Intel Mini booting from an External Firewire or USB

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by roland.g, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    I'm looking to get an Intel Mac Mini Core Duo, and I have a 7200 RPM 120GB Western Digital SE with an 8MB buffer that I want to stick in a MiniStack v2 case - I would like to install Tiger & boot from that drive since it is faster and use the Mini drive for backup and archiving. What are the basics to the process. Any thoughts, issues, problems? Is the 7200 still better performance even though it is ATA and the Mini is SerialATA?
  2. taylorpohlman macrumors member

    Mar 1, 2006
    One thing to note, as I understand it, is that the intel mini only supports 400mbit Firewire, not the 800mbit version, and USB 2.0 (480mbit?) so there may be some basic bandwidth issues relative to your 7200 rpm drive's potential data rate. this would be more of an issue if you do a lot of streaming of contiguous blocks - if you're seeking around the disk a lot, doing random block access, as you might be during booting and normal usage, then the limits of track-to-track access and average seek times will probably outweight any I/O bandwidth issues.

    Depending on what you're doing with the Mini, there might also be some advantages of putting certain large files (like large video images for playback, etc.) on one drive, and OS X and Apps on another - allowing the OS to swap/access virtual memory without banging the heads around that are reading data (the video stream) might also provide better performance that doing everything on one drive. I'm guessing that OS X supports overlapped seeks, and certainly could start an I/O request for a missing page while waiting for a data block being looked for by an application.

    Frankly, the answer to your question is so application specific that I'd recommend just giving it a try - as long has you already have the WD drive, you've got little to lose, and it's easy to switch boot targets.

  3. Choppaface macrumors 65816

    Jan 22, 2002

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