Skip navigation

New external drive choices -- what's best for Aperture?

1476 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Aug 10, 2012 4:53 PM by Kirby Krieger RSS
Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (11,550 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Aug 6, 2012 6:13 PM

Hi.  Hardware, I'm sorry to say, generally makes my head hurt.


Today Apple's delayed Thunderbolt-to-FW800 adapter made it appearance in Apple Stores.


Purchasers of the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display (rMBP) now have a nearly full set of options for using external drives with Aperture.  I had been using a stable of FW800 drives (with my MBP 5,5).  I'm looking for recommendations on what to upgrade to.


(Aside: I've been too busy to post a comment recommending the rMPB.  It's my main Aperture machine (I use Aperture every day, but work in two different locations) -- I'm _very_ happy with it.  Highly recommended.  My machine is 16 GB RAM and 500 GB SSD.  But there's still this ports problem ... .)


The options I know of:

- use the new adapter and use the old FW drives.  These can be daisy-chained, as before.  Afaik, the total throughput is limited by what TBolt allows (which may be more than enough).

- move drives to USB3 enclosures.  I did this as a stop-gap measure while waiting for the adapters.  I got my enclosures from OWC.  The drives are not daisy-chainable.  The rMBA has two USB3 ports.

- buy eSATA hubs and use the eSATA ports on the drives.  This one just became available.  Expensive, imho.  Not sure how the Mac will handle it (I always have Originals referenced to external drives; I sometimes have Libraries on external drives).

- move drives to TBolt enclosures.  These are slowly coming on the market.  They are very expensive (imho).

- replace the drives with TBolt drives.  Also very expensive.

- replace the drives with USB3 drives


I'm looking for a reasonable middle-term (3-5 years) solution.  Fwiw, I'm not convinced that external drive throughput is even an issue with running Aperture.  It seem to run well on my rMBA even when a large library is connected via USB2.  (I assume Aperture is good at taking advantage of the 16 MB RAM and the SSD "scratch drive".)  I need to have one USB2 port, and one TBolt port, available at all times (various peripherals; the TBolt is for external monitors).



MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012), OS X Mountain Lion, 16 GB RAM; 500 GB SSD; NEC; Munki
  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (22,745 points)



    Given your current setup the quickest and cheapest way to go is to get the tBolt to FW adapter and go with the drives you have. If the need arises down the line to switch to something else you're only out the $30 you paid for the adaptor.


    The eSata adaptor sounds interesting, you'd probably get the best speed out of this but you would be limited to 2 eSata drives. Of course it opens up other possibilities but given the price I'd definitely place this down the list.


    Replacing drives or enclosures will quickly run up the bill and there would be no great advantage over the adaptor and you;d be locked into whatever technology you go with.


    No, I'd go with he adaptor at this point. It gets you going right away and you don;t have a lot invested so switching down the road, if something else comes along that is a better fit will be possible.



  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,350 points)


    (I don't have any use for any drives smaller than 500 GB.)

    Oh, how modest, Kirby! I remember a time when we had to apply for a special research grant to be able to buy a 60 MB drive (back in 1980) and if I remember correctly, we had to pay a whopping 60000 DM for it, at that time about 20000 US$.  Not to mention the day we could upgrade the main CPU storage from 32 kB to 512 kB, that was like christmas!


    Learning to program image processing algorithms and motion tracking on a hardware that only could hold a small section of the image in the main storage was a great training for the development of streaming algorithms!




  • 1 Open Loop Level 2 Level 2 (350 points)

    If you don't have any eSATA enclosures, then I don't see a need for the eSATA adapter. I see these devices as bridges for people who are looking to move from eSATA to Thunderbolt.


    It seems to be, Thunderbolt is for driving displays and connecting fast disk arrays. (an eSATA replacement) Fast disk arrays for video, not really needed for photos.


    For USB 3.0, can't you get a hub for connecting (daisy chaining) multiple devices?

    Isn't USB 3.0 big in the Windows world? Lots of options? Including RAID 0 or 1 if you want it.

    I would think USB 3.0 is a fairly good solution for Aperture (photo) users. I'm guessing that's why Apple added (or dropped FW) USB 3.0. While a hub may not be as clean as a FW solution, it should get the job done at a reasonable cost.


    Of course, if you have FW devices, then the adapter is your best (lowest cost quickest) solution.


    Just out of interest, how do you manage backups?

    Time Machine? Dedicated drive(s)?


    It would seem USB 3.0 would be a good solution for these requirements.

  • Ernie Stamper Level 8 Level 8 (37,415 points)

    Makes my head hurt, too!


    I am today contemplating going out to buy the top rMBP that is sold in stores.  Probably would also buy the LaCie 4TB drive that you can swap SATA drives in and out of so I can still use my Mac Pro 8 Core (since it is too early for running ML) with such drives, also.  Means I would have to move production to Lion on the MP so my Aperture Library is compatible with the laptop and Mtn Lion.


    It should not be this crooked a path.



  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)

    Ernie Stamper wrote:


    Makes my head hurt, too!


    It should not be this crooked a path.




    I so way agree!


    Aperture's very serious flaw is its inability to synch a single-user Library between two Macs. Inexcusable IMO; Apple's Filemaker DB has synched for decades.


    I switched to a single-MBP workflow from MP+MBP because Apple negligently fails to provide synch capability.


    I would prefer to still have the brute strength and unparalleled upgradability (graphics especially) of a MP. However portability is essential, and all the workarounds Apple touts for MBP+MP are not acceptable for a professional workflow.


    Note Apple forces me to no longer have one of their $3500 products. Makes no sense.



  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)

    Deleted by poster.

  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)



    IMO a Matrox Thunderbolt box for the multiple displays:



    and FW800 for your existing hard drives setup.


    The problem with the Thunderbolt-to-Firewire cable is that it blocks the Thunderbolt port; a huge limitation. What we really need is a dongle that in addition to providing a Firewire connection also passes through Thunderbolt.




More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.