Which storage device to buy?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by gsusser, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. gsusser macrumors regular

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    #1
    I would greatly appreciate assistance in choosing the best storage product for me.

    ** I own a iMac with a 2TB hard drive
    ** I am looking for more storage space plus backup
    ** I am presently using 3 external drives - 2TB Airport Time Capsule, 2TB WD drive and 1.5TB LaCie drive
    ** I do a Time Machine backup of only data files to the Time Capsule; a full backup of my internal hard drive to the other 2TB drive using a 3rd party program - this drive is bootable; the 1.5TB drive stores my videos, no backup done of these files
    ** I have about 1TB in music files and almost 1.5TB in video files

    ** There are 2 immediate issues - a) I will soon run out of space on my LaCie for video files and, b) the video files are not being backed up.

    ** A future issue to consider is I might sell my iMac with 2TB storage and use MacBook Air with much less storage space available internally.

    ** I would like 1 backup of every file, 2 backups of my music files which I consider invalulable and might as well kill myself if I lost them, haha.

    Any suggestions appreciated. I was pondering the My Cloud EX or an NAS, but I have no need to access the files from another computer or device. I like the idea of having RAID, not that I'm all that familiar with it. Thank you.
     
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #2
    You don't need a RAID. As others have said here, "RAID is NOT a backup".

    Have you considered a USB3/SATA docking station, and several "bare drives" that you can swap around as necessary?

    To see what a dock is, go to amazon and enter "usb3 sata dock" in the search box, and you'll get many choices. They typically cost less than $25.

    Just store the drives carefully, and this could work well for "backup purposes".
     
  3. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #3
    RAID is not a system that is for backup purposes at all, and since you do not know much about it you should not mess with it. I do like the dock option, aside from the fact that the drives are then open. Have you considered a NAS and then using the Time Capsule for Time Machine? That also depends a lot on the network speed and therefore is an iffy question. Are all of your external drives connected via USB?
     
  4. gsusser thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    I really am an idiot when it comes to this stuff.

    To answer some questions, I have 2 external USB drives plus my Airport Time Capsule. My iMac only has USB 2.0.

    I am totally paranoid of a docking station thinking I won't know how to hook it up. I wish someone would just tell me what to buy, haha.
     
  5. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    #5
    You could also consider backup services like Crashplan for backing up all your files. That takes care of the case where your house burns down or similar calamity. You need a fast connection for the initial upload.

    I like a NAS because it gives me a lot of flexibility. I keep time machine backups as well as media files on my Synology. I have bare drive backups of the non-TM files made using a drive dock. I can also access the files from my iPad.

    Last thing to remember is that any backup that hasn't been tested is not a backup. Make sure you can get your files back.
     
  6. gsusser thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    Thanks for all the responses. I really appreciate it.

    However, not to sound like the idiot I am, can someone just tell me what to buy? I looked at NAS devices and while I really don't understand the technology after reading up on it, from what I gather, it seems like something a lot more sophisticated than I need. The ones I looked at all refer to surveillance systems. In any event, I don't doubt what you guys say and am willing to take your advice. But please, I think I gave enough info for a recommendation for a specific device. If I didn't, just let me know what else I can tell you.

    As far as a remote backup, that's out of the question as far as expense and time to back up.

    Many thanks and I hope you understand where I'm coming from.
     
  7. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

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    #7
    Well, we're trying to help you decide what to buy, but it's not as simple as buying a big hard drive and being done with it.

    You have a number of drives being swapped in and out. You may be better off using one big external drive to store your data (instead of multiple drives, each which a special use) and a second big external drive or NAS to act as a Time Machine backup.

    A NAS is basically a hard drive that connects over Ethernet/wif instead of being directly attached to the machine. The upside is that they can be accessed over wifi or Ethernet, so you don't have to have anything else physically connected to your machine. Very convenient. And multiple machines can connect at the same time. The downside is that they generally much slower than directly attached storage. For example, you would not want to edit HD video off of one. But for what you do, a NAS may be fast enough.

    The upside to a physically attached HDD is that they're fast, generally speaking, but of course they have to be plugged in - inconvenient if you're using a laptop. And if they're not plugged in, then they can't be backed up, etc.

