New Switcher question

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by buzzfgo, Sep 10, 2004.

  1. macrumors member

    buzzfgo

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    Location:
    Up State NY
    #1
    I just got a new emac and want to upgrade the hard drive. I see that it is something I can do. My question is will I see any improvment by doing this? Right now my emac has a 40gig 5200rpm 2meg buffer drive. I want to drop a seagate 200gig 7200rpm with an 8meg buffer. Is it worth the time and money to do this? Also want to say I love my new mac and will never buy another PC again.
     
  2. emw
    macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #2
    If you really need the space, then it may be worth it. You'll see faster access speeds with the improved drive speed and buffer as well. I'm not a hard drive expert, but you should make sure that the Seagate drive you're looking at is compatible with the drive interface on the eMac.

    If all you are looking for is some additional storage, you could also look to an external firewire drive.
     
  3. bux
    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2004
    Location:
    Sweden
    #3
  4. thread starter macrumors member

    buzzfgo

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    Location:
    Up State NY
    #4
    Thanks

    I really don't need that much space but I was thinking that since it is such a pain in the butt to take the emac apart I might as well make sure I don't have to do it again.
     
  5. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Location:
    So. Cal
    #5
    Do it the easy way

    Get the external hard drive and use it as your boot drive. Make it the main one that you use.
     
  6. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2003
    Location:
    atlanta
    #6
    yeah, unless you need the space, i don't think you're going to see much speed improvement. like emw said, i'm no hd expert, but a few milliseconds access time here and there really aren't going to add up to much.

    however, if you start amassing a ton of music/video files, a new hd is great. until then, i would put the $$ twds more RAM. that's where you'll see noticeable improvements (more programs open, less interface animation lag, etc).

    my $.02
     
  7. thread starter macrumors member

    buzzfgo

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    Location:
    Up State NY
    #7
    If that will be the boot drive what do I need to do with OSX on the drive that is in the mac? Also will a firewire drive be as fast as an internal? I would rather just put a new one in. Only because I think my kids might use an external as a football or something.
     
  8. macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #8
    You can use carbon copy cloner to copy the internal drive to the external one, then reformat the internal drive. I'd suggest running the system on the internal drive anyway, in case you want to use the external drive with another computer. I do believe firewire would be just as fast as your internal.

    If for "security" you'd like to install it internally, and you're comfortable taking your mac apart and voiding the warranty, then go ahead. I've taken apart an iMac (to upgrade RAM) and an iBook (to upgrade the hard drive) and both work fine now.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors member

    buzzfgo

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    Location:
    Up State NY
    #9
    Thanks for all the help, I think I will just get an external one now and copy the internal. I'm just looking to speed it up a little and was thinking this would be the best way. I put more ram in up to 768. Would I see any dif with 1 gig of ram? I don't think I'm using all of the 768 now. Anyway, thanks again.
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2003
    Location:
    atlanta
    #10
    yeah, unless you need the space, i don't think you're going to see much speed improvement. like emw said, i'm no hd expert, but a few milliseconds access time here and there really aren't going to add up to much.

    however, if you start amassing a ton of music/video files, a new hd is great. until then, i would put the $$ twds more RAM. that's where you'll see noticeable improvements (more programs open, less interface animation lag, etc).

    my $.02
     
  11. thread starter macrumors member

    buzzfgo

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    Location:
    Up State NY
    #11
    Ok, I went out and bought a 160gig external (seagate). Thanks for the help.
     
  12. macrumors 68030

    Catfish_Man

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2001
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #12
    Actually, I've found that a fast new HD can make a major speed improvement. This was on my old beige G3, but I can't see why it wouldn't be true now.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors member

    buzzfgo

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    Location:
    Up State NY
    #13
    Thats kinda what I was thinking, I mean the drive in the emac is only 5400rpm with a 2meg buffer. The new one is 7200rpm with an 8meg buffer. We shall see...
     
