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Author Topic: working on external storage  (Read 24844 times)
MacGuido
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« on: May 21, 2007, 06:13:17 PM »
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Hi all,
I am about to purchase an external HD drive to store my RAW pictures. Although I am struggling to choose the best product (any advice on this would be greatly appreciated) I am wondering whether or not the work speed with aperture would be limited working on external storage.
Also, do you think I should buy a firewire 800/400 over an USB one? Which are the advantages?
By the way, I prefere a portable 2.5" HD over an 3.5".
Are the desktop HD solutions more reliable than the portable?
Thank you for your help!

Regards
Guido
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Guido Tramontano Guerritore

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CatOne
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2007, 10:24:17 PM »
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Desktop (3.5") drives will be faster than the 2.5" drives.  It's physics.

Also, Firewire 800 is the fastest bus speed for external devices.  Firewire 400 is second fastest, and USB 2.0 is pretty slow for an external drive (the spec says 480 Mbits/sec but that's frankly deceptive).  Figure a Firewire 3.5" 800 drive will probably be at least 2x as fast as a USB 2.0 drive, and it may be more than that.

What machine are you working with right now, and what internal drives do you have?  A 3.5" Firewire 800 drive on a laptop will be faster than internal storage -- it should probably be about the same speed as an internal drive on a Mac Pro.
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MacGuido
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« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2007, 02:09:16 AM »
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Desktop (3.5") drives will be faster than the 2.5" drives.  It's physics.

Also, Firewire 800 is the fastest bus speed for external devices.  Firewire 400 is second fastest, and USB 2.0 is pretty slow for an external drive (the spec says 480 Mbits/sec but that's frankly deceptive).  Figure a Firewire 3.5" 800 drive will probably be at least 2x as fast as a USB 2.0 drive, and it may be more than that.

What machine are you working with right now, and what internal drives do you have?  A 3.5" Firewire 800 drive on a laptop will be faster than internal storage -- it should probably be about the same speed as an internal drive on a Mac Pro.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=118938\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Thank you for your reply.
I am currently using an Intel based MacBook Pro, C2D, 2GB ram.
But apart from transferring data, which is faster than USB, the FW 800 works faster even when doing postproduction?
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Guido Tramontano Guerritore

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colinm
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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2007, 10:34:49 PM »
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But apart from transferring data, which is faster than USB, the FW 800 works faster even when doing postproduction?
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Doing your postproduction work requires frequent transfer of data to and from the drive. If you're storing your working library on an external drive, FireWire 800 is certainly the best option. eSATA would also be an option if you don't mind limited portability—you're much more likely at present to find a random computer with a FireWire port (be it 400 or 800) than one with an eSATA interface.

If you only ever use your own computers, that may not make a difference to you, as you can just pop an appropriate card in your MacBook Pro or Mac Pro.

Keep in mind you don't need the same level of speed for Aperture Vault (backup) drives, so you can save some money there if it feels like you're splurging on the main drive. Since you're not working directly from the vault, the only time you'll really see a speed difference is on the initial complete backup (which only happens once) or the dreaded library restore.
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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2007, 02:50:10 AM »
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I wouldn't worry too much about the speed difference between ports. Opening a RAW file of few tens of megs takes a few seconds, and even doubling that time is not an issue for most people. Your main HDD or a separate scratch drive(s) are the ones that bottleneck your PS performance - not the drive you store your RAW files at since you access them only twice (once reading, once writing).

Compatibility is more important if you plan on moving the drive between different computers and/or systems (Mac vs PC). USB 2.0 wins hands down on that.

As for drives, I've used a Hyperdrive SPACE for half a year, and love it. It works as an external HDD wonderfully. I use it to transfer my RAWs from memory cards in the field, and as an off-computer second backup drive. If you choose to get one, get the casing-only and buy and install your own store-bought HDD to save bucks.

There are several other portable 2.5" HDD casings out there, but they are generally realllllly slow as external HDDs due to design issues - slow enough to make a difference. HDDs marketed as "external" rather than "portable" are of the fast type. Usually. Yes, it's a pain, read reviews, verify transfer speeds, caveat emptor, etc.
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nigeldh
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2007, 02:58:12 PM »
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Guido,

I would suggest that you use the external hard disk as secondary storage if possible.

Sometimes the cooling on external hard disks leave something to be desired. I just toasted an external Seagate hard disk by running it 24/7 for several days while doing a hard disk recovery. Fortunately I had just gotten the drive from a large retailer so I  returned to them and got a replacement unit.

I like Seagate hard disks because they have a 5 year warranty, Maxtor have a 3 year warranty.
USB 2.0 is the most popular interface and will cost less. The Firewire 800 is much faster.  And you can get an eSATA PCMCIA card for your Mac notebook.

I would suggest 2.5" external drives only if you need portable storage to carry with your notebook. Otherwise use 3.5" external drives. Since hard drives are mechanical and wear out, the more you can keep them powered off, the better.

