Which External Hard Drive Next?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Lensclare, Oct 3, 2015.

  1. Lensclare, Oct 3, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015

    Lensclare macrumors member

    Lensclare

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2015
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    Nottingham
    #1
    Hi,

    Recently I bought a external Hard drive for the first time ever, i got a G-tech Raid 2tB mini. I had a bit of a bad experience and to cut a long story short I sent it back and got a refund. It was too noisy and seemed to slow my mac down.

    So, I'm wondering which external HD do I try next?

    I know now not to buy Raid. Due to my bad experience I feel cautious about buying one.

    The reasons why I'm want an external HD, are mainly because I need a bootable backup for my mac and I need to be able to restore. I also would like minimum 2 TB and to be able to make partitions in different formats, including windows.

    I do alot of photography and photo editing, so I don't want it to start making a noise when I'm using my photo editing software as this can be extremely distracting.

    I'm considering a Samsung M3 Slimline 2TB USB 3.0 or 4TB. Can anyone offer any experience or advice on this matter?

    Also my imac is mid 2010 and i'm running yosmite.

     
  2. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Location:
    Folsom, CA
    #2
    OWC offerings are the best. If you want RAID they have many choices to choose from such as:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Thunderbolt/External-Drive/OWC/Elite-Dual-RAID
    or

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Thunderbolt/External-Drive/OWC/ThunderBay-4-RAID5
     
  3. Lensclare thread starter macrumors member

    Lensclare

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    #3
    I don't think I want raid anymore. Also I think the G-raid mini was too slow, it was only after purcahsing I learnt about transfer rates/speeds. The G-raid mini is 250MB per secs, whereas the Samsung M3 4.8GB per secs.
     
  4. Blackbird1100, Oct 3, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015

    Blackbird1100 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    #4

    I also have a Mid 2010 iMac, USB is only 2.0 not 3.0. The Samsung M3 speed is based on USB 3.0, it will not run that fast on USB 2.0 (mid 2010 iMac)

    The mid 2010 does support Firewire 800, I would look for an external based on that protocol if you want the fastest speed.

    If I were you, I would still consider a Raid 1 external (2 hard drives in one enclosure). One drive mirrors the other, in case one drive fails you don't lose your data.

    Raid 0 would be used to get the fastest speeds, the downside is you lose all your data even if only one of the two hard drives fail.
     
  5. Buerkletucson macrumors 6502

    Buerkletucson

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2015
    #5
    Sure don't hear that often.....
    Don't base your RAID experience off of one drive you had issues with.

    Seriously, running RAID1 is a great idea and helps safe-guard your valuable data.
    I wouldn't do it any other way.
     
  6. Lensclare, Oct 3, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015

    Lensclare thread starter macrumors member

    Lensclare

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    #6
    OMG! that means if I only have 2.0 USB the samsung M3 will only be 400MB per sec!

    How can you tell which USB you have on your iMac, I've always thought mine was 3.0?

    OK you are right, I've just looked in the manual and my 4 ports are 2.0. This changes things bit.
     
  7. Lensclare thread starter macrumors member

    Lensclare

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    #7
    So which external hard drives will be fast and work well enough for what I need it for with a firewire 800 protocol?
     
  8. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #8
    You are in a difficult situation. USB 2.0 is too slow for almost anything except archival backup or transfer of small files. I would never use a USB 2.0 drive for active editing of raw stills or video.

    If your 2010 iMac only has USB 2.0 and FireWire 800 interfaces, then your best option is getting a FW800 drive. Unfortunately the newer Macs have USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt so when the time comes you won't be able to use the FW800 drive on those, but IMO the FW800 drive is a better near-term decision.
     
  9. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    #9
    Your limitation is the USB 2.0 bus - whatever drive you hook up to that will be slow.

    A FW800 drive will be faster, if you can find one - and you'll be paying a lot for the privilege (FW enclosures are expensive to start with and have only got more so as USB 3.0 has become common).

    If you absolutely need the more rapid speed, then FW800 is your only option but expect to pay a lot for it.

    Edit: ignore thunderbolt part of my post, edited out, since I see you have a Mid 2010.
     
