External Hard Drive

Discussion in 'iPod' started by topher, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. topher macrumors member

    May 1, 2004
    Hi...I have what amounts to 3 questions:

    1) Has anyone had any experience using an external USB 1.1 hard drive with iTunes. Specifically, how is playback, and how is iPod syncing?

    2) I think I've read that FAT32 is the necessary format for the drive to be swappable between a Windows machine and a Mac. I also think that I've read that FAT32 will only allow volume sizes of 32GB...which would limit things. Are these true?

    3) If I manage to get a working drive that houses the entire library, could it be truly swappable? in other words, could my library "image" automatically mount to whichever machine it is plugged into?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    1) Not so great.
    USB 1.1 is 12Mbps (theoretical) transfer speed MAX. That's 1.5MB per second.. THEORETICAL. Expect 50% to 75% of that speed. Firewire is a MUCH better option.

    2) Yes, you have to use FAT32 or have MacDrive on the PC to read HFS+. The 32GB max volume size is a thing of the past.

    3) I don't see why not. not automatically, but you can point iTunes at a particular library location. But if these are on the same (networked) subnet, why not leave the drive on one computer and share via iTunes with the other computers on the network?
  3. Gee macrumors 65816

    Feb 27, 2004
    London, UK
    For playback it'll be fine though. I have my library on an external drive connected wirelessly, and it's fine even when then streaming wirelessly to the stereo via an airport express.
  4. topher thread starter macrumors member

    May 1, 2004
    Thank you for replying so quickly.

    Specifically, I have a G3 iMac and I use a dell for work. Since the dell belongs to the company, having iTunes installed is enough of a stretch...housing my entire library is definitely over the line.

    So...I'm thinking that I can buy a USB 2 external hard drive (the dell has a USB 2 slot), and use it primarily with my work computer. As long as it technically functions when attached to the iMac, then I have a viable backup in case the work machine ever gets recalled to work.

    A really awesome bonus would be the ability to truly swap the drive on the two machines. I think I'm dreaming on this one, but if anyone can firmly comment one way or the other, I'd appreciate it.

    Of course, the other option (which I'm weighing heavily) is buying a FW drive, and a FW card for the laptop. USB 2 is just much more prevalent, and cheaper, so if I could make it work in a pinch, I would be able to save over the FW or dual interface drives.

    Thanks again.
  5. savar macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2003
    District of Columbia
    Like somebody else said, you should just use the sharing feature of iTunes if your computers are networked.

    But if you really want to swap the drives between the two systems, its possible in theory. I've never tried it, and the fact that the drive has to be windows formatted could be a problem. But if you can mount it in OS X (which can mount NTFS I believe), then you can point the iTunes library to it.
  6. Philberttheduck macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2006
    HB, CA
    before i got my imac, i placed my itunes into my external hd. the biggest complaint i had was the waiting period after you doubleclick a song. generally is 5 to 10 seconds before the external whirls up (annoyin noise, at least compared to the iMac). basically, it's annoying if you leave it inactive and wanna reopen it.
  7. Gee macrumors 65816

    Feb 27, 2004
    London, UK
    I think it should be feasible the way you see it, as long as the drive is formatted FAT32. You can put all the music on the drive and then 'add to library' on your PC, with 'copy music to itunes library' unchecked so that it doesn't copy everything back on to PC. As long as the drive is connected, you will be able to play the music. If it's disconnected you'll get a little grey ! next to the 'missing' songs.

    Repeat with the Mac, and the same should apply. The important thing to remember is that your itunes 'library' - the database and all the info on where the tunes are - will remain on each computer. It's only the actual mp3s that'll be on the external drive. That way it will be essentially 'hot swappable' - you may have to quit out of itunes and start it again for it to realise all the tracks are there.

Share This Page