External Hard Drive! Question

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by TechZone, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. TechZone macrumors member


    Dec 27, 2004
    Hi, I have a ibook G4 1.2ghz. I don't have that much space in my hard drive. I want to buy an external hard drive.

    Questions -

    1. Firewire External Hard drives are expensive. Is there any big difference between USB & Firewire?
    2. I want to buy a 160gb hard drive & a Hard drive enclosure. Should I go for it or it will be better to buy a External hard drive?
    3. Can I install App in the External Hard drive to save space?
    4. Can I reformat that hard drive in windows and use it with my Mac? I want to use this hard drive winth Windows & Mac.
    5. Which External hard Drive do you like? ( Under $150 )

    Please help me. Thanks in Advance. :)
  2. jelloshotsrule macrumors G3


    Feb 7, 2002
    1. firewire 400 is much faster than usb 1... but usb 2 is around the same speed as firewire 400... firewire 800 is the fastest, but still pretty expensive.
    2. if you search thoroughly, i'm sure you can save money getting them separately, however it all depends on how much effort/time you put into it and what rebates you find, etc.
    3. yes (for most apps), but for some it may not be a good idea. it could also affect speed when running the app.
    4. i think you can, but i'll let someone else handle this
    5. it depends how much you care about performance... if you want to spend 150 or less total, then you probably can't get the best out there... in any case, check out www.macsales.com... i've had good experience with them. also newegg.com is good

    good luck and hope that helped a bit
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    1. Firewire 400 is fast. USB 2.0 is slower, USB 1.1 is Pig-Dog slow.

    2. Errr... a Firewire hard drive is external. Do you mean should you build your own from a bare HD mechanism and a case vs. buy a packaged firewire drive? Depends how good you are at shopping for good parts and at minor technical assembly. But if you want someone to guarantee the whole thing, buy the packaged drive

    3. You can install applications on the external, yes. Some apps may object to not being in the conventional place.

    4. You can format a drive with FAT32 and use it on both machines, but I believe that makes it non-bootable on the Mac. One reason to have an external drive is so you can boot from it if you have internal drive problems. Perhaps you can partition it with one HFS+ and one FAT32 partition? Comments from someone who has done this?

    5. Seagate, Maxtor and Western digital have Firewire externals, all are somewhat short on Mac features. I have had bad luck with external Maxtors reliability. I like LaCie D2 drives, don't know about how they'll fit with your budget.

    For bare cases, MacAlly has a combo Firewire400/USB2 aluminum case with an AC adaptor, they have recently dropped the price on it. I have been trying it with a Seagate 160 GB Barracuda 7200.7 and it works well.

  4. Platform macrumors 68030


    Dec 30, 2004
    With FireWire you can boot from the extrnal disk with USB you can't I think that is an advantake + it is faster :rolleyes:
  5. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    if you are going to want to use apps, i would definitely go for the firewire, simply because firewire can sustain the 400mbts whereas usb 2.0 only gets up to 480 in bursts, so you would see better performance for sure, usb 1.0 is too slow for any extended use, flash drives are about all its good for

    personally i just got a Maxtor 160gig firewire/usb 2.0 combo external drive not too long ago, and im actually using it as my boot/main drive, no problems, solid drive, but it runs $200, so its a bit more, but shows that firewire is better for longer usage if you ask me
  6. shortchannel macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2005
    Is an external firewire drive faster than an internal ATA or SATA drive? I've seen a few people mention using them as their bootable drive, which seems odd to me. A related question, if it truly is faster, why bother with ATA/SATA drives at all? Why not design a machine with literally one kind of port that EVERYTHING plugs into?
  7. Poeben macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2004
    It depends on a lot of things. A 7200 rpm firewire drive will be faster than a slower notebook drive. It will not however be faster than an ata/sata drive, with some exceptions. For example, my lacie big disk extreme 400 gb just barely outperforms the stock 250gb sata on my G5 (in benchmarks that is.) Keep in mind this is a FW800 drive with built-in raid 0. Also consider that firewire has limited bandwidth. Even though you can plug in up to 63 devices, I would cringe at the thought of even 3 or 4 drives competing for bandwidth.
  8. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    The iBook doesn't have FW 800
    And USB 1.0 is not found really... we find 1.1 on Macs (2.0 now)

    1.0 was ~5 Mbps, 1.1 was 11 Mbps, and 2.0 is ~480 Mbps
  9. polyisoprene macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2005
    Kuala Lumpur
    I have a FireWire400/USB2.0 Combo HDD casing. And from what I've tested, I can connect the HDD with FireWire alone. But with the USB2.0 connection, there doesn't seem to have enough juice to power up the HDD, hence the original USB cable that came with the package has two heads, which is plugged into both the USB sockets on my iBook to draw enough juice to spin the HDD... which is wasteful.

    Alternatively, I can also use a power cable, which is hooked into the mains outlet. But this defeats the purpose of mobile computing.

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