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  1. #1


    Member Since
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    External backup vs External hardware
    Hello all! I am buying the 2012 Macbook Air this weekend (maybe??? Still deciding if I should wait for the refresh, which has led to countless hours scouring Mac forums).

    Anyway, I am going for the 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD. Even the 256GB SSD won't be enough, so I'm going for the smaller SSD and will use an external hard drive to store the majority of my files such as music, documents, pictures, etc.

    Is this a good idea?

    Should I have two separate HDs, one for backing up what little files I'll have on my Mac, and one for the majority of my files? Or will one suffice?

    I will be primarily using the MBA as a consumer.. light web browsing, grad school coursework, downloading and playing music, etc.

    Any help would be appreciated! Thanks.

  2. #2

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MACelmore View Post
    Anyway, I am going for the 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD. Even the 256GB SSD won't be enough, so I'm going for the smaller SSD and will use an external hard drive to store the majority of my files such as music, documents, pictures, etc.

    Is this a good idea?
    In my humble opinion...no!

    More than likely you're getting the MacBook Air for it's lighter weight, sleeker looking design, etc. But what's really the point if you have to carry an external hard drive with you everywhere...and have to constantly plug & unplug this external HD into the MacBook Air to have access to those files??

    I understand that a 128gig or 256gig of flash storage isn't enough (and expensive). But if you need more storage...a MacBook Air + an external HD is really not the best way to go.

    If you can live without the MacBook Air...then I would suggest getting a MacBook Pro with a 500gig or 750gig traditional hard drive...then remove the CD/DVD drive from it...and install a 128gig or 256gig internal SSD drive (if you really want a 2nd internal SSD).

    Quote Originally Posted by MACelmore View Post
    Should I have two separate HDs, one for backing up what little files I'll have on my Mac, and one for the majority of my files? Or will one suffice?
    You always want a separate hard drive for your backups. So whatever computer you decide to get...you need at least one external HD just for backup purposes.

    HTH,

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  3. #3


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    Thanks for the reply Nick. I guess I'm trying to have my cake and eat it too . I'll have to make a decision I guess.

    I may just put my iTunes onto the external HD and keep everything else on the SSD since I mainly need the portability to go to and from classes and such.

    Again, thanks! Especially on specifying that I need two separate options for this.

  4. #4

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MACelmore View Post
    I may just put my iTunes onto the external HD and keep everything else on the SSD since I mainly need the portability to go to and from classes and such.
    A 13" MacBook Pro and a 13" MacBook Air are really equally as portable. We're really just talking a little bit of weight difference. And if you got a 13" MacBook Pro...you would have LOADS more internal storage!

    With the MacBook Pro you have so much more flexibility:

    - upgradeable ram (up to 16gig vs. 8gig for the MBA)
    - upgradeable storage
    - able to install two internal storage devices (or keep the CD/DVD drive installed).

    FYI...the MacBook Air does not have an SSD inside...it has "flash storage".

    Something to think about.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  5. #5


    Member Since
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    Well, the real question to ask yourself here is simply this: which files do I need access to ALL THE TIME?

    For many people, their iTunes library primarily "lives" on their iPhone, so maybe you DON'T need to carry the whole iTunes library around on your notebook all the time -- syncing and stuff can be done with the cloud or when at home, so the iTunes library is a good candidate to "offload."

    For some people, likewise the iPhoto Library. And Movies (in short, most media). This would save a lot of space on the boot drive of course, but it also makes your machine less fun when you're out and about!

  6. #6


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    FYI...the MacBook Air does not have an SSD inside...it has "flash storage".

    Something to think about.

    - Nick
    Um, what? Of course a MacBook Air has an SSD. What are you talking about here??

  7. #7


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    I just love the form factor of the Air so much. Perhaps it's not for me though. I'll have to go to the Apple store and play around with both of them. If paying a few more hundred dollars makes life much more easier, I suppose that would be worth it.

  8. #8

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
    Um, what? Of course a MacBook Air has an SSD. What are you talking about here??
    If you go to the Apple Store online...and check out the configuration pages for new notebooks...Apple always uses the terminology:

    - "flash storage" for MacBook Airs and retina-MacBook Pro's (photo 1 below)
    - SSD for "regular" 13" and 15" MacBook Pro's if upgrading from a rotational HD to an SSD (photo 2 below)

    Photo 1:



    Photo 2:



    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  9. #9

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MACelmore View Post
    I just love the form factor of the Air so much. Perhaps it's not for me though.
    I'm really not trying to talk you out of purchasing a MBA.

    But if you cannot bring all of your day to day necessary files with you (without an external HD)...then it sort of semi-defeats the purpose of the ultra portable/ulta-sleek MBA.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  10. #10


    Member Since
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    Regardless of the marketing-speak, they are all SSDs. Its not nice to confuse the newbs like that.

  11. #11


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    Quote Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
    Um, what? Of course a MacBook Air has an SSD. What are you talking about here??
    I was just going to Google this one, but it confused me as well. The way I understand (understood?) SSD is a lighter, faster, version of HDD.

  12. #12

    chscag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
    Regardless of the marketing-speak, they are all SSDs. Its not nice to confuse the newbs like that.
    Come on chas....

    Nick's terminology is correct. Someone who is new should appreciate learning the difference. How many newb posts have you read that confuse hard drive space with system memory? Maybe we shouldn't correct those either?

  13. #13

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
    Regardless of the marketing-speak, they are all SSDs. Its not nice to confuse the newbs like that.
    Take it easy buddy! This is the terminology Apple uses.

    We live in an "Apple World"...and if someone is looking to purchase a new computer from Apple...this is the terminology Apple uses on the configuration and specification pages. So I actually am being consistent and clear...with the terms Apple uses.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  14. #14


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    I feel like there's some kind of ritual I have to go through to become an official member.

    Buy a Mac
    Know the Mac Bible word for word
    Submit hair sample for Macliness
    Sip blood from the Holy Cup

    Joking! Thanks for the replies and clearing it up.

  15. #15

    Dysfunction's Avatar
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    Way... way too many specs to list.
    If you can afford it, go Thunderbolt externals. The speed increase (over ANY USB or Firewire) is worth the cost, for your usage.
    mike
    This machine kills fascists
    Got # ? phear the command line!

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