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Thread: Optimal Working and BU Drivers for a 2015 iMac

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    Optimal Working and BU Drivers for a 2015 iMac

    It pains me to realize how much I haven't paid attention to tech, twenty years ago I knew everything about RAIDs and SCSI chains. Then I stopped caring. Or at least until now ;-p

    Right now I have a 2015 iMac 5K with a 3tb Fusion Drive along with a slew of 8tb USB 3 or 2 external WD drives. Every two years or so I buy a couple new external drives and stash the old ones off site, fireproofs, etc.

    The 3tb internal Fusion drive is 80% full of apps, OS, small docs and raw files. My photo collection is running around 2.5tb and I also have some 4tb Time Machine files. (I edit ruthlessly to keep the size down.)

    Going forward, halfway through this machine's life, what's the most efficient way to set this machine up? I could swap the 3tb internal for an 8tb one and have everything matching for ease of backup and duplication. I've never felt like the Fusion drive was "too slow" in Photoshop, I rarely have a slow down.

    Would moving all my photos and raw files over to a USB 3 external make sense? Would going over to a SSD internal be that much snappier or would the saves over USB 3 be a bottleneck?

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    Re: Optimal Working and BU Drivers for a 2015 iMac

    Since nobody responded but perhaps somebody on this forum may actually use a computer for image editing... here is what I ended up doing. I bought an 8tb Thunderbolt 2 7200 RPM G-Drive for $450 and moved all my working files over to it. Then I took the two 8tb USB 3.0 drives I had and made them Time Machine back up disks. I reformatted one disk at a time so I still had one current back up during the reformat process (and everything was also on my internal drive). Now I am taking older 4 and 6tb drives and allowing them to make fresh Time Machine back ups (takes about 20 hours via USB) and storing them off site in case of disaster. Within a week I'll have multiple copies stashed at various family member's houses. Once I'm all set and secure I will probably reformat my iMac's internal drive and reinstall a clean system and only the apps, fonts, and utilities I actually use, leaving at least a TB of free space.

    It surprised me but editing photos off even the USB 3 drives seems just as fast as the internal Fusion drive, no noticeable slow down.

    There is a part of me that still wants cloud storage at least for the essentials. That's doable but the hard part is determining what the essentials are? At the very least my website uses 3600 pixel images which are good enough to print from in a pinch. If you really edit things down you can just as well leave images on Flickr and Dropbox indefinitely, knowing you can download them in the future.

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    Re: Optimal Working and BU Drivers for a 2015 iMac

    Just saw your thread ...

    My suggestion would to build your own cloud ... Look at the QNAP servers ... I have a four slot TVS-471 ... one slot has a SSD drive for I/O speed
    and the other 3 have 8 TB drives done as a Raid 5. Their software can do a restore if one of the drives fail ... I use the HGST enterprise drives
    rated at 1 million MTBF.

    It is connected to my main MacPro via ethernet ... and has an optional 40GbE card for future machines ... https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/searc...rch=yes&sts=ps

    I have a bunch of external G tech raids directly connected but use the QNAP as the ultimate third backup. It resides on the second floor of my house and
    is dead quiet ... never hear it.

    The admin software is very simple and there are regular seamless firmware updates.

    They also make 6 and 8 slot solutions.

    I think that it helps to look forward and anticipate how one can move data over the next couple of decades ... their solution seems pretty comprehensive and got
    great reviews.

    Their website is here ... https://www.qnap.com/solution/photo-storage/en-us/

    And if you have the drives you can just get the unit and move things over.

    So I mentioned cloud storage ... your unit is given its own address so you can use it as cloud storage anywhere you have internet access ... and if it is on and the router is up
    you do not need your iMac to be running.

    Just a thought,

    Bob

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    Re: Optimal Working and BU Drivers for a 2015 iMac

    Just for some information. I'm more than aware that the go to RAID configuration these days is a RAID 5 or 6 implementation. The view is that it's safer than RAID 0 and offers greater capacity than RAID 1. In all of that I would agree. The problem it introduces is not necessarily obvious and I only stumbled across it by accident. Usually we think about the system in the sense that if a drive fails we can simply replace it and there is sufficient parity across the remaining drives to rebuild the information ...again, all true. The really problem is that the drives are not the only unit of failure.

