Internal and External Hard Drives - Bottleneck?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by BrittQ, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. BrittQ macrumors regular

    May 23, 2007
    If you have an internal hard drive that is 5400rpm and an external that is 7200rpm, will the external be just as slow as the 5400? Does the speed on the internal hard drive affect the speed of the external drive?
  2. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Depends on the interfaces; internal - PATA vs. SATA, external - USB2, FW400, FW800, eSATA.
  3. BrittQ thread starter macrumors regular

    May 23, 2007
  4. jnc macrumors 68020


    Jan 7, 2007
    Nunya, Business TX
    I have a fw800 MyBook Pro (7200) connected and access is ... instant. I can't say whether their speeds will appear to interfere with the internal HD as mine is also 7200rpm! :D
  5. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    1. The speed of one drive doesn't affect the speed of the other drive at all. Of course, if you copy from one drive to another, you will be limited by the slower drive.

    2. RPM is not the only thing that affects speed. Another factor is the data density (a 250 GB hard drive in a MacBook will be a lot faster than a 100 GB hard drive at same RPM), and how full the hard disk is (the outer tracks of a hard drive have higher density and work faster than the inner tracks).

    3. The speed of the external drive is also limited by the speed of the interface. USB 2.0 is slowest, FireWire 400MBit/s is faster. Both FireWire 800MBit/s and eSATA are fastest; both are in practice limited by the speed of the external drive.

    4. Also note that you can simultaneously read from one drive and write to another drive, so copying from internal to external or the other way round is a lot faster than copying from internal to internal or external to external disk.
  6. gazfocus macrumors 68000


    Jan 3, 2008
    Liverpool, UK
    Would a network drive be slower than a FW400 or FW800 drive? My network is Wireless 54G. Thanks

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