External hard drive for M1 MacMini for FCP Library files

At work I have M1 MacMini with a 500gb hard drive that I use for editing videos with Final Cut Pro. The 500gb fills up quickly and I need to store older library files on an external hard drive. Unfortunately, it is a super slow drive from like 10 years ago. The drive is so horrid that I cannot easily open and edit the library files but need to copy them back to the Mac to stand a fighting chance.
Any suggestions for a fast drive that has at least 4tb? (Ideally I would be able to open the libraries and edit them on the external drive…)

Isn’t this a question for your work’s IT department?

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Unfortunately, our company is really small and I AM the IT department. :sweat_smile: (I’m not trained to be, just added on to other duties because I know slightly more than the people sitting next to me.)
Either way, just wondering if someone had a suggestion like “avoid this brand” or “make sure it is thunderbolt X compatible for …” etc

Any NVMe ssd with USB 3.2 or Thunderbolt 3/4 interface connected to the Mini should give you the performance you are looking for. In the $350-400 range, I’ve used Kington, Lacie and Sandisk Extreme Pro. The Sandisk is great for mobile video work. It’s been up close and personal with my washing machine and liked it. Normally I buy the NVMe SSD with the performance I need and put it in a $30 housing.


Yikes! As this isn’t your primary duty, I gotta ask if you’ve given any consideration to data backup? Whatever you end up purchasing, you’re going to want to purchase two of them and configure whatever the Apple backup solution is to utilize the second as a backup target. Ideally you’ll also use a service like Backblaze in order to maintain a remote copy of your data.


Do you have a backup? If you are going to buy a fast drive, I’d also buy a new normal HDD to make a regular backup of your work.

If you regularly fill the 500GB of space on the internal 500GB SSD, it will fill an external 4TB drive regularly, as well.

To be honest, I’d go with a 2-pronged solution, a NAS or something similar for keeping a backup of your projects and an SSD attached using TB3 or USB-C 3.2 on the Mac directly, for working and scratch space for current projects.

If you are regularly filling and then deleting content from the internal SSD, it will wear out faster. This shouldn’t be a problem, but can reduce the life of the drive, if some of the cells are weaker, the drive could start to fail after a few years, and they can’t be replaced, so moving that out to a scratch disk that can be easily replaced should be a priority.

I only have a Satechi USB 3.1 hub with a SATA SSD for my Mac mini M1, but it is more than fast enough for my photo editing - faster than my Ryzen 1700 with internal SATA SSDs. I got it on the recommendation from Alex Lindsay on MacBreak Weekly. It is fast enough for my photo editing and should be a huge step up from the external drive you have. A 4TB SSD on top of that should be a good solution.

I would then also recommend something like a Synology NAS for making the backups. Don’t make the mistake of using the Synology as extra data storage, if you do that, it is no longer your backup! Alternatively, there are cloud backup solutions, like Carbonite (TWiT sponsor at some point) or Backblaze that also work on NAS devices as well as you Mac, this would give added redundancy, if the office burns down and takes the NAS and your Mac with it, you still have all your work stored in the cloud.

Alternatively, you can use 2 Synology NAS devices, one at the office, another at your home or the boss’ home, as a synchronized backup - this opens up liability questions, and the same goes, don’t use the home one to store personal stuff on, it would be a work device, plus sync, it could end up on the work one, if you are storing personal information or images!


Probably the best way to go. I don’t need huge speed, so I have an external SSD from Seagate. I still made sure it has 10Gbps interface (USB 3.2 Gen 2x1 or whatever USB-IF are calling it these days).


Thank you for the detailed reply.

It has been internal SSD → external old HDD → Google Drive.

Will see if the boss will pay! Thanks!