EXT HD - Speed up my mini?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by OCOTILLO, May 9, 2005.

  1. OCOTILLO macrumors regular

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    #1
    Will adding a higher RPM external hard drive improve the performance of my Mac mini? If so, how? I have read in some posts that booting from the ext. HD is better. How is this accomplished? Thanks for any replies.
     
  2. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #2
    I've been superficially thinking of doing this. I'm interested in knowing the facts too.
     
  3. Eniregnat macrumors 68000

    Eniregnat

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    #3
    Maxing the memory will get better results.

    USB1 115Mbps (burst, serial)
    USB2 480Mbps (burst, serial)
    FW1 sustained 400Mbps
    FW2 sustained 800Mbps

    A standard 7200 drive can transmit information at about 100Mbps.
    The current drive in a mini is an ATA with that same speed and that bit rate.

    So what is the speed and buffer of the drives your interisted in? You run the numbers.

    Install Tiger on the remote HD (if you can't, copy your internal HD to the remote HD- then clean up your own lybraries, etc...), select a diffrent startup disk from System Prefrences.

    If you get another HD, Photoshop and other applications that have a user setable scratch disk will run faster is their scratch is not on the same volume as the OS's scratch.
     
  4. OCOTILLO thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    I have no idea.
     
  5. blodwyn macrumors 65816

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    Portland, Oregon
    #5
    Actually the ATA spec for hard drives looks like it's 100MBps (100 Mega BYTES per second) Link, whereas FW1 is 400Mbps (400 Mega BITS per second), so a FW1 external hard disk will be slower than the internal drive.
     
  6. Eniregnat macrumors 68000

    Eniregnat

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    #6
    Lets just say you went with a FW2 drive like this one. You would gain exsactly 0% advantage, unless you moved your scratch and media bins to that drive. Lets say you went with a FW1 drive like this one. and the result should be the same, max 100Mbps. Internally your still running at 100Mbs at peak transfer speed with the included 7200 RPM drive.
     
  7. Eniregnat macrumors 68000

    Eniregnat

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    #7
    100Mbs<400Mbs, so it shouldn't matter. The limiting factor is the drive.
     
  8. OCOTILLO thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    So what are you all saying? If I do not need more storage that there is no point to add the external drive?
     
  9. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #9
    The minis have 2.5" 5400 RPM drives, so you're not getting the same speeds as a 7200 drive. Also, the peak transfer speed of the ATA connection is 800-1060 mbps depending on UDMA mode, *not* 100 as you say. ATA100, for example, would require FW800 in order to saturate the bandwidth; ATA133's peak is faster than any currently available external connection. Firewire 400 has enough room for a saturated ATA33 connection, which is not far from general day-to-day (i.e. not peak--ATA drives rarely work at even half their rated speeds) performance of typical ATA100 drives. The drive could be faster on an internal connection, but Firewire provides adequate speeds for it in normal usage, and if you're unlucky enough to have a 4200RPM drive in your mini, a 7200 or 10000 RPM Firewire drive would probably be somewhat faster. From the standard 5400 RPM, though, it depends on whether you need the faster peak speed of the ATA connection or if you just need solid throughput that FW can offer too.

    Either way, ATA drives don't deliver sustained high-speed reads and generally fit comfortably within the limits of Firewire. You'll benefit from a larger drive with faster seek times and larger buffers, so you could see a performance increase by switching to an external drive. It won't be anything too dramatic, though. As someone else said, it would be more prudent to spend the money on RAM.
     
  10. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #10
    100mb<400mb<100MB

    The third figure is the speed of an ATA100 drive. The Firewire connection is technically the limiting factor, not the drive speed. It may not be a significant limit in daily usage (see my previous post).
     
  11. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

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    #11
    Reread that post you quoted.

    100MBps > 400Mbps - big difference between bits and bytes ;)
     
  12. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

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    #12
    I'm pretty sure mine has a 4200 RPM drive.
     
  13. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #13
    My condolences. Most are shipping with 5400 RPM drives, but it's mostly luck of the draw, much like LCDs and dead pixels.
     
  14. Eniregnat macrumors 68000

    Eniregnat

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    #14
    I stand corrected!

    The screen reader dosn''t distinguish between B and b, though in Tiger it will. Then, as it goes, a 7200 Ultra ATA in a FW800 box would make a signifant diffrence. Apple's site only lists the drives as Ultra ATA, no speed. I picked up the 7200 speck from... (looking in the history). This is why I need to hyperlink more often.

    here is an interisting link on adding an HD to the MINI. Ugly as sin, but it is an inexpensive solution for speeding up a mini with a 7200RPM drive.
    http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000480040417/
    Original Article
    Actualy- I think the Original Ariticle Noted Above answers the question.

    Stats and all.

    Pardon the miss information.
     
  15. Trout74 macrumors 6502

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    Feb 3, 2005
    #15
    im positive yours has a 4200 RPM drive, and all 80Gig mini drives are 4200RPM's , and SOME of the 40Gig mini's have 5400RPM drives but NOT all.

    There is alot of mis-information in this thread. :cool:

    trout
     
  16. Trout74 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    #16

    also, the mini does not support FW800, only FW400. Your best bet for faster HD speed is to swap in a 7200RPM 60Gig drive that is currently available and I belive a 100Gig is coming or just arrived.

    trout
     

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