View Full Version : External HD storage?

11-25-2006, 04:48 PM
I do photography and hence generate very large files. At the moment I'm not really looking to upgrade in terms of speed. Mostly, I just want a nice, reliable, incredibly spacious external HD for backup storage. Any suggestions for something from the macgurus store? I've never bought a raw drive and then the enclosure for it so I would love advice on that. I've definitely installed HD's and other components in regular desktop machines, though, so I'm pretty handy with those little micro-screwdrivers.

Hope everyone had a good holiday.
Thanks in advance for any thoughts...

11-25-2006, 05:31 PM
SATA is the way to go... fast and simple but involves more cost up front since you have to buy a card. IF you are trying to save $$ then a Firewire/ATA setup might be best. Simple as well but not as fast

Rick will be along any minute to not only talk you into SATA but he will have some advice on enclosures and drives as well

11-25-2006, 08:52 PM
Hey MJ,

Before I jump in on your question, I have a couple of questions.

What computer you gonna hook to?

How many drives do you foresee needing to attach in the next year or so?

If you had the ability to swap a drive tray in for more storage at lower price, would that make an easier backup/archival system for you than fixed drives?

Generally speaking there is a simple, fast setup that is just right for you. We just need to determine what that is.


11-26-2006, 10:37 PM
Hi there--
I've got a 1.25 dual processor MDD G4 with 2G of RAM. It was the model offered right after the G5's came online as an option for people who needed a machine that would still boot into OS9.

Right now I've maxed it out with HD's (if memory serves). I've got a 160G, a 120G, and a 250G drive. Lots of this is essentially archived Photoshop files. I'd love to off-load it to a legitimate storage drive so I could use nice big chunks of those internal drives for PS scratch disks. The dual processor is amazing with PS and large files (hence my not feeling too much need for a speed boost).

In terms of adding drives, I'm not seeing the need for more than just 1 really big drive in the next year, though I suppose that could change. I'm not generating the same amount of big files these days (less volume; more quality), but I'm definitely generating some.

I do kind of like the idea of swappable drive trays....even though I'm not completely clear on what that means. Sounds very high tech, though, and I like that!

I assume this wouldn't use the USB port. I have to say---I had a very bizarre experience with transferring data to an external USB drive someone gave me recently. It was incredibly slow from my G4 to this external drive, though from my G4 iBook, it was just as fast as normal. Oops! Guess this is the wrong forum for that.

Thanks so much for your help.
It's nice to be back in guru-land!

11-26-2006, 10:39 PM
P.S. I also have a SCSI card in this machine--an ADPT, 2930CU--that I was using for my legacy scanners.

11-27-2006, 08:31 AM
Avoid USB (for drives) like the plague. Good for scanners, printers, keyboards etc

Also that scsi card is also a slow one, if you have a need for it (Tape drive, plotter, M.O. drive etc) thats fine if you aren't using it there is no reason to keep it in there.

You will want SATA (preferred) or firewire 400/800

Another member has an SATA card on ebay right now for sale looks like a fine one.

Here's the thread (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22100)

Here's the auction (http://cgi.ebay.com/Macintosh-PCI-SATA-hardware-RAID-controller-extras_W0QQitemZ300051938215QQihZ020QQcategoryZ399 68QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem)

Rick, didn't you have some new firewire enclosures online recently?

11-27-2006, 10:24 AM

We are, this week, going online with a pair of one bay offerings that are either SATA (requiring installation of a SATA host card) or FW800. In most all cases the enclosure will use SATA hard drives and will be equipped with a hotswap tray.


We'll be ready to ship around midweek. This is THE BEST Firewire Enclosure on the market. No comparison to anything else. It can be left up and running 24/7. It will keep drives nearly at ambient room temperature. We typically see 82 to 84 f in a 75 degree office. And it will run any SATA drive.

The trays are identical to our multibay SATA Burly enclosures. Extra standard trays are under $20, so if you want to have an archive drive to store offsite just get an extra tray and leave the drive in it. The trays are aluminum and fully surround/protect the drive when out of the enclosure.

The FW version of the enclosure will ship with USB2 cable, FW800 cable, FW400 to FW800 cable and a FW jumper cable for stacking another on top and a standard 110 power cable. Internal power supply and fans for long drive life.

Only the best here.


11-29-2006, 07:23 AM
Thanks very much.
I'll stay on the lookout for it and then be back with any final questions before I order.

11-29-2006, 10:46 PM
Is this, by any chance, the new product you were mentioning?


Though it doesn't seem to talk about firewire.

Maybe I've got the wrong page...

11-30-2006, 08:55 AM
Same case, just the SATA -> SATA version. We are waiting on the last cables to arrive in the warehouse. Then we will be able to ship the Firewire -> SATA version. Basically everything is identical but instead of taking the SATA cable direct out the back it goes through a Firewire bridge converting the interface to Firewire. Costs more than SATA since you end up needing a bridge and FW cables to complete the assembly instead of just a SATA cable.

Should be up today or tomorrow, ready to rock and rolla.


12-01-2006, 05:54 PM
Hi there!

I'm guessing this is it?

Oxford 924 Firewire to SATA drive enclosure w/ Seagate 320GB SATA Drive

I'm thinking this is the drive for me---320GB--nice and roomy where I can safely archive a bunch of large files and then delete them from my internal drives. I'm down to about 10G free on a 200G drive, and it's similar situation on my other 2 internal drives. They could really use the breathing room.

