internal hard drive vs external hard drive

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by tcbad35, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. tcbad35 macrumors newbie

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    Jul 12, 2010
    #1
    Looking for opinions or comparisons on performance between an internal mac hard drive vs an external firewire 800 hard drive or better. Is the performance on an internal MP drive or iMac internal drive much faster than connecting to a firewire 800 drive? I'm sure it depends on the drive, I'm wondering about apple factory installed internal drive vs say a WD external firewire 800. Thanks.
     
  2. flatfoot macrumors 65816

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    Aug 11, 2009
    #2
    With FW800 you have a maximum transfer rate of 800Mbit/s which equals 100MB/s. This figure, however, is only theoretical, i. e. not counting transfer overhead etc. => With a state-of-the-art HDD on FW800 you'll get a maximum of ~80MB/s or something like that.
    The HDD itself is capable of ~100MB/s or more, which you'll see on a SATA/eSATA port.
     
  3. tcbad35 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 12, 2010
    #3
    Thanks for the quick response... So you're saying internal and external FW800 are roughly the same (in theory). I'm sure FW800 is probably a little bit slower in the field, same with internal? SATA is better than FW800, but not all machines have SATA ports, so not as universal. Any issue with running video editing off FW800? It seems FW800 external drive is a pretty good solution and easy compared to messing with or replacing internal.
     
  4. flatfoot macrumors 65816

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    #4
    What I said was that SATA/eSATA performs better than FW800 (100MB/s is a 25% percent gain compared to 80MB/s.)

    As you're posting in the Mac Pro section I presume you have a Mac Pro. If so, it's far more cost- and performance-effective to install an additional internal HDD (if you have a spare port).
     
  5. mlts22 macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 28, 2008
    #5
    +1. If you have a drive bay free, by all means use it. This saves you another PSU on a device which can blow, another cable to trip over, and another device that has to be locked down or it would get stolen.

    If you don't have a free drive bay, I'd consider the $270 and get an eSATA and an external device which can do this. Another more expensive solution is a GigE NIC, a Drobo Pro, and iSCSI. This way, you have good speed, as well as Drobo's RAID 5 or 6 analog.
     
  6. tcbad35 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    Okay, 25% gain is significant and the points about additional devices and cables is another consideration. I posted in MP because I figure I would get more qualified responses. I am considering MP vs. iMac (i5), but didn't want this thread to become about that and when the new updates are coming etc. I do mostly web / graphic design with some video. The high end iMac is a consideration because of cost (with monitor) and performance for my use. The obvious downside is expandability and no eSATA, and that was the question here. 2TB on an iMac will get maxed out by me, unless I manage and archive certain elements to external drives, it seems I'll be losing 25%, but noticeable only on large psd (~1GB files) and video. For the most part, it would be insignificant.

    I was hoping external FW800 was nearly as fast, that would have made for an easy decision.
     
  7. FireWire2 macrumors 6502

    FireWire2

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    Oct 12, 2008
    #7
    Actually there is 2 SATA ports (behind the fan) in MP which would transfer over 250MB/sec, with a hardware raid box like eBOX-R5 or DIY with SPM393

    Just bring these SATA ports with the eSATA-PBKT-2 to the empty PCI slot, you can have up to two 8.0TB raid5 driver-less.

    Pretty cool with driver-less

    **
     
  8. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

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    Aug 7, 2006
    #8
    FW800 is not even close to a SATA connection. In real world tests of transferring a 6 gig file, SATA to SATA was more than twice as fast as SATA to FW800.
     
  9. tcbad35 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 12, 2010
    #9
    Thanks for all the input. So is a standard internal MP hard-drive eSATA? Is a new iMac internal hard-drive eSATA? Just trying to get a sense of internal vs external. It's clear that eSATA is much faster than FW800.
     
  10. FireWire2 macrumors 6502

    FireWire2

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    Oct 12, 2008
    #10
    SATA connection is generally use for internal connection, where eSATA connection for EXTERNAL SATA device (extra shielding).

    Internal HDD is plain-old SATA drive, it converts to eSATA for external usage

    **
     
  11. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

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    Aug 7, 2006
    #11


    "Serial Advanced Technology Attachment" is the type of drive connection.

    SATA is what you call it. That is what is in the Mac Pro.

    eSATA just means "External Serial ATA", which is the exact same thing, except it has a cable and an external power supply instead of using the main computer power supply.

    There is no difference between SATA and eSATA as far as function is concerned.

    Firewire drives ARE SATA drives, but with a FireWire interface because most computers have Firewire, but not many have eSATA built in. So there's the SATA drive and the SATA interface, which is 3000mbs, but it's connected to a FW800 controller, which then connects to your computer.

    SATA and eSATA connections are always better than FireWire. But the actual hard drives themselves are all SATA drives. You could get a drive and use FW800, then change your mind and just get a eSATA connection for them.
     
  12. tcbad35 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    Thanks for the education. MP has SATA, does iMac have SATA, too?
     
  13. flatfoot macrumors 65816

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    Aug 11, 2009
    #13
    Yupp. That's the current internal interface; every computer you buy now will have SATA internal drives.
     
  14. rhanbury macrumors newbie

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    London, UK
    #14
    Drive speed is much more of a constraint...

    other than for transferring single large files, the drive head seek time is much more of a constraint in real world use than the interface speed. I think 2 disks in RAID 0 would give you more of a speed increase for the money than using an eSATA adapter. I think iMacs tend to go for quieter drives rather than the fastest possible, so an external drive can be faster than the internal.
     

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