adding hard drive INTERNALLY vs EXTERNALLY?

November 30, 2012 at 12:04:12
Specs: Macintosh

i have an early 2008 iMac 3.06 GHz intel core 2 duo with 4 GB 800 MHz DDR2 SDRAM that has a 500 GB SATA running 10.8.2- I am trying to decide whether to add additional storage internally or externally. I am currently at 480 GB with 380 GB of it in iPhoto library. I primarily want to be able to download and edit photos as quickly as possible. Also, has anyone upgraded RAM on this model to 6GB and did it work or did the computer just ignore it? I plan on handing this computer down to my kids in the next 6-12mos but not retiring it completely...thank you

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November 30, 2012 at 12:19:15

Do you have any backups of those photos? You should maintain at least two copies of any files you want to keep.

You could get an external hard drive as a backup.

In my opinion, the safest and cheapest method to archive files is to burn them to CDR/DVDR.

The task may sound daunting now when looking at 380GB of data but If you chip away at it you can catch up. It should be easier to keep up if you burn to disk each time you have over 4GB of files. Single layer DVDR actually hold about 4.4GB of data. I don't use dual layer because they are not cost effective and I feel they will be less dependable over the long haul.

Once you have the data on DVDR it is a simple and cheap (20 cents) to burn an additional copy.

I suggest you backup all the 380GB of data to an external hard drive now. Then start burning the files on the hard drive to DVDR. Delete the files from the internal drive as you burn and verify. Eventually you should recover all your 380GB and have two copies of everything. Then just keep up with it.

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November 30, 2012 at 13:29:28

thank you so much for your thoughtful response. i have one copy on external and another as a time machine back up on a different external. i don't think im the right person to go the dvd route - i have been spending several weeks trying to put all of the photos on flicker and it is so slow and painful. i don't think i have the patience to plug away at the dvd method. i am really trying to find out if there will be a speed difference between working with photos on an external hard drive via fire wire 800 (and deleting the library off my imac to free up space) vs working on them via sata internal hard drive that i expand to 2-3 TB.

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November 30, 2012 at 13:47:07

The issue with an internal drive is that you can lose the files from the second drive if you have a catastrophic event, like a lightning strike.

You can burn files while you work on other things. Really doesn't take too long, unless you are trying to organize them. In that case the time spent organizing will be the same, no matter where you save.

IMO the larger the hard drive the less reliable. The way these drives get higher capacity is to increase the areal density. What that means is much more data is written to the same space as before. Any head misalignment or variation in current can pooch the file.

My rule of thumb is the more valuable the data, the more effort and care you exercise to protect it. Only you can decide how valuable your photos are.

I burn all family photos to disk and place them in a safe. I also keep the original disks for all purchased software.

I burn a copy of any new software and install using that copy. If there is a problem with the copy I want to know now.

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November 30, 2012 at 14:06:45

I think the backup issue is irrelevant. You already have that covered with Time Machine, which is far safer than using DVDs. If you are really paranoid about backups you could use a second external drive with TM writing to each in turn. That way you have two complete backups, always up-to-date, which require no intervention from you. This is considerably better than most people manage. DVD backups are archaic compared to this. TM really is one of the great aspects of OS X.

The main difficulty with replacing the internal hard drive is that it is very difficult to get at in these machines, requiring almost complete dismantling. If you are happy that you are competent to do this, then a larger internal drive makes sense (but it has to be a replacement - there isn't room for an extra drive, unless you replace the optical drive). Otherwise, a Firewire 800 drive would not be that much slower than the internal one; I don't think the difference in speed would be that important for your needs.

As for the RAM, the official limit is 4GB, unless anyone has actually managed to get more to work in these models.

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November 30, 2012 at 15:46:30

"If there is a problem with the copy I want to know now"

I like the logic of that statement.

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November 30, 2012 at 15:58:07

'In my opinion, the safest and cheapest method to archive files is to burn them to CDR/DVDR.'
That's a great suggestion, BUT, even DVD's/CD's detereorate at some time due to heat or the way they are stored. I also keep a copy on an external drive as well as a thumb drive. Can't be too careful anymore LOL

Some HELP in posting on plus free progs and instructions 7 Golds

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November 30, 2012 at 21:44:44

I think Optical disks will outlast a hard drive in the long run. You do need to take a little care with any media.

Magnetic media of any type can and will eventually degrade. Optical should last a very long time if properly stored.

The real issue for long term archiving is will you have the ability to access and use the data 10 or 20 years from now.

Will there be drives that can read the disks? Even if you also store disks, will they be compatible with computers of the future.

Another advantage of archiving photos on DVDR is the ability to easily access the photos without having to use a computer. Many consumer devices can read and display the contents of a DVDR and read jpg/jpeg files.

There is something to be said about not placing all you eggs in one basket too. If that 380GB of photos is on a single hard drive and the hard drive fails, or any misfortune should happen to it, all the photos are lost forever. DVDR media would take around 90 single layer disks. They most likely would not all fall to some misfortune so at least some would survive.