Nigel
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MacGuido
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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2007, 04:45:57 AM »
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Guido,

I would suggest that you use the external hard disk as secondary storage if possible.

Sometimes the cooling on external hard disks leave something to be desired. I just toasted an external Seagate hard disk by running it 24/7 for several days while doing a hard disk recovery. Fortunately I had just gotten the drive from a large retailer so I  returned to them and got a replacement unit.

I like Seagate hard disks because they have a 5 year warranty, Maxtor have a 3 year warranty.
USB 2.0 is the most popular interface and will cost less. The Firewire 800 is much faster.  And you can get an eSATA PCMCIA card for your Mac notebook.

I would suggest 2.5" external drives only if you need portable storage to carry with your notebook. Otherwise use 3.5" external drives. Since hard drives are mechanical and wear out, the more you can keep them powered off, the better.

Nigel
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi Nigel,
thank you for your suggestion.
Yes the destop 3.5" HDD are by far better, in fact I decided to get both. As for the 3.5" I like the LaCie quadra 500GB which is an eSATA with quadruple interface (FW800,400 and USB2),
[a href=\"http://store.apple.com/Apple/WebObjects/italystore.woa/wa/RSLID?mco=9469E1C2&nplm=TM178]See it here[/url]
also the Western Digital My Book Pro drives my attention...
as for the portable one I think I will get an Lacie rugged FW800.
Which one between the lacie and western digital do you think would be the best choice?
Also, there is a RAID 0 version Lacie, I am wondering if it worths a few more bucks...
cheers
Guido
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Guido Tramontano Guerritore

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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2007, 06:36:01 PM »
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I wouldn't worry too much about the speed difference between ports. Opening a RAW file of few tens of megs takes a few seconds, and even doubling that time is not an issue for most people. Your main HDD or a separate scratch drive(s) are the ones that bottleneck your PS performance - not the drive you store your RAW files at since you access them only twice (once reading, once writing).

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=119130\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Sounds good theoretically, but I purchased two WD portable USB drives, and they performed terrible with LR.  The 400FW are better, but I just ordered 2 200gig FW 800 drives, 7200RPM to use for portable storage, from Other World Computing.

I prefer keeping my LR catalog in the folder with the images as it makes it easy to move back and forth to the desktop.  I'm sure that is part of the problem as well.

I have Aperture, but it doesn't support the Phase backs, so I don't know how it would perform.

Every little bit helps.

Of course, i have a lot of big files (P45 back), which makes it tougher.
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jbfraley
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« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2007, 02:04:51 PM »
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I would avoid the MyBook line.  I have the 1TB MyBook and the raid management software disables your ability to burn CDs/DVDs.

See this thread for details:

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=4343400
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amumford
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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2007, 12:56:45 PM »
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Not mentioned here yet are the G-Tech line of products - I work in the film post production business in my real life and G-Tech have become the standard for editing and media intensive work which I would contend stresses hard drives much more than most photographic applications.

They're pricey but then you get what you pay for and they have cooling built in - actually they're in the Leopard intro video online as well which lends them some more validity...

My Tuppence                                

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I would avoid the MyBook line.  I have the 1TB MyBook and the raid management software disables your ability to burn CDs/DVDs.

See this thread for details:

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=4343400
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148880\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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budjames
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« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2008, 06:00:13 AM »
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I have a few Lacie external Big Disk Extremes and although they are very nicely designed, I had problems with both of them. One died under warranty and sent back for repair. It worked for a while, but now the FW800 interface stops working randomly so I've connected with FW400. It's out of warranty now.

I purchased an Iomega UltraMax configurable RAID drive. It works great and looks like a mini MacPro with the cheese grater enclosure sitting next to my MacPro 8-core. My only issue with it is that it does not have a power saver/auto on-off mode like the Lacie drives. However, since the MacPro and external drives are all connected to a APC Smart UPS, powering down the UPS after shutting down the Mac kills the power to all of the drives.

Yesterday, I ordered a Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ box to sit on my gigabyte network as a file server. I has 4 TB drives in RAID 5 configuration and I can connect Mac formatted drives to the USB ports to back up this device to Mac-ready drives. I plan on using this as the main backup so that I can clear my desk of the 2 external drives connected to my MacPro. I plan to use these drives for backups that I will rotate off-site each week. I think that this will be the best solution for redundant backups and it has all kinds of power management smarts to conserve energy. It is much faster then my Airport Extreme/USB drive combination that I use for shared documents.

There are lots of options out there and I agree with the other posters that FW external is the way to go to get started. If you are a Mac user with relatively modest backup size needs, then you might want to check out the new Time Capsule 1TB network appliance from Apple.

Cheers.
Bud James
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Bud James
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CatOne
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« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2008, 11:42:41 AM »
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Hi Bud,

Your setup with the ReadyNAS is fairly similar to what I have.

One note, though... the ReadyNAS runs Linux internally and manages the storage as it sees fit.  For drives you connect to its USB connection, I'm 95% sure that the ReadyNAS must format them.  So it won't take HFS+ (Mac) formatted drives -- it will format them with its own file system, and for Linux that's typically EXT2 or EXT3.  So stuff you want to restore from those drives will have to be restored via the ReadyNAS itself, and can't just be plugged straight into the Mac.

