External hard-drive on USB 1.0

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Blue Velvet, Mar 15, 2005.

  1. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    My friend Clare has a G3 iMac -- tangerine, model no. unknown at this time, one of the early ones running OS 9.2, not even a CD burner.

    I put a new 40gb HD in for her over Xmas as the original 6gb drive stopped working. Unfortunately, she had no backup and lost many important documents.

    Now I've put a new drive in, she wants to backup stuff to something.
    The only useful port is a USB 1 port. What's it like running an external drive from that?

    I know it will be slow but it will only be used for a daily or weekly backup and she can leave it running while she's doing other things. Also, she'll only be backing up word/excel documents & the occasional picture, nothing big.

    Within the next 6-12 months, I'll be going out shopping with her to buy her a new Mac but in the meantime she's anxious to make sure that her work is backed up on a regular basis. It would be nice that anything she bought now will work with her new equipment so I thought a triple interface external HD might do the trick...

    Any feedback much appreciated...

  2. varmit macrumors 68000


    Aug 5, 2003
    You might look to get her a External hard drive with at least USB 2, and with maybe Firewire 400 too. Now, if she is going to be getting a mac that has Firewire 800, then yeah maybe get a drive that has that too. Otherwise the money spent on getting 800 would be pointless if the Mac couldn't use it.
  3. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    That's why I thought a drive with a triple interface would be best: USB 2, FW400 & 800.

    What I was more concerned about was the practicality of using a drive on USB 1. If it was too painfully slow it might be best to think of something else, though god knows what.
  4. jxyama macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2003
    how much stuff does she have? if it's not much (max. 6 GB, right?), get a USB2 thumb drive.
  5. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    I'm not sure how much data may accumulate over the next 12 months with a new 40gb drive in there.

    The USB drive is one possibility, although if she accumulates more than 1gb of stuff it could become impractical.

    I'm trying to wean her off this machine as soon as practically possible but she's a bit short of money at the moment so whatever solution she goes for has to last.
  6. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    To use a FW800 device on a FW400 bus is just requires a 9-pin to 6-pin firewire cable. You can also use a FW400 device on a FW 800 bus.

    It's going to be slow, but you could let the copy run over night.

    Have you considered using CD-Rs to back up some of the critical data?
  7. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    No CD-R in the iMac. :(
  8. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
  9. miloblithe macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2003
    Washington, DC
    I'm under the impression that USB 1 is fine for external hard drive backup. I transfered tons of files to and from my iBook 500 to an external 40GB HD through USB. It seems to me that it's not that much slower than firewire or USB 2 because the HD speed is more limiting than the connection speed. Especially if her files are not that big, USB 1 will be fine for the timebeing. Someone who's happy enough using a Tangerine iMac isn't going to be bothered by her backup procedure taking a few minutes longer.

    Getting a triple interface will future-proof the purchase, however.
  10. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    You don't happen to have an external you could test with, do you? That'd probably make you feel better. However, any USB 2.0 compliant drive that would work with your Mac(s) should work with her Mac. Just slowly.
  11. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Just the work one which is on a nightly Retrospect network scheduled backup. Hmmm...

    After all, I am in charge of our network... :) :cool:

    Thanks all, think I've got the answers I need.

  12. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    It is USB 1.1 not 1. 1.1 has an 11 Mbps max. transfer limit, 1.0 had a 5 Mbps transfer rate.

    They are not the same...

    Back on topic:
    Yes it would work. Don't back up applications or anything that can be easily reinstalled. If she has at most 500 Word documents, that would be pretty easy to back up. Just start it, and go to sleep. It probably won't take that long.
  13. Erendiox macrumors 6502a


    Oct 15, 2004
    Brooklyn NY
    I've used usb 1.0 with my old pc to back up files to an external HD (FW and USB2). Its really not that bad. If you're not transferring too much stuff than it'll just take a few minutes really. Of course, I was transferring gigs of info, so I got a FW upgrade for my pc, but only to speed things up. If you're looking for something temporary, USB 1.0 works just fine. It just requires more pacience than most of us are used to giving :)
  14. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    It's pretty slow. I tried to back up a 4 gig hard drive that way once, and eventually I gave up and did it over ethernet--much faster!

    That's actually a possibility: buy a cheap used computer and fit it with a hard drive, just to be used for backing up over ethernet.
  15. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    Hmm, when I got my external USB2.0 HD, I only had USB1.1 on my PC (7200rpm internal HD). I later installed a USB2.0 4 port PCI card and there was an incredible increase in transfer speed. Not 40 times faster, as is the theoretical maximum, but more like 20 times faster (I forget exactly, but it's about 170MB/s with USB2 compared to a maximum of 12MB/s for USB1.1)

    But USB1.1 will work fine - as someone said she could do backups at night.

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