Trying to figure out a new setup!

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by blenditall, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. blenditall macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2011
    Hey everyone,

    I haven't posted in ages but these forums have been a very helpful resource over the years. Now I'm hoping to get some advice from you guys on a new setup. Sorry if this is the wrong forum for this kind of post.

    The idea:

    A setup I can somewhat ease into (financially) and is somewhat modular/upgradeable/future-proof.

    Current setup:

    - Early-2011 MacBook Pro 17-inch
    - Pretty standard 1080p IPS LG display
    - External USB 2.0 drive for photo storage
    - External USB 2.0 drive for Time Machine (backs up laptop and photo drive)

    Proposed setup to start:

    - New Mac Mini with 2.3GHz i7, 8GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    - New external drive for photos
    - New external drive for time machine

    Eventual upgrades:

    - More RAM
    - External GPU
    - Nicer display


    - Does the basic idea of this setup make sense?
    - How exactly should I deal with external storage?
    > Perhaps SSD for a "working drive" and hard disk for time machine? Should one or both of these be Thunderbolt?
    > Do I even need two separate external drives or can I somehow do storage and backup with one unit?

    As you can see the area I'm having most trouble with is storage -- but also feel free to suggest other ideas entirely, e.g. iMac-based setup. Thanks in advance!

    Edit: I am mostly doing photo work (Lightroom, Photoshop) on this machine. Some video and 3D work but I can use my work PC for that if needed.
  2. shinji macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2007
    I would get a 256 or 512 gb SSD with 16 GB RAM, an external SSD for your photo/video work, and then just keep using your existing external for time machine.
  3. blenditall thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2011
    I figured I'd go 32GB third-party RAM and install it myself. Probably quite soon, just a month or two to recover $ :)

    Any recommendations for external SSD? I've had luck with WD.

    The reason I also spec a new drive for Time Machine is that I think I'll need more capacity. You're right, spinning disk is probably sufficient here. Would USB 3 be the right thing then?
  4. shinji macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2007
    I have a Sandisk Extreme, which has been great. It's worth comparing pricing though to the Samsung T5 or simply making your own external with an enclosure.

    And yeah, USB 3 is fine for Time Machine.
  5. archer75 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2005
    Add ram yourself later. 1tb internal storage is probably overkill for your needs. Externals, just plug 'em in and use them. Nothing fancy there. Use two and chronosync to keep two identical drives in case one fails. This is my plan. I'm also looking for a USB hub that connects to thunderbolt 3. Or an adapter from USB to tb3.
    I also have a drobo I use that is USB3 and thunderbolt 2. Looks like i'll need an adapter for that as well.
  6. blenditall thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2011
    Why not just use Time Machine to back up both the internal and external drive?
  7. pl1984 macrumors 68020

    Oct 31, 2017
    While you can use your storage drive as your backup drive it is highly advisable not to do so. If your storage drive were to fail or become unreadable that would mean your backup would go along with it. In 99.9% of the cases you want your backup drive to be separate from the information which is being backed up to it.
  8. blenditall thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2011
    Thanks -- that's what I figured.

    I guess what I'm really asking is: how can I make a fairly clean setup. Is there some kind of enclosure that can hold two drives: an SSD for work, and a spinning drive for backup. And then how would/should this connect to the mini? (Two cables?)

    I'm googling around a bit but I don't really know where to start. If such an enclosure does exist, I'd have three things on the desk: Mini, eGPU, external storage unit. Clean enough for me given the modularity.

    Any thoughts?
  9. archer75 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2005
    A time machine backup is only readable by another mac. But sync'd drives can be read by anything should you need to access or recover your data elsewhere.

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8 October 31, 2018