So...since I've never dealt with SATA, etc., I just wanted to make sure before I ordered that the above will play nicely with a 1.25 dual processor MDD G4 with 2 firewire and 2 USB connectors on the back.

Any advice on formatting it for use as a backup drive? And I'd also be interested in loading a clean backup system on it to use in case of emergency.

Thanks so much!

12-02-2006, 08:26 AM
I would invest in FW800 PCI card if you use the FW version. You really don't want FW400 if you can avoid it. In fact, I got better performance off FW800 than off the internal ATA in G4 MDD, and the Seagate 7200.10 was even better.

I definitely recommend a dedicated PCI card for FW800, and then another probably for USB2. Even on my Mac Pro it has ($110) FW800 PCIe to add a 2nd channel (and waiting for SATA PCIe for later).

12-02-2006, 09:34 AM
No issues whatsoever with just attaching the Firewire enclosure and formatting the drive. It will play nice with any computer that has Firewire or USB 2 bus. Stick with Firewire though as that bus is much more capable of hard disk type data transfers than USB ever will be.

You can make a bootable copy of your data using DIsk Utility Restore or Carbon COpy CLoner or one of the other backup utilities. We use SynchronizeProX from www.qdea.com for all our backup needs here.

Make a partition for the OS emergency backup on the slower inner tracks of the drive. You probably won't use that OS much so why waste the faster outer tracks on it.

The outer big and fast partition then gets data backup. Set up an autosystem if you can. That way the backup happens whether you remember or not. Depends on if you leave your computer up and running or not though. You can always do a system that every time you shutdown you run your backups. But stick to it. If you shutdown, BACKUP! No excuse that the kids are yelling to go to baseball practice. Or grandma is going to be mad cause we're late. It has to get done to be a workable system.

For a backup drive I personally don't add a PCI card. The internal bus is plenty for my purposes. To each their own though, a PCI card will add lots of speed.


12-07-2006, 10:44 PM
The drive came today!
I'm very excited. It's all hooked up and turned on. Then I realized----oh, right! I have to format it. Apparently, it's been longer than I thought since I installed a drive.

My copy of HDST is very old, though perhaps I could update it. Do you have any particular recommendations for initializing the drive? My system---Disk Utility specifically----isn't seeing the drive to initialize it.

Thanks again!

12-07-2006, 11:29 PM
DU should see it, and is the preferred method. Wanna review your setup and connections? Lets double check everything.

12-08-2006, 05:52 AM
A restart did the trick. I also moved the connector to the other FW port on the back of the HD. This drive is a thing of beauty---hefty and sturday and sleek.

So DU is seeing it now, but I'm not sure how to tell it which part of the drive to use (inner vs. outer part, etc). When it divides things into partitions, is one or the other naturally the faster part?

Is there any reason I should do more than 2 partitions---one for a backup HD and the rest for storage? I'm assuming that an external FW drive partition wouldn't be a good idea for a PS scratch disk--that the internal HD's would be much faster, yes?

Thanks again---

12-08-2006, 06:10 AM
In DU or another utility such as SoftRAID, the first partition you create is the outermost portion of the platters, the fastest volume. As you create a second and third or more partitions, they get progressively slower. k

12-08-2006, 06:51 AM

So then when I load up a system folder, I ask it to install on Partition 2, which I've made just large enough comfortably to fit the system plus some head room?

Nice to hear from you, Kaye. You've saved my life on an old 8100 a few times in the past....

12-08-2006, 07:04 AM
Take some time and kick this around.......you wanna get it right the first time. How much room is enough?

12-08-2006, 07:08 AM
Good point!
I'm not really sure how much room is enough.

12-08-2006, 07:28 AM
There is rarely "enough" ;)

If you keep your whole media libraries on your boot drive? if you use iDVD (can require 24-32GB of free unfragmented space).

If it was only for an emergency boot volume and didn't have the whole kitchen sink... 10GB maybe. iLife can take 10GB (audio files for Garageband eat up almost that much).

50% free space also helps.

That said, I have all my files on #2 disk drive (not partition) and a slim OS and apps that takes about 14GB.

It is always wise to have at least one emergency boot volume, another which is a backup/clone of your working system.

12-08-2006, 08:22 AM

8100, reminds me of my Power 120 days. My main boot drive in my G5, DU formatted as one volume, Mac OS Extended (Journaled), is a 300GB SATA drive. I have everything including the kitchen sink on it, lots of digital photos (currently 3,682 photos just in iPhoto), lots of applications and utilities, many completed iDVD projects, on and on...

Capacity after format: 279GB
Available: 142GB
Used: 137GB
% used: 49%

04-20-2007, 08:06 PM
I can't believe I've filled up almost 250G, but it's true. Now I'd love to take advantage of the hot-swapping firewire drive/enclosures that this is capable of. Any specific drive/tray combo I should look for to be compatible with this?

Thanks very much!

04-20-2007, 08:29 PM
BurlyHS-b-t - Standard SATA Drive Tray $19.50

0A33437 - Hitachi T7K500 500 GB SATAII HD 16MB Cache $224.25

Again, this would be adding a swap drive to the SATA firewire enclosure that's going to my G4 MDD 125G dual processor Mac

Thanks again---MJ