Just getting started - advice for plotting rig?

Hi everyone, I just ordered:

6x12gb WD Elements HHDs for a total of 72gb of space
and a Micron 5300 1.92tb 2.5" SSD for plotting

I have a MacBook Pro and I was thinking of setting these up externally and plotting from here. Is this a bad idea then hooking them up on a very very cheap machine to keep them online. Is this a reasonable plan?

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I did a couple dozen plots on a 2019 Macbook Air with an external NVME drive before I got my NUC. It can definitely work, but it can only go so fast over USB-C. I recommend getting a Thunderbolt 3 compatible external NVME enclosure to try and use up the bandwidth as best as possible.

It will work, it might render your laptop otherwise unusable because it will be chugging along and plugged into a lot of things, but if you can afford that, go for it!

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It will work, but I don’t think it’s going to bring you joy. Particularly if you are trying to use the MBP at the same time it is plotting. Definitely get your temp drive hooked up by thunderbolt. I can vouch that nvme is waaaay better for temp space.

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Ok thanks. Can’t afford to have the laptop unusable, so I will need another machine. I guess following this https://chiadecentral.com/budget-plotting-build/ I should be able to do it for $500 or so.


If it is a superspeed 20 port, it’s pretty fast, 20gbps. Look for the SS 20 label on it. If it has no label and says SS it’s 10gbps. If it doesn’t say SS, it is 5gbps.

IMO 10gbps is enough to be good, considering I’m not seeing big perf differences from SATA SSDs at “only” 6gbps. It does limit how many you can do parallel of course!

TL;DR check your computer’s specs! The USB port might be plenty fast, especially if it is the SS 20 (USB 3.2 gen 2x2) type.

Thunderbolt is also great of course.