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External Firewire drive crashed - suggestions for replacement?


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Bad day, my 3TB external WD firewire drive where I store all my music s not reacting any more at all. It is 18 months old, so most likely out of guarantee (need to double check with the Apple Store on Monday).

 

Luckily I have a dual backup, including Time Machine and an off site CCC copy on a 3TB USB drive. So for the moment I'm just going to plug in the external backup drive (which I store at the office) and rename it to the original drive name, and should hopefully be fine for the moment.

 

But this leaves me thinking what I need to do to replace it.

 

Option 1 and 2 are with traditional drive:

 

Option 1) I could just go out and buy the same FW drive again (surprisingly enough, it is still pretty much the same price than the one i bought 18 months ago, where's Moore's law gone for hard disks?)

 

But then again, FW is obviously dead today, and my old iMac doesn't yet have Thunderbolt. Given that I'll most likely replace my Imac in 1-2 years, I'm not sure FW is still the way to go.

 

Option 2) get the cheapest possible 3 TB USB drive. But I'm aware of the fact that USB DAC (or SPDIF interface in my case) and your external music shouldn't be using the same channel. I'm not sure how much of an issue this really is in real world, with memory playback in both Audirvana and Amarra.

 

Or I could start with a NAS:

 

Option 3) I was thinking of the MyCloud 3TB, as I'd like the idea of having access to my music from all over the world, but this thing really got mixed reviews. Anybody having experience with it?

 

Option 4) Get a real NAS, even with several drives. Advantages: more future proof, expandable, etc. However, these things are still quite expensive, so I just wonder whether it is worth going down the NAS route now or wait another couple of years for the technology to get cheaper.

 

Any recommendations?

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Any recommendations?

 

The first thing I would do is determine whether the drive, or the enclosure is bad. If you can take the thing apart and try the HD as an internal in some computer, or use one of those cheap HD adapter devices, that should tell the tale. If it is just the HD that is bad, you can get another bare drive cheap and install it in the enclosure, format, and restore your library. Done.

 

If the enclosure is bad, you could get another enclosure for the HD. I like the MacAlley one that looks like a miniature old Mac Pro, it's got all the interfaces and features I could want.

 

As to a NAS, my opinion from reading this and that about them over the years (started out wanting one, but...), is that you probably need to start out at the Synology level to get the kind of performance you expect. Forget the WD consumer stuff !

 

Good Luck,

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Any recommendations?

 

The first thing I would do is determine whether the drive, or the enclosure is bad. If you can take the thing apart and try the HD as an internal in some computer, or use one of those cheap HD adapter devices, that should tell the tale. If it is just the HD that is bad, you can get another bare drive cheap and install it in the enclosure, format, and restore your library. Done.

 

If the enclosure is bad, you could get another enclosure for the HD. I like the MacAlley one that looks like a miniature old Mac Pro, it's got all the interfaces and features I could want.

 

As to a NAS, my opinion from reading this and that about them over the years (started out wanting one, but...), is that you probably need to start out at the Synology level to get the kind of performance you expect. Forget the WD consumer stuff !

 

Good Luck,

What you're suggesting makes Peter y sense. The hard disk is still reacting when I connect the drive, but the blue activity light is not blinking any more and the drive is not recognized by the Mac. Unfortunately, I'm not very versed with hardware and this kind of modification.

 

Thanks for the feedback regarding NAS. That was my worry as well, that you should go in all or nothing. And the "all" solution is still pretty expensive.

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Bad day ... [snip]

 

Ouch! This of course is something we all must deal with at some point and fortunately you've done due diligence in the backup dept. NAS not only seems rather expensive to me, but also somewhat intimidating, so I will not make a suggestion. Just wanted to wish you the best. Please let us know what you decide.

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makes Peter y sense.

 

Say what ??

 

 

The hard disk is still reacting when I connect the drive, but the blue activity light is not blinking any more and the drive is not recognized by the Mac. Unfortunately, I'm not very versed with hardware and this kind of modification.

 

See if you can find a techy friend, or a geeky kid, to do it for you, if you don't want to learn for yourself. And they really need to be separated to troubleshoot the source of the problem. Lights are there to confuse the wary and unwary alike :)

 

Oh, did you run OSX's Disk Utility to see if it could see the drive ? Maybe it just doesn't want to mount ? Maybe a little DU encouragement might help.

 

 

That was my worry as well, that you should go in all or nothing. And the "all" solution is still pretty expensive.

 

Not THAT expensive ! You can go to the Synology (or other) entry level/home models, limit the number of HDs, don't get too crazy with extra features, and get something quite usable for under $500, I think.

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Hi Musicophile,

 

Since I am a Windows user, I prefer to let others suggest what is best with a Mac, but I thought it was important to suggest that you do not use your backup for now, until you have another backup... I don't know how much music you have on your HDD, but it would be sad if something happened to the backup...

