Booting from an external drive

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by skippymac, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. skippymac macrumors 6502a

    skippymac

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Location:
    Hampshire, UK
    #1
    Hi,

    I have booted my 2010 13" MBP from an external drive a few times whilst cloning and replacing HDs etc. Is it dangerous to run my MBP on a usb drive for extended periods of time? Overheating? What happens if it's accidentally unplugged?

    I ask because I've been given a rather rubbish PC at work and would like to use my mac instead. To do this I need to do a lot of encryption and there are restrictions on what software I can have on there.

    I figured it'd be easier to replace my HDD and reinstall OS X, so I can preserve my current settings etc.

    I'd rather not open up my laptop every time I want to use my old HDD, so can I connect via USB? alternatively is it possible (and cheap) to put a HDD in place of the superdrive and mount one or the other as necessary?

    Any recommendations are welcome :)
     
  2. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    #2
    Read 3x and still not sure what ur trying to do.

    Running external USB full time is fine. Why would it overheat? did u stuff the HD in a vent-less home made case? If it accidentally unplugs, the Mac will crash and u will lose some data ur working on, just like if you lose power on a desktop. What do u think it's going to happen?
     
  3. skippymac thread starter macrumors 6502a

    skippymac

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Location:
    Hampshire, UK
    #3
    Essentially I want to have 2 macs, but I only have one so will be using 2 HDDs.
    Thought booting from USB would be fine but I just wanted to check, as my sister managed to destroy a hard drive once booting her PC from an external drive.
    Just wanted to check if there was any chance of corrupting the whole drive or something awful like that.
     
  4. Freyqq macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    #4
    It will work fine. However, USB 2.0 is MUCH MUCH slower than the internal sata II connection, so your computer will feel much slower for many tasks.

    For comparison, in realistic transfer speeds based on connection only..not the drive being used:
    USB 2.0 = ~25 MB\s
    SATA II = ~250 MB\s

    However, firewire 800 = ~80-100 MB\s

    Most HDs can get between 60-100 MB\s
    Most SSDs can get 250 MB\s on SATA II

    SUMMARY: it will work, but it will be slow. I recommend getting an external drive that can do firewire 800
     
  5. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #5
    This would be much faster if you mount the drive in a Firewire 800 enclosure.
     
  6. skippymac thread starter macrumors 6502a

    skippymac

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Location:
    Hampshire, UK
    #6
    most of what I'll want to do on the USB drive will be downloading/watching movies. I'm not bothered about how fast it'll be downloading as I can leave it for a while, but will watching movies be laggy? (avis on VLC if that makes any difference)
     
  7. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #7
    Not really. But your other stated approach, as stated here, will prove much faster.
     
  8. skippymac thread starter macrumors 6502a

    skippymac

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Location:
    Hampshire, UK
    #8
    Thanks, I hadn't looked at that until this afternoon and thought it would be much harder than it is... BTW is there any reason to shell out for the expensive MCE caddy over any of the other cheap ones that can be had on amazon/ebay?

    Could you recommend me one to buy, or tell me specific features I should look for? I'm a bit new to all this :p
     

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