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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

MacBook Pro - Strategy for Performance & Backup Approach

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Member Since: Jul 11, 2008
Posts: 2
mdrdsr is on a distinguished road

mdrdsr is offline
I purchased a MBP last October. I love this machine. I also have 2 External HDs that I use for primary (working) disk for my images and a boot partition and the other External HD for a backup copy of all images from the 1st External HD. I am considering making some changes/upgrades and would like some opinions. I am not going to discuss specific products as I would like to keep the discussion to the approach and not brand.

Main Purpose/Uses are for Digital Photography. I use Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom. These are the two main applications. I also run Parallels (usually when I am not doing my digital Photography work) to run MS Office apps.

Currently this is my setup:

MacBook Pro 15” 2.4 GHz, 2GB RAM (667), 160GB 7200 HD
• This internal drive is used for OS and Applications
• The Lightroom Catalog is also on the internal HD – /Users/myname/Pictures/Lightroom
• The CS3 Scratch Disk is also located on the internal drive

2 External HD – 500GB ; Western Digital My Book Pro (USB, FW400 & 800) Both connected via FW800. The second daisy chained to the first
• The first drive is partitioned into Two MAC OS Extended Partitions consising of a Boot Clone (150GB/80GB available) – as a backup of local documents (office, email, etc) that reside on my MBP internal drive and in case I need to boot from other than the internal drive. The other partition is for Storage (315GB/154GB available). This partition is where I keep all of my images (RAW, JPG, PSD, etc). This is the critical data.
• The second drive is a single partition also MAC OS Extended (465GB/304 Available). This single partition is a copy of the Storage partition from the 1st External Hard drive – another copy of my images.

I use SuperDuper to 1) refresh the Boot partition from my internal drive each night, 2) copy my data partition from External HD 1 to External HD2 each night.

I am considering the following changes. My goals are 1) Better performance specifically for CS3 and Lightroom (as well as in general) and 2) more robust backup protection.

• Upgrade to 4GB of RAM from 2GB
• Add another drive that will become my Primary Data Drive that contains all of my images and that I work from. Takes the place of the current 1st Drive that has the 2 partitions. I am considering 1 TB ; Raid 0; eSATA via card on my MBP. I will Partition this new drive in to 2 Partitions - 1) CS3 Scratch Disk
and 2) Primary Data Storage and working disk for all of my images
• The Current 1st 500GB External Drive will remain the same – boot partition and data partition. But, this drive now becomes on-site backup of the Primary storage from the new drive above as well as the Boot partition. Thus I now have my primary storage on eSATA Raid 0.
• The Current 2nd 500GB External Drive will be reformatted and partitioned to look just like the current 1st 500GB External Drive and will also contain a boot partition and a 2nd partition for my data. However, this drive will be refreshed every week and then taken offsite for safety and protection.

How does this sound?
Any major issues? Any “gotchas?”
How big should the CS3 Scratch Disk partition be?
Will I gain better performance?
Is this a better backup strategy now that I incorporate offsite refresh once per week?

Thanks so much for you input in advance. I really do appreciate it.

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cowasaki's Avatar
Member Since: Aug 12, 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 408
cowasaki is on a distinguished road
Mac Specs: Mac pro Quad Xeon; 15" Retina Macbook Pro; macbooks (family); Macbook pro 17"; intel & G4 iMacs.

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I would wait for a short time as half terabyte 9.5mm laptop drives are just round the corner as are 320Gb 7200rpm units. Fitting a 320Gb 7200 unit would give you more storage space and equally due to the increase in aerial density the drive will also be quicker. Yes you would get a speed increase with an eSATA interface and external eSATA RAID box with drives BUT that makes your computer non portable and the performance increase would be small. I did put a 75Gb raptor in one of the drive bays of my pro as a scratch drive for photoshop and to be honest I couldn't tell any difference other than the noise so I took it back out for more storage space with a larger drive.

How much is an eSATA interface, eSATA cable, eSATA box, at least two drives ?? You could put this towards a Mac Pro as a second computer with its obvious advantages. I use a Mac pro as my main computer for photography with a laptop and this allows you to keep the pictures on both machines as an added backup.

As for memory, just stick 4Gb in. I just bought 4Gb from crucial for £60 delivered to the house within 48 hours for my new macbook pro. It takes literally 5 minutes to fit and does not void your warranty. I will be including a photo artical on my site of the upgrade in the next week together with several other upgrades I am doing. You can stick your original 2Gb on ebay too (you should get £20) making it even cheaper. You will get a bigger increase in performance from this change than messing with external drive arrays.

As for backup:

I clone my boot drives to a lacie external raid array.
I have a leopard X server which holds a backup of everything.
I have a 'negatives' drive on my pro + a 'working' drive.
I have an off site backup of everything + a 100 disc tub of DVDs at work containing running backups!

You can never have enough backups and they should never be stored at the same location to all the rest of your kit. Billy Burglar would have your laptop and your external drives then wipe the lot and a fire would take the lot too.

Experienced computer user, applications programmer and component level service engineer but came to the Apple platform with intro of intel!. Pro-photographer and director of electronics company.
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