View Full Version : Moving files from and to external disks

Apr 26, 2011, 07:42 AM
Hey everyone,

Since the latest MBA doesn't carry an ethernet port, I'm guessing most people move files to other PCs either via external disks or Wifi. Most benchmarks say that moving files WITHIN an SSD is really fast, but what about moving files from and to an HDD? Is it slower or is it the same?

I'd also like to know if using an SD card to move files between computers is even faster than using USB/Wifi.


Apr 26, 2011, 07:48 AM
As the transfer to an external HDD is limited by the interface you use, USB being the prominent one in the MBAs, you will only get transfer speeds of around 35MB/s for read and write processes using an external HDD.
An SD card will be slower, as the flash memory used in them is cheap and not fast, unless you buy an expensive SD card. But then again, the transfer speed is limited by the interface.
If you transfer files via the network, you are limited to the wireless AirPort in the MBA, which will have transfer speeds of around 10MB/s.

Helpful Information for Any Mac User (http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=9848667&postcount=6) by GGJstudios (http://forums.macrumors.com/member.php?u=186377)
FAT32 (File Allocation Table)

Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
Maximum file size: 4GB.
Maximum volume size: 2TB

NTFS (Windows NT File System)

Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X
To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X: Install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (http://macntfs-3g.blogspot.com/2010/10/ntfs-3g-for-mac-os-x-2010102.html) (free)
Some have reported problems using Tuxera (http://www.tuxera.com/products/tuxera-ntfs-for-mac/) (approx 33USD).
Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard, but is not advisable, due to instability.
AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
Maximum file size: 16 TB
Maximum volume size: 256TB

HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended)

Read/Write HFS+ from native Mac OS X
Required for Time Machine (http://www.apple.com/macosx/what-is-macosx/time-machine.html) or Carbon Copy Cloner (http://www.bombich.com/) backups of Mac internal hard drive.
To Read/Write HFS+ from Windows, Install MacDrive (http://www.mediafour.com/products/macdrive/)
To Read HFS+ (but not Write) from Windows, Install HFSExplorer (http://hem.bredband.net/catacombae/hfsx.html)
Maximum file size: 8EiB
Maximum volume size: 8EiB

exFAT (FAT64)

Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
exFAT partitions created with OS X 10.6.5 are inaccessible from Windows 7
Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exfat#Disadvantages).
exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExFAT)
AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
Maximum file size: 16 EiB
Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB

Apr 26, 2011, 07:53 AM
So.. you mean that backing up, say, three Blu-Ray rips (18gb or more) will be as long and painful as it is now? I guess anytime you get huge files and need to get them off your MBA due to space concerns, you will go up against that bottleneck, right? Does anyone how much of a difference the new MBP antenna does? Is FireWire still faster than all of these options?

Apr 26, 2011, 07:56 AM
Firewire 800 is faster, and Gigabit Ethernet is even faster.
I don't know about the MBP's antenna though, I still use wires to transfer large chunks of data. But the 2011 MBA will have Thunderbolt included, and that will be faster than Firewire 800 times Gigabit Ethernet.