External HD for Mac Mini 2010

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Defiant81, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. Defiant81 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2009
    #1
    Just a got a 2010 mac mini..320 hd 5400rpm..

    Would a external 7200 rpm HD be faster than the internal stock hard drive with regard to performance.. what if I had the computer boot off the external..?
    USB or Firewire?
    which models does anyon recommend
     
  2. indg macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    #2
    i would say an external 7200rpm hdd over fw800 would be 10-25% faster. an external striped raid would be even faster obviously, only limited by the fw800 throughput.
     
  3. Thermonuclear macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    #3
    FireWire 800 Mbps is a good match for a 7,200 RPM drive. The drive has enough throughput to saturate the FireWire channel and then some. It will be faster than the internal 5,400 RPM drive.

    Don't use USB 2 for an external drive unless there's no good alternative.
     
  4. mangrove macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    Location:
    FL, USA
    #4
    Recommendations? Well depends what you think you need, but I always tend to go bigger for a few more bucks since who knows what your future needs could be. Plus partitions are always good.

    I like the 2.5" 7200rpm FW 800 if enclosed like a lacie rugged for example.

    Then again enclosures are not expensive and you can put any bare drive into one. Good for cloning and backups.

    Newegg just had a special on the Seagate Momentus 7200 rpm 500GB for $70 and they threw in the enclosure for each one.:D
     
  5. shadowarachh macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    #5
    I just picked up a vantec dual enclosure from fry's to salvage the pair of 1tb caviar blacks from the pc I'm changing over from. not only does it support raid0, when I first turned it on all my previous data from the stripe on the pc was still there.

    only problem is that the fw800 cable that came with it won't seat fully into the Mac mini(2010 2.4). it's very loose and I have to hold it in the back of the computer to get it to work.

    bad cable or mini issue? anyone else have this problem?
     
  6. Baby Mac macrumors regular

    Baby Mac

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #6
    I have the LaCie 750GB model, 32MB cache. The hard drive is noisy and the unit gets hot and vibrates, so I have to put it on a dense foam pad.

    In contrast, I took the stock HDD from my mini and put it in a fanless enclosure and it is generally silent and cool.
     
  7. mangrove macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    Location:
    FL, USA
    #7
    Have not had that problem on my 2010 Mini.:cool:
     
  8. Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #8
    Pick one (Enclosure only). And you might want to replace your internal boot drive with a SSD, HDD/SSD-Hybrid drive or 7200RPM HDD.

    Me neither, just replace the cable.
     
  9. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #9
    I've done a comparison of FW800/FW400/USB vs internal on my late 2009 Mac mini server. Its two 5200RPM internal drives are configured RAID 0 for maximum performance. I measured the following performance reading very large (5GB) files:

    Internal - 102 MB/sec
    USB - 39 MB/sec
    FW400 41 MB/sec
    FW800 86 MB/sec

    In a random read test, for which disk rotational speed and seek times are more important than the speed of the interface:

    Internal 18.44 MB/sec
    USB 20.18
    FW400 24.18
    FW800 24.31

    Conclusion -- If you are accessing lots of small files or any files randomly, ANY external 7200RPM drive will be faster than the internal, regardless of interface, but FW is a bit faster than USB. If you are reading large files with the dual drive mini, the internal is fastest, followed by FW800 and FW400/USB much slower. However without the RAID0 (as in a standard mini) an external FW800 will outperform the internal drive.

    Bottom line -- get a FW800 external drive for best performance.
     
  10. speedwaygirl macrumors member

    speedwaygirl

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2010
    #10
    I love the Lacie drives, but I've had trouble with all three that I've owned. Two had power supply failures. The third had an HDD drive failure just after the warranty ran out!
     
  11. FourCandles macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Location:
    England
    #11
    Could you tell me how you did that test please? I'm trying to do some benchmarking of my own using external FW800 and 400 drives and I'd appreciate the info. thanks.
     
  12. mangrove macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    Location:
    FL, USA
    #12
    Which Lacie drives where they. Rugged? Quadra? In which years were they purchased new? Just wanted to know what to expect. Thanks.
     
  13. btbrossard macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #13
    We've used Lacie Quadra drives at work in the past. Virtually all the drives (20+) ended up, at some point in time, needing a replacement power supply.

    The Lacie 2Big NAS drives we've purchased (about 5) have been problem free.
     
  14. Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #14
    FireWire800 (±90MB/s) is still sufficient for any 7200RPM 3.5" hard drive(max. ±100MB/s for the fastest ones). SATA 3GBit/s is already overkill for them, the stock hard drive in my 2010 MacMini still connects via SATA 1.5GBit/s.
     
  15. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #15
    A bit more involved than my previous post because I was also interested in performance when accessing multiple drives at once. I wrote multi-treaded programs to do the testing. Programs written in Java, but could have been done in any language.

    For reading large files the program creates a 4GB file and then reads or writes it in 20MB chunks. The file must be large so that caching won't be a factor. I then start multiple copies of the program to check simultaneous throughput.

    For the random access test, the program creates 256 10MB files on each drive (this program can test up to three drives simultaneously) then once all files are created it randomly opens a file, reads 10 10kB records, closes the file and repeats. Again, many files and random access are required to keep the program from simply reading out of cache.

    Both programs measure the data transferred over time.

    If you are interested, I can make the source code available. Considering what the program does and that you don't know me from Adam :) it's probably better not to ask for the executables!
     
  16. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    #16
    Thanks talmy for those benchmarks... they're quite useful!

    Hmmm... the ports themselves are SATA II (3 Gbit) though, correct?
     
  17. FourCandles macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Location:
    England
    #17
    Many thanks for the info. Compiling your source code is probably beyond my programming skills, but I can see that it's more involved than simply timing a 2GB file copy, which is what I had been doing. At least that's given me something to go on, so thanks again.
     
  18. speedwaygirl macrumors member

    speedwaygirl

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2010
    #18
    No, no Quadra or Rugged drives. There was an Ethernet Mini Network drive and two Porsche drives. Lacies are well known for power supply problems (at least for a couple of years). Coming from a publishing environment, all we used was Lacie peripherals for our Macs, but my home stuff has been a nightmare!
     
  19. shadowarachh macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    #19
    ordered a new cable from mono price and it seems just as loose in the back of the mini. both fit firmly into the hdd enclosure. bleh.
     
  20. mangrove macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    Location:
    FL, USA
    #20
    That's lousy. Is there an Apple store nearby?
    Why not have the Genius bar take a look. Take in both FW 800 cables. Since they use the Lacie Rugged a lot and it has a firewire port at least you can get an opinion from them if it now is the 2010 mini port.

    Do you have to hold that FW in by hand? Mini works OK, but the first time connecting it was a real push. Just thought, maybe take a lot in the FW jack to see if there might be a small obstruction.
     

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