14 Replies Latest reply: Apr 3, 2011 12:00 PM by SierraDragon
Texas_Man_Luvs_His_mac Level 1 (15 points)
I am going to ask a generalized broad question. First some background, then I would appreciate your input.

Used mac desktops up until now. Primarily storage reasons. I am sending my daughter off to college this fall and decided to get our first laptop, nice zippy macpro 15". I have to say I'm very happy stealing this laptop from my daughter. I thought I would not want to do so much picture processing on such a limited screen, as I'm used to two landscape monitors.

The database for Aperture right now is almost 400 gigs. I used managed files. I initially thought about upgrading my old desktops to a new super powerful desktop in the next year of so, as I'm still using powermac PCs.

I wasn't going to consider a laptop as a serious contender for primarily the storage issue.

Enter thunderbolt.

Now I'm scratching my head and wondering about the potential to utilize this seemingly potential I/O as a game changer to the deal.

#1 - I'm not in a hurry. Time is on my side.
#2 - in the past, desktop Vs laptop was a no brainer to me. That gap has narrow now. The primary issue was screen space and storage, mostly storage/speed really.
#3 - speed gap from laptop to desktop is nominal at best from what I can tell, am I correct in seeing this now as not as clear an advantage of a desktop?
#4 - if I'm understanding thunderbolt right (and since time is on my side), I could potentially have a laptop with some lug around peripherals that would nearly make this like a desktop on the go. Sit down and plug into multiple monitors in a flash with RAID extensions, who knows what. Maybe then grab a raid cube and run with it to a place and essentially take my "desktop" environment with me. Am I thinking straight here or being a bit to idealistic? Seems like that it where Apple/intel is headed with this

#5 - managed Vs referenced. I've read a little about this debate and approach. I've only gone with managed and probably will do so, but in light of what I've said above, any comments?

#6 - backup. Always the biggie for me. backup. I love redundancy. I have time machine this and that thrown around in duplicity, copy over mirror drives here and there, and even put an extra drive or two in a neighbor's closet x2 a year just as an offsite backup in case of catastrophic loss like fire/theft. I'm not crazy over such a fragmented multiple approach, but haven't found what I consider a good alternative just yet to something simple, straightforward, and trustworthy. I'm hoping thunderbolt might lend a whole new ability to move quicker through backup scenarios. Thoughts? What are your approaches when you have a life's work of digital pics and videos and just can't stand the thought of ever ever losing them?

#7 - I would love to have an offsite online backup option for everything, seems that would solve so much of my backup stuff. But as a home user that is seriously into digital whatever, I haven't seem to run across something good as I've been limited to slow upload speeds. Until now. Enter FiOs. I can now(supposedly) do 32 up and down on the Fios, the fastest I think I will be able to get without going to a major business type connection. Does anyone have any knowledge of anything that would be a solid online backup option for 2TB or more of data on a revolving basis? I want to overshoot a bit as I seem to be picking up memory usage quickly with shooting in all RAW now and using higher density HD video. Opinions?

Having said all that, I hope what is coming across is that I'm looking at basically going from a guy who had an old powermac and found he is good at video, photos, and all things fun like that. Expanding into business sides of it slowly, seeming to have good luck, sending a daughter off to college introduced a surprising element to me of a powerful laptop, and now I'm grappling with onsite and offisite storage. Future expansion. thunderbolt potential.

I would appreciate some of you who have much more seasoned interactions with higher end equipment and can appreciate some of the details, if you could give some insight into what might work, might not, how to posture myself the best for future expansion and capabilities, etc. I'm not too worried about price. Obviously I'm a home user, so I don't have a corporate account. But dropping 10 - 20 grand in the next 2 or so years wouldn't be unreasonable if it were to posture me for the best potential use for many years.


PowerMac G5 2.0 dual, Mac OS X (10.5.4), 12 GB ram
  • Texas_Man_Luvs_His_mac Level 1 (15 points)
    oh, posted this under Aperture sort of by mistake. I was perusing many things under this section. I do use Aperture more than anything + PHotoshop, so maybe this is an ok place to post the above? Think I should duplicate it elsewhere in this forum?

  • SierraDragon Level 4 (2,695 points)
    TexasMan_Luvs_Hismac wrote:
    The database for Aperture right now is almost 400 gigs. I used managed files. I initially thought about upgrading my old desktops to a new super powerful desktop in the next year of so, as I'm still using powermac PCs. I wasn't going to consider a laptop as a serious contender for primarily the storage issue.

    #3: At the moment (until MPs are upgraded) the top new MBPs are stronger Aperture boxes than many Mac Pros are. IMO the first true desktop replacement (DTR) laptops. Stick to the stronger graphics options and I very, very strongly recommend the anti-glare display choice.

