I am perfectly satisfied with the Mercury Elite 2TB drives I bought from Other World Computing.
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I'm using internal drives in a dock. Specifically: http://www.newertech.com/products/voyagerq.php
The drive I'm presently using is a Samsung Spinpoint 2tb. The drive & dock are silent.
5400rpm will be just fine as far as performance with the added benefit of less noise & heat. For these reasons, I would recommend an "energy efficient" drive.
I'm running a mini, Bitperfect &/or Puremusic & a Wavelength Crimson USB DAC.
I'll second Mrmb's observation regarding hard drive requirements. I've been using the WD "Green" drives forever, I've had one drive misbehave out of about thirty.
These folks make excellent cases, they are quiet and great uptime,
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The fact is even the best built hard drives can, and will eventually fail. Your best defense is backup' and the easiest way to do this is getting a mirrored RAID drive. Unfortunately they do tend to be a bit noisier because there are at least two drives in a housing that is usually vented with a micro fan. Short of that yod always have to make a copy whenever you added music. For single basic drives I've had good luck with Lacie's plain black plastic houses drives. I use OWC Newertech RAIDs and Hitachi Enterprise raw drives, which I've also had good luck with. No matter which you go with, backup somehow on a regular basis.
Jax2's advice is important, whatever you decide, make sure you duplicate one way or another.
I also use OWC enclosures, specifically the Mercury Pro Elite. From what I read on Computeraudiophile.com, the chipset used in this enclosure is ideal for music playback. I did not do any comparisons but given all the choices out there it helped me narrow it down.
I understand your confusion, it's pretty overwhelming. Way too many options!
Thanks guys for the input and suggestions! I really appreciate it.
Mrmb -that Newertech dock looks very interesting and will definitely be investigating that swappable device.
Jax2 -Unfortunately my drives will be quite close to where i will be doing my listening at my desk. Noise is an issue so i have to be careful as i would naturally like to keep it as quiet as possible. Yes backup is critical as i don't want to lose files after taking the time to load my CD collection. I already did that with a my Windows file platform and now can no longer use them for my Mac so i must start from scratch.....ugh! But loving the Mac Mini and it will be worth it : ) thanks again everyone! and Happy New Year to all! : )
Al -I use to have a PC Windows platform and from my understanding there is no way to use those files in iTunes. Perhaps i am missing something and am totally wrong about this?? Unfortunately that External Drive is USB only and i now am running a USB external DAC and now need to utilize a Firewire External Drive so they don't interfere with one another. That old drive just became obsolete to me for at least the time being it looks like...: \
If anyone knows how i could recover those files and utilize them in iTunes i am certainly all ears....cheers!
I would think that you could temporarily connect the USB drive and the new firewire drive to the Mac simultaneously, copy the files from one drive to the other, and set up the copied files on the firewire drive in the iTunes library.
What might be behind your understanding that "there is no way to use those files in iTunes" (on the Mac) is that if the USB drive is formatted with the NTFS file system (as opposed to FAT32), Mac's wouldn't be able to write to that drive (without using certain third party software programs). However, as I understand it Mac's are completely able to read files from NTFS-formatted drives, which would allow you to copy them to the new drive using your Mac.
Just looked at this one below. I read that 5400 drives spin slower so produce less noise? Also this drive is "Raid" capable and since i have no prior knowledge of how to set a Raid system up should i be using the "mirror" setting for this drive? Thanks!
I read that 5400 drives spin slower so produce less noise?In general, yes, although I would expect that there will be exceptions. The design of the enclosure can also significantly affect noise levels. Hopefully one of the others who may be using an OWC enclosure similar to the one you are considering will comment further.
Also this drive is "Raid" capable and since i have no prior knowledge of how to set a Raid system up should i be using the "mirror" setting for this drive?Yes, you would want to use the RAID 1 "mirror" configuration.
Keep in mind, though, that although a RAID mirror protects against the possibility of data loss due to drive failure, a small but non-zero chance remains that something can happen that would cause the data on both drives to be lost simultaneously. For example, the controller circuitry in the enclosure or the operating system in the Mac going berserk, undiscovered design anomalies in the controller circuitry or its programming, the power supply going into an overvoltage condition, electrical surges, virus infections, etc. For anything really important it is desirable to have a second backup, IMO, which can be updated whenever it is convenient to do so.
I am also using Mac Mini as music server with Amarra mini and Ayre QB9 Dac. Because of the need for decent looks/ergonomics I decided on 2 - 1TB Iomega Minimax external hard drives - connected using firewire 800 and daisy chained with Raid (mirror) set up. This provided one drive for playback and the 2nd for back up.The drives are extremely quiet, error free and look good stacked on top of the Mac mini. Cost at Apple Store was minimal compared to other options (NAS) which have been known to be problematic. You can check them out at the Apple Store online.