4 Replies Latest reply on Oct 24, 2014 1:00 PM by SebastiaanFP

    Advice for external hard drive

    jaybee_uk Level 1

      I need some advice for an external hard drive solution. I usually edit single narrative short films using; 1080 footage, 2.7-4k GoPro footage,  sRAW / mRAW / RAW timelapse sequences. The apps I use are; Lightroom, Photoshop CC, Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC. 


      Currently I work with a 2011 i7 iMac and store all my working assets on a 2TB USB external drive. This (obviously hugely inefficiently) currently serves as both an archive for my assets and a scratch disk for whatever I am producing, mostly timelapse sequences rendered from AE and edited in Premiere Pro.


      1) This disk is now 3/4 full so I need more storage space for fresh assets.

      2) I need some way to regularly either backup or duplicate this storage archive, possibly using a RAID 1 system.


      I've just ordered a 5k iMac and my dilemma is now what external storage solution/s will best fit my use case. I'd like to have good performance, but I also would like to have some form of redundancy.


      I was thinking of buying a 8TB Thunderbolt RAID system (either WD to G-Tech) and set this as RAID 1 so;


      a) I will have 4TB or storage space which should last me for the next couple of years,

      b) my working files will be protected from potential HD failure.


      ...however as I understand it this will not perform optimally in regards to a scratch disk as essentially the drive will be constantly duplicating the data which will slow things down.


      I figure the optimal solution for me is to buy a RAID 1 system for storage and a separate drive to use as a scratch disk. Unfortunately I can't really budget for 2 x RAID drives.


      Would a single RAID 1 system work for me? Can anyone recommend a setup which would serve me best?


      Any advice appreciated.

        • 1. Re: Advice for external hard drive
          JEShort01 Level 4

          I'd suggest Areca's ARC-5026 4x drive external RAID enclosure. It is more expensive than your other options, but here's what it can bring to your party:

          • USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt connectivity (unfortunately this is pretty rare and would allow you to plug into your old Mac and your new iMac 5k)
          • RAID done "right" (with a decent controller) and including RAID 5; you would put you existing disks in now, and grow down the road


          Here's a link of various external Areca solutions available at Newegg:

          http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100006519%2050010526%204000050 9%208000&IsNodeId=1&Manufactory=10526&page=1&bop=And&SpeTabStoreType=1&Order=PRICED&PageSi ze=20





          • 2. Re: Advice for external hard drive
            SebastiaanFP Level 1

            Looks good JE! Thanks for the link. I wonder, if I would buy the Areca with 8 disks, can it also be configured into 2 sets of 4 disks in RAID5? I want to have my files really physically backed up / existing as 2 real copies. A single RAID 5 setup protects against disk failure, but not against accidental loss of files. So for my next workstation I am planning two RAID5 sets (or one JBOD set + one RAID5 set). So I could buy 2 separate enclosures of 4 disks with RAID5 option. Or maybe just one Areca 8 disk solution that can has it disk drives configured in multiple ways?

            Greetz Sebastiaan

            • 3. Re: Advice for external hard drive
              jaybee_uk Level 1

              Jim, many thanks for the feedback. While that looks like an ideal setup, my budget can't stretch that far and it's possibly overkill for my current requirements.


              After a lot of research and working out what would work best for me, here's what I've gone for:


              Working assets drive

              LaCie d2 4TB Thunderbolt 2 (up to 220 MB/s) (up to 1150 MB/s with SSD Upgrade).



              WD 4TB Elements Desktop Hard Drive (up to 126 MB/s).


              This way I have satisfied my requirement for more storage space and have an option to upgrade the D2 for insane speeds if I feel I need to in the future.


              I've decided to continue my current backup process of doing regular clone backups as opposed to using a RAID 1. For this purpose the 4TB WD will suffice.

              • 4. Re: Advice for external hard drive
                SebastiaanFP Level 1

                Hi Jaybee,

                Sorry I interrupted your thread with my own question.

                Two important questions are:

                1. Did you order your new Imac with a SSD or HDD and which size

                2. 2TB external drive which you already have - is it USB 2 or USB 3 speed?


                One route which may be interesting, especially when on a smaller budget, or just want to make use of hardware you already have would be to make use of cheap and flexible hard drive docking stations like this one:

                Amazon.com: Plugable USB 3.0 SuperSpeed SATA III Lay-Flat Hard Drive Docking Station (ASMedia ASM1053E SATA III to USB C…

                And this in combination with an external harddisk set that has at least 2 drives so you can put it in RAID0. Your setup would look something like:

                - Imac 5K for OS & Applications

                - 2 x HDD in RAID 0 for your media. like the "WD My Book Thunderbolt Duo 4GB with RAID 0 & 1 support for $499"

                WD's My Book Thunderbolt Duo External Desktop Hard Drives

                - 1 x 2, 3, or 4 TB drive in a docking station for backup of your RAID 0 media drive, and as export  drive when you make your final renders

                - If your old 2TB external drive is USB 3 you could use it for scratch drive. When it is USB 2 it is probably better to include the scratch drive on the RAID 0 drives, or on the Imac5K drive if you choose it with an SSD.

                In this way you will have both a fast video editing multiple harddisk setup and a full backup solution of your files on two separate locations / instances.

                Greetz Sebastiaan