How to determine your fastest Hard Drives ?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Arnaud, Aug 15, 2005.

  1. Arnaud macrumors 6502

    May 24, 2005
    The Moon
    My iMac (G5 1.8GHz 1.25Gb OSX 10.4) is swimming (drowning ?) in 800 Gb of storage capacity as follows:
    - internal 250 Gb,
    - external La Cie Big Disk 300 Gb (USB 2.0, FW 400 & 800),
    - external La Cie Extreme 250 Gb (USB 2.0, FW 400 & 800),
    - external 80 Gb (USB 2.0, FW 400) only for backup of photos.
    So far, the three external HDs are connected to the iMac via a FW 400 hub (and the iMac does not have FW 800, anyway).

    My use of all this capacity is (as could be expected) for the following tasks: photo (storage, edition), video (acquisition, edition, storage), music (storage), office, etc..., doubled with my needs for backup of all of it.

    It works all fine so far, but I want to be sure I make the best use of it all :rolleyes:

    - How can I test the individual performances of each unit ?
    - What is the best choice between USB 2.0 and FW400 foe external HDs (despite the obvious loyalty to Apple) ?
    - Do FW hubs / USB hubs limit the possibilities, compared to individual connections to the iMac and limitations of the motherboard ?
    - Any difference bewteen FW devices chain-linked or connected to a FW hub ?
    - From the above, best choice for iPhoto storage, iTunes storage, video storage, video scratch, other apps scratch ? I'll try to keep the internal only for software and system (and memory pages) but does that make sense compared with the exchange rates with the external devices ?

    Oh well, in summary, a little refresher on FW/USB HD settings :eek:

    Thanks if you can help me here, and I hope this thread is of interest to other people :)

  2. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030


    Dec 7, 2002
    Florida, USA
    Firewire 400 is going to be your fastest external connection. It sounds like you already know what you're doing with the FW Hub, which is better than daisy chaining them all together, but it still does cut your bandwidth depending on how many drives are using the bus (max of 50MB/sec divided up dynamically between the external drives).

    You have a 160GB internal drive, right? Why not keep your photos and music on there, unless you have that many. As long as you have around 16-20GB free (about 10%) you should be fine. Your external drives should be approximately the same speed, although the Big Disk has some random slow downs in some benchmarks, but overall it shouldn't be an issue.
  3. japasneezemonk macrumors 6502


    Jun 13, 2005
    in my opinion, it's better to keep music on an external HD. I had about 60GB worth of music on my internal drive and itunes was begining to slow everything down. Now everything is good. thanks LaCie.
  4. Arnaud thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 24, 2005
    The Moon
    Ok !

    Thanks Crazyeddie and Japasneezemonk(ey), for your enlighting comments :)

    I'd follow J'monk on the last comment, though. I can reorganize the "data strategy" thanks to a major crash last week of my internal (250Gb) HD :(, but beforehand I used to have my iTunes library (30Gb) and my iPhoto library (15Gb) on the internal HD: it was turning really weird, with big slowdowns (and beachballs) when iPhoto and iTunes were running.

    I guess the internal HD was already unhappy and ready to crash, but I also think that continuous access to the music files and photo files, while dealing with the memory pages, all on the same unit, must have had some effect on the slow down ?

    Zeroed and reformatted the whole internal HD and reinstalled everything, and I'll follow your advices for the rest :rolleyes:

    Thanks again,
    Arnaud :)

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