advertisement
Forums

The Forum is sponsored by 
 

AAPL stock: Click Here

You are currently viewing the Tips and Deals forum
Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: magicmikey
Date: September 06, 2019 11:52PM
I purchased a 2018 Mac Mini a little over a month ago. I ordered it with a 512GB SSD. I want to keep my applications and system on the SSD and put my data on an external hard drive. I do photography professionally so I have a lots and lots of photos on my drive and I am working in Photoshop and Lightroom on nearly a daily basis.

I upgraded from a Mid 2012 MacBook Pro that has a 256GB SSD for the system and a 2TB hard drive for data in it (I installed a Data Doubler.) My data drive is starting to fill up so that's why I'm wanting to go to 4TB. I've been researching what would be the most reliable 4TB external drive to use on a daily basis for storing data vs. using it as a backup drive and haven't found anything definitive.

My initial thought was to get an OWC Mercury Elite Pro. After reading some things online, I wasn't sure if I needed to go that route or simply get a 4TB WD My Book. (Basically, what I read is that most drives start to fail after three years so I'm not sure a more expensive drive is the way to go.) I do know that Mercury Elite Pro will come with a 7200 RPM hard drive in it while the WD has a 5400 RPM drive. The WD is cheaper but I didn't particularly like the number of complaints about this hard drive failing and, quite frankly, I see lots of complaint about failing external hard drives in general.

Until this point, I've never used an external drive as a daily use drive. I've only used them for backup and I want reasonable speed but, more importantly, I want reliability. Right now, I am using a 2TB WD My Passport external hard drive as my data drive. (It was one of my backups from my MacBook Pro.) It's working pretty well. I haven't noticed much, if any, of delay in opening photo files or data files from it.

I'm looking for some recommendations as to specific drives you recommend and why. (I do want to keep the cost to below $200 – I can't go Thunderbolt 3 for the drive for now.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: mattkime
Date: September 07, 2019 12:18AM
>Basically, what I read is that most drives start to fail after three years so I'm not sure a more expensive drive is the way to go.

I'm fairly certain that you could swap the drive on the OWC enclosure but that WD drive _might_ be integrated with the hard drive in a terrible way. That said, you're right not to trust any HD. Sure, some are better than others but they all fail eventually.

Do you move old projects off your laptop into some sort of archive setup? Might be worth considering doing that if you're not.

I guess it would be helpful to know the larger picture of how much working data you need at a time, if you have an archive process, and what your backup system is like.

---

Actually, there's no wrong choice here. Just depends if you want to save money or get something a little nicer.







Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/07/2019 12:29AM by mattkime.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: jdc
Date: September 07, 2019 01:59AM
All drives fail. Not if, but when. If you keep that in mind, you should be golden. ;)

I see 2 options -- both to get speed and redundancy. T-Bolt would be a waste of money. No platter drive can even exceed plain old USB 3, so getting a TBolt 40 GBs rated case is a huge waste.

1) 2 drives, one for data (Id go with a RAID 0), one for backup
2) 1 drive, as a RAID 5

I have the first setup, a small USB case with 2 fast 3TB 7200 RPM drives setup in a RAID 0 -- 6 TB total. Then a simple 6 TB USB drive as a TM backup... for both my internal and external.

This is the USB C version of the case I got, running fine pretty much 24/7 for 3 years (dozens of choices, get what you like): [www.amazon.com] And a pair of Hitachis; [www.amazon.com]

RAID 5 gives you even more flexibility, with RAID 0 speed, but drive redundancy, so its its own backup -- and hot swappable -- so if it dies, no waiting, just pop in a new drive. But its only a backup of the data drives, not your internal. I might want another drive to back it up, but since you already have some, covered.

You could do the same drives -- but you need 3.

And again, dozens of cases to choose from, but double the cost... like: [www.amazon.com]





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/07/2019 02:01AM by jdc.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: datbeme
Date: September 07, 2019 11:07PM
I'm in a similar situation as you—while I'm not a full-time pro, I also spend a lot of time in PS and LR, and my storage needs and internal SSD are nearly identical. First of all, mattkime and jdc know their stuff, so I'd start with their recommendations.