  10. Lensclare thread starter macrumors member

    Lensclare

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    #10
    OK.. will have to do some more research. I have noticed that the samsung M3 2.0 USB speed is 400MB per sec and when i've compared this with other ext. HD's they are much slower than the samsung, other Hds are only 60-90MB per secs tops. So the Samsung M3 is still appealing.
     
  11. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    #11

    Well, Samsung might be quoting the speed of the USB 2.0 bus there - unless it's a very quick drive speeds more like 150-200 MB/s are more likely unless you go for a RAID setup (or an SSD), especially over USB 2.
     
  12. Lensclare thread starter macrumors member

    Lensclare

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    #12
    I'm fairly new to external Hard drives, how fast will I need my hard drive to be, so that I can do bootable backups?

    I mainly use my computer for photography editing, I use photoshop elements a lot. I use large image files in JPEG and some RAW.

    And my limitation is 2.0 USB and firewire 800. No thunderbolt or 3.0.

    If I go for a SSD will it mean taking the back of my imac monitor to fit one?
     
  13. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

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    Sep 3, 2013
    #13
    IMO your only real option is to get a FireWire 800 drive. USB 2.0 is too slow and your 2010 iMac does not have USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt ports.

    You can theoretically do an internal SSD upgrade which will make it a lot faster. However that requires a kit like this one from OWC, plus getting the SSD: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIYIM27SSD10/

    Then you'd need to do it yourself or find a shop experienced in the upgrade. That still would not provide your goal of a bootable backup but it would make everything a lot faster.

    It might be better to just get a newer certified refurbished iMac from Apple. There's a frequently-changing list of those available. In general I'd suggest only getting one with a Fusion Drive or SSD. Of course you'd still have to get an external drive for backup, but having USB 3.0 enables many more options: http://www.apple.com/shop/browse/home/specialdeals/mac/imac/27
     
  14. Lensclare thread starter macrumors member

    Lensclare

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    #14
    ok. I shall need time to consider these options.
     
  15. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #15
    Lensclare --

    For bootable "backup", STAY AWAY from a RAID drive.
    As has been posted here many times before "RAID is NOT a backup".

    My suggestion:
    Get an external USB3 2.5" enclosure, like this:
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003VKTJGW...UTF8&colid=R75PP4I2A0BE&coliid=I3DOKZ31SP7539

    There are many other USB3 enclosures available.
    CAUTION: MAKE SURE that any enclosure you buy specifically states that it has "UASP support". You need this to obtain the full speed that USB3 can deliver.

    And then pick up a 2.5" 2TB drive of your choice from the vendor of your choice.
    I've tended to shy away from both Seagate and Western Digital these days.
    I'd rather use a Toshiba or perhaps a Samsung drive, if available.

    There is nothing involved in buying a "bare" HDD and an enclosure and then "putting it together yourself".
    ANYONE, including YOU, can do this in a couple of minutes.
    The advantage of "doing it yourself" is that you control which components are used, and because you built it, you can also take it apart again, if any problems arise.

    Since you have stated that you want a BOOTABLE backup copy, you should use either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper to create your cloned backup.

    CCC is FREE to download and FREE to use for the first 30 days.
    DS is "free forever" if you are satisfied doing "full clones" (if you want the ability to do "incremental backups" which go faster, you need to register it).
     
  16. Lensclare thread starter macrumors member

    Lensclare

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2015
    Location:
    Nottingham
    #16
    I won't be going for the Raid option. I've come to realise that I'm limited by 2.0 USB ports, so I'm considering the Samsung M3 2TB for £65 approx. The transfer speed at with 3.0 is 4.8GB/sec and only 400MB/sec with 2.0 USB. But, when compared to other HD's 2.0 speeds of 60-90MB/secs the Samsung M3 is still appealing. I just wondered what other 2.0 USB or Firewire 800 options are available to me, so that I can do a bootable backup?
     
  17. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a

    Sirmausalot

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2007
    #17
    Your best bet is a drive that supports both Firewire 800 and USB 3. it is a bit more expensive, but you will likely upgrade your computer in a year or two and USB3 will be great.

