Imac and old mac
August 10, 2011 3:46 PM   Subscribe

Hi, I have a new Imac and an older 32 bit Mac Pro with 4 drives in it. I'm trying to find the best way to keep all of the media and files I have on the old drives but I'd like to access them through the new Imac. Is an external multi-bay case the best way to go? Could I turn the old Mac pro into a server? What's the most cost effective solution?
posted by Shanachie to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Set up File Sharing on the Mac Pro.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:48 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I believe I would consider simply turning on Apple File Sharing for all the drives in the Mac Pro.

To enable sharing on all the drives, go to System Preferences: Sharing, and tick the File Sharing box in the list to the left. Then use the + icon to add in all the drives, set the permissions appropriately, and you can connect to the drives from the iMac.
posted by krilli at 3:49 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Conditional on a couple clarifications/question, I may disagree.

Mac Pros are all 64-bit. If it's 32-bit, it's at most a Powermac G4, and will have a plastic case. If it's metal with one CD slot, it's a Powermac G5. If it's metal with two CD slots, it's a Mac Pro. If it's a Mac Pro, it's still almost certainly a snazzy computer and unless you NEVER use it except to access the files, or really want to cut down on power consumption or noise, you should ignore the rest and use file sharing as mentioned above.

How big are the drives, and what kind of files and media do you have there? Unless you've put in drives recently, I would guess that your new iMac has more storage space than all four drives put together, so you could archive everything in a logical way on the new computer as long as you trim the fat. If you want to access the files with any sort of speed (i.e., searching them or streaming video or music), a Mac Pro will be fine, but older Powermacs may falter.

It's not the most cost-effective solution, but I would recommend buying an external hard drive and dumping the contents of the four hard drives to that. It'll be (more) portable, faster, lower-power, etc etc. (And cheaper than a multi-drive enclosure.) Depending on the age of the machine, you might be able to cover the cost by selling everything else.
posted by supercres at 4:06 PM on August 10, 2011

how big are the drives? If they are old, and small, it might be more effective to back them up onto a newer, larger drive. Drives do tend to die sometimes anyway, so backing everything up to one big drive and then having an offsite backup might be a good bet.
posted by sully75 at 4:06 PM on August 10, 2011

You could also boot the old Mac in firewire disk mode and just use it as is. Not really a great long term solution but it has the advantage of being free and requiring no new hardware.
posted by doctor_negative at 4:25 PM on August 10, 2011

IF its an old g4 with scsi drives then i would copy all the data off the drives and just not use them. Scsi drives can be expensive to replace.
posted by majortom1981 at 4:28 PM on August 10, 2011

Actually, the first Mac Pros that came out Mid-2006 were 32bit but were quickly replaced by a 64bit version in early '07. The drives are fairly new 2 1tb and 2 2tb drives.
posted by Shanachie at 4:53 PM on August 10, 2011


If you need it now, then get an external case and put the drives in that (also consider leaving a drive in the MP and ebay it, if unneeded).

However, you're gonna want a Thunderbolt case and those aren't out yet (at least none that I know about and I just did a quick search). If you can wait then they should be out in the next 6 monthes.
posted by Murray M at 5:37 PM on August 10, 2011

Even if it's just a quad-core Mac Pro, you should be able to sell it for substantially more than the cost of a Drobo enclosure, and pocket the difference.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:43 PM on August 10, 2011

Drobo will eat your data if you just slap the drives in. so will, for that matter, most multi-bay built-in RAID boxes, unless they explicitly state that they support having each individual drive be access individually, so double check that if you buy a multi-disk box to slap your drives into.

I would definitely go with a good-quality enclosure with FW800 than a USB-only version. OWC makes some really good single and multiple-disk drive enclosures that support FireWire 800; a set of single-disk enclosures would get your stuff directly connected to your iMac. (keep in mind you can daisy chain FireWire devices.) I would most definitely not wait for Thunderbolt, as the only people who have a box out now are Promise, and theirs starts at $999 (and doesn't come in a no-disk configuration). it'll be a while before Thunderbolt enclosures come out at decent prices. besides, FireWire 800 is really quite fast.
posted by mrg at 6:31 PM on August 10, 2011

Not to argue, but... EFI architecture is still 32-bit, but that's usually not what people are referring to. And hey, you might have a better computer than you thought! Definitely enough for reasonable (if power-hungry) over-the-network performance if you don't access the files too much.

I have a bit of experience selling old surplus Macs. If you don't use the Pro as a computer, I'd say sell it and buy an enclosure.

Don't use the computer in target disk mode; the software that controls the fans is not as good as the normal OS X temp-control software.
posted by supercres at 6:58 PM on August 10, 2011

Don't use the computer in target disk mode; the software that controls the fans is not as good as the normal OS X temp-control software.

Not true. Intel Macs have an SMC which controls fans the same way whether you're in EFI, Mac OS, or Windows.
posted by bigtex at 12:30 AM on August 11, 2011

you can get an external 3TB drive for about $120. i'd buy one, copy everything onto it, and save the old drives as a backup. no need to spend a ton of money to use your current drives when for a fraction of the price you can have all the data AND a backup.
posted by noloveforned at 12:57 PM on August 11, 2011

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