    So we need to know from you where your priorities are, what your use model is, and what your budget is.
     
  8. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

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    Dec 17, 2009
    #8
    New Monoprice Thunderbolt Storage Enclosures

    Oops wrong thread....
     
  9. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    #9
    [[ I am totally paranoid of a docking station thinking I won't know how to hook it up. ]]

    Can you plug a USB cable into the back of the Mac?

    Can you put a slice of bread into a toaster?

    Seriously -- it's THAT easy.
     
  10. gsusser thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    xray, don't get me wrong. I am eternally grateful for the responses, particularly from people who know 1000 times more than me, which is almost everyone.

    I'm not sure what else I can say that wasn't in my original post, but I'll try.

    My Airport Time Capsule has the time machine backup - correct me if I'm wrong. I have it connected with ethernet, though I can change that to wi-fi if there's any point.

    Accessing the data from other devices is of no importance to me. The only goals are storage and backup. I need to make sure I have enough storage space if I give up the iMac and use my MacBook Air. My iMac holds 2TB.

    I don't care about speed. These are only backups. The only data not on my iMac are videos, almost 1.5TB. The speed is fine accessing them from an external HD.

    At this point, the only issue is that my videos are not being backed up. It's not a huge priority, but it would be nice if I had a backup. I'm also thinking towards the future. I'm going to run out of room very soon on my 1.5TB drive where my videos reside.

    The most important data I have is my music files. I would go nuts if I lost them. But I think I'm okay - they reside on my iMac and are backed up twice, with TM and the third party program (superduper).

    Those are really my only issues.

    As far as expense, I suppose I'm willing to go up to $500 if I have to but would prefer not to.

    Fisherman, as for a docking station, if that's the answer for me, can you recommend one along with discs?

    Thanks to everyone. I don't mean to come across as unappreciative. On the contrary.
     
  11. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #11
    [[ Fisherman, as for a docking station, if that's the answer for me, can you recommend one along with discs? ]]

    I've had good luck with these two docks from plugable.com:
    http://plugable.com/products/USB3-SATA-U3
    and
    http://plugable.com/products/USB3-SATA-UASP1

    They also have a dual-USB3/SATA dock for 2.5" drives:
    http://plugable.com/products/pss-dd1

    (Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with the above company other than being a satisfied and paying customer)

    You can use either 3.5" or 2.5" "bare drives". In my experience, there's no problem with handling and swapping bare drives, just so long as you exercise reasonable care with them --- as in "don't drop" them, etc. You'd probably want to hunt down a storage solution if you manage several drives -- plastic storage box, etc.

    As to which manufacturer's drives to buy, well, that's more of a subjective question. Personally, I would avoid Western Digital. Seagate is perhaps a little better. Samsung drives seem to last well enough.

    As to which form factor to use (3.5" vs. 2.5") -- I'm of the mind lately that if I need one or more drives for backup storage, I may get 2.5". They seem to be designed "with user-handling in mind" -- insofar as many go into laptops that get carried and jostled around.

    I've also concluded that "smaller is somewhat better". That is, I wouldn't buy a 4gb drive, but two 2gb drives. More drives to handle, but "less lost" in the case of a drive failure. (Aside: when I started out with hard drives, a 20 MEGAbyte drive was "large".)

    Where to buy? Amazon.com and newegg.com would be my "go to" sources, but I'm not averse to buying elsewhere.

    One advantage of the "drive in a dock" scenario is that you're not locked into "drives in enclosures" -- if a drive fails, just swap it for another. If the dock has problems, just get another dock and keep on using the drives.

    The disadvantage? It doesn't "look so snazzy" sitting on your desk. But the "function" exceeds the "style" in such a setup...

    Don't "overthink" this. Backup is backup. Just decide what kind of drives you want, how you're going to hook them up, then do it...
     
  12. gsusser thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    Fisherman, thank you for your thorough reply.

    If I bought the 2.5" dock, is the following an example of the drive I would need...
    http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-SpinP...390503203&sr=1-1&keywords=2.5+sata+hard+drive

    Amazon's largest drive is only 1TB, at least under the search I did for Samsung drives. The one above is $75. That seems like a lot of money especially if I have to buy a minimum of 4. And it might be a pain in the a$$ backing up more than 1TB of data. I would prefer 2TB drives. Or perhaps I'm looking in the wrong place?
     