But unless you are editing enormous quantities of RAW photos, you can probably get by with doing your short term work on the internal SSD and then offloading the bulk of your content onto any of a multitude of external 4TB drives. At that point, speed isn't terribly important since you are just offloading your files, and USB3 is plenty fast enough for any spinny drive and most SSDs. Just make sure you have at least one additional external in the loop to automatically do a clone backup of that external "media" drive as well as a Time Machine backup (and ideally) an additional clone backup of your internal SSD.

Really, for most mortals, TB2/TB3 doesn't really become important until you are utilizing a RAID or you need the daisy-chaining abilities that Thunderbolt provides. I have a TB2 RAID 5 system that I use for video, but I do all of my LR edits on my 512GB internal SSD before offloading the originals to a simple 4TB Seagate Backup Plus Drive (I think I got it at Costco) connected via USB3. I then do nightly CCC backups to a portable, bus-powered 4TB Seagate drive via USB3 and periodic backups to bare spinny drives via an OWC Voyager toaster connected via USB3.

Additional backups and clones are strongly encouraged, but for what you are asking about, this is where I would start. I'd rather go overboard on the number of backups than fret over the quality and speed of a particular drive. All can fail, and the speed of a single spinny drive is irrelevant compared to your internal SSD or an external SSD you connect via USB3 or greater.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/07/2019 11:17PM by datbeme.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: magicmikey
Date: September 07, 2019 11:15PM
Quote
mattkime

I'm fairly certain that you could swap the drive on the OWC enclosure but that WD drive _might_ be integrated with the hard drive in a terrible way. That said, you're right not to trust any HD. Sure, some are better than others but they all fail eventually.

Do you move old projects off your laptop into some sort of archive setup? Might be worth considering doing that if you're not.

I guess it would be helpful to know the larger picture of how much working data you need at a time, if you have an archive process, and what your backup system is like.

---

Actually, there's no wrong choice here. Just depends if you want to save money or get something a little nicer.

What I did when I was using the MacBook Pro as my primary computer was this: I used the 2TB internal hard drive to store all the data. I have a 2TB WD My Passport Ultra that I used as my first backup and I had a couple of bare 3.5" drives that I backed up using a NewerTech drive dock. That way, I had three backups of my internal drive. I backed up the system drive to two other bare drives.

The 2TB WD My Passport Ultra is what I am currently using as my main data drive for the Mac Mini. I had recently purchased two 4TB WD Portable External drives and am using them as the backup now. I want a 4TB hard drive to be the main data drive. What I've read is that portable external drives (like the My Passport) are not really meant to run all day long so that's why I was looking for a desktop external but, in all honesty, it's had to get a definitive answer about the best type of external drive to use.

All of my photos and documents reside on the external drive and are accessed when I am editing photos in Photoshop and Lightroom. I have lots of documents that I use on a regular basis, such as Word documents, Pages documents, Excel spreadsheets, Numbers spreadsheets, and InDesign documents. I wouldn't say that I am accessing my documents heavily on a daily basis.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: magicmikey
Date: September 07, 2019 11:22PM
Quote
datbeme
I'm in a similar situation as you—while I'm not a full-time pro, I also spend a lot of time in PS and LR, and my storage needs and internal SSD are nearly identical. First of all, mattkime and jdc know their stuff, so I'd start with their recommendations.

But unless you are editing enormous quantities of RAW photos, you can probably get by with doing your short term work on the internal SSD and then offloading the bulk of your content onto any of a multitude of external 4TB drives. At that point, speed isn't terribly important since you are just offloading your files, and USB3 is plenty fast enough for any spinny drive and most SSDs. Just make sure you have at least one additional external in the loop to automatically do a clone backup of that external "media" drive as well as a Time Machine backup (and ideally) an additional clone backup of your internal SSD.

Really, for most mortals, TB2/TB3 doesn't really become important until you are utilizing a RAID or you need the daisy-chaining abilities that Thunderbolt provides. I have a TB2 RAID 5 system that I use for video, but I do all of my LR edits on my 512GB internal SSD before offloading the originals to a simple 4TB Seagate Backup Plus Drive (I think I got it at Costco) connected via USB3. I then do nightly CCC backups to a portable, bus-powered 4TB Seagate drive via USB3 and periodic backups to bare spinny drives via an OWC Voyager toaster connected via USB3.

Additional backups and clones are strongly encouraged, but for what you are asking about, this is where I would start. I'd rather go overboard on the number of backups than fret over the quality and speed of a particular drive. All can fail, and the speed of a single spinny drive is irrelevant compared to your internal SSD or an external SSD you connect via USB3 or greater.

