Swapping Hard Drives

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by OneMoreDave, Apr 14, 2014.

  1. OneMoreDave macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2014
    First-time poster and near-luddite here. Over the years I've picked up a number of LaCie external hard drives -- one 4 bay fw800, one 2 bay thunderbolt, two 2 bay fw800s (one of which only seems to work via fw400 or usb2), one 1 bay fw800/usb3 and various portable HDDs (various brands). I've managed to fill my total storage to about 70-80% of total capacity, spread out over all the externals.

    My question is this: without spending money on yet another enclosure/array I'd like to consolidate all my data (approx 12-14 TB!) onto one or two devices (presumably the 4 bay fw800 and possibly also the 2 bay thunderbolt) and use the other ones as backup. To do so I figure I'll want to swap all or most of the old drives out for new 4TB ones, but I'm not sure the safest way to go about this and whether I can use any drive in a LaCie enclosure. (Am considering these -- Seagate Desktop HDD 4 TB SATA 6Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST4000DM000 -- since they're well-reviewed on Amazon and only cost $150 per.)

    Would it make sense to get one of those bare drive holders (approx $50 from OWC) and copy everything over first, then replace and store old drives offsite as yet another backup?

    Any help much appreciated!
  2. g4cube macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2003
    Biggest challenge you have before you is whether the enclosures will handle drives larger than 2TB.

    Most older drives won't handle the 3TB, 4TB, 5TB, and now 6TB drives.

    Since you self-reveal yourself as a technical luddite, it may not be easy for you to discover the capabilities of your existing drives. While it is straightforward mechancally to swap drives, there is a little more to it than that.

    Don't be too penny-wise. You may want to invest in not only new drives, but new casings, too.

    You might want to consider borrowing some 4TB drives to see if the full capacity is supported in your existing drives.
  3. OneMoreDave thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2014
    Thanks for your reply. Not sure I know anyone with spare 4TB drives they feel like lending, so is there another way besides trial & error to find out how large a capacity drive my current enclosures support? Some kind of diagnostics test or something? (It's true I'm a bit of a greenhorn when it comes to messing with my computer but I may be up to this, depending how technically involved it is.)

    You're probably right about not being too penny wise but part of my desire is to stop adding stuff to my already crowded life. For better or worse, the idea of using the old enclosures and recycling the old drives fro backup appeals to more than just my sense of economy.


    P.s. My first Mac was a G4 Cube. Loved that little box...
  4. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    g4cube is right - it's going to be hit and miss if any of your enclosures will support 4TB hard drives... the most likely one is the Lacie Thunderbolt one (btw, Lacie is a division of Seagate).

    Personally, I've ordered one of these: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Thunderbolt/External-Drive/OWC/ThunderBay-IV

    With 4 x 4TB hard drives, you'll have 16TB of space to copy everything over...

    As much as you'd like to use the older enclosures with new 4TB drives, I think it's better to invest in an enclosure that does the job right the first time..

    Also, it sounds like you may not be keeping any backups of all this data... that is unwise...
  5. OneMoreDave thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2014
    Yeah, maybe you're both right: bite the bullet and shell out for that 16TB thunderbolt external. That'd be $1500+ less in my piggybank and one more big warm humming block on my desk but it would allow me to dump all my disorganized files (not all of which are backed up -- which scares me to death!) in one place and then figure out a game plan how to use all the old drives and enclosures to back it all up in a coherent manner. Thanks, both of you, for chiming in.
  6. g4cube macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2003
    The LaCie 2big 2-bay Thunderbolt drive will support the 4TB drives. I have several here.

    Unlikely that the USB2 drives would support 4TB.

    The USB3 drives might support 4TB.

    So...for sure, get 2 4TB drives for the 2big Thunderbolt, and before committing them, try them out in the other chassis.

    After partitioning and formatting using Disk Utility, you can fill the drive by loading a few GBytes into folders, and then use Finder's Duplicate command on the folders. An easy way to fill the drive. See if the drives are recognized and report correct capacity.
  7. Marty62 macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2010
    Berlin formerly London
    Another issue though Dave,
    Apart from the newer TB enclosure, how old are your Lacie FW etc drives ?

    If they are 3-4 years old, I would not be tempted to reuse them as backups
    for all the consolidated files.

    You will be asking for trouble, those mechanical drives WILL fail.

    I have just been doing a somewhat similar data move, and needed a proper
    backup solution.
    I have erased and "dumped" 5 drives, though I saved 2 x enclosures which will
    have some use.
    4 years is the maximum I will keep and use a HDD.
    Just my 2C's :)

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