External Firewire vs. Internal SATA on Intel mini...

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by tjwett, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. tjwett macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #1
    howdy.

    the stock 80GB drive in my Core Duo mini filled up the first day i got the machine. i've had to offload my iTunes library and a bunch of other stuff onto external drives to free up space. i'm considering using my 200GB external Maxtor Firewire drive as the main system drive to simplify and give me some more breathing room.

    and before you suggest it, i can't simply use the external as storage. 90% of my files that are demanding all this space are audio and sample libraries that must reside in specific locations on the main drive or in my library. aliases and/or sylinks are not sufficient either.

    so anyway, i'm wondering what to expect performance wise from an external 7200RPM firewire drive compared to an internal 5400RPM SATA drive. i know the I/O of SATA is faster than firewire, 1.5GB/sec compared to 400MB/sec, but would the slower 5400RPM speed bring it down to an even playing field? i'd much rather just throw a 7200RPM 2.5" SATA into the mini but the biggest one available is 100GB so that doesn't really help me very much. i know people with PPC minis can benefit greatly from booting from an external fast HD but do you think i'd actually see a performance hit going from the internal SATA to external firewire? thanks for any help.
     
  2. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #2
    You shouldn't notice a performance hit. Though the SATA is a faster interface than firewire that 5400 RPM drive comes nowhere close to maxing out firewire let alone SATA. The 7200 RPM external will not even max out firewire except possibly burst transfers, but sustained transfers from either drive will not overwhelm firewires 400 megabits per second.

    one question though. With whatever programs you use, can you change the preference settings for your files default locations? Like with itunes you can change your music folder location to another drive/folder. Anyways the 3.5" hard drive will make for a faster system.
     
  3. tjwett thread starter macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #3
    thanks for the input. regarding the file locations; in some cases you can point the app or plugin to look wherever you want but in most cases you cannot.
     
  4. miniConvert macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    Location:
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    #4
    Is it really better to have an external firewire 400 drive rather than an external USB 2.0 one? Isn't USB 2.0 theoretically faster?
     
  5. tjwett thread starter macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #5
    well, in terms of maximum possible speed yes, USB is spec'd slightly higher but the difference is that Firewire offers a steady 400Mb/sec throughput while USB 2 fluctuates depending on what you're doing so i believe that for real-world use (especially using it as a system drive) you'd probably see better results from Firewire. but you could potentially get faster speeds from USB 2 when doing stuff like copying a single large file. also, you can't boot from USB drives, only Firewire.
     
  6. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #6
    Care to share why symlinks woudn't solve your issue? Symlink the entire folder for simplicity, this is how I moved my iTunes library such that I could share it with my wife's account.
     
  7. tjwett thread starter macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #7
    symlinks don't always work. i'm not talking about iTunes, other audio apps and plugins like Ableton Live and Logic Pro don't recognize symlinks for source audio files. if i could i would.
     
  8. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #8
    Are you creating them in Terminal or finder? Aliases (in finder) are NOT the same as links created using ln in Terminal. I have NEVER seen the case where the latter wouldn't work for ANY program. If you have problems with symbolic (-s) you could try hard links. To make life easy, I would suggest linking the folder that contains the audio files rather than trying to link each individual audio file.
     
  9. generik macrumors 601

    generik

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    Minitrue
    #9
    I think links should work just fine. Finder literally have no way of telling that a link is actually a link and not another folder. It is displayed in the exact same way!
     
  10. tjwett thread starter macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #10
    i've been up and down this road many times. i promise, it's not possible. i know how to make symlinks and hard links, i've been a mac tech by day for the past 5 years. realtime audio apps are quite picky, you'd be surprised how much stuff just doesn't work as you'd expect.
     
  11. tjwett thread starter macrumors 68000

    tjwett

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    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #11
    not dealing with the Finder. these apps have their own file browsers completely separate from the Finder.
     
  12. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #12
    I'll have to take your word for it, but I still think its possible. Good luck with your external drive search.
     
  13. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2002
    Location:
    The Bamboo Forest
    #13
    What apps are you referring to? I don't know anything about Garageband let alone any other audio apps but if you state the audio app somebody else here might be able to help you out with the location of the files problem. I don't know if it can be gotten around but it never hurts to try.
     
  14. milo macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2003
    #14
    What sample libraries are you using? I use a ton of samples and I don't think any need to be on the boot drive. In fact, you get much better performance if you put them on a second drive.

    I use Logic, and I've never come across samples I couldn't move to a different drive. Which ones can't you move?
     
  15. howesey macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    #15
    With my WD drive, Activity Monitor measures twice the speed using FW over USB. FW also feels a lot faster.
     

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