That makes sense. What I'm thinking of doing is getting the 4TB WD My Book as the full-time connected external drive and backing it up regularly to the two 4TB portable drives I have. For photos I'm editing, I can put them onto the SanDisk Extreme External SSD I bought for use when I'm on location (it's a 500GB SSD.)

That's probably the easiest route to go for now.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: datbeme
Date: September 07, 2019 11:42PM
Please, someone else correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you should be fine accessing those Word, Pages, Excel and Numbers documents from the external drive. Your demands are low, and your saves are intermittent. Your drive is not being used all day long, and it is not being over-taxed.

It is your photo-editing and PS and LR writes that are more taxing to your drive, and the external spinny drive is a possible bottleneck. Storing your files externally is fine, but your editing will go much smoother if done on the SSD. Think of your internal SSD as your production drive and your external drive as you storage/archive drive.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: jdc
Date: September 08, 2019 03:37AM
A lot of factors -- It might depend on the size of his PS and LR files. It might depend on how much ram he has. No idea how the minis built in GPU handles files, but Adobe apps have started using the the GPU to run some functions.

I dont see many RAW files or use LR, but since Im a print designer -- all my files are print size.

However, my iMac runs wtih 32 GB ram and a Radeon 2 GB GPU. I have less than 400 GB on my internal drive, and 300 GB is dropbox storage... ALL of my working files are on my external RAID 0.

Sounds like you have a ton of externals, so a lot of diferent options if you dont want to buy new?





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: magicmikey
Date: September 08, 2019 07:57AM
Although I do have plenty of drive options, I definitely want to buy one more 4TB external to be the one connected to the Mini at all times. Ultimately, it comes down to whether I buy an OWC Mercury Elite or save some money and buy a WD My Book. Are the bus-powered portable drives as reliable long term as the desktop drives?
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: sekker
Date: September 08, 2019 09:58AM
I have a 4TB bus powered WD attached to my wine capsule - runs 24/7 without incident. Go for it.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: jdc
Date: September 08, 2019 02:15PM
Quote
magicmikey
Ultimately, it comes down to whether I buy an OWC Mercury Elite or save some money and buy a WD My Book.

Not sure why are you stuck on these 2 drives as your only choices.

I guess I over recommended with a RAID (you mentioned "speed). If you are just going for the cheapest and/or slowest 4 TB drive you can find.

I'd just get whatever. No need to spend more than $90 -- dozens of 4 TB drives at that price, desktop or portable.

IMHO, warranty is irrelevant. If a $10000 drive dies or a $1 drive dies -- you data is gone either way -- unless you have a true automated backup. Just plugging a drive in whenever you remember is *not* a real backup.





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: magicmikey
Date: September 08, 2019 02:48PM
Quote
jdc
Quote
magicmikey
Ultimately, it comes down to whether I buy an OWC Mercury Elite or save some money and buy a WD My Book.

Not sure why are you stuck on these 2 drives as your only choices.

I guess I over recommended with a RAID (you mentioned "speed). If you are just going for the cheapest and/or slowest 4 TB drive you can find.

I'd just get whatever. No need to spend more than $90 -- dozens of 4 TB drives at that price, desktop or portable.

IMHO, warranty is irrelevant. If a $10000 drive dies or a $1 drive dies -- you data is gone either way -- unless you have a true automated backup. Just plugging a drive in whenever you remember is *not* a real backup.

I narrowed it down to these two because I know and trust the Mercury Elite (I own an older one that is FireWire 800) and, after lots of research, the WD seems to be the highest rated of the low-priced hard drives. Your suggestion of a RAID system is ideal but beyond my current budget. As I stated in my original post, I’m trying to keep it below $200 and a RAID system will exceed that. The Mercury Elite is at the upper end of what I’m doing willing to spend right now and I’m not convinced it is sure to be better than the budget drives. I didn’t ignore your original suggestion. I simply don’t have the means to go that route right now.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: September 08, 2019 04:07PM
I'm not a professional photographer, but I have a lot of photos and also audio files (from my radio show) that I plan to off-load from my iMac (2TB drive filling up). To this end, I just ordered an OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual RAID USB 3.1 for $85, plus 2 Toshiba 4.0TB X300 3.5" drives, $113 each. Total $275 plus tax.

