Before I Buy...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Machu, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. Machu macrumors newbie


    Feb 3, 2008
    Before I buy a Mac Mini does anyone happen to know if you can run just the Board, Power Adapter, and a External USB/Firewire Drive?... Its for an embedded system.

    Also, between USB/Firewire, which boots faster? Or would it really matter?
  2. dbam987 macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2007
    At the moment there is Firewire 800, Fireware 400, and USB 2. Firewire 800 is the clear cut winner, but its not as prevalent in external drives because the drives themselves cannot fill up the link. Firewire 400 on paper seems like it gets owned by USB 2, but in actuality the way it works provides a better mechanism for external hard-drives to transfer data to the computer. Therefore, at this time Firewire 400 is the ideal option, as its supported on many external drives and is cheaper than the Firewire 800 drives.

    This site gives a bit more info: It shows a chart where Firewire 400 almost doubles the speed that USB 2 dishes out.

    Edit: Fortunately, the Mac Mini has a Firewire port built in. Only thing is that the current model at the time of this writing is a Firewire 400 port and not the much more faster 800 version.
  3. Leon Kowalski macrumors 6502a

    Leon Kowalski

    Sep 20, 2007
    Gondwanaland Reunification Front HQ
    That barefeets review is two days older than baseball (in techno-years).
    The FW800 external topped-out at 58 MB/s simply because the ancient
    HD they used can't go any faster. Many modern HDs can indeed saturate
    a FW800 link, e.g., Western Digital's WD7500AAKS @ 95 MB/s, or any
    of Seagate's 7200.11 family @ 105 MB/s (sustained read/write speeds).

    FW400, is (mostly) faster than USB 2 (manily on read performance),
    but the difference isn't anywhere near 2x -- more like 20%. Check the
    external HD charts on for actual numbers on a wide
    variety of USB, FW400, FW800, and eSATA externals. The fastest USB
    external was actually faster than the fastest FW400 on write speeds.

    As you can see, the barefeets USB numbers are not at all typical of
    USB performance. Either their HD enclosure or those old Macs must
    have had seriously wimpy USB controllers or slow USB drivers.

    My white C2D iMac (with a fast Seagate 7200.11 drive in an Icy Dock
    USB/FW enclosure) does slightly better than the fastest externals on
    tomshardware -- for both USB and FW400 sustained R/W speeds.

  4. ADent macrumors 6502a

    Sep 9, 2007
    Which mini model has FW800?

    Typically Macs are happier with Firewire. Just grab a USB/FW case.
  5. Machu thread starter macrumors newbie


    Feb 3, 2008
    Thanks Folks... but what about the first question... has anyone tried taking a mini apart... I would only need the logic board, power brick, and im gunna use a external firewire flash enclosure w os x installed... I have booted my iMac with an external drive before, but do you need an internal drive with os x and the external firewire drive, or will it boot without the internal. I guess thats really the question?!? I read through a couple tear down guides, and looking at the pictures, the mini has an upper case that houses the internal hard drive and some other stuff... the top connects directly to the logic board by a direct connection... In other words, could I take that HD/Disc Drive off, and just use the logic board plugged into power, and a external flash drive plugged into the firewire ports? Would it boot, or would I need the top half of the Mini to make it work for some reason??? I d hate to buy this thing and take it apart, and not be able to use it. Yah Nah Mean.

    Thanks for reading
  6. TEG macrumors 604


    Jan 21, 2002
    Langley, Washington
    You just need a putty knife to take the computer apart. Any Mac will boot off of any valid drive, regardless of how it is connected (except for the PPC Mac, which can't boot off of USB). It would be best to boot it up once and select the external drive as the startup disc, so that it will boot without seeking the internal HD first.

  7. Machu thread starter macrumors newbie


    Feb 3, 2008
    Thanks... Exactly what I needed.
  8. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
  9. dbam987 macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2007
    Thanks for clearing that up Leon, guess I should have checked the date of those tests first.
  10. Machu thread starter macrumors newbie


    Feb 3, 2008
    A digital painting. ( Looks like a big digital picture frame, except better ;) )

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