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Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jamin., Mar 6, 2008.
When it comes to External Hard Drives, whats the difference?
What can one do, that the other can't?
In theory Gigabit is faster, and it's certainly more flexible as you can access the same drive from multiple computers. You can also have longer cables between the computer and drive.
In practice, most cheap gigabit network storage boxes can't reach very high speeds and USB would therefore be quicker.
USB also has other advantages in that you can easily boot up off a USB drive connected to an Intel Mac.
So I would only go for gigabit / network drives if:
- You have multiple computers that need to access the drive at the same time
- You want to hide the drive away somewhere
- You don't care too much about access speed
- You want to spend a lot on a computer based server, where you WILL potentially get better speed from Gigabit
I just went through this over the last week:
I bought the 1TB time capsule thinking that a 7200rpm server drive on a gigabit backbone should be able to transfer at about 20-30 mb/s (not mbps).
I can transfer data from my laptop to my desktop at 23 mb/s over the gigabit network. (230mbps)
The Time Capsule only transfered at about 10 mb/s MAX. Most of the time it would sit around 7 mb/s.
I then went out and bought a Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo hoping it would be faster. It was a bit faster, (it would transfer at about 11 mb/s on a more consistent basis) but still not fast enough for what I'm going to be using them for.
So alas, the Linkstation went back yesterday, and the Time Capsule is going back today. I just picked up another 500g drive (now have 2tb in that machine) and threw it in my vista machine and set up an FTP server and SMB shares where I can transfer data at full speeds.
Oh, and USB is 480mbps...so you could probably get a good 32 mb/s or so. (at least that's what I got last night transferring to my new 500g