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Author Topic: Need help picking an external HD interface type  (Read 6809 times)
JessicaLuchesi
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« on: December 15, 2007, 07:54:05 AM »
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Hi everyone

Once again I'm on the product selection process, and I need your help. I have 150 bucks ( tops ) to spend on an external disk unit, to have a "pocket mirror" of my notebook for safety purposes. The idea is to keep a daily, or almost daily backup of my notebook somewhere else, in case something bad happens. If someone steal my notebook, or I drop it and loose all data, or something of that sort, I would be able to plug that disk into another computer, and have my most recent work and email database there, so that I wouldn't loose data.

So, I was looking at Lacie's rugged portable HD on B&H. I was planning on getting the triple interface unit, but the price difference is considerable. For example, for the price of a 120Gb triple interface unit, I can get a 160Gb USB2.0 one.

Considering my computer doesn't have Firewire 800 ( Macbook ) for me the triple interface becomes a dual-interface (FW400/USB), so I'd like to hear, basically, if you experience that it's worth investing on the Firewire 400 interface, or if USB2.0 is close enough to FW400 to a point there is no huge noticeable diference ( for example, moving 20Gb takes 10min on USB2 and 3minutes on FW400.... or if it takes 10 minutes on USB2 and 9 on FW400... almost the same ).

If you see only those two ports free ( FW400 and USB2.0 ) on your notebook... would you connect a dual-port device to either one ( makes very little diference ), or you'd only connect to FW400 at all times?

As a reference, the HD is a 5400rpm one, not the 7200rpm model.
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bradleygibson
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« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2007, 10:18:45 AM »
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FW 400 will give you slightly better transfer speeds than USB2 in real world conditions (nothing earth-shattering though).

But I suspect the 5400rpm drive will the bottleneck in performance, and thus you may not see any difference at all between the two.

If both interfaces allow you to power the drive (handy, if you are mobile), then I'd recommend whichever is cheaper.

Hope that helps,
Brad

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Hi everyone

Once again I'm on the product selection process, and I need your help. I have 150 bucks ( tops ) to spend on an external disk unit, to have a "pocket mirror" of my notebook for safety purposes. The idea is to keep a daily, or almost daily backup of my notebook somewhere else, in case something bad happens. If someone steal my notebook, or I drop it and loose all data, or something of that sort, I would be able to plug that disk into another computer, and have my most recent work and email database there, so that I wouldn't loose data.

So, I was looking at Lacie's rugged portable HD on B&H. I was planning on getting the triple interface unit, but the price difference is considerable. For example, for the price of a 120Gb triple interface unit, I can get a 160Gb USB2.0 one.

Considering my computer doesn't have Firewire 800 ( Macbook ) for me the triple interface becomes a dual-interface (FW400/USB), so I'd like to hear, basically, if you experience that it's worth investing on the Firewire 400 interface, or if USB2.0 is close enough to FW400 to a point there is no huge noticeable diference ( for example, moving 20Gb takes 10min on USB2 and 3minutes on FW400.... or if it takes 10 minutes on USB2 and 9 on FW400... almost the same ).

If you see only those two ports free ( FW400 and USB2.0 ) on your notebook... would you connect a dual-port device to either one ( makes very little diference ), or you'd only connect to FW400 at all times?

As a reference, the HD is a 5400rpm one, not the 7200rpm model.
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plugsnpixels
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« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2007, 01:16:15 PM »
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Jessica, you've got a very good approach to your computing, desiring to keep a back-up! Many folks don't think of this until it's too late (I deal with college students in computer labs...).

I too have a MacBook (and MacPro in the office, as well as a G4/DP800 with a FW PCI adapter card at home) and I use only the FireWire ports for external drives (7200 RPM). I have no interest in using USB 2.0 except for small peripherals (flash drives, digital camera, iPod, etc.).

Check though the drives offered at www.newegg.com (an Apple employee told me about them and I've used them ever since. Best prices and fast shipping).
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JessicaLuchesi
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« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2007, 04:05:27 PM »
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Thanks everyone

I decided to add a few bucks, and go for the 5400rpm triple interface Lacie Rugged 160Gb. I'll try to come back and post here an update on how the speed on both interfaces I can use compare, after I get my hands on the drive. Not after the holidays unfortunatly  