    #5: Managed files are IMO not the way to go for many reasons, and certainly not on a laptop. I recommend using a Referenced-Masters-Library on the internal drive with Preview size set to be the size of your laptop display. Have two large external drives: one for Masters and Vaults and one for offsite backup of the other external.

    So #6: Backup is easy, just add more off site drives for more redundancy and change them out frequently (at least weekly or every significant project). For images work mirrors tend to be a waste of drive space. Far more worthy is more frequent real offsite backup. Note that simple changeout of a 2-TB drive to the trunk of the car provides real backup against fire, theft and drive failure.

    Originals should be backed up before import into Aperture or any other app anyway. A Managed-Masters-Library not only gets itself ridiculously large, having Masters in Vaults just makes Vaults huge and Vault backups slower, and therefore less likely to be done as frequently.

    #4: Yes. Tbt may have some growing pains but I think your insight is accurate. However even without Thunderbolt using a Referenced-Masters-Library with Masters accessed over FW800 i/o is ok. Key is that the Library lives on an internal drive that is kept underfilled, which is easy once you use a Referenced-Masters-Library with Masters on external drives.

    Personally I just ordered a 17" 2011 MBP with SSD and am replacing the optical drive with a 750 GB 7200 rpm OWC drive. The Referenced-Masters-Library will live on the SSD while Masters will initially live on the OWC drive then later get relocated to external archive drives.

    #1 - I'm not in a hurry. Time is on my side.

    Since you are using a Powermac now, I respectfully disagree. Life is short: get thee to a Sandy Bridge MBP asap This new MBP is literally what mobile Aperture users like me have been waiting for since v1.


    -Allen Wicks
  • SierraDragon Level 4 (2,695 points)
    The only caveat to my enthusiasm for the new MBPs as DTR boxes is the 8 GB RAM limitation. Today 8 GB is not so limiting, but IMO a year from now some workflows will be taking advantage of RAM capacities well in excess of 8 GB.

    -Allen Wicks
  • Texas_Man_Luvs_His_mac Level 1 (15 points)
    Thank you for the insight.

    One question regarding the managed vault. I've done everything so far letting Aperture 2.x take control. I've got two separate vaults for redundancy.

    If the managed reference is better long term, is there a viable option for converting what I have over to such a set up? My current size is near 400gigs and the database is indeed ballooning so fast in size. Backups to the vaults are taking a long time.

    If somehow converting might cause problems, I suppose I could just save things as are and basically restart fresh with Aperture 3.

    I'm about to download Aperture 3 and get it up and running on the 15"MBP. I realize this will cause me to be unable to utilize the powermac Aperture 2.x database.

    My thoughts are that I will know where I stopped with Aperture 2 on powermac. Let that just be.

    I've got the MBP with Aper 2.x that I'm prepared to upgrade to 3.x and start utilizing it exclusively for a while.

    I've never saved the pics I import separately up until now. I just import them all into Aperture. I think I'm beginning to see that isn't the best option overall. I'm seeing that I should probably copy over the pics first to maybe DVD's? Is that what you would recommend? I'm picturing my 8gig card and how to take raw files and first somehow save them independently, then import to Ap 3.x on the MBP.

    I really appreciate the insight as I'm wanting to posture myself over the next few months for the best flexible safe overall photography workflow.

    Any additional insight is appreciated.

  • SierraDragon Level 4 (2,695 points)
    I recommend backup be to large (1 TB and larger) Firewire drives, not to DVDs. DVDs are slow.

    Yes, there a viable option for converting what you have over to a Referenced-Masters-Library. Aperture 3 allows you to easily makes the switch.

    First off, all *hard drives should be less than 70% full.* That is important for speed and stability. Don't try to do anything until <70% full is achieved for all drives.

    The Aperture Library should live on the internal drive for best speed.

    Best solution (after you achieve minimum 30% free space on all drives), especially with mobility-hardware computers like laptops and iMacs, is to reconfigure your image Masters to have a *Referenced-Masters Library* on the internal drive with the Masters referenced on external drives via FW800 or (preferably) eSATA; however Referenced Masters usually do still work adequately with Masters accessed on externals via slower methods like FW400 or USB. After a slow reconfiguration process it will work fine, your speed and operation will be recovered and the Referenced-Masters Library will remain a reasonable size, not again grow to overfill the internal drive.

