Can an external HD pump up performance

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by AP_piano295, Sep 30, 2005.

  1. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2005
    Its all in the title can you buy a high speed exernal hard drive (5200rpm or 7200rpm) and can one actually improve system preformance or is a fire wire to slow to actually improve the preformance of a computer.
  2. eRondeau macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2004
    Canada's South Coast
    Interesting Tests...

    I've wondered that too. I've got a "standard" 1GHz G4 iBook w/ 60GB HD. I think it spins at maybe 4200rpm??? I've also got a 7200rpm Lacie 160GB FW400 external. A few months ago I booted from the Lacie backup, which worked just fine. I'm no techie, but I suspect any speed advantage gained by the faster drive would be cancelled-out by the (relatively) slow FireWire 400 connection, compared to being hardwired into the system bus like the interal HD is. Beyond that, it was certainly very usable and was never annoyingly slow. A second example might be more what you were asking. My brother has an identical iBook to mine, and the other day we connected them in Target mode and he backed-up his 3GB iPhoto library onto my internal HD. That took about 8-minutes. Then, when I got home, I plugged into my Lacie and copied his library over onto it. This time around it took less than 3-minutes, lightning fast compared to iBook-2-iBook. So for that exercise the external 7200rpm drive was twice as fast. So my take on your question, is that for working with massive amounts of data -- go with the fastest spinning HD you can find, it's worth it. (BTW, I bet if I was able to use the Lacie's FW800 connection, such as with a recent PowerBook, OSX would be noticably faster running off the external HD.) Like I said I'm no techie but that's my two cents worth.
  3. pknz macrumors 68020


    Mar 22, 2005
    Generally a faster HDD will not boost overall peformance.

    Wait for a techie to respond with full details...
  4. AP_piano295 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2005
    I know that faster rpms improve preformance but the general rule is that a system is only as good as its weekest link. A 7200 rpm hard drive might be slower than a 4200 if the connection hamstrings the drive speed like the second eRandeua (sorry if I spelled that wrong)
  5. edge540 macrumors regular


    May 10, 2004
    I have a 15" Powerbook with a 5400 rpm drive and when I installed Tiger on my 7200 rpm Firewire 800 RAID 0 drive there was a noticable speen increase. All the apps loaded faster and everything ran a little smoother. I guess if you have a fast drive and can back it up with a good firewire 800 chipset like the Oxford 912 one you will get a boost in performance.
  6. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    RAID 0 will speed things up. If you have a Firewire 800 i would think it would speed things up if your internal drive is slow.

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