I plan to use the RAID enclosure in RAID 1 mode, which makes one drive a mirror of the other. So if one fails, you've got a backup. I will also back up to TM and my nightly clone. That should be enough.

Those prices are/were 'Labor-Day Specials', but may still obtain. C. $300 is more than you specified, but I think it's a reasonable price for me. You could get cheaper 4TB drives from BestBuy or somewhere.

/Mr Lynn



"Hillbilly at Harvard"
Honky-tonk Country and Bluegrass
Founded in 1948 by Pappy Ben Minnich
Saturdays 9am - 11am Eastern
WHRB-FM, Cambridge, MA
Streaming at [www.WHRB.org]
Be there!

The HAH weblog: [hillbillyatharvard.wordpress.com]

Topical weblog: [walkingcreekworld.wordpress.com]

On the river in Saxonville.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: clay
Date: September 08, 2019 09:01PM
4tb portable usb 3 hd - $70
[slickdeals.net]
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: jdc
Date: September 08, 2019 09:43PM
on the cheap:

$50 for case: [www.amazon.com]

$55 X 2 for drives: [www.amazon.com]

$160 for 6 TB RAID 0, with speeds over 300 MB/s R/W.

Heres mine from 2016:

and mrlynn -- if you already have a TM and nightly clone, then Id just go with a RAID 0 too. =)





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: magicmikey
Date: September 08, 2019 09:53PM
Quote
mrlynn
I'm not a professional photographer, but I have a lot of photos and also audio files (from my radio show) that I plan to off-load from my iMac (2TB drive filling up). To this end, I just ordered an OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual RAID USB 3.1 for $85, plus 2 Toshiba 4.0TB X300 3.5" drives, $113 each. Total $275 plus tax.

I plan to use the RAID enclosure in RAID 1 mode, which makes one drive a mirror of the other. So if one fails, you've got a backup. I will also back up to TM and my nightly clone. That should be enough.

Those prices are/were 'Labor-Day Specials', but may still obtain. C. $300 is more than you specified, but I think it's a reasonable price for me. You could get cheaper 4TB drives from BestBuy or somewhere.

/Mr Lynn

That's a good plan. I'll plan for that for the future when I have a little extra cash. For now, I'll go the cheap route to get by.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: magicmikey
Date: September 08, 2019 09:54PM
Quote
clay
4tb portable usb 3 hd - $70
[slickdeals.net]

Great deal but Staples has disabled the coupon code for technology so it won't give the $20 off. I was excited until I saw it wouldn't go through.

Thanks for the tip, though.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: magicmikey
Date: September 08, 2019 10:02PM
Quote
jdc
on the cheap:

$50 for case: [www.amazon.com]

$55 X 2 for drives: [www.amazon.com]

$160 for 6 TB RAID 0, with speeds over 300 MB/s R/W.

Heres mine from 2016:

and mrlynn -- if you already have a TM and nightly clone, then Id just go with a RAID 0 too. =)

I got pretty excited by this and then I took a good look at it but the reviews on the RAID case are not very good. Apparently, it's not nearly as good as it once was.. Lots of people reporting that they used to be good (which is why you're happy) but not anymore. Lots of issues reported. That makes me nervous. 33% of the reviews are two star or less on the case.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/08/2019 10:07PM by magicmikey.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: September 09, 2019 08:10AM
Quote
jdc
and mrlynn -- if you already have a TM and nightly clone, then Id just go with a RAID 0 too. =)

I don't really see the advantage of RAID 0, since it just doubles the size of one drive. You could just use a USB hub and two external drives to the same effect, or just buy a single large drive (in my case, 2 x 4 = 8TB). The point of RAID 1 is the redundancy.

My TM drive is 4TB, but my clone is only 2TB, so I will probably have to upgrade to a larger drive for the latter, and maybe the former. I've been using WD 'My Book' and 'Easy Store' externals (from Best Buy) with good results.

/Mr Lynn
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Recommendations for a 4TB USB 3.0 or USB C External Hard Drive for everyday data.
Posted by: jdc
Date: September 09, 2019 10:42AM
It’s the speed.





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

Online Users

Guests: 140
Record Number of Users: 186 on February 20, 2020
Record Number of Guests: 5122 on October 03, 2020