    In my case, I had a power supply die on a, then unsupported, QNAP NAS. Given some initial difficulty I was experiencing in trying to locate a similar power supply, I began looking at a potential replacement for the NAS itself. Firstly, there is no standardisation on how NAS manufacturers implement their bridge boards (the hardware/software mechanism for managing the RAID configurations) which means that if a NAS box itself died (motherboard issues, etc) you could not run your RAID 5 drives in another brand of NAS. So you say, "that's easily fixed, I'll just buy another brand XXX the same as my last one and slot them in". What I found at the time was that QNAP had since rewritten their bridge board implementation on their current NAS boxes and as such would not understand how to mount a RAID 5 configuration that had been created on my model. Although not necessarily being a high or immediate risk, it is risk nonetheless; and because there is often a reasonable time component involved before your current NAS might become superseded, you are more likely to have a significant amount of data exposed to that risk.

    I was fortunate in that i) I found another power supply and ii) I was only using RAID 1. The failure also happened just days before I was caught up in a redundancy and where do you think my resume was stored? With RAID 1 I just pulled out a drive and slotted it into a bare-drive mounting and instantly had access to everything from the RAID.

    These higher RAID configurations work well in IT environments where RAID is run on standard server hardware and is managed via Windows Server or Linux operating systems. If something fails, "any" part of the software/hardware chain can easily be replaced.

    Just an explanation as to why I would be very cautious about using personal RAID implementations outside of RAID 1.
    Craig Cooper
    Australia
    Flickr
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    Re: Optimal Working and BU Drivers for a 2015 iMac

    LOL back in the day I was technically adept and ran SCSI-chained RAID arrays in order to get faster Photoshop performance from my 68030 and 68040 Macs. But for the last 10-15 years I've enjoyed my relative ignorance and bliss... buy a new upper-middle Mac every 5 years with lots of RAM, plug in off the shelf $200 hard drives and forget about reading tech journals and forums all night long.

    And that's just it, while I was a professional with clients who nowadays would require a lot of data, nowadays I shoot for myself. I want $200 stand along drives backing up an iMac, not a server rack backing up a studio's Mac Pro. Having all that hardware is a failure point or at least a few looming sleepless all-nighters in itself, besides being far more money that I can rationalize.

    My entire catalog is still under 4tb. In five years that will fit onto a flash drive on my keychain.

    As for future proofing my data, argh... I used to own a 100 Syquest, then Zip Drives, along with tape back up and spent $2k on a CD-R writer. I'm well acquainted with the transition process! Yet Photoshop still opens my files from 1990 (even though I saved them as EPS hahaha).

    Sorry to be a fossil but I just want a PLUG AND PLAY solution that's EASY for my AARP-addled brain.

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    Re: Optimal Working and BU Drivers for a 2015 iMac

    Boy it really sped up fast, Thunderbolt 3 rocks!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Re: Optimal Working and BU Drivers for a 2015 iMac

    Quote Originally Posted by docmoore View Post
    Just saw your thread ...

    My suggestion would to build your own cloud ... Look at the QNAP servers ... I have a four slot TVS-471 ... one slot has a SSD drive for I/O speed
    and the other 3 have 8 TB drives done as a Raid 5. Their software can do a restore if one of the drives fail ... I use the HGST enterprise drives
    rated at 1 million MTBF.

    It is connected to my main MacPro via ethernet ... and has an optional 40GbE card for future machines ... https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/searc...rch=yes&sts=ps

    I have a bunch of external G tech raids directly connected but use the QNAP as the ultimate third backup. It resides on the second floor of my house and
    is dead quiet ... never hear it.

    The admin software is very simple and there are regular seamless firmware updates.

    They also make 6 and 8 slot solutions.



    I think that it helps to look forward and anticipate how one can move data over the next couple of decades ... their solution seems pretty comprehensive and got
    great reviews.

    Their website is here ... https://www.qnap.com/solution/photo-storage/en-us/

    And if you have the drives you can just get the unit and move things over.

    So I mentioned cloud storage ... your unit is given its own address so you can use it as cloud storage anywhere you have internet access ... and if it is on and the router is up
    you do not need your iMac to be running.

    Just a thought,

    Bob
    Hi Bob I've got a qnap 871T ( I think) 8 Bay and was wondering how difficult it would be to set it up as you say as my own personal 'cloud'
    noticed you are using an SL atm - you must try it with a Noctilux - marriage made in heaven.

    atb
    Pete

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