Should I use a USB or Firewire external HD?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Gary King, Jul 20, 2005.

  1. Gary King macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2004
    #1
    I have a Windows XP computer with USB 1.1, and a Mac Mini that has USB 2.0 and Firewire 400.

    If I get an external USB HD, then I will have to format to FAT32, but I can connect to both computers. On the other hand, if I get a Firewire 400 external drive, then I can only connect to the Mac, but I can format to HFS+.

    Now, the files on the drive will primarily be documents and other files, so no programs at all will be on it. I am unsure as to how often I will need to share files between the computers.

    What are the advantages and disadvantages of FAT32 and HFS+, and USB vs. Firewire as well?

    I want to decide which format I should use :)

    Thanks!
     
  2. Sharewaredemon macrumors 68000

    Sharewaredemon

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    Location:
    Cape Breton Island
    #2
    Well you have USB 1 on the PC which means that if you plan on doing file transfers it won't be too fast.

    I personally like FireWire a lot more than USB 2.0, though people say it's as fast or faster, FireWire was designed for longer file transfers, so it ends up being faster when you are doing a huge amount of data moving.

    Assuming your computers are both on the internet and connected to a router, you can host files on your Mac mini on a webpage that the PC can access.
     
  3. After G macrumors 68000

    After G

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #3
    You can always get the enclosures with both USB and Firewire on them. I have one and it works great.

    And you could always format the drive to be both FAT32 and HFS+.
     
  4. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

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    Citizens Bank Park
    #4
    This is the way to go.

    Not unless you have two separate partitions. Then you still have the problem of Windows not natively reading HFS+. Just format it in FAT32.
     
  5. redAPPLE macrumors 68030

    redAPPLE

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    Location:
    2 Much Infinite Loops
    #5
    i believe fat32 hast a limit in regards to partition size.

    somehow i never found out how to create a fat32 & hfs+ on the same drive, so the pc would recognize the fat32 and when i plug the drive to a mac, it would recognize hfs+.
     
  6. Gary King thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2004
    #6
    If I move from HFS+ to FAT32, I lose a ton of file attributes though, right? And permissions on the files, etc. are all lost?

    Also, I have never seen a Firewire/USB external HD. Any links to some?

    Which enclosure are you using? What model, etc.?
     
  7. Gary King thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 14, 2004
    #7
    How fast would that transfer be?

    Also, the typical hard drive size is 3.5" right? So I should get a 3.5" enclosure for the hard drive that I have inside my PC right now?
     
  8. Sharewaredemon macrumors 68000

    Sharewaredemon

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    May 31, 2004
    Location:
    Cape Breton Island
    #8
    Most if not all of Lacie's hard drives are USB and FireWire.
     
  9. toothpaste macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 8, 2005
    #9
    <a href="http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/fw400-USB2-combo-drives/">owc</a> drives are better and recommended more by audio/visual power users. Everyone I know in post production work uses these drives and swears by them.

    I don't know why my link didn't come up, but you can see it nonetheless.
     
  10. Jo-Kun macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 20, 2003
    Location:
    Antwerp-Belgium
    #10
    depends on wich one, but they provide with both or one of the two... all depending on wich size you want...

    but whatever you buy... if you want to use the speed of the drive... get a new pci card for the XP system (maybe you can get a nice deal on a dual USB2/FireWire400 card... and then whatever drive you choose... you can hook it up to both at the best speeds ;-)
     
  11. Gary King thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2004
    #11
    Both of your suggestions are external hard drives. But I am looking for enclosures. Anyways, I found some that are both USB and Firewire, but they are about $30 CAD more expensive than going with either just USB or Firewire.

    Also, what are the speed comparisons between USB 2.0 and Firewire 400? Are they about the same and I wouldn't notice much difference?
     
  12. Jo-Kun macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Location:
    Antwerp-Belgium
    #12
    somewhere I read that unlike FireWire USB1.1/2.0 ask more processing from the cpu... so FireWire uts less strain on the system... so probably making it faster... since your processor can do other tasks (probably important when you want to do editing of files straight on the external one...)

    I don't know why but I have allways been more in favor of FireWire...
     
  13. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #13
    Yes, you can expect to pay more for the dual interface enclosures than a single interface, I like the MacAlly PHR-100AC. http://www.macally.com/spec/firewire/storage/35enclosure.html

    USB 2.0 is approximately half the real-world transfer speed of FW400 (I benchmarked it on a Mini, same drive, MacAlly enclosure).
     

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