USB 2.0 vs Firewire vs internal HD

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Spartacus, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. Spartacus macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    #1
    I just purchased one of the new 1.2 G4 iBooks with a 30gb 4200rpm hard drive. I agree with all of you in advance when I confess that 30gb is hardly enough space. I am a 'switcher' from the PC world and plan to use my 160gb internal 7200rpm w/8mb cache from my pc desktop as an external hard drive for my iBook by putting it in a 3.5" case, but I don't know if I should get a firewire 400 or a USB 2.0 case. Which is faster in real world transfer speeds and how do both Firewire and USB 2.0 compare to the internal 4200rpm iBook hard drive? Thanks! :eek:

    PS I will tell you what I do know already:

    Firewire transfers at 400 mbits/s
    USB 2.0 transfers at 480 mbits/s <--but my experience with 2.0 has been super slow!
    30gig 4200 HD transfers at ????!
     
  2. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #3
    well its my understanding that USB 2.0 allows for bursts up to 480mbps, where as firewire can sustain the 400mbps for an extended period of time, so i would go firewire if i were you, as to how it compares to the internal drive, im sure the internal will be a bit faster simply because the external has to go through the extra input method
     
  3. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Location:
    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
  4. Spartacus thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    #5
    Thanks, but....

    Thanks for the advice. I am for sure getting firewire. I am going to be using photoshop a lot and I am wondering which HD will be faster. This is important for the scratch disk. Should I set the scratch on the external or the internal disk? Which will be faster in real world transfer? Thanks!
     
  5. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Location:
    Citizens Bank Park
    #6
    Short answer:
    This is exactly correct. For hard drives firewire is usually, if not always, the way to go.

    A little longer answer:
    This tests posted are a little skewed. They tell the tale of USB2 and firewire for hard drives, but they really don't say what is faster over all.

    USB2, even when tranfering large files (over a meg), transfers data in small quick bursts. These bursts usually reach speed higher than firewire can reach. (I'm speaking about firewire 400) This is great for mice, keyboards, small printing files, etc. But do to the "burst, stop, burst, stop, ..." nature of usb, larger files have a lot of overhead. Also, the data is transfering only half the time.

    Firewire streams the data. The more data to send, the faster it can go until it reaches its max speed which is slower than usb2's max speed. But because it doesn't stop over and over again during transfer, firewire is much faster than usb for larger files. Its sort of like a car, you can't go 60 until you've gone 1, 2, 3, ..., and 59. If many small files are being sent (about under a meg), usb2 will destroy firewire400 in speed test. Notice that keyboards and mice are rarely if ever firewire. One reason is that firewire costs more money to develop and produce, but also you would lose the quick response time of usb2 or even usb1.1.

    Now don't think I'm busting on firewire. I wouldn't buy a external hard drive without a firewire port and my usb cord for my ipod hasn't left the box. I just want to make sure that whole story gets told to anyone who wants to listen.
     
  6. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Location:
    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
    #7
    As long as the drive has an Oxford chipset then you are pretty much guaranteed a fastest of the breed drive. Make sure to get a 7200RPM drive with 8MB of cache if you are looking for speed. In this situation the external drive will be much faster then your OEM internal drive.
     

Share This Page