Then there is the cost. A sleeve of 100 DVDR can be had for $15/20 all day long. An external hard drive is more expensive than that by far.

Finally, if additional copies are needed they can be produced easily and given readily at little cost.

Finding a particular photo among 380GB of data sounds like a daunting task. My photo archives average about 1MB each.

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November 30, 2012 at 23:38:23

I don't think that optical media are a sensible solution for Mac users. Apple have already erradicated optical drives and it is only a matter of time before support for them is dropped from OS X. History is littered with storage media/formats that can no longer be read.

As for consumer devices, you can plug a USB hard disk, or a USB stick into many of them. I no longer bother with CDs in my car; all my music (about 400 CDs worth) is on a USB stick permanently plugged in to the radio. The world is changing and optical media are slowly disappearing.

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December 1, 2012 at 09:03:18

Reliability of optical storage also depends on media brand and quality.

Someone once gave me some stuff on a cheap disk and it literally fell apart after a year when stored in the normal home environment.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

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December 1, 2012 at 10:12:15

There is also the option of online storage which is the choice I prefer. Heaven forbid it happens, but what if you get robbed and the thief takes your computer and discs or your house burns down. This way you have a copy offsite. And you don't have to worry about storing your files on media that could become outdated in the future or become corrupt with age.
My favorite is LiveDrive -
Carbonite & Mozy are also good alternatives.

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December 1, 2012 at 10:32:52

THX 1138

Online storage is a good alternative if you don't mind spending the cash.

For family photos that are irreplaceable I still feel most comfortable with optical media. I used to keep disks in a free safety deposit box at the bank but once I bought a large fire safe I now keep disks in there.

As I stated above, the more important the data the more care to take. Regular backups of system files is more of a convenience than an absolute requirement.

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December 1, 2012 at 10:42:21

One tip is to NOT to file the cd's or DVD's vertical in a place that tends to have high temperatures like Fla, Az, etc because the varnish will start drooping and render the Media unreadable. A friend of mine had a fire at their residence, they managed to get all the media removed while the house was flaming.....7/8's of the media became unreadable and could not be recovered.
The media was not warped and you could see no visual damage.

In any case, it is better to store them face down in a controlled environment if at all possible.

Some HELP in posting on plus free progs and instructions 7 Golds

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December 1, 2012 at 11:23:23

Fascinating discussion... One could go on with this ad infintum...?

USB flash/stick drives have a limited number of rewrites (before they go down - allegedly). They're not generally regarded as reliable long term storage (or at least that was generally the view not too long back). OK for short term - transferring from one site to another and so on - with data also secure elsewhere.

Agree the jury is out still on optical life storage time... But I feel always wise to have long term storage on two different media - even three if practical?

Minimum is two sets of optical; and thes regularly checked and replaced at intervals?

Better save copy on an external HD with one or two opticals as well. If pennies allow then use a NAS approach - with simple mirror RAID 1 arrangement at least (needs 2 HD); or if pennies allow even better go for RAID 5 which needs 3 HD. Both these latter do give better level of data security. Standard RAID 2 NAS is easy to use; increasingly familiar out there these days and ought to be no major problem for most users to get across; and not too many pennies? And again an optical set too?

On-line storage is fine... But can one be really sure that all such FACS out there are of given, highly reliable site? Server farms do go down; and the big boys who cannot afford to lose "stuff", financials etc to say the least, likely are paying a premium...?

Interesting tip about storing opticals flat rather than vertically. And of course anyone in southern hotter states usually learns fast out opticals left in a car in the summer; similar in cooler states too in summer - not forgetting us north of the border (in Canada...) where we do get summer too; not all snow up there ya know.

Fwi when there was fire at Los Alamos some years ago, some seriously secret HDs went missing, and we're later recovered.... They had all been subjected to serious heat and showed signs of muchum burning bout them. The bright boys stripped them down, respindled them etc. and recovered all data. Opticals would have been so much plastic etc. and thus all data lost... Magnetic (HD) would seem to have it overall.

Not sure how solid state HD might have fared, or how they may fair though...

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December 1, 2012 at 11:43:06

Most CD/DVD racks I've seen (in the UK at least) lay the media horizontal. Maybe that's the reason. If this is widespread then it's not so much of an issue. As it happens the disk I had that fell apart was stored horizontally, clearly a rotten disk tho.

What's that chances of cloud storage being hacked by outsiders?

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

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December 1, 2012 at 11:45:33

Incidentally, like OtH I make copies any disks I buy and run/use those. Keep originals safe - just in-case...

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December 1, 2012 at 11:52:47

I'm sure cloud storage will be got at in due time; if it han't already (and "we" don't know about it..) Similarly I suspect that more than one intelligence outfit has ideas of how to - if not already able... If I was to use cloud or any other remote storage (server farms etc.) for serious "stuff" I'd be into serious encryption too (PGP)?

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