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Adding second external FireWire drive

 
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picaman
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2005 1:30 pm    Post subject: Adding second external FireWire drive Reply with quote

I'm currently booting my Mac Mini off of an external FireWire drive and have been backing it up to the internal drive using SuperDuper. The 80GB internal drive is getting quite full though, and I know that can cause problems with the file system overwriting itself, etc. And I want to avoid that!

So I'm thinking of adding a second external FireWire drive, identical to the first, to be used solely for backup. Two questions:

--Can I just daisy-chain the backup drive off the first drive, or would I get more reliable operation by getting a FireWire hub and plugging both drives into it? I've read conflicting reports on this.

--Does cable length affect reliability? It used to in the days of SCSI, but not sure it if matters anymore. In other words, if I end up daisy-chaining the devices, do I need to bother looking for short cables?

--Any good use for the internal drive, other than for a mimimal system install and an enormous Photoshop scratch disk?

--Anything I'm forgetting? Any alternate backup solutions I don't know about?

Thanks in advance for your help.

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Jamie
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2005 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I currently have 2 firewire drives daisychained on my Mac Mini, and I'm using the second one as my boot drive.

Once in a while the Mini will fail to detect the 2nd firewire drive and boot from the internal drive instead. This seems not to happen if I follow this procedure:

1) Power up the 2nd (boot) drive first, place my hand on the enclosure
and wait unti I feel the drive seek as it finishes spinning up.
2) Power up the first firewire drive and repeat the sensing of spin up.
I sometimes cheat and use The Force, by closing my eyes and
visualizing the little platters going roundy round all spinny-like.
3) Power up the Mini

I realize it would make more sense to have the boot drive cabled as the first firewire device, but the current arrangement is working well, and besides, I like to use The Force.
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picaman
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A bit of research turned up a limit of 15 feet without the use of a FireWire hub or repeater. I think I'm going to buy a very short FireWire cable to hook up the two hard drives.

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Jamie
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Cubist
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been using firewire HD's for years now and have not experienced any shortcomings daisy chaining them together. I currently have two HD's, one of which is my boot drive, and the other, my iTunes backup. I do however use a firewire hub, only because of the Mini's single firewire socket, and because some of my other firewire devices don't have a second firewire plug. Adding the hub had no perceptable effect on my performance though, it only added convienience. I use a small Belkin one, it costs about $40, from CompUSA. I don't see the point of the much more expensive ones, at the end of the day, it's only a hub, and I don't feel the need to pay $60 or more for that.
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