There is much interest in Apple’s new Fusion Drive for Macs, where an SSD and conventional Hard Drive are paired into one drive. Files are automatically moved between the SSD and HD depending on usage, so the most frequently accessed files reside on the faster SSD and the HD provides greater capacity for infrequently used files. The feature sounds like a step forward for users with more files than a reasonably priced SSD can store, but there are still many answers and reliability tests needed before it’s something to recommend for use on a hackintosh.
After recently buying a 128Gb OCZ Vertex Plus SSD from Aria, for the bargain price of £40, I have been looking at ways to use this with my 2Gb hard drive. I recently added a Seagate 2Gb 7200.14 drive, using my previous 2Gb drive as a backup. The new Seagate gave a big boost to read/write performance, going from around 50Mb/s read/write on the old HD to 140Mb/s read/write on the Seagate 7200.14. This testing was done using the free Blackmagic Disk Speed Test app for the Mac appstore, so while in no way comprehensive does show a big speed increase for sequential access.
The OCZ Vertex Plus SSD is an older generation device that gives around 160Mb/s write and 200Mb/s read speeds. This is way below the 500MB/s+ speeds that newer SSD’s can offer, but this was intended as a cheap test before committing to a more expensive SSD. The next decision is how to use the two drives, with three main options available: Read more…
I recently detailed my problems with Backzup and LiveDrive, and have since found Carbonite’s throttling of backup speeds has made the service unusable. I had to contact Carbonite after upgrading my server from a 10.6 Atom to 10.7 i3 setup, as the backup set was frozen and a new one started. I had around 200Gb of data in the backup, and since Carbonite throttle backup speeds to make the service unusable at around 300Gb I could only get half way through the second backup. Contacting Carbonite about the problem resulted in having to delete all the backups and start again, but the speed stayed low and after six weeks I had backed up 60Gb.
I have had no reply from Backzup in the ten weeks since my account was suspended, and LiveDrive said it wasn’t their problem. Also, Firefox warns that https://backzup.com is untrusted as it uses a self-signed certificate, making me wonder how much thought the clowns behind Backzup gave their service. Time to switch to a new online backup company. Read more…
On 14th December 2011 I signed up for a free 512Gb online backup account at Backzup. I was initially doubtful that the service could provide that amount of free backup, but it worked well. Backzup is (was?) a Livedrive re-seller, so the software you download is from Livedrive, and you use the Livedrive web site to manage or access your backup.
My reason for trying Backzup was a problem with my Carbonite account. I have used Carbonite for my online backup needs for over two years, and while the service has previously worked well I have now hit the point where Carbonite are throttling my backup so much it’s impossible to use. When I recently upgraded my server hackintosh I moved all the files from the old server to the new one using the Mac Migration Assistant. When I re-installed the Carbonite software on the new server and transfered the backup account the old backup set was retained, and a new one started. The backup set contains 189Gb, so the old 189Gb remained on the Carbonite servers and a new 189Gb backup was started. Carbonite slow down your backup once it gets too big, so mine is wallowing at around 300Gb with over 70Gb remaining. The upload speed is now limited to around 100kbit/second, so I am now waiting for 30 days since the old backup was last seen. At that time the old backup should be deleted, and I can finish the new backup in a reasonable time.
Backzup sounded like an ideal solution, offering 512Gb for free with no upload speed limits. I completed the initial backup of 204Gb in five days, which included suspending the backup a few times to do other things. The service then worked without issue until the 1st January 2012, when the Livedrive software reported it could not log into the account. My attempts to access the Livedrive web site returned a message that the account was suspended, but there is no way to contact Livedrive as I need to log into the account to access their support system. This happened at the point when I was considering upgrading to one of Backzup’s paid accounts, not for the extra space but to pay something for a good service. Read more…
The Netgear Stora is a new breed of home Network Attached Storage. Where past NAS devices have added a multitude of streaming and sharing options, the Stora is a simplified device targeting ease of use and home/internet access to shared media and files. There are some inspired and strange design choices in the device, but first some unboxing and hardware thoughts.
For the past year or so I have been using the 4 bay SATA hard drive dock shown above in my main hackintosh. Made by Icy Dock it works perfectly under Leopard and Snow Leopard, allowing SATA drives to be hot swapped. Over the past couple of months I bought two Icy Dock external USB2/eSATA drive enclosures for backup drives, shown below.
I initially connected these drives using USB as the six Intel SATA ports on my motherboard were in use. The remaining two purple SATA ports are from the Gigabyte SATA2 chipset, a re-labelled JMicron controller. I hadn’t tried these, mostly due to remembered problems other users had way back in the early hackintosh days.
Attempts using Superduper to make backups reported a transfer rate of 4Mb/second over USB2 so eSATA speeds were needed. The external Icy Dock cases come with an eSATA cable and expansion card socket/internal cable so there’s nothing else needed. A quick search showed that nothing was needed in the way of kernel extensions to get the jMicron ports working, so ten minutes of installing the expansion slot sockets and the external drives are now working fine over eSATA. Superduper is reporting around 60Mb/second transfer rate to the external backup drives so there’s no excuse to put off slow backups now.
There shouldn’t be any speed difference between the internal 4 bay drives and the external ones, but the great thing about this setup is that the drive caddies are the same differing only in colour and air vent. I can remove an external white caddy and use it in the internal dock and vice versa.
I suffered a bit of a disaster over the weekend when the fan in my Synology DS106e network attached server stopped working. For 18 months it had worked well (I had bought it used from eBay), then at some point last week the fan died. This wasn’t immediately apparent, and only became an issue when the server started a scheduled backup to an external USB drive. Lots of drive activity and reduced cooling quickly resulted in an overheated hard drive and email warnings of read errors. Not the sort of message you want to receive when you are 20 miles away at work. Read more…