External FireWire drive

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by andrewheard, Nov 22, 2005.

  1. macrumors regular

    I am thinking of getting an external FireWire drive for my Mac mini because I would like more space. Would an external 7200RPM hard drive be faster, slower or about the same as the internal 4200RPM drive? If its faster, could I install OS X on the external drive and have it automatically boot or would I always have to select the external drive at startup? Also would it be smart to put the virtual memory on the opposite drive of OS X?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. Moderator


    Staff Member

    I would never setup the VM to be on an external drive ( I know this isn't your plan but just to clarify). As far as getting it to automatically boot, I believe if you setup your Startup Disk in the control panel to default to that location, you will be able to boot to that by default. I have been successful in setting my ipod up as a default boot device on my G5 and iBook for doing OS-X installs from a CD Image on my ipod.

    As far as the speed, I believe the speed of the drive and throughput will be most effected by the type of 7200RPM drive. Lots of people get caught up in the spinning RPM of the platters, but there are other factors such as Seek time, Burst transfer rate, and average transfer rate that make a drive feel fast or slow.
  3. macrumors 65816


    Just so you know, booting from an external has certain minor limitations. For example, if your PRAM is reset, it will forget what drive it is supposed to boot from and probably default to the internal drive. Also, if you boot the computer in disk target mode, your external will not be visible.

    More practical concern: This isn't a computer that is public/shared? Someone could easily walk off with your primary drive with all your info on it. That would be bad.

    Just a few other drawbacks that I can think of.
  4. macrumors regular

    Is isn't a public/shared computer. If the PRAM was reset couldn't I just manually hold the option key and choose the drive I want to boot until I could get into OS X and change it?
  5. Moderator


    Staff Member

    yes you can use boot options to boot back into your Firewire drive.

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