Thunderbay 4 with iMac 5K

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Macsince1994, Aug 24, 2015.

  1. Macsince1994 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    #1
    Hi, all: My 2008 Mac Pro tower is close to giving up its ghost, and I am thinking about replacing with an iMac 5K. With my aging eyes, the 5K retina screen is so much easier on my eyes than the 23" ACD that I am using with the Mac Pro.

    My only hesitation with the iMac is the all in one design, which means I don't have access to the hard drive, should it or something else in the iMac fail and need service. I store a fair amount of confidential documents on my drive and can't afford to leave my data in the hands of Apple should the iMac need to go in for service.

    I've read about FileVault2 as a means of encryption, but wanted to get some thoughts on not using the iMac internal drive at all, and using an external drive to boot from.

    Specifically, I am looking at the OWC Thunderbay 4 - http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Thunderbolt/ - which has a fast Thunderbolt 2 connection. I could use the enclosure to house some my legacy data hard drives from my old Mac Pro tower, and I would reserve one of the 4 bays for a SSD drive to boot the iMac. I would clone the iMac internal drive onto the SSD, and keep my data/home folder on one of the other drives separate from the SSD boot drive. In this way, the internal (and not accessible to the end user without major surgery) drive will be kept original and clean, and I don't have to worry about my data if I should need to bring the iMac in for service.

    Is anyone doing something similar? Any issues that you forsee with this set-up in the long term? Speedwise, I am thinking I should be ok with the fast TB2 connection. Would you go this route?

    Many thanks.
     
  2. matreya macrumors 65816

    matreya

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    #2
    What you're contemplating will work well. I have a 5k iMac and use two of the Thunderbolt1 version (Thunderbay IV) to keep my hard drives on hand. I still use the internal SSD as my main drive however, as I'm not really that worried about my documents as they cannot be accessed by anyone but me, and I don't log in without a password.
     
  3. eoren1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    #3
    I have the Thunderbay 4 (4 three TB drives in RAID5). The only issue I have with it is noise. I was using the RAID as a user directory and the read/write noise drove me crazy. The device is also very prone to vibrations from the drives (I wrote a review on the site addressing the lack of noise isolation and poor hard drive bays).

    I had to build a platform below my desk and then place the unit on a foam pad to eliminate the read/write noise (it was behind the iMac) as well as the hard drive vibrations. The drives are working well and RAID5 is awesome (though your setup would work well too). Just be aware it can get noisy...
     
  4. warrenl macrumors member

    warrenl

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2015
    #4
    Same as eoren1 above, I have a Thunderbay 4 in a raid 5 4x4 TB drives. It's more the fan noise from the unit. I have spoken to OWC and they just tell me it is normal and it needs a big fan to cool the drives. I never noticed as much noise with my Mac Pro towers under my desk from very 1.1 to 5.1 towers.

    Anyway, my solution is to have the Thunderbay as far away from me as possible. I use a 3M Thunderbolt cable http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/CBLTB3MBKP/ and it is now a lot better.
     
  5. martinm0 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2010
    #5
    I also have an iMac and one of the first generation Thunderbays (IV). The only issue I've found with the device (and this pertains to the newer Thunderbay 4 as well) is that the device cannot be connected to the machine if you are booting into Windows on the mac. There is something to do with the TB chips they use, and specifically 4 bay models, that cause issues when booting into Windows (fine on the OS X side). I've moved back to a Lacie 2big TB/USB 3.0 two bay device since that causes no issues (and I hated having to unplug the Thunderbay when going to Windows).

    Oh, also, unless something has changed you'll be unable to power down the unit while connected to your Mac or it will cause a kernel panic and lock up the machine. You can eject the Thunderbay, disconnect the TB cable and then power down, but any attempt to power down while connected to the Mac will throw a KP.
     
  6. hfg, Aug 25, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2015

    hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #6
    I also use the ThunderBay 4 and the ThunderBay 4 Mini on my Retina iMac 5K and am pleased with the results. There is another thread here which discusses the fan noise and the accepted solution seems to be replacing the original fan with a Noctua NF-B9 fan with the cable that runs it the slowest (3 speeds are available by cable selection).