    So, in conclusion, this is exactly the drive you want http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/ME3QH7T4.0/ The drive is 7200 RPM (fastest non-solid state drive you can get) and supports USB3 and Firewire 800. It is not RAID.
     
  18. Buerkletucson macrumors 6502

    Buerkletucson

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    Sep 12, 2015
    #18
    Please provide details of your comments....
     
  19. JackRoch macrumors member

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    Jul 12, 2010
    #19
    Had you considered LaCies d2 quadra? Quite a bit more pricey than you're currently considering but it would give you FW800… https://www.lacie.com/uk/products/product.htm?id=10554
     
  20. phairphan macrumors 6502a

    phairphan

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    Location:
    Reject Beach
    #20
    You are getting hung up on the theoretical link speeds advertised by that Samsung drive. You cannot achieve those speeds on those interfaces with a mechanical drive (or any drive, honestly). The cutting edge of storage are currently PCIe NVME drives connected directly to a motherboard and even those currently cap out ~2.5GB/sec.

    A quick search found this benchmark site's results for the M3 2TB: http://usb.userbenchmark.com/SpeedTest/5483/Samsung-M3-Portable If I am interpreting the results correctly, it doesn't test especially well. It looks like USB 2 speeds are in the neighborhood of 30MB/sec and the USB 3 speeds are disappointing too.

    As others have pointed out, Firewire 800 will be the fastest and most robust connection option on your iMac. However, you will pay a premium for it. A combo FW800 and USB3 device will give you the most flexibility, but will probably cost you the most. You may want to explore FW800-only drives and compare prices with FW800/USB3 devices. I suspect you will be better off getting a FW800-only device now for your current Mac and getting a USB3 (or USB3.1) device when you eventually upgrade.
     
  21. cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502

    cincygolfgrrl

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    #21
    I've used both 1TB and 2TB USB drives (Western Digital and Seagate) using USB 2.0. I've stored RAW images and edited images that resided on a USB drive. I'll admit it wasn't as nimble as working on images on the installed drive (in my case an SSD), but it wasn't terrible either.

    Rather than obsess over which will be best I'd suggest getting a USB 2.0 drive (they're pretty cheap) and see how it meshes with your work flow. If doesn't cut it for you, move on. You can always use the drive for TimeMachine backups.

    Try the simplest solution first.

    I keep current projects on my SSD and archive on the USB drive. Assuming you're a Lightroom user, I think you'll find transfer between drives to be quick and generally no big deal.
     
  22. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #22
    Whoa! Did I miss some need of the OP's that calls for fast data transfer? I cut and pasted from the OP's posts (emphasis mine):

    "The reasons why I'm want an external HD, are mainly because I need a bootable backup for my mac and I need to be able to restore..."

    "...how fast will I need my hard drive to be, so that I can do bootable backups?"

    "I mainly use my computer for photography editing, I use photoshop elements a lot. I use large image files in JPEG and some RAW." [OP didn't say she was going to work directly on the files stored on the external drive...Brian33]

    "I just wondered what other 2.0 USB or Firewire 800 options are available to me, so that I can do a bootable backup?"

    (End of quotes)

    From what I've read of the OP's posts... you want this drive just for (or primarily for?) bootable backups, right? I haven't seen anything to indicate that you plan to regularly do any photo editing or other work directly on files stored on the external drive. I'm guessing (and correct me if I'm wrong) that you want to back up your entire system (including large image files) to an external drive, and IF your normal boot/internal drive fails, you want to be able to boot from the backup drive, and perhaps run that way temporarily while you arrange for replacement of the failed drive. Of course, you also want to be able to restore from the backup drive onto the newly-replaced internal boot drive.

    Is this all you really need? If so, you are totally fine using your USB 2.0 interface with a relatively inexpensive USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 external drive, especially if you make the bootable backup with Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper using their incremental backup feature (which just copies changed files over to the backup). You don't need great performance for a backup drive.

    Am I the only one who believes this?