I did really feel that right now, USB2 and FW400 would be quite similar, but I don't know if in an year or so, I'll have a FW800 port as well, and I don't plan on ditching this disk any soon, maybe use it for delivering large data for clients in the future, if I upgrade the computer and decide to buy a new backup unit with it... but still, I felt that despite the tight budget, I should add the extra bucks and have the possible future use of FW800 ( instead of having a USB2 only drive, and maybe in 9 months, curse myself for being cheap and saving 50 bucks ).
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plugsnpixels
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« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2007, 04:23:21 PM »
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Any chance you can get a 7200 rpm drive? No point crippling yourself there. A faster drive serves data faster (copying and accessing)!
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JessicaLuchesi
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« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2007, 05:16:31 PM »
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Any chance you can get a 7200 rpm drive? No point crippling yourself there. A faster drive serves data faster (copying and accessing)!
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Unfortunatly no.    But the HD inside my notebook right now is a 5400rpm one... I don't think it will add too much overhead on my system compared to the current overhead I have with the current HD. So, I won't be much more crippled than I already am.

Also, the 7200rpm drive is a 200Gb one, and on B&H, more expensive than the 250Gb one. It's double what I'm spending already. Still, one main reason for the rugged drive, is the rugged casing and the 90cm drop safety that Lacie claims it has. Because I have dropped a drive from a 30cm height ( from the bed to the bedroom floor ) and lost a 60Gb one in the past. I can push myself for the extra 50 bucks, but for extra 150 would kill me  

I do plan however, in the future, to upgrade the drive inside the casing for a 7200rpm one, and using the 160Gb 5400rpm on a a less expensive casing. But right now, what I can afford, with taxes and shipping added, is the 160Gb 5400rpm one ( remember I'm in Brazil, prices for me double due to customs and shipping - something that kind of prevents me also from using brands that B&H won't handle... because I have experienced companies that don't ship outside the US, and some even have such high shipping costs, that it makes the deal impossible ). But that upgrade will have to wait until I upgrade my notebook to a MPB. In a way of setting values correctly, shipping + customs for items, can sometimes add around 80% to the value on the B&H shelve.  
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JessicaLuchesi
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« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2007, 05:21:49 PM »
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By the way, am checking NewEgg right now  Thanks for the tip , I'll have a look into it ( well, I'm looking already )  
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plugsnpixels
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« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2007, 07:46:52 PM »
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B&H tends to be top-dollar, no? I was looking through some Mac catalogs today (MacMall and OWC) and there are many choices under $200.

www.macsales.com and www.macmall.com

I presently use a MyBook 300 gig; I've used it as well as Maxtor and EZQuest drives for external storage, alternate booting and lab imaging (via Carbon Copy Cloner).
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JessicaLuchesi
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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2008, 09:14:33 AM »
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Well, now that I have been using the drive, on an almost daily basis for this month ( the drive arrived around the 7th ), I can give in some feedback  I got the tripple interface rugged Lacie drive, a 160Gb unit runnint at 5400rpm.

Honestly, FW400 is faster than High Speed USB 2.0.... but not enough to make up for extra bucks. They perform quite similarly, and if someone doesn't plan on having FW800 around in the future, go for USB2, as long as it's High Speed USB 2. In a 20Gb transfer, I experienced something around 1 minute of advantage towards FW400.

Now, FW800 is another issue, it's really faster, and you can really feel a diference when transferring large ammounts of files. I do plan on having a MacBook Pro before this drive is tossed into the bin, so, I can still have use for the FW800 interface, or at least, for the Lacie casing, replacing the drive ( which voids warranty ). So, I don't feel I made a bad purchase.

About the rugged nature, I can't still say anything. Regardless of the "90cm drop" claim Lacie does, I won't intentionally drop it to see if it survives. It does handle some rougher treatment, but that's all, since my data is inside, and I use it as a mobile backup unit for not having my work only on the notebook HD, in case of theft, faillure or accident, I do treat the HD with care. But less care than I would treat a non-rugged HD, I'll admit that. I must say, the unit is well cushioned, and it's hard to think of any fall where the " orange bumbers" wouldn't take the hit, other than the drive itself falling over a wedged surface, alluminun case side down.

Thanks a lot for helping me select this drive, everyone. Right now, I'm very happy with my purchase, and if something happens, I'll try to come back here and leave all feedback. I do hope this feedback will help you
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plugsnpixels
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2008, 12:44:18 PM »
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Funny you should post, just yesterday I ordered one of the OWC drives (750 gig, 7200, 800/400/USB 2.0 options). About $300. It will be compatible with both the older and newer Mac hardware I use.

Yesterday I saw a 1TB MyBook on sale at Office Depot for about $330 but passed on it because it was a bit wide and I needed something I could carry back and forth from the office in my handbag.
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tcphoto1
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« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2008, 07:42:47 PM »
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Your budget limits you greatly. I have a few G Technology hard drives that I am very happy with. You might want to take a look at ebay for a deal if you cannot buy new.
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