IS USB 2 fast enough for itunes?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by jackhenri, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. jackhenri macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2011

    I have a 2011 server mini as a home computer. I have over a terrabite of itunes music.. vinyl rips etc, on my mac pro studio computer.
    I need to buy an external hard drive to bring all my music home. My question is..
    is a 2 TB lacie usb 2 HD up to the job. They are obviously cheaper than firewire. I might eventually, get some nice digital/analog convertors and take digital audio out from the mini to my hifi.
    how fast data transfer rate do I realistically need?

    sorry for the convoluted question
  2. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    USB2 is quite slow, but it will suffice if you don't want to transfer stuff often. However if your transferring stuff all the time the speed will probably get on your nerves.
  3. mufflon macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2006
    I would say quite the opposite; USB2 has a top speed of 480 mbps, which at least in my book is quite fast, it's faster than the hard drive, so in reality the theoretical speed boost from the firewire is not measurable.

    OP: If you're worried about speed then make sure to connect the hard drive directly to the computer (so no usb hub in the way) and you should be golden :)
  4. Macman45, Oct 18, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011

    Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    USb IS Adequate

    But until more affordable SSD kit becomes available, your solution seems fine. It's timing your backups so that they don't interfere with your work time.

    I have NAS networked backups for my iMac, Air and new MBP. I choose when to back up and of course wifi slows things down a little more, even with a gigabit router, but It works for me.

    I have a great deal more data in my music library alone, but backups are incremental, and archiving stuff helps a lot too.

    The Lacie gets good reviews and seems to be the way to go.

    If you want to get real serious this is the kit I use:

    You can choose exactly what you want, and the prices are good. Just my 50c worth!
  5. shaunlaverty macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2011
    I take it to mean you want to use a 2 TB external USB Hard Drive with all the iTunes media on it, connected to the Mini via USB, and play the content through iTunes.

    USB speed is not an issue. I do this with my Mini since my iTunes folder has grown to over 1.5TB. It all resides on an 2 TB external drive connected via USB.

    All the media streams to the :apple:TV which feeds the home theatre as well, with no issues.

    Easy Peasy.
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Not trying to be rude, but have you used Firewire much?

    It's very important to understand that USB2 has higher burst transfer rates than FW400, but it does not have higher sustained transfer rates. On the contrary, FW400 (let alone 800) is substantially faster than USB2 for large data transfers, and USB2 cannot transfer any significant amount of data anywhere near the HD's read/write speed.

    The difference is really shocking. Filling an iPod on FW400 when iPods used FW would take ~15-20 minutes, whereas filling the same iPod on USB2 might take almost an hour. If a drive is going to be used for a lot of big transfers, like moving a few gigs from this computer to that computer, FW will be really nice to have.

    However, I do agree, that if you're talking about whether the USB disc will handle playing iTunes audio, there's probably no issue.
  7. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010

    "mbps" is short for Megabit per second, and one byte is 8 bit.

    HDDs offer from 75MB/s to 125MB/s transfer speeds, depending on the physical size and speed (RPMs), USB 2.0 offers 35 to 37 MB/s during peaks (I currently copy 200GB from USB 2.0 HDD to a FW800 HDD, and the average transfer speed is just below 30MB/s).

    While USB 2.0 offers a theoretical speed of 480Mbit/s (or Mb/s or Mbps), which would be 60MB/s, it never actually reaches that speed.
    Firewire 400 is faster than USB 2.0, Firewire 800 is faster than FW400. HDDs are faster than FW800.

    What are megabytes and megabits?

    And USB 2.0 will suffice for simple playback purposes for audio and video.
  8. philipma1957, Oct 18, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    pretty accurate. info above. Also if you can afford to buy a NAS from synology you will like it.

    basic version is this 110j

    this is a very good one for upgrades. it allows add ons and is very fast

    the basic one is fast enough to play 1080i from my eyeTv and itunes at the same time.

    on an iMac and on a mac mini at the same time. I have owned the low cost one for two years and I use a 2tb samsung hdd in it. I purchased the other one I listed and it just got to my house today. i will set it up on wed or thur. It takes 2 hdds up to 6tb but it allows an add on that can hold up to 15 tb. it runs very fast ad is more then enough for most users
  9. chedda macrumors 6502

    Apr 17, 2006

    To the Op those guys are right firewire rag dolls usb all day long.
  10. Vermifuge macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2009
    The question was "IS USB 2 fast enough"

    Yes it's fast enough.

    Now everyone, just put 'em away and zip up. nothing left to prove here.
  11. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    So education is out of the question? The blood has to flow somewhere ...
  12. RByers89 macrumors newbie

    Oct 12, 2011
    I use a 2tb WD USB drive on mine. Stays plugged in all the time. No issues. Click a song. It plays instantly. Click a movies it plays instantly. And syncing my iPad and iPhone are just as fast as normal.

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