    Even if you sometimes want to work directly from the external drive, heed the post by cicygolfgrll above -- I think that's good advice. However, if you're regularly going to be transferring lots of large files while you wait, I agree Firewire 800 is better. I use a bunch of these on my old 2008 iMac.

    Hope I'm not just confusing the issue, but I'm hoping maybe it would save you some money and stress...
     
  23. bretm macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2002
    #23
    Sounds like someone is misreading 400 Mb (mega BIT) and MB (mega byte). USB 2 is 400 mega bit or 40 MegaByte. FW 800 will give you double that. A decent USB 3 will pull-off 170 MegaByte off a single 7200 rpm drive, and get you into 300-400 MegaByte territory with Raid.

    I use a NewerTexh guardian Maximus case ($99) with a mirrored raid (best backup method around). I bought 2 5tb toshibas off amazon for $179 each. They're an older model and a bit noisy when searching, but put it under a desk or something. THe NewerTexh has every connection but Thunderbolt.

    If you up to a newer iMac (probably should by now) you'll be able to use the USB 3. If you opt for a FW800 drive, you can use that on a new iMac with a simple thunderbolt to FW adapter.

    Thunderbolt isn't really faster than USB 3 unless you have a raid that can output more than the max speed of USB 3. You'd need a Raid 5 (requiring 4 drives minimum) to do that.
     
  24. Lensclare thread starter macrumors member

    Lensclare

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    Nottingham
    #24
    I'm struggling with knowing what to do for the best. I have a 21.5" iMac mid 2010. I know I need 3.0 USB, more space and a faster mac. I mainly use the computer for photography and photo editing.

    I'm glad you pointed out about the spec. for the Samsung M3. I intially thought that buying an external HD will solve some if my issues, but it seems I'm wrong.

    I'm also considering getting a mac upgrade with a replacement internal SSD with an 3.0 adapter and some RAM. But, at the same time I know my SATA 300 is limiting and is it worth having done as my
    Max Operating System Version is 10.11 El Capitan.

    Whatever I decide either an upgrade or totally new computer, I will need an external to back up with and to store all my images and files because everthing will be wiped off during the upgrade. I've been considering the OWC mercury elite pro 4TB, it does firewire 800 but, it will cut my budget in half for the upgrade though. (I suspect the OWC will be good once i've got 3.0).


    I also am wondering if I would I be able to sell any of my iMacs internal parts then which would help me buy a new one? (My internal HD is still whole, its not been partitioned).
     
  25. JackRoch macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    #25
    I’m in a similar situation as you. Same iMac 21.5” mid-2010 model.

    My internal HD died last Dec. I’ve been running since then from an external USB2 (yes really!), currently El Capitan. Initially I’d just set it up as an emergency disc and also to try out all the public betas of El Cap. but it’s run quite happily for nine moths with no problems. (said he, tempting fate)

    To anyone who’s used to running from an SSD or even a fusion drive I’m sure my start-up speeds, etc would be laughable but in all honesty once booted up, it’s been quite useable. If it wasn’t I’d have got round to installing an SSD before now.

    Like you I’m using it to process RAWs; µ4/3 format so about 85Mb as TIFFs. I’m using DxO, Capture One and Photoshop – rather more demanding than PShop Elements I imagine. I do have 8gb RAM though. Never needed to open more eight files at a time but no problem with that number.

    So… when time/funds permit, I’ll install an internal SSD. An Apple Authorised Centre here in Warwickshire has quoted £70 to fit if I supply the SSD+mounting bracket.
    I’ve used Macs since 1985 and happily fitted discs in the past but quite frankly, having read stories of damaging cables, seen the fiddly YouBend videos, I’ll regard the £70 as insurance!
    Possibly I’ll include that OWC temp sensor rather than mess around with software to control fan speeds.

    As regards external discs I’ll carry on with my LaCie 800FW Quadra for file storage and will probably have a partition with an emergency OS – since that strategy worked so well for the current situation.

    When I replace the iMac I’ll use a Thunderbolt adapter for it. My strategy is to use the fastest I’m able to now (chains being as strong as weakest links!). When I buy a new Mac I’ll buy a disc as fast as that Mac is capable of.
     

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