 

That is why I don't just have 1 backup of my music, but 2... It may look overkill, but I have spent so much time in ripping my muisc (and downloading many albums too)...

 

Just a friendly advice of course :)

 

Regards

Alain

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Say what ??

Oops: don't type on an Iphone. I just wanted to say "makes sense". No idea where the "peter" came from.

 

And yes, unfortunately, the drive is not seen by DiskUtility either.

 

I'll talk to some colleagues, see if somebody is more DIY savvy than me.

 

Do you have a specific Synology NAS in mind? The 112 indeed seems affordable, would that be enough?

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Hi Musicophile,

 

Since I am a Windows user, I prefer to let others suggest what is best with a Mac, but I thought it was important to suggest that you do not use your backup for now, until you have another backup... I don't know how much music you have on your HDD, but it would be sad if something happened to the backup...

 

That is why I don't just have 1 backup of my music, but 2... It may look overkill, but I have spent so much time in ripping my muisc (and downloading many albums too)...

 

Just a friendly advice of course :)

 

Regards

I actually do have two backups, everything is copied on by TimeMachine locally, and I have a second mirror stored externally.

 

The problem is being stuck without my music while I try to figure out the replacement solution, so I'll probably take the risk.

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Ouch! This of course is something we all must deal with at some point and fortunately you've done due diligence in the backup dept. NAS not only seems rather expensive to me, but also somewhat intimidating, so I will not make a suggestion. Just wanted to wish you the best. Please let us know what you decide.

Hi Melvin,

 

thanks for the support!

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I actually do have two backups, everything is copied on by TimeMachine locally, and I have a second mirror stored externally.

 

The problem is being stuck without my music while I try to figure out the replacement solution, so I'll probably take the risk.

My bad, I did not read your opening post correctly :(

Alain

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Hi musicophile,

 

I use the WD My Passport Studio FW drive in 2TB for my music since two years now. Runs without any issues so far and is being used everyday. I may notice a little louder spinning noise (on avery, very low audible level) since it reaches the capacity limit lately, but that might be in my own imagination.

 

Have two of them, one for hires iles and one for stdres files, and would purchase them again.

 

A Synology DS413 in proprietary "smart raid" holds a copy of this library.

 

The Synology is what I would expect from a NAS and doesn't come by default with all the gizmos you wouldn't use or want anyway as they are not necessary for music storage (e.g. print server, torrent downloader, mail server ...). Instead Synology uses so called package center for these utilities, similar to the Apple's app store, and you can download and install any of those additional utilities if feel you need them at maybe later stage. If not, your system stays on low processes and tasks as a file server for music.

 

So, 1 and 4 would be my recommendations.

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I spoke to WD today, and it looks like I still may benefit from the 3 years guarantee. I'll hear from the local service partner later this week.

 

By the way, before that I spoke to Apple, where I purchased the drive online, and they couldn't care less given that for them a guarantee is only 12 months, and told me to speak to WD directly, who were much more helpful. This will make me think twice from ordering this kind of stuff from the Apple store in the future.

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So the good news is that I was able to fully reconstruct my library from the CCC backup plus the handful of TimeMachine incremental albums.

 

I can only strongly recommend a similar backup strategy to everybody here, it would have been a nightmare otherwise.

 

The broken WD drive is on it's way to being replace hopefully for free, I should get a new one in 1-2 weeks. I just hope they are still able to find a FW drive, as the MyBook Studios seem to be out of production.

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I would recommend the G-Technology drives. The G-Drive 4TB FireWire800/USB 3.0 desktop drive is $320, direct from the manufacturer. They give you a 3-year transferable warranty.

 

I have three of their 1TB "Mini" FireWire800/USB 3.0 bus-powered drives. They get constant use, and one failed within 6 months. As has been suggested, it could have been the disk drive itself, or the "controller", which is part of the housing/circuitry. The new replacement unit arrived less than two weeks after I sent back the old one.

 

I have one connected to my desktop computer for rips, downloads, tagging, file management, and headphone listening. The second, a mirrored backup, feeds my main audio system via FireWire. The third, a second backup, is kept in my fireproof safe.

 

The G-Drives and their supplied cables have metal connectors with tiny retaining clips, not the cheap plastic plugs that others use.

 

You can always optain a FW/Thunderbolt adapter if you get a new computer down the road. If you buy a Thunderbolt/USB 3.0 drive today, no only do you not have the T-Bolt connectivity, you would be limited to the USB 3.0 throughput speed regardless, because of the combo design of the interface.

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You can always optain a FW/Thunderbolt adapter if you get a new computer down the road. If you buy a Thunderbolt/USB 3.0 drive today, no only do you not have the T-Bolt connectivity, you would be limited to the USB 3.0 throughput speed regardless, because of the combo design of the interface.

