georgebowman wrote in post #16505414
Great discussion and exactly the advice I needed. I am moving my processing from a PC tower to my MacBook Pro. I just ordered LR5 and plan to install it soon. I plan to load LR5 and my catalog onto the Mac and attached 2-2TB external drives; one for my library the the other as backup for my library. Does this sound like a reasonable plan?
When you write "library" do you mean your collection of photo files (Raws, jpgs, tiff/psd) or do you mean the Lightroom catalog database? These are two very different things and both need to be backed up to a secure location, but the working copies of each can be in different places. The catalog should be on your fastest drive, which is usually an internal, and the actual photo files can be on an external. LR5 has a new feature with which Smart Previews can be made and stored together with the catalog. They can be used as surrogates for the photo files when the external is off-line or you are away from home. As Tim said, you can augment the database by having LR create xmps as well, but they do not entirely replace the catalog because they do not contain all the data regarding sorting, tagging and other organizational operations that is in the database.
My own set up is as follows: Raw photo files and tiffs from a second editor used in tandem with LR are on two externals - one sits on my desk and the other is locked away in a steel box in the "panic room". I use two catalogs - one called "Old" refers to photos from 2001 to the end of 2012 and is located on the D partition of my internal and backed up regularly to the first external and periodically to the second external. The second catalog, named "Current" refers to 2013 photos (in three weeks its contents will be moved to "Old" in order to clear the decks for 2014) and it, together with its regular previews and Smart Previews and a Camera Raw Cache folder, is on a 64 GB flash drive. Needless to say, it also is backed up to the externals. My experience has been that LR works very fast with this setup, especially the "Current" catalog.