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Other Hardware and Peripherals Other Apple systems and peripherals discussion.

External Hard Drive Questions


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poppi

 
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I am starting to get into iMovie, am looking into adding a second external hard drive to my setup, and need advice. First, a summary of what I presently have:

20” iMac 8.1Intel Core 2 Duo.

Built In ports, L-R viewed from rear:
• 1 Head phone out, optical audio output port
• 2 Audio in, optical audio in port
• 3 , 4, 5 USB 2.0 ports (one receives keyboard, two empty)
• 6 FireWire 400 port (La Cie EHD)
• 7 FireWire 800 port (Sony camcorder dock)
• 8 Ethernet port (10/100/1000 Gigabit base -7)
• 9 Mini DVI video output port

External hard drive La Cie d2 Quadra 500 GB wired to the iMac through the FireWire 400 port (#6). I use this EHD to house my iPhoto files and Time Machine backups

Sony Camcorder dock wired through the FireWire 800 port. This is a new setup, previously I imported videos through the FireWire 400 port, have not yet tried through the 800 port.

Questions for starters:

What is the function of the various ports? The 3 USB ports are obvious but what about the rest?

Do my connections seem correct?

Some of the EHDs I have looked at have Thunder Bolt. What is that and does my iMac have that connectivity? If not is a Thunder Bolt EHD inappropriate for my needs?
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MacInWin

 
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Your setup is fine. The function of the ports is as you have labelled them and any device supporting the protocol of the port can be attached to the port. No, you don't have ThunderBolt on that iMac so getting a ThunderBolt EHD is not a good solution. For you, the fastest EHD you can get would be a FW800 drive. If you get one with two FW800 ports for daisy chaining devices, you could attach your Sony camcorder to the EHD and the EHD to the Firewire 800 port on the iMac. That gives you the fastest data transfer speeds so that big movie files load and save more quickly. The LaCie EHD may have a daisy chain port, so if you wanted to go that way, you could get a FW400 EHD and daisy chain it with the LaCie. Not as fast as the FW800 port, but still pretty quick.

And last, you could get a USB2 EHD and use any of the the open ports for that, but that's the slowest speed for file read and write. I personally found USB drives to be somewhat problematic. My personal experience is that USB drives tended to unmount on their own, but it may have been my EHDs as I haven't seen rants on any websites about it happening.

BTW, you might want ot look at the speed of the Sony Camcorder dock. If it's not capable of FW800 speeds, you are "wasting" that high speed port by connecting a slow device to it. If the LaCie has daisy chain and if the Sony is FW400, you can move the dock to the LaCie and free up the FW800 for your new EHD.
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I just looked up the LaCie quadra and it appears to have FW800. IF that is true, you'll get better performance on the drive if you move it to the FW800 port. According to the specs I saw, it has two FW800 and one FW400 port, so you could daisy chain the Sony dock for now on the FW800 and later on decide whether or not to move the Sony to the FW400 and free up the FW800 for a new FW800 EHD.
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poppi

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacInWin View Post
I just looked up the LaCie quadra and it appears to have FW800. IF that is true, you'll get better performance on the drive if you move it to the FW800 port. According to the specs I saw, it has two FW800 and one FW400 port, so you could daisy chain the Sony dock for now on the FW800 and later on decide whether or not to move the Sony to the FW400 and free up the FW800 for a new FW800 EHD.
You are correct MacInWin. The d2 Quadra has one FW 400, two FW 800, one high speed USB 2.0, and one eSATA port?

What is the eSATA port for? I think my iMac does not have that port but am curious.

Thank you

poppi
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eSATA is another interface for hard drives. You are correct that your iMac does not have one. eSATA is typically used for internal connections for hard drives, but some manufactures put them on the outside too, just in case a user wants to connect a bare drive (no enclosure) for some reason. Personally I never saw any use for it.

I have two FW800 drives daisy chained and it works very well. In my case they are daisy chained off an external monitor that has a FireWire port on it and that connects to my MBP by ThunderBolt. I use one for external storage and the other is a backup to my internal drives.
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poppi

 
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Thank you Jake for your prompt and helpful correspondence. Here is my latest list of questions re the external hard drive. First let me explain that my options are limited to what is offered at the Apple Store. This is because I have a $100 gift certificate for there and there is nothing else in the store that I need. The good news is their prices for the candidate drives are the same as on line merchants. Three options I have looked at are:

La Cie d2 4 TB. I love my present d2 500 GB and would lean toward this option but it has Thunderbolt, which will not work with my iMac so that eliminates the d2.