I use Time Machine connected to my Mac via Firewire, and then I also use a tool called ChronoSync to replicate stuff as a backup to the ReadyNAS.  It's a nice little box... I got it prior to Infrant's acquisition by NetGear.
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budjames
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« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2008, 05:08:47 AM »
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Hi Bud,

Your setup with the ReadyNAS is fairly similar to what I have.

One note, though... the ReadyNAS runs Linux internally and manages the storage as it sees fit.  For drives you connect to its USB connection, I'm 95% sure that the ReadyNAS must format them.  So it won't take HFS+ (Mac) formatted drives -- it will format them with its own file system, and for Linux that's typically EXT2 or EXT3.  So stuff you want to restore from those drives will have to be restored via the ReadyNAS itself, and can't just be plugged straight into the Mac.

I use Time Machine connected to my Mac via Firewire, and then I also use a tool called ChronoSync to replicate stuff as a backup to the ReadyNAS.  It's a nice little box... I got it prior to Infrant's acquisition by NetGear.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=181719\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

CatOne,

You make a good point about the formatting of external USB devices connected to the ReadyNAS. The latest firmware (4.0+) allows read/write to NTFS formatted drives. I checked this out by calling Netgear presales support. This was the deal clincher for me as it would allow the backup of the ReadyNAS to be read by any Mac should the ReadyNAS fail in any way. Previous versions of the firmware only supported read-only mode of NTFS drives (not very useful).

Here is a buying tip for those who are considering buying one of these devices. The best online prices that I could find last week from a reputable dealer was at Newegg.com. The 4TB version lists for $2,899 and they are selling it for 2,799.99. I purchased the driveless version which lists for $1,049 for $829. I also ordered from Newegg 4 Seagate Barracuda 1TB Sata2 drives for $249.99 each. 3 day UPS shipping was free. So the total for my 4TB ReadyNAS NV+ was only $1,829 for a whopping savings of $900!

Cheers.
Bud James
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Bud James
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daleeman
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« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2008, 07:07:14 AM »
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I will chime in and match what was said by Bud about LaCie. I too had a drive die under warranty, they did replace it but then after warranty passed the interface died and when it did, it took out the circuits on the drive too. I determined this by trying to put a new drive in the external housing, but even a new drive could not pass data through dead interface.

There have been other troubles with LaCie having intermittent interface too. They are nice looking drives, but I’ll take a ugly tool if it really works all the time. I do have a 800 firewire PCMCIA card that I am not using if you desire to add 800 to your system. Contact me privately if you desire.

Over all, I believe 800 firewire is best as other have said. I also have huge respect for raided drives. Recently I protected 70gigs of images because I burn DVDs and have a raid system internal in my PC. One drive died and still all is well.


Lee
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k bennett
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« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2008, 07:32:04 AM »
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I've had drives from almost every brand fail. I just had a major scare yesterday when an older LaCie drive wouldn't mount. I had just finished reorganizing a lot of archive files, and the drive wasn't fully backed up. (My RAW files were, but there were hundreds of working print files, representing weeks or months of scanning and production, which were not. Argh.) Popping out the drive into another enclosure didn't work, but for some reason hooking it up to the original box yesterday evening let it mount. So I pulled off the critical files and all is well. For now. (Just handling the drive may have freed a stuck arm. Dunno.)

Other World Computing sells a nice line of external drives with various interfaces. They are not the cheapest, but they do come with all the cables and other niceties. They also sell dual drives boxes set up for RAID mirroring on the Mac. Not a bad idea if your external drive is used for primary storage (as opposed to backing up an internal drive.)

I just ordered a pair of 250-GB drives to back up my family's Macbooks, and I'll order one of the mirror RAID drives later this month for my photo archive files. When I install the drives, I will place a note in my calendar three years' hence, to replace the drives.

www.macsales.com

The usual disclaimer -- I'm just a satisfied customer.
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« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2008, 09:15:36 AM »
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I've had lots of irritating problems with LaCies, especially with the FW800 port. Don't know why.

I now use Iomega UltraMax 1Tb drives exclusively, and leave them powered up all the time. No problems so far....
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Jack Leavitt
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« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2008, 01:18:23 PM »
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I just purchased a little 3.5 x 5.5 outboard drive 250 gig 5400 rpm 3 inputs usb 2.0, 400  
firewire and 800 firewire includes all cables. I think it was about $169 from http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/on-the-go/.
Works very satisfactory for me.
Hope this helps.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2008, 07:53:02 AM »
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SCSI remains the king for ultimate performance with external units.

I have been using a 6TB Wiebetech RTX600 unit configured in Raid 5 for one year and couldn't be happier, except for the noise that is a bit too high.

The unit is connected to a MAc Pro using a SCSI320 card.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: August 17, 2008, 07:53:18 AM by BernardLanguillier » Logged

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