External hard drive transfer rates

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by redneon, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. redneon macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2006
    I'm considering getting another hard drive as I'm battling with space on my current one. Thing is, I have an iMac, so I can't just add another internal drive or replace it. So, it's going to have to be an external hard drive.

    I'm a bit concerned about transfer rates, though. I'll definitely be going for a firewire 800 interface and it will mainly be used to store downloads but I'm aware that external hard drives are slower (well, it's not the hard drive that's slower, it's the interface) and am wondering if it would end up being a hindrance.

    Theoretically, it shouldn't be THAT bad. 800mbits/sec works out at around 100mb/sec which is pretty good. I'm not sure how that relates to internal drives, though.

    Also, let's just say that my internal hard drive broke down and I had to use my external hard drive as the main hard drive, would it be a viable alternative?
  2. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Sure, it'll work fine. My home theater Mac Mini boots from a 500 gig FW400 drive.
  3. Mr.Noisy macrumors 65816


    May 5, 2007
    don't worry redneon FW800 will be plenty fast enough :)
  4. redneon thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2006
    Ok, cool.

    Can anyone recommend a good manufacturer? I think I'm going to go for a 750gb one. Coupled with my internal 250gb I'll have a nice terabyte of storage.

    One of the reasons I'm worried about my internal hard drive is that I know it's got a few bad sectors and once you have bad sectors it just gets worse and worse so it's only a matter of time before the whole drive goes :)

    For those of you who are using an external drive as their primary drive: Do you notice any difference in speed or anything from using an external rather than an internal drive?
  5. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    I have a 750 internal (actually I have 10 750's) in an external enclosure. Its cheaper then buying an external in a store.
  6. redneon thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2006
    Hmm. Maybe that would be a better idea. Could I just buy an internal SATA 750gb hard drive and then stick it in an enclosure which supports FW800?

    Is it exactly the same as buying an pre-built external hard drive?
  7. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    I bought a Western Digital 750GB My Book for a nice price at Newegg and it works great. It also supports FW800.

    They're a bit more expensive then the "do it yourself" enclosure, but I prefer the style and configuration of the pre-builts and I have the advantage of if there is a problem, I only need to work with one company.
  8. surferfromuk macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2007
    FW800 is crazy fast...and doesn't use your CPU like USB drives do...

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