  13. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #13
    [[ Amazon's largest drive is only 1TB, at least under the search I did for Samsung drives. The one above is $75. That seems like a lot of money especially if I have to buy a minimum of 4. And it might be a pain in the a$$ backing up more than 1TB of data. I would prefer 2TB drives. Or perhaps I'm looking in the wrong place? ]]

    You might need to pick up two 3.5" drives of 2tb size.

    And a dock that can handle a 3.5" drive, as well (see above post).

    How many drives are you going to be backing up?
    two?
    three?
    four?

    You can back up two separate drives to one larger drive, if the larger one can hold all the content.

    The trick is to PARTITION the backup drive into two "volumes".
    Then, use CarbonCopyCloner to backup one source drive to the first partition, and the other source drive to the second partition.

    Just remember that when it's time to DISmount the drive and remove it from the dock, you first have to drag BOTH partitions to the trash.
     
  14. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    California
    #14
    You don't. If you have an external drive with two partitions mounted and drag one of the partitions to the trash to eject, you will get the prompt below.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. gsusser, Jan 24, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014

    gsusser thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    >>How many drives are you going to be backing up?
    two?
    three?
    four?<<

    I want one drive dedicated to backing up my internal drive on my iMac and I want it bootable. The data totals about 1.3TB but the drive should be 2TB to match the size of my internal drive on my iMac.

    I need another drive to back up my videos which is currently about 1.5TB and growing.

    I need another drive to store my videos.

    And lastly, I have a TM backup, but I'm okay with using the Airport Time Capsule for that.

    A future need (1 month? 3 months?) will be moving everything from my iMac. At the moment and probably for a while, I plan to use a MacBook Air in its place with something like 500GB internal drive. Most of the data on my internal drive is music files, close to 1TB.

    Both my iMac and MacBook Air only support USB 2. It's a bit surprising considering my Air is only 6 months old. But I'd like USB 3 compatible when the time comes to buy a new computer, probably another MacBook Air.

    So, bearing all this in mind, and hopefully I'm not pushing the envelope, can you recommend exactly which products to buy? You recommended a few docks; how about drives? As mentioned before, I don't need speed, just reliability. They'll only be used for backups and storage of videos.

    Btw, I called Western Digital to ask for advice and they won't get involved in recommending a drive for a docking station. Their argument is they don't sell docking stations and won't recommend one of their products to be used with a 3rd party product. They ended up recommending the Thunderbolt drive.

    Again, thanks for your time. I hope I'm not wearing you down. -)
     
  16. gsusser, Jan 25, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014

    gsusser thread starter macrumors regular

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  17. SunnyFL macrumors regular

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    Jul 12, 2010
    #17
    I picked up the WD Mycloud 3tb and so far not impressed. I have had several issues getting it initialized and updating the firmware. I am also having issues keeping it connected to the network. After doing a Google search this seems to be a common problem with many users. If it will not stay connected and the only wat to see it again is a power cycle it's not much use to me and my needs
     
  18. gsusser thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
  19. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    #19
    [[ I ended up getting a Startech USB3 4 bay docking station ...]]

    I have several docking stations, but they are all "1-bay" types.

    Just wondering --
    With the 4-bay dock, are you able to mount and dis-mount single drives individually?
    With no interference or problems regarding -other drives- which may be mounted?

    The whole thing works with the Mac OS, without problems?
     
  20. gsusser thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    <<Just wondering --
    With the 4-bay dock, are you able to mount and dis-mount single drives individually?<<

    Yes. The drives act independently of one another. I only have 2 drives inserted and they appear separately on my desktop. The good part is the connection to my computer is with 1 USB cable, not 4 or 1 for each drive.

    <<With no interference or problems regarding -other drives- which may be mounted?

    The whole thing works with the Mac OS, without problems?>>

    So far so good though it's only been 2 days. No interference from the other drive mounted or my 2 other external drives plus Airport Time Capsule. I will be disconnecting and probably selling my 1.5TB LaCie.

    It got excellent reviews. You might want to watch this independent video. It's quite informative and hilarious. It's what sold me.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_UQiZglM6Y
     

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