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Old Muley

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 6, 2009
761
188
Titletown USA
My current set up is a 2009 iMac with two external drives connected via FireWire 800. One of the drives stores all the "home" folders with pictures, music and movies while the other one is a Time Machine back up. This iMac is being replaced with a new one that is expected here in the next two weeks. I really like my external drives (OWC Mercury Elite Pro) and would love to keep them in their current rolls. These drives have a variety of inputs (USB 2.0, FireWire 800, FireWire 400, eSATA) so I've got some options.

My question is, what is the best way to go from my new iMac's Thunderbolt to these drives? The cheapest solution is probably a Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter. Of course my drives also have eSATA ports, so I could do Thunderbolt to a LaCie eSATA hub and then out to my drives. Of course that's more of an expense.

If all I'm doing is accessing home folder stuff and doing back ups, what's the best bang for my buck?
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,088
4
Sol III - Terra
...
If all I'm doing is accessing home folder stuff and doing back ups, what's the best bang for my buck?
of those choices, eSATA would be the fastest.

Best bang for the buck? Move the drives into USB 3.0 cases and buy a USB 3.0 hub if needed. (Maybe buy a new USB 3.0 disk fo rthe home folders.)

Second best choice? Move the "home folders" disk into a USB 3.0 enclosure (or just buy a new USB 3.0 disk0 and get a thunderbolt dock like the Belkin for more connectivity options.

Third choice? The Sonnet Tech Thunderbolt Dock.
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G4
Mar 10, 2009
11,311
3,081
My current set up is a 2009 iMac with two external drives connected via FireWire 800.

What kind of drives are in the external enclusure. If each has one HDD and those HDDs are only capable of doing about 40MB/s on random data access then SATA doesn't really buy anything. FW800's 90+ MB/s of bandwidth is good enough to daisy chain the two drives and get the same throughput.

In short, SATA isn't going to make the drive any faster than it is. If the drive is slower than FW800 throughput things aren't going to go much faster with SATA.


One of the drives stores all the "home" folders with pictures, music and movies while the other one is a Time Machine back up.

The home folders contain application preferences and user specific application data.

Unless doing doing lots of rapid updates of large files, Time Machine probably doesn't need "maximum" bandwidth. Music/Media if just playing compressed files, again not a huge maxiumum bandwidth usage.


This iMac is being replaced with a new one that is expected here in the next two weeks. I really like my external drives (OWC Mercury Elite Pro)

If there was some plan to later "update" the Elite Pro with some SSD guts then perhaps. However, the new iMacs ( or just about any other new Mac) will have a USB 3.0 socket. Eventually, c

That is a 3rd option. Update the Elite Pro enclosure(s) to the new one(s) with USB 3.0 sockets on them. Buy them empty and move your drive(s) over. For example:

new TB -> FW dongle "home directory" drive over.
new USB 3.0 capable enclure and attach Time machine drive.

That actually splits the traffic to over two controllers. You could move the TM drive around to back up different Macs or put it into rotation with another backup drive.

[ External USB with external powered enclosures sometimes have problems with sleep/power saving states with host computers so home may be saver with the FW interface for now. ]


If all I'm doing is accessing home folder stuff and doing back ups, what's the best bang for my buck?

If your home dir are on a top speed, bleeding edge HDD or a SSD then SATA might be the move, but if talking about two "middle range" performance HDDs then FW or USB 3.0 is more likely a more cost effective solution.
 

Old Muley

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 6, 2009
761
188
Titletown USA
One external is a 4TB JBOD and the other is a regular 2TB drive. All the internal drives are plain ol' 7,200rpm drives; nothing exotic or bleeding edge. Based on what everyone has said, I think I'll stick with the thunderbolt to FireWire adapter for now, but start investigating some external enclosure options to move my disks to.
 

faxao

macrumors regular
Feb 20, 2008
177
12
Milano, Italy
For what it is worth, I am still using an "old" FW800 WD external HDD with an Apple Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter and it works like a charm...
 
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