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Author Topic: Hard disk strategy for iMac 27/i5 Quad  (Read 4083 times)

mshakeshaft

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Hard disk strategy for iMac 27/i5 Quad
« on: December 30, 2010, 06:15:33 AM »

For the past ten years I have been using a PC but have recently gone over to the Mac dark-side :-) My next purchase will be a 27"/i5 Quad iMac.

The iMac will be used primarily for image editing with Lightroom and Photoshop. With my PC I was able to add two extra internal disks for system/data and backing up, but obviously this will be impossible with the iMac. Whilst in the past I have separated my system and images onto different 500 GB disks, I am thinking that with the 1TB drive I will have my system and images on the internal drive. The whole lot will be backed up using an Iomega Minimax 1TB drive, using Time Machine. In addition I will regularly back up the images onto separate 500GB drives that I store off site. What do you think? What other strategies are people using?

Thanks

Martin
Happy New Year!
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Ken Bennett

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Re: Hard disk strategy for iMac 27/i5 Quad
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2010, 11:46:13 AM »

That's exactly what I am doing right now, but my personal image catalog is less than 200GB. If it grows to over 500GB, I expect the performance of the internal drive to degrade, and I'll move to an external FW800 drive for images. Probably one of the two-drive arrays so I can have a backup of the image drive (as well as keeping offsite backups.)
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John S C

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Re: Hard disk strategy for iMac 27/i5 Quad
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2010, 04:22:07 AM »

1 Tb sounds a lot but I found that it can very soon fill up. I run a 27"iMac and have all my images on external FW800 drives. This way it's simple to add additional capacity if ( when!) needed. Also migrating to newer machines means that only the drives need to be moved.

Lightroom catalogue is on the iMac but copies of the catalogue are on external back up drive

I don't use Time Machine instead I use  Integeo back up assistant as it allows me to back up to different external hard drives, so I have multiple back up copies
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mshakeshaft

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Re: Hard disk strategy for iMac 27/i5 Quad
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2010, 05:11:39 AM »

Chappers how is the speed working from a FireWire disk rather than internal. I had thought of working this way but was worried the FW would be much slower than the internal SATA.

Thanks

Martin
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Ken Bennett

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Re: Hard disk strategy for iMac 27/i5 Quad
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2010, 10:13:34 AM »

I tested the external FW800 drive as a scratch drive against the internal, using the DigiLloyd tools, and the internal drive won by a wide margin. So, yes, the internal SATA drive has a faster connection than the external FW800.

However, scratch is different from image storage and use. I don't know that any lower speed will be noticeable, especially if I leave my Lightroom catalog on the internal drive.

This issue is why they still sell Mac Pro towers, of course. Plenty of fast, cheap internal drives, more RAM, etc.
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John S C

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Re: Hard disk strategy for iMac 27/i5 Quad
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2010, 11:27:37 AM »

I've not noticed any significant difference in speed when using Lightroom and Photoshop with the FW800 drives. I just did an import test. 67 files 948Mb. Same files on the iMac hard drive and external FW800 drives. Time to import  the same at around 15-16 secs. Plus of course preview time, which was the same in both cases.

Coping 1.37 Gb of files from one location on the Hard Drive   took 20 secs. However it took 56 seconds to copy the same file to the FW800 drive

However in practice I don't notice a great deal of difference in speed using the FW800 drives. Importing images is done via a card reader which is going to be slow whichever route you go. A quick test showed the import times were about the same in both cases

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photopianeil

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Re: Hard disk strategy for iMac 27/i5 Quad
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2011, 06:23:21 PM »

Here's my suggestion. Buy it with the 1TB HD, but get a Vertex 120GB SSD for the system drive.  Then put in the SSD and use CCC or Super Duper to copy the system to the SSD.  Then after all your apps are loaded and the SSD is speeding disk access up multiple times, repartition your 1TB drive into 3 virtual drives.  Configure the second two at 100GB each and then the first one with the remaining 800GB minus overhead.  (the beginning of a HD is the fastest part)  I suggest you don't journal the big one as it will be used for files.  Use the journaled format for the two small ones.  Immediately use the cloning app and make a copy of the SSD (system) drive to one or both of the small partitions--they are bootable backups for you system.  I suggest you backup the SSD to alternating partitions weekly with your clone app.  That way you have two slightly different bootable copies so you never have to reinstall software.  The SSD is also the place for your PS scratch or LR catalog and caches. You will not believe how much this speeds things up for under $250.  Then use the big partition on the internal HD for backup knowing that it is much safer than it would be if it were the system drive, never mind the fact that your SSD system drive really perks things up.  My old (core 2 duo) MacBook used to take 25 secs to start PS for the first time after boot.  With the SSD, it now takes 5 secs.  (Boot is about 20 secs to login and shut down takes 1 sec)  My big Mac went from 10sec to 3 sec for the same startup of PS CS4 extended. 
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mshakeshaft

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Re: Hard disk strategy for iMac 27/i5 Quad
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2011, 11:24:02 AM »

photopianeil, thanks for your suggestion. I moved to Mac to simplifie things, whilst I can see the logic behind your approach, I think I will try an external FW800 drive first. I really dont fancy the screwdriver approach at this stage, the iMac is too new!

Happy New Year.

Martin
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Ken Bennett

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Re: Hard disk strategy for iMac 27/i5 Quad
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2011, 08:24:45 PM »

"Screwdriver" doesn't even begin to describe replacing the hard drive in an iMac. ("Suction cups" are more like it.) If you can, I would highly recommend getting the 2TB drive installed when you order it. It'll be faster than the 1TB drive as a boot/applications drive.
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Gemmtech

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Re: Hard disk strategy for iMac 27/i5 Quad
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2011, 01:16:25 PM »

"Screwdriver" doesn't even begin to describe replacing the hard drive in an iMac. ("Suction cups" are more like it.) If you can, I would highly recommend getting the 2TB drive installed when you order it. It'll be faster than the 1TB drive as a boot/applications drive"


That's probably the understatement of the year!!  ;)  I have now performed "surgery" on 3 IMacs, replacing hard drives on each and it certainly is a lot more complicated than it has to be, just more of Apple's arrogance and dictatorial attitude.  I can add a hard drive in one of my own home built systems within 2 minutes, the IMac can take an hour and it truly isn't for the faint of heart, I've been building computer systems since 1998 and I can tell you that the IMac is the most difficult to repair and or upgrade.  I almost laughed my ass off the first time I found out I needed suction cups or duct tape to remove the front glass.  Oh................ and don't ever lose the screws to an IMac or MBP, then you will truly be shocked............................... don't ask


« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 01:19:54 PM by Gemmtech »
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mshakeshaft

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Re: Hard disk strategy for iMac 27/i5 Quad
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2011, 05:05:11 PM »

It all became a bit academic, after unpacking the computer I found the screen suffered from the yellow patch problem. I have returned it.

I think I will go for a Mac Pro.

Cheers

Martin
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jasonrandolph

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Re: Hard disk strategy for iMac 27/i5 Quad
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2011, 07:27:30 PM »

My personal approach with my iMac 27" is to save recent image files both locally and backed up to external drive, then use Mozy online backup for a cloud-based backup.  The nice thing about Mozy is they will back up internal AND external drives.  So technically, they have two copies of my images on their servers.  I think I'm safe (knocking on wood).
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