View Full Version : Can 2 macs share 1 external firewire HD?

Nov 7, 2003, 02:40 PM
Does anyone know if I had two power macs that they could simultaneously access the same external firewire hard drive? Isn't there only 1 FW out on the drive? Would I have to buy something else like a router? Thanks!

Nov 7, 2003, 02:45 PM
There are no FW routers. Some drives have more then one FW port for daisy chaining, and you should always be able to share that drive by plugging it into on system and being able to access the other system through the network and thus have access to that drive.

Nov 7, 2003, 04:00 PM
would this be fast enough for video editing? I want to set up 2 video editing workstations to share one large FW800 hard drive so that they both have access to the same files. And I want them to both be able to edit video on the drive (obviously not at the same time). Good or bad idea?

Nov 7, 2003, 06:44 PM
well, I believe that if you buy a Fw drive, such as LaCie, that has 2 ports, you can plug one port into one computer and one into the other, just they cannot both mount or write to the disk at the same time. That means that it can share between, say, a powermac and an iMac, but only one can be editing/browsing files from it at any one time. If you want both be able to use the files, I believe the best solution is to buy a NAS.

An example of a NAS is this (http://www.iomega.com/na/products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=8262525&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=3706189&ASSORTMENT%3C%3East_id=63191&bmUID=1068252350499) Iomega NAS with 160GB that costs 999$.

I may be wrong that two computers cannot simultaniously read/mount/write the same disk at the same time. I know that they cannot write, but Im not sure if two cannot mount it without writing, though common sense would dictate that I am actually correct.

Nov 7, 2003, 10:34 PM
I might be best just to hook it to one computer and network share it with the other.

Nov 7, 2003, 11:37 PM
Just tried it the other night myself, it does not work to connect 2 macs to a single FW drive, though can you not make a drive have an IP now?

Nov 8, 2003, 12:15 AM
Even if you do manage to get it to mount on both machines or network, or whatever, realize that performance will be dictated by the drive speed which, since it will have to be skipping around to different sectors like mad, it will run at less than half the single user speed an will probably also cause the drive to wear out much much faster than normal.

Nov 8, 2003, 10:28 AM
it probably would not be that bad...in my office, we have a dedicated iMac that works as a file server. We all log into it, open our drawings, work on them, save 5-10 times an hour, and that is a single harddrive, over a network none the less. It handled it just fine, so if you COULD get a single FW drive to mount on 2 macs, it would work very well I think. I do not think it is possible though.

anyone know more about IP over firewire? which is what you'd have to do to get that to happen though.

Nov 10, 2003, 09:24 AM
Oh this will seem REALLY stupid, but how would I network 2 macs? Can I just plug a FW800 cable into each one...or do I have to go through a router? I dont actually have 2 macs yet but I need to figure this out before I get another.

I'd like to be able to edit video in FCP off the hard drive in one computer from the other computer. Is this possible?

Nov 10, 2003, 09:25 AM
see above...or at the very least, digitize on one machine and quickly transfer large amounts of data to the other.

Nov 10, 2003, 09:29 AM
get a cross over eathernet cable, plugged directly into one another, otherwise, get a switch or hub. I would say that Airport would work superior, but its not good for transfering data of large amounts.

Nov 10, 2003, 10:36 AM
If it's important to you to have high speeds, spend the money on a Gigabit router. Well, do it of both your macs have 10/100/1000 ethernet cards. That's even faster than FW800.

You want a hub of some kind rather than a crossover cable (which you don't really need, all new macs will work with a regular ethernet cable) if you want to also connect those computers to the internet, or be able to have more than just 2 computers talking to each other some time in the future.

Nov 10, 2003, 10:39 AM
hey, there's that other cool New Urbanist, Mac User... you're right, I tried it, and you do not need a cross over.... how does that work? is it in the software that handles that?

Nov 10, 2003, 10:50 AM
The chipset handles it. The Ethernet controller can automatically switch the pairs, its software independent.

Nov 10, 2003, 11:28 AM
Originally posted by wormy
I'd like to be able to edit video in FCP off the hard drive in one computer from the other computer. Is this possible?

Sure. Like others have said, you should do this over an IP network.

If the two computers do not need access to the Internet, just run a CAT-5e patch cord between them.

If the two computer do need access to the Internet (or some other IP network), then your best bet for speed is to get a Gigabit switch to allow Gigabit speeds between the two computers. If you run the integrated firewall on the two Macs, then you just plug in your cable or DSL modem into the switch. You still want to use CAT-5e patch cords to make sure you get the Gigabit speeds.

A switch like the Linksys EG005W (http://www.linksys.com/products/product.asp?grid=35&scid=42&prid=528) is really nice and not all that expensive. Other companies make similar products, but I do not have experience with them.

The solution that I like the best is to get the Gigabit switch and then use a router like the Linksys BEFSR41 (http://www.linksys.com/products/product.asp?grid=34&scid=29&prid=561) to provide your firewall function. The cable or DSL modem plugs into the router, the router plugs into the Gigabit switch and the Macs plug into the Gigabit switch. You no longer have to run a firewall on the Macs.

Please make sure you stay away from hubs and instead go with switches. A hub forces the connection into half duplex (only one computer sending at a time) and you take a significant performance penalty over a switch. A 10/100Mbps switch is no more money than a hub and gives you significantly more performance. A Gigabit switch is better yet if you can afford it.

Nov 10, 2003, 11:41 AM
you REALLY do not want to have 2 computers using the same drive, if it is even possible. but what would be a better bet is like i think some others on this thread have said, network them with gigabit ethernet (on most newer macs, if you're still using 10/100 it'll be slow) and crossover between them or run through a router. mount the FW hard drive on one of the machines, and share it with AFS to the other one. AFS is pretty darn fast over networks, and although you wont be able to do real time, you can still store/read files on the hard drive that way using your local hard drive as a buffer.

Nov 10, 2003, 03:21 PM
Gigabit E is the way to go if you don't feel like mounting and un-mounting the FW drive on 2 macs.

Video eats up the bandwidth to no end! Especially if your working with 640x480 raw avi. The PC network here can't handle video over the line...it just falls apart as you edit. It's best to work on a local drive or GigE if you can afford the cable.


Nov 10, 2003, 06:24 PM
Cool, cool. Thanks, I really appreciate all your help! I'll go for the gigabit switch.