Fast External Harddrive?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dndandrea, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. dndandrea macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2010
    hey, i know there are plenty of threads about this and google has plenty of results, but im still not satisfied with the results.

    im assuming firewire would be the quickest, what about the firewire 800 or w/e it is in the macbook pros though? is usb 2.0 significantly slower than the firewire?

    i want to buy a external HDD that is around 500gb in size and can transfer over files just like my normal HDD is. 100% of the time that the mbp is home it will be attached to this. i want to put almost everything there is on my laptop over onto the external harddrive except for stuff i need (which then i'd just pull it onto the desktop) when i leave the house.

    i'm assuming the western digital 500gb passport essential is the best buy, but i don't know much about it at all. it's only usb 2.0, which sounds like the slowest option when you throw firewire in the search.

  2. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    Firewire 800 is significantly faster than USB 2.0

    I use the Western Digital MyBook with Firewire and USB and I have been very pleased
  3. m85476585 macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    Firewire 800 = 77MB/s
    USB2 = ~32MB/s
    SATA = ~250-300MB/s

    Fast disks can currently max out FW800 but not SATA. Some SSDs can max out SATA.

    I recommend a Samsung Spinpoint F3 (500GB or 1TB) and a FW800 external enclosure. I've seen up to 130MB/s from my 1TB Spinpoint F1 (the 1TB F3 is faster), and over 130MB/s from my 500gb Spinpoint F3. Sustained transfer speeds on both drives are usually over 100MB/s for large files.,1010.html
  4. dndandrea thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2010
  5. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Jan 20, 2010
    OtherWorld Computing's Mercury Elite AL Pro is also quite fast. They've got one with a "quad interface" (1x FW400, 1x USB2, 2x FW800, 1x eSATA). It's a little out of your $120 price range (by $10) but it's worth it. The drive is extremely high quality, comes with all the cables (FW400, USB2, FW800, eSATA, power) and is quite fast. Their customer service is generally excellent and prompt.
  6. ThrawnTHX macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2009
    Another reason to consider Firewire over USB is that USB will utilize the CPU whereas Firewire does not.

    Someone explained the technical aspects of this in another post. I don't know the specifics, but I can say it's a noticeable difference if you monitor your system.
  7. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    If you have ExpressCard, the fastest would be eSATA. But you should get a reliable card.
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
  9. eldy macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2009
    The City
    Using the firewire interface also keeps one of your USB ports free. There are only two USB ports, after all, on a UMBP.
  10. ThrawnTHX macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2009
    Yeah, that's probably the best reason of all. An external hard drive is probably the only accessory that you'll use that can have a firewire port, so you might as well buy one and save a USB port. If you can avoid messing with a USB hub, it sounds like a good idea.
  11. jamesryanbell macrumors 68020


    Mar 17, 2009
    What are the more reliable cards out there?
  12. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    I think the only eSATA cards that have finally been made safe are Sonnet's. There are some long threads.
  13. Thiol macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2008
    And you have to plug the external in...

    Also, not that many laptop 2.5" drives saturate the Firewire 800 connection. I've only really seen significant losses with an external SSD.
  14. noodle654 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2005
    Never Ender
    I totally recommend the WD Passport Studio Edition. I have the 500GB Passport version and it is very fast. Support for USB, FW400/800. I use that as my main computer backup. It also has a 5 year warranty.
  15. Moocher macrumors regular

    Mar 5, 2008
    NE Atlanta area
  16. joecool99 Suspended


    Aug 20, 2008
  17. Black.Infinity macrumors 6502


    Apr 17, 2010
    Apple tree-Toronto
    if you buy separate hdd and enclosure then you are not limited and you have a lot of choices of what kind of hdd you want and what type of ports you need and i think its cheaper
    because some products are not what you want even though you pay a lot for it
    i recently bought mine so after one month of thinking came to this point that this way is better i and i like it

Share This Page