Impact of external HDDs on latest MBA? (another prospective buyer query)

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by RudolfOSX, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. RudolfOSX macrumors newbie

    Sep 16, 2009

    First up: Apologies, this is yet another "Should I buy an MBA?" post...

    So, as many seem to be reflecting about the "small" SSD capacities, I was wondering if anyone has a few weeks or more experience of running an MBA regularly with an external drive? I presume either a typical 2.5" "travel" HDD via USB or even just large capacity USB memory sticks are most likely devices that would fit this need.

    I appreciate that external HDDs cut down on the portability, but of course its always a balance and of course it could be a neat way of keeping e.g. iTunes library available when away from home etc.

    Can anyone share some first hand experience? How does the MBA battery standup under such load, how does the system performance change with a "slow" USB external drive etc.

  2. tmoerel macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2008
    I am regularly editing RAW photo files on an external 3 1/2 inch 750Gb drive. The battery drains a bit quicker but i can still get about 6 hours of work done using Lightroom on my 13" MBA ultimate. Speed is OK and battery drainage seems normal.
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    I have a 500GB 2.5" HD that holds some videos, pics, music and stuff. Even though I haven't used it much, I have to say that keeping it plugged in 24/7 would kill the idea of MBA. It's an extra cable, I can no longer carry my MBA around the house in one hand if I have it connected.

    If you really need more than 256GB, then take a look at MBPs. I can justify having the external HD as I've use it like three times but I couldn't justify it if it was connected all the time. Maybe you could put only some of your iTunes library in the MBA, that's what I've done. Seriously, I doubt people really need hundreds of GBs of data with them all the time. I can squeeze my important music in couple of GBs if needed.
  4. dmelgar macrumors 68000

    Apr 29, 2005
    The 11" MBA has a very small battery. Hooking up external devices and trying to power them from the MBA will greatly shorten battery life.

    I have multiple powered 3.5" 1TB drives that I hook up only when needed. Works out well. It is amazing how slow the drives feel compared to the SSD. In particular my drives like to spin down. Take forever for them to spin back up and the MBA beachballs while its waiting. Its the only time I've seen the MBA beachball.

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