Setting up new Mac


My first post here so hi everyone! :)

I have just bought a new mid-2011 Mac Mini Server to replace my aging late-2006 Core-2-Duo iMac. The Mini is running M.L. (Server but I won't be using that aspect for now, if ever). My iMac is on S.L.

I have 2 questions:

1. My research, including searching this forum, suggests that the best way to transfer to the new machine is to install all applications and plugins etc. from scratch rather than use Migration Assistant or any other similar method. (It's too late for Setup Assistant as I've already started up the Mini.) I could then use M.A. or manual file transfer to move all my data. This will be a long haul but worth it as I'd rather not transfer all the superfluous apps and files as well as any problems that may have built up over the years. Also to avoid any compatability issues between the two OS's and computers. I'd like to end up with a clean and fresh install as far as possible. Am I correct in taking this approach?

2. The Mini has 2 internal 7200 drives, one of my reasons for buying it. I use a 3-drive system with Logic, i.e. separate drives for the system and applications, sample libraries and audio recordings. With the Mini I intend to use my external G-Drive hooked up through firewire as the 3rd drive. I will daisy-chain it with my Metric Halo interface. Would it be best to put the sample libraries on the 2nd internal drive and record audio to the external, or the other way round, i.e. samples on the external and audio on the 2nd internal, or does it make any difference? When I ran Logic on a PC many years ago when Emagic owned it, I had just 2 internals and used the 2nd drive to record audio only, everything else including samples on the system drive. Worked a treat but then everything was much smaller in those days..

I'd appreciate any thoughts or advice. Thanks.
Yes, a clean install is best for sure (in my experience) I also recommend a clean reinstall every 3 years or so.

I would keep the sample on the drive that is the faster: usually the internal sata bus is faster, so I'd suggest samples on internal, record on external. That said, don't the newer mini's have a thunderbolt connection? If so, use the external TB drive (since it's faster than data).

How much size do you require for samples? SSD's are FANTASTIC for sample playback. Just a thought.
Welcome to the forum!

I'll second everything George wrote. It's definitely worth putting the extra time and effort into a clean install now. It may save you much more time later.

I have had good experiences daisy chaining MH units with FW drives on my Mac Book Pro. You probably know this already, but make sure to test this thoroughly before attempting any serious recording projects. Thunderbolt is a good suggestion, I'm not sure if your 2011 Mac Mini is equipped with a TB connection though?

kind regards

Many thanks for your replies, and to Mark for the welcome :). This confirms what I was thinking about the initial setup. A clean install every 3 years? Sounds like a great idea, though a lot of work!

Yes, the Mini does have thunderbolt (impressive little monster, this!). I'm going to stick with what I have for now so although SSD's and thunderbolt are no doubt faster, I think the G-Drive and internal should be adequate in terms of both size and speed. Don't want to shell out for yet more drives unless I really need them (I already have 5 in all!). Unless George you meant getting a thunderbolt-FW adaptor and connecting the G-Drive there instead of to the FW port? That would take the pressure off the FW bus cos as you indicate Mark, the chaining can have mixed results. I too have had success with that for the most part but some overloading of the bus when using 2 drives + the ULN-2 at the same time; however I think that was more to do with the chipset in the FW400 drive I used for audio, a Seagate, as well as the iMac bus being only 400. That drive will now be used for storage/backup and the 800 G-Drive for audio. Thanks George for clarifying that samples would be better on the internal.

I may return with teething issues. This is only my 2nd Mac and so it's the first time I've migrated to a new one, apart from the PC-Mac transition way back in '06!

All the best, Mark
There is definitely nothing wrong in first of all trying to work with what you have. If you do consider making use of all the bandwidth that the TB connection offers, there are TB-FW 800 adapter cables available. Even at Apple prices they aren't too exorbitant. Here in the German Apple store I see one for 29 Euros.

kind regards

Ok so using my existing FW800 drive connected via thunderbolt rather than FW would give me better performance / bandwidth? I wasn't aware of that. I presumed it would simply 'downgrade' the signal speed to match the drive. I'll definitely consider that instead of chaining with the ULN. I'm certainly happy to buy a cable or two! Would just rather not shell out on a whole new drive.

Thanks again Mark
Using the the TB->fw adapter will only *at most* give you fw800 speeds. Thunderbolt native drives can wipe the floor with this, although only in the case of RAID or (fast) SSD drives. For single spinning drives the drive tends to be the bottleneck, the TB->fw adapter is a good and inexpensive way of maintaining comparability but if you're looking to buy new drives its worth considering TB.
And regarding migration assistant for pro audio, just don't do it!

Right. I've no intention of doing it sir, except for my data!

In your first post you mention that the TB>FW adapter would be good for "maintaining comparability". Can you explain what you mean by that?

Thanks for your input.
Just a fancy way of saying you can still use you're fw stuff, maybe something like legacy product lifetime enhancement would have been better ;-)
Yes, I think that would have made it a lot clearer! ;)

So apart from that, there's no real advantage in connecting the FW drive via t'bolt? How about the extra bandwidth Mark mentioned earlier? Maybe it would be a better use of resources than daisy-chaining with my interface on the fw bus though. Had issues with overloading in the past as I mentioned before but that was with 2 drives + interface over FW400.

Which would be better to connect via t'bolt, the drive or the interface, or doesn't it make any difference?

Sorry about all the questions. I just want to get this set up as best I can. I'll do some research myself on all this as well.

Edit: Hmm. Just looking at the Apple store and the TB>FW adaptor gets some pretty mixed reviews. Might try it anyway cos I don't need bus power but there might be a way to go before this connector works as it should.

Cheers, Mark