfish, auero, mperkins37, dfs & jessica.
    Maxtor: adamvk purchased a OneTouch 4 1TB (not sure what version)
    Seagate: steeler (FreeAgent Desk 1.5 TB); MacMini2009, rick3000 (Seagate FreeAgent Desk 1 TB USB Mac); Acid303 does not recommend the (new) Seagate FreeAgent Desk series
    SimpleTech: J&JPolangin (SimpleTech 2TB SimpleDrive Pro Duo); BlizzardBomb recommends the Go; suekitch recommends Seagate because of its warranty
    Western Digital: MacMini2009, xpress1 & MacDawg (MyBook Studio 1TB); Thiol notes purchasing an incredible seven Western Digital MyBook Studio drives all working flawlessly; Acid303 also notes a positive experience with a non-Studio Edition Western Digital drive; terp2007 & matthewscott661 recommend the Passport Series; munkees notes a failure with one of the drives purchased, but a positive experience overall; rikdiddy, RebornKillah & Jerkfish also recommend Western Digital. chrono1081 does not recommend Western Digital & romanaz was also not happy.

    Other Threads:

    1TB is prbly a good size to start at it, I would say most people looking for non-mobile externals start at that size, here is a (not-so) recent thread about that...
    More literature found here.
    Here, is another thread on 1TB Hard Drives
    This one is about LaCie...
    Here is another, there is some more discussion about LaCie in there...
    Here is one on USB 1TB, I'd stick to Firewire...
    And if all else fails, MRoogle
  12. CBlakeston macrumors 6502

    Jan 31, 2008
    Kinda off topic, but I just upgraded my Drobo from 4x 1TB Hard Drives, swapping out 2x of 1TB for 2TB drives. Everything worked as advertised and took just over a day to relayout the data - all while streaming media to my Apple TV and Macbook Pro without missing a beat. Very impressed. :D

Share This Page