La Cie Porsche P9233 4 TB. Designed for Mac, USB 3.0 and 2.0, Time machine compatible BUT – no firewire??? That would seem to rule out this option

G Drive (G technology) 4 TB USB 3.0 & 2.0, Firewire 800 and 400. Time Machine compatible. “Recommended for digital photography” . This seems to be the best option.

Appreciate your thoughts on what I have said above and if you have any experience with the G Drive unit

Thank you

Poppi
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Well, I have a LaCie. One of the ruggedized portables. And I've heard good things about the d2, but given that neither of those has FW, that may not work for you, as you said. I don't know anything about the G Drives. Never had one, never used one. Maybe somebody else can chime in here on that subject.

I looked at the online Apple store for Mac accessories and the only drives there with FW were the G Drives. That surprised me. I guess Apple is abandoning Firewire for Thunderbolt and USB3.
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A little off base, but just thought I'd mention...

I use external eSATA RAID and non-RAID drives.

Much better than any FW800, especially when moving 20-30GB single files around.
One of these days I'll get a thunderbolt drive to compare.

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Well, he's sort of stuck to what Apple sells, given that he has a gift cert for Apple and doesn't see anything else he needs there. I didn't see an eSata drives (but I wasn't looking for them) on the Apple online store, just TB and USB3 plus the G Drives with FW. I suppose if he had an eSata external he could daisy chain off the d2 Quadra he already has and be throttled back to the FW speed of that drive's interface. That would work for him, if he can find one in the Apple store.
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poppi

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacInWin View Post
Well, he's sort of stuck to what Apple sells, given that he has a gift cert for Apple and doesn't see anything else he needs there. I didn't see an eSata drives (but I wasn't looking for them) on the Apple online store, just TB and USB3 plus the G Drives with FW. I suppose if he had an eSata external he could daisy chain off the d2 Quadra he already has and be throttled back to the FW speed of that drive's interface. That would work for him, if he can find one in the Apple store.
Thanx for the input but my iMac does not have an eSata port. I think I will be going with the G drive as it appears to be the only 4 TB available that fits my needs

poppi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacInWin View Post
Well, he's sort of stuck to what Apple sells, given that he has a gift cert for Apple and doesn't see anything else he needs there. I didn't see an eSata drives (but I wasn't looking for them) on the Apple online store, just TB and USB3 plus the G Drives with FW. I suppose if he had an eSata external he could daisy chain off the d2 Quadra he already has and be throttled back to the FW speed of that drive's interface. That would work for him, if he can find one in the Apple store.
OK Jake, I have taken the plunge and purchased the G Drive 4 TB EHD. Hooked everything up as follows:

G Drive to iMac with FW 800/800 cable.
Original La Cie 500 GB to G Drive with FW 800/800 cable.

Both drives appear on my desk top so it sounds like I got that part right. Does that sound like the logical interconnects to you?

One other question - I have a Sony camcorder dock which has few connection options. I can connect directly to the iMac via FW 400 cable or directly to the La Cie via FW 800 cable or FW 400 cable. Off hand it seems the La Cie FW 800 would be best. What do you think?

Once again I rally appreciate your guidance on this. I could never do it without your valuable assistance

poppi
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Sounds like a good setup as you have it. If the camera can do FW800 speed transfer, it would be faster to connect to the LaCie with FW800 cable. But either way would work.

Thanks for the kind words, but this isn't really that hard. Apple makes it easy, and when you connect it all up, "it just works."
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Thanks for the kind words, but this isn't really that hard. Apple makes it easy, and when you connect it all up, "it just works."[/QUOTE]

Not hard for you Jake but quite complicated for me and I really do appreciate your kind help.

Two more questions if I may:

I had my Time Machine set up to copy to the original La Cie hard drive. I know how to change that destination to the new G Drive but do I need to do something special to move the old backups to the new drive?

Perhaps more difficult. my iPhoto files are stored on the La Cie drive. How do I set it up and transfer to the new G Drive or is it better to just leave them where they are?

Thanx again

poppi
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OK, now you've shifted to the hard questions! I don't use iPhoto, but here is what Apple says to do. Pretty straightforward.

To move the old backups read this from Apple, it's pretty easy to follow, too. Both of these processes may take a while to complete, so be patient as it goes along.
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