    Note that Vaults back up the Library but a Referenced-Masters Library does not have the Masters in it, so Masters must be separately backed up. For future work *I very strongly recommend that back up of original Master files be performed BEFORE importing into Aperture.*

    Aperture 3 has improved methodology for handling Libraries. I suggest that your steps should be:
    • Back up your current Library with its Masters to a Vault on an external drive.
    • If necessary move data off of the internal drive to external drives to get to less than 70% full.
    • Install Aperture 3 and set it to use your existing Library on the internal drive.
    • Back up the Library with its Masters to another Vault on an external drive. Do not delete or over-write the first Vault you made; this second Vault is a redundant copy of the same Library but after conversion to Aperture 3. Probably you will never need either Vault but it is good to be careful.
    • Use Aperture 3's tools to reconfigure your Library to be a *Referenced-Masters Library* on the internal drive with the Masters referenced on external drives.
    • In the future back up Masters before import into Aperture or any other images management application. Then with the new Masters on external drives select Store Files: "In their current location" from the import window when importing into Aperture. This will maintain a *Referenced-Masters Library*. Routinely create Vaults to back up the Library.


    -Allen Wicks
  • Texas_Man_Luvs_His_mac Level 1 (15 points)
    good advice. Really appreciate it.

    I'm going to get aperture 3 today. Tried to download from app store, but my app store option just doesn't work with any app period, despite it being a new updated MBP.

    I have 4 gig ram, going to expand to 8. I have 500 gig internal hard drive, going to go up to 1 TB.

    I'm thinking of taking the 500 gig right now and putting it in an external FW800 enclosure I have. Then putting in a 1TB internal and just reloading everything and starting fresh to minimize problems. Think that sounds reasonable?

    As far as the reference-managed, sounds like a good option. I suppose the backup part is just redundancy on another HD? I have plenty of hard drives from 120 gig up to 1TB laying around. I'm thinking of either reformatting some of those or just getting maybe a newer 2TB FW800. I'm basically doing everything through FW 800 now, gotten spoiled to the speed.

    Tried to do eSATA from my powermac, but that seemed cranky and unreliable, computer would randomly lock up. If I started the computer with eSata drive plugged in, sometimes up to 10 mins to finally reach the start page. Same with shut down. Learned to plug eSata in after everything was happy, make a quick backup or transfer files, then eject that baby.

    Lots to think about. Making me a trip to apple store for aperture 3. then I suppose on to best buy to get memory and a new 1TB HD and maybe another external. I would go through online (newegg/owc), but today is today and all I have is today to get much stuff done.

    I'll check back on here as the day progresses to see if there are any additional comments.

    Thanks for everything

  • Texas_Man_Luvs_His_mac Level 1 (15 points)
    I purchased a GROBO ethernet set up with 5 bays, will use that for primary storage to get around this whole running out of space deal.

    I also purchased a separate buffalo raid (or something like that) to have just as a separate 4 TB time machine backup.

    i'm hoping that will quench my redundancy desire. ONe "beyond raid' setup and one for TM backup.

    Now, having said that, I installed Aperture 3 and made a (I think) serious error. It was going through the upgrade from the aperture 2 library to aperture 3 library. I ran into a situation where I had to shut down the project, force quit. Nothing happened with the program, but i started the process at a point where I just didn't have the time to let it finish.

    It got to 35% of the upgrade being finished.

    I have attempted to restart the program, it opens and has a new to me appearance that I suspect is correct for aperture 3. I ran a consistency check, all is well. I ran the second level deal, seems to be fine. I'm running a full rebuilding now.

    Is there some way to force it to restart the upgrade process? Or should the rebuild take care of that?

    I sure hope I just didn't screw up my entire aperture database.

    Feedback appreciated.
  • SierraDragon Level 4 (2,695 points)
    TexasMan_Luvs_Hismac wrote:
    I purchased a GROBO ethernet set up with 5 bays, will use that for primary storage to get around this whole running out of space deal.

    I believe you mean DROBO. Not my choice but fine for storing Masters in a Referenced-Masters-Library setup. Note that the Library should live on an internal drive, not on the DROBO.

    i'm hoping that will quench my redundancy desire.

    The most important redundancy only exists off site to protect against fire and theft.

    ONe "beyond raid' setup and one for TM backup.

    Personally I do not characterize DROBOs as beyond RAID but it is good marketing verbiage.

    I'm thinking of taking the 500 gig right now and putting it in an external FW800 enclosure I have. Then putting in a 1TB internal and just reloading everything and starting fresh to minimize problems. Think that sounds reasonable?

    Sounds very reasonable. I find the better performance of 7200 rpm drives worth the trouble. I think the largest available for the MBP right now is 750 GB.

    I agree that "starting fresh" is important for folks using heavy graphics apps. "Migrating" data only is ok but very bad news for apps.

  • Texas_Man_Luvs_His_mac Level 1 (15 points)
    Appreciate the feedback. I'm going to keep this thread active as the primary goal is to do just what it says: set me up best possible for the future. Since my primary goal is Aperture and things surrounding this, I'm going to just run with it in this discussion forum unless I'm asked to move this elsewhere. Would be a benefit to me if I don't have to fragment my thoughts between forums as I'm really being stretched (in a good way) right now.

