Using an internal drive as backup volume. Sane or insane?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Bengt77, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. Bengt77 macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2002
    Location:
    Europe
    #1
    I've learned in a thread in the notebook section that you can boot current Macs from FireWire 800 drives. Now, I just ordered an OWC dual drive enclosure, which I intend to use in a RAID1 setup for backups (using my trustworthy bakcup/cloning buddy SuperDuper!). But I've just started wondering about something...

    Does anyone here use an external drive as their boot volume? I ask this, because I intend to buy two 1TB drives for the OWC enclosure, and the drive in my iMac is only 500GB. So I started wondering if it wouldn't be better to turn my initial plan upside down and use the external RAID1 setup as my boot volume, and use my internal drive for backups.

    Does this make any sense at all? What are the disadvantages (besides power consumption)? And what, if any, are the advantages? My current (300GB) backup drive will move on and become either my Time Machine backup drive (never used it, as I have SuperDuper!, but the idea of continuous backups is appealing, I must say), or a second backup drive for only the essential data, which I can store at work so the risk of losing data is minimized. Any ideas about that? What's better?

    Man, all these options are affecting* my decisive capabilities...


    *) Is this a correct use of the word?
     
  2. iToaster macrumors 68000

    iToaster

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    Location:
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    #2
    The disadvantage here is speed. You'd be slowing down your computer dramatically for a faster backup... the iMac's SATA connection is loads faster that a FW800 one, as well, backing up can easily be done in the background so that there is not a need for SATA speeds to external drives. In other words, don't bother with how it is now, it will only cause problems... heck, one accidental jerk of the cable if you're running off the external would send your computer into the purgatory of having no resources.
     
  3. logana macrumors 65816

    logana

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2006
    Location:
    Scotland
    #3
    Yes - as far as I know......

    Would also echo the previous poster - use the internal as a boot disc and not the externals. Leave the externals for the back-ups etc.
     
  4. jzuena macrumors 6502a

    jzuena

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Location:
    Lexington, MA, USA
    #4
    I use an external boot drive, but I have a Mini with only an 80 GB internal drive, 1/2 of which is set up for Bootcamp. I use another external drive for Time Machine, though. I keep the original internal drive as a Tiger drive if I ever find something that won't run on Leopard. If you do use Bootcamp, when you are in Windows you can only select the OSX partition on the internal drive for the next boot. So you either have to hold down option and select the external drive when rebooting or boot to the internal drive and then select the external drive and reboot again. Invariably I would forget about the option boot and then get confused on the next reboot after that when it boots to the internal drive, so I bite the bullet and do the double reboot right away. I don't really use Bootcamp that often, since 90% of what I need to do in Windows works from Fusion so it doesn't bother me that much. If I ever take the Mini apart again (and the Mini isn't fun to take apart) I'll just put in a bigger drive and repurpose one of the externals for something else.
     
  5. Bengt77 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2002
    Location:
    Europe
    #5
    Thanks for your opinions, guys. Guess I'll just keep my internal drive the boot drive, then. Now, while I'm at it, another question. (Man, is the on-screen keyboard in Opera for Wii frustratingly slow to use!)

    Will it make any difference, considering the external drive(s) won't be my boot volume, if I choose to buy two Samsung Spinpoint F1 drives, rather than two WD Caviers or Seagates? The 1TB Samsungs are quite a bit cheaper...
     
  6. gazfocus macrumors 68000

    gazfocus

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK
    #6
    The Samsung F1's are the better drives so go for them!
     
  7. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #7
    If you want speedy backups (provided you have a MBP I'm not sure if the macs have them)

    Get an eSata enclosure with an eSata express card. I get almost double the speed of my firewire drives. (Other peoples milage vary somewhat but I have 6 esata enclosures and 5 fw800s and I get the same results on all of them).

    I have 5 bay enclosures so I have my backups 2 drives mirroring each other, and a third drive for files I usually need something out of. It works great.

    Oh, and what the others have stated, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE use an external drive as a boot drive. Think of it this way, what if you want to take your laptop somewhere?
     
  8. Bengt77 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2002
    Location:
    Europe
    #8
    Thanks for your opinion. I have an iMac, though, so no eSATA for me. Besides, the enclosure I ordered is a triple interface (USB2, FW400 and FW800), so eSATA would have been a no-go anyway. And okay, I won't use the new external as my boot drive. That's settled then.
     

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