 

Probably something I'm not catching here. My Seagate drives are essentially just a SATA drive with a housing, sold with an adapter base (these days USB 3 or T-Bolt). The adapter base is readily removable (just snaps on/off), and one can purchase a FW base (though these are in limited supply as no new ones are being made), the T-Bolt base if your initial purchase was the USB 3 drive, or vice versa. The speed is only limited by the drive itself and whatever adapter happens to be attached at the moment, i.e., if one has a T-Bolt adapter attached USB 3 has nothing to do with the speed.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Just on the subject of NAS pricing, my Netgear ReadyNAS Duo cost me $170 (without drives). I have had it for well over a year and it has performed flawlessly, even surviving a lightning strike (which took out one of the drives, but left the NAS and the other drive intact).

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

- Einstein

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Another piece of advise to think about when acquiring a new external drive is to ensure it has multiple Interface options to plug into, preferably of different types. In other words, I would steer clear of any drives that only have X 1 Ethernet interface or X 1 USB or X 1 Firewire...etc.

 

Ideally the chassis should have X 2 or more options to choose from to get at your data in case one of the interfaces takes a dump on you. Its important to note that some chassis do have X 2 Ethernet/USB/Firewire...etc..etc but unfortunately many times these Interfaces are still tied to the same wafer board so all they are doing is offering a false sense of security/redundancy.

 

Sure you could mail your failed chassis back to the manufacturer if you end up in this situation so they can extract your data for you but who wants to deal with that mess :(

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Just to share the happy ending with you: in the meantime I got a free replacement, and am now restoring the drive from my CCC backup that I had been using in the meantime to listen to my music.

 

Net result: I only lost a couple of tag modifications I had done, everything else is fully recovered, and no costs involved.

 

Backups are GREAT!

 

And Kudos to WD's guarantee program.

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Backups are GREAT!

 

And Kudos to WD's guarantee program.

 

My backup scenario is super-redundant. What makes it easy is that I work at home at one Mac computer (an iMac), and use a headless Mac dedicated for my music system (a Mini). Call them the Work Mac and the Music Mac.

 

Other than playing music, then, I use the Music Mac for nothing else. The Work Mac is used for ripping CDs, downloading high-def music, organizing and tweaking my iTunes library and data, and creating backups…and making a living.

 

The Music Mac has a WD MyBook Studio drive attached via FireWire. It holds only music.

And the Work Mac has five external drives attached (the internal SSD is mainly for the OS, applications, and most-used documents).

One of those external drives is dedicated to music and other iTunes items such as mobile apps and videos.

The other four external drives hold various types of data, and also each works as a separate backup for the music drive.

 

So, whenever I rip some new CDs, download new music, or make major changes to the library such as added higher-quality cover images, I backup in two ways:

  1. Copy the new music from the Work Mac to the Music Mac, using my home's private network. In essence, that creates one backup.
  2. Using Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC), I use manually run "Scheduled Tasks" to incrementally backup the Work Mac's music drive to the four other drives.

All in all, the backup time after I rip five new CDs, say, takes about 5 to 7 minutes…pretty much all automated.

 

In addition to all that, I have a small external drive that I keep in my bank safe deposit box. Periodically, I bring it home and back up to that. A bit of a PITA there, but I can't think of another good outside-home backup method for over 500 GB of music data.

 

The price of external drives nowadays, when compared to the great value of all the time I've spent over the years ripping CDs and tweaking the library and its metadata, is cheap. The time it takes to backup is negligible.

 

Hope you all get some ideas for your own backups here.

(And what's the Windows equivalent of CCC? It's a key linchpin in this backup process.)

 

And Chris, great to hear both that all is okay and that you give kudos to WD, since all the external drives I mention above are from WD.

 

Dave, who says that the core of his ultimate backup is his collection of 1500 or so CDs that now otherwise sits idle

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Music is love, made audible.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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In addition to all that, I have a small external drive that I keep in my bank safe deposit box. Periodically, I bring it home and back up to that. A bit of a PITA there, but I can't think of another good outside-home backup method for over 500 GB of music data.

 

Dave, who says that the core of his ultimate backup is his collection of 1500 or so CDs that now otherwise sits idle

 

Suggested by someone in another thread about Musicophile's external HDD crash: Online Data Backup - Offsite, Onsite, & Cloud - CrashPlan Backup Software

 

Automated remote and local backup, unlimited data. Free if the remote site is your own or a friend's, $3.96 US per month to back up to their servers if you pay well in advance, $6/month if you take it one month at a time. If you are backing up to their servers, depending on the size of your "pipe" for uploading, it may be impractical to do the original upload remotely. (1mbps = ~300GB/month.) In that event, you can backup up to 1TB on a drive they send you, at a one time cost of $125.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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