Faster or shared storage, but not both
QI create and edit architectural files typically of 25MB or larger, and am a keen photographer with a large Photos library. The former files are stored on a WD MyCloud Mirror so I can access them from other systems, but they take a long time to save. My Photos library is eating space on the 512GB SSD in my MacBook Pro. How can I reduce the time it takes to save files and keep my photos to hand?
AA faster hardware-based RAID NAS would improve performance a bit, but you would need to go up to much more expensive network systems to match the performance of internal storage.
Your fastest option would be to fit a larger internal SSD, but architectural files stored there would need to be synchronised over your network to the NAS or other shared storage; you could do that using a folder-syncing app, perhaps.
An SSD or even a hard drive in a Thunderbolt enclosure would also perform very well, although again you’d need to synchronise over your network. USB 3 models are often significantly cheaper.
For your Photos library, a cost-effective and neat answer might be to add a fast 128GB or larger card to your Mac’s SDXC slot (which will cost upwards of £60). Otherwise, keeping it on an external drive would mean the library would only be accessible while that drive is connected to your MacBook Pro.
It’s easy to forget that the SDXC slot in a MacBook Pro can be used to conveniently boost storage capacity.