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0014I9K30?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00

    ---


    I am able to run the ThunderBay IV, 4, and 4-mini with Windows on a SSD enclosed in the ThunderBay along with several OS X hard disks on the iMac.

    However, if I create a RAID 0 or RAID 5 array using SoftRAID in the ThunderBay, Windows will load and start running, and after about 1 minute it will crash. I have discussed this with SoftRAID and we were unable to resolve the issue. Odd that it takes so long to crash, I assume Windows gets around to checking the drives once it is running and doesn't like something about the format of the disks. Since SoftRAID is not running, I am surprised that Windows even tries to access the drives. I believe at one time I removed the HFS+ drivers that the BootCamp download installs, and that made no difference.

    Even more odd ... if I move the RAID-5 drives into my cMacPro, also running SoftRAID and Windows on a PCIe SSD, there are no problems and everything runs fine. Possible causes are a enclosure chip issue mentioned above, or the fact the the drives are internal vs. external-on-Thunderbolt.
     
  7. xmichaelp macrumors 68000

    xmichaelp

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2012
    #7
    I think you should just order the iMac with a 256 SSD and just boot off of that. I don't see why you would want to waste the internal storage boot off of an external drive.
     
  8. Macsince1994 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    #8
    Thank you all for sharing your experiences - very helpful to hear of others running the Thunderbay 4/IV off their iMacs, and the noise and vibration issues are items to consider.

    xmichaelp - Fair question you ask, and it's certainly an option. I would relocate my home folder off the internal SSD boot drive, so that only the OS and other software are on the internal SSD and/or Fusion boot drive. In that way, I think all my personal data is left off the internal drive should the iMac need to go in for repair. Problem is that I am paranoid that some of my personal data might still inadvertently get saved to the internal boot drive.

    Also, I understand Apple's Disk Utility does NOT provide a secure erase option for SSD/Fusion drives if I needed to wipe the internal drive should I chose to donate or sell the iMac in the future. Some folks have suggested using FileVault 2 to encrypt the internal boot drive, and I suppose that should give me peace of mind for any personal data that might have made its way onto the internal drive. But I don't know enough to be sure.

    I'd love to get some thoughts from folks with SSD/Fusion drives in your iMacs and how you plan to securely erase your data when the day comes to toss/sell/donate your Mac. It's not like you can easily take out the SSD and replace with another.
     
  9. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #9
    Encrypt it ... Delete it ... Partition and Format ... Trim unused blocks ... Install OS X

    Hopefully that is enough to keep my boring secrets from the eyes of the buyer.
     
  10. eoren1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    #10
    The unit noise is not due to the fan - I switched to a Noctua fan. It is read/write noise as well as vibration/hum from drives spinning.

    I would really hesitate to put your home folder on a drive in the Thunderbay IV. I'm worried you're going to get REALLY annoyed with the drive noise very quickly.

    It's great for databases (I have 4 TB of photography on mine plus music, etc) but that is not data that demands frequent access. I made the mistake of putting my home folder on it initially and almost returned it.
     
  11. warrenl macrumors member

    warrenl

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2015
    #11
     
  12. warrenl macrumors member

    warrenl

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2015
    #12
    The only way to not have any personal data on the internal drives would be to use an external boot drive. There are several options:
    1. Use one of the the 4 drive slots in the Thunderbay for a 512 or 1TB SSD
    2. Get an external USB3 or TB enclosure for the SSD boot drive and still have the 4 drive slots in the Thunderbay.
    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/MOTGTBH5T1.0/
    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Thunderbolt/External-Drive/OWC/Elite-Dual-RAID

    That way there all your data will be on the external boot drive. Also you can save $$$ by buying the base 1TB fusion drive. I am currently using an external boot SSD drive on my 1TB fusion 5K iMac
     
  13. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #13
    If you do a time machine back up then you just wipe (reformat) the internal drive before sending it in to apple for service, I can't see why you would worry about this.
     
  14. Macsince1994 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    #14
    Perhaps I am more paranoid than others, but a reformat isn't the same as a secure delete.

    https://ssd.eff.org/en/module/how-delete-your-data-securely-mac-os-x
     
  15. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #15
    Well do a secure delete then, as long as you have a backup what does it matter. Lets be honest no one knows who you are or cares what's on your computer, least of all some poor apple tech that has to go through 30 of them a day.
     

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