USB vs. Firewire external harddrive

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by john_satc, Apr 24, 2005.

  1. john_satc macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Location:
    B'ham Uk
    #1
    Hi, I want to buy an external hard drive, but don't have that much money to do it - probs maximum of £60 (poor student). I have been looking at hard drives and the fire wire ones are expensive. Do you think USB will be okay to use when I will only be using for things like music, apple works stuff and photos -- nothing heavy. Do you think it will take a long time etc?
    Oh and dumb question but - if i do get an external hard drive, i can play my music straight of it- right ?
     
  2. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #2
    A USB 2.0 drive is roughly half the real-world file transfer speed of a FireWire 400 drive. Not too much of an issue for making backups with. Even playing music off of should be fine (think about it, even a 1 x CD plays stereo music fine). Where it would be noticeable would be if you were modifying data (like photoshop or iMovie) directly on the USB drive, it would be slower loading the file initially, and it would take longer to write the changes to the data.
    If you can afford the Firewire, go for Firewire
    Now USB 1.1 is dreadful - I would say unusable for hard disk storage on a regular basis.

    Thanks
    Trevor
    CanadaRAM.com
     
  3. russed macrumors 68000

    russed

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Location:
    London, England
    #3
    although USB 2 has a theoretical higher transfer rate, it can not sustain it whereas firewise 400 can sustain nearly full rate so firewire is definatly better for a job.

    and yes you can have music on an external drive.
     
  4. macbaseball macrumors 6502a

    macbaseball

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Northern California
    #4
    It sounds like your needs are pretty light, so just go with the USB2. The only time you would regret having a USB2, would be if you were dealing with video files. In that case you would benefit from the firewire.
     
  5. john_satc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Location:
    B'ham Uk
    #5
    Cheers.
    I don't use photo shop and don't have a digital video camera so don;t use iMovie - but if i did I would use my internal drive then.


    Does anyone know if this drive will work on Tiger --- > http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5186422888&rd=1&sspagename=STRK:MEWA:IT&rd=1
     
  6. john_satc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Location:
    B'ham Uk
    #6
    Cheers.
    I don't use photo shop and don't have a digital video camera so don;t use iMovie - but if i did I would use my internal drive then.


    Does anyone know if this drive will work on Tiger --- > http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5186422888&rd=1&sspagename=STRK:MEWA:IT&rd=1
     
  7. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2005
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    #7
    It should be fine, but note that a full-size (3.5") hard drive enclosure would probably get you more storage for the same price.

    You could also consider buying an enclosure (I got a firewire Macally one from Amazone for less than US$40 and contrary to reviews on the internet, it does indeed have a power switch) and a regular old IDE hard drive (80 GB ones go for about $60 or less now, especially on sale). Set up is easy, and it's within your budget (assuming prices aren't dramatically higher for these components in the UK). You'll also have the freedom of buying a bigger hard drive in the future and swapping it out--a cheaper upgrade path for the budget-conscious.
     
  8. Pismo macrumors 6502

    Pismo

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2002
    Location:
    NH
    #8
    I have a cheap USB 2 enclosure that I bought from NewEgg for my 200 gig drive. I only use the drive for backups and I don't run files from it or use it as a scratch disk for video editing. I'm going to buy an OWC enclosure with USB 2, Firewire 400/800 this summer when I start editing video. They run about $120.
     

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