  14. macrumors G4

    Mord

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    Old York
    #14
    if that was my mac i would put the new drive inside and the old one in the vacent caddy, it may be a pain to do it but it's worth it, if the drive is internal it will be a fair bit faster, i booted of a lacie firewire drive for a while but it did not work very well half of the time it would boot in os 9 and all this crazy crap. if you need help talk to me on ichat or drop me an email at hectoruk at gmail.com and i can sort you out with a service manual. it's up to you really and how competent you are with taking stuff apart.
     
  15. emw
    macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #15
    Wow, someone after my own heart. You went from not knowing which way to go at 8:30 this morning (my time) to having a new external hard drive in less than 4 hours. No wasting time, there.

    I think you'll be fine with the external - especially if you're not into applications that do a lot of heavy lifting (lots of reads a rights). I am assuming since you bought the eMac that you aren't intending to do any serious video or audio editing, or advanced gaming, or things like that. I'd keep the OS on the internal and simply use the external as additional storage space. If it doesn't work out after you've used it that way for awhile, then you can always throw in an internal.
     
  16. macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #16
    To find out how much RAM is currently being used, go to the Terminal (Applications->Utilities) and type "top" without the quotes. Then press return. It will bring up a list of applications and processes that are currently being used. But you can look at the line above the processes, where it has information about your RAM. It will say something along there like "230 MB free" which means that you still have 230 MB of RAM that is not in use. Also, to tell if you are using your virtual swap file, look at the pageout reading. It should say 0, or something fairly low.

    To exit, press control+c, then type "exit" (again, no quotes) and press enter. You can now safely quit the terminal.

    Congrats! You've just ventued into the command line! This is where you can reformate the hard drive in a second, or optimize it. In a nutshell, be careful of what you type.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors member

    buzzfgo

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    Location:
    Up State NY
    #17
    Ok, I hooked up the external, formatted it and installed OSX. My emac booted right from it and all I can say is wow. It is much faster now. Thanks for all the help guys. I might still put crack open the external and put it inside. That seemed like a good idea. Just want to see how much better it is now.
     
  18. macrumors regular

    jaromski

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Location:
    zion
    #18
    i agree if you have to choose between more memory or faster drive, go memory first. i don't think you are affording the appropriate gravitas w.r.t. the hard drive's contributions to the "bottom line" of your system performance. the hard drive is the highest latency memory in your computer and swapping in a decent drive would make a noticeable difference. i do agree that it would be a royal pain in the ass to open the emac and swap, but that is the price you pay with the all-in-one computer offerings.

    one of the biggest constraints on overall system speed is how fast the memories are in relation to the processor. there is a huge disparity between processor and memory latencies at the moment. there are various tricks to minimize these disparities and "smooth out the curve" so to speak...but i would drop a faster 200gb drive no questions. cheap upgrade as far as upgrades go.

    processor
    registers
    cache
    RAM
    electromechanical (hard drives) / optical (cd/dvd)

    each time you go down the list you go up an order of magnitude in latency, but down an order in price/unit. in fact if you look at a processor die most of the silicon "real estate" consists of the cache and registers, respectively. this real estate doesn't come cheap!

    more importantly though it depends on what you use your computer for, certain tasks are processor-bound, but most are io-bound. hence the reason for multi-programming modern operating systems, while the processors are waiting for bytes to trickle up the memory hieararchy they switch out and do the same thing for the next process.

    but this is limited by my own understanding, so i could very well be wrong.

    jaromski
     
  19. thread starter macrumors member

    buzzfgo

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    Location:
    Up State NY
    #19
    I can't tell you guys how pleased I am with the new community of mac people I have found. I mean with the PC people on forums like this people would have been telling me to drop dead or read a book, but you guys all helped. Thanks. I really think I made the right choice in going with the mac.
     
  20. macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
  21. macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2004
    #21
    Goooooo mac-addicts! Oh sorry!

    goooooo team macrumors
     
  22. macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #22
    Lol!

    MacAddicts is a magazine, just so ya know.
     

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