    I've been reading extensively regarding Aperture. I'm realizing that I've barely scratched the surface of the program. I've also become aware of the need (as noted above) for storage, looking at the the future, etc.

    #1 - got the ethernet setup across the house now
    #2 - powermac G5 is going to be slowly retired or put in other purposes. I've now gotten way too addicted to the portability and speed of the new i7 macbook pro
    #3 - I purchased Aperture 3. That was one of the reasons also to get away from the IBM architecture. This has thrown me for a loop possibly. In my efforts to not lose data, to transfer from the powermac(PM) to macbookpro (MBP), I updated aperture vaults and have the primary aperture file. My problem that caught me off guard at this exact moment (as I'm typing), is that I plugged in my FW 800 external to the MBP (that I put in a 1TB hard drive in), I was going to transfer the primary aperture file from the external to the internal. Oops. Next thing I know, AP3 is open and has found (??) the backup vault and started importing and processing it to the AP3 status. I suppose not a big deal? Wasn't ready for it to do that right at this moment and not sure how it suddenly did this. It just happened and next thing I know, all these imports were starting and it was asking about GPS data. I'm guessing this isn't a big deal as it had to happen anyways, but is simply using the vault data as opposed to the primary file? Anything for me to worry about?

    (to be continued)

  • Texas_Man_Luvs_His_mac Level 1 (15 points)
    On the subject of storing RAW files. I hadn't thought of this before until I starting reading on here about varying approaches to storing originals, references, managed files, etc.

    I would import files to one managed library, make sure that nothing was erased from the Compact Flash (CF) card, then work with the files. I would only erase the CF card after making sure I had the appropriate AP vaults updated x2.

    I'm rethinking this strategy based on what I've read on these forums. I went by Fry's and found they had 16 gig CF cards for $19.95. Maybe a little silly, maybe not, but I figured I could actually start a system of using these as a permanent storage of original files instead of wiping the same few cards clean. As these CF cards get cheaper, it shouldn't be a big deal to start filing/storing/labeling originals and using these CF cards as "negatives" so to speak.

    I originally was going to keep dumping and redumping onto hard drives and duplicating data as the primary approach to storing RAW files. I still will do that to some extent, but am thinking the use of physical storage on increasingly cheaper CF cards might not be a bad approach.

    Anyone taken this approach before?

    I'm thinking this might help solve the "keep some original files" stored elsewhere thought.

    Feedback? CF cards are getting cheaper and cheaper and physically storing them might help solve some of this. Thoughts?
  • Texas_Man_Luvs_His_mac Level 1 (15 points)
    I've gotten the in house backup storage solved for the most part, just working out a few kinks. I did upgrade the MBP to a 1 TB internal drive.

    For the moment, keeping the main aperture file as it is (managed). I can see where the conversion to referenced will probably happen in the future.

    I have one more thought/question: online backup. I've been perusing the net looking for online backup. I did find that Mozy will allow for unlimited online backup, but dang, the cost is prohibitive per month at this point.

    Are there any reasonably priced online backup options at this point or is online backup of 500+ gb's still more a business approach Vs the average home user?

  • SierraDragon Level 4 (2,695 points)
    TexasMan_Luvs_Hismac wrote:
    Are there any reasonably priced online backup options at this point or is online backup of 500+ gb's still more a business approach Vs the average home user?

    IMO on line backup is inappropriate for 0.5 TB of image files. Better is to just buy large hard drives and keep one in the car, one in the house, one at the bank, etc. and keep changing them out.

    On line storage could be appropriate for just the most current images, the ones that have not yet otherwise made it to off site backup.

  • Texas_Man_Luvs_His_mac Level 1 (15 points)
    I was wondering about such a large amount of data. Perhaps it is too much for an online approach. I've heard several mentions of putting "one in the car." I live in Texas. Trunk, under the seat, won't matter. That thing would fry in a couple of hot Texas summer days.

    I guess I can go down to the bank, but that requires me to NOT be lazy /smirk

    I could go next door and ask the neighbor to stick one in the top of their closet somewhere...
  • SierraDragon Level 4 (2,695 points)
    TexasMan_Luvs_Hismac wrote:
    Trunk, under the seat, won't matter. That thing would fry in a couple of hot Texas summer days.

    In my experience in the Sacramento valley storage at such temps (I will guess ~140 degrees F) does not seem to kill hard drives as long as they are allowed back to room temp before usage. I think that non-op temps are typically spec'd to -40 to +150 degrees F or so, and actual tolerance exceeds the spec.

    I had a dial thermometer in my car when I lived in Sacramento and my recall is that 120 was common but I do not think it ever hit 140.