Parallels on USB 3 stick

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Michael CM1, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    I've got Parallels installed on an external hard disk since most of the software used in geology is for Windows. It works OK, but it's a little inconvenient carrying around an external HDD for the rare case I want to use Windows on a MacBook Air.

    I have a 128GB SSD, and somehow it's about full. So I've been looking into alternatives to run Windows. I could upgrade the SSD, but after killing my iMac's internal display adapter, I'm a little leery of fixing this computer. I thought about an SD card, but I don't think any of them are fast enough. The best option I found was a USB SSD, but those are over $100. For $30 right now I can get a SanDisk 64GB USB 3 flash stick with read and write speeds between the cheaper flash sticks and the SSD.

    So I wanted to see if anybody had experience with these. The hard disk I'm using externally is nothing special, 5400 rpm I believe. Thanks!
  2. cruisin macrumors 6502a


    Apr 1, 2014
    It will not last long as a SSD spreads the writes across the whole drive, so that no one part gets burned out. This drive doesn't have this so running Windows (or any operating system) will easily burn it out. The drive is only $30 so you can try it but don't expect it last forever (make backups often).

    You can get a quick SD card, but the issue is that your computer will never hit deep sleep with it plugged in so overnight the computer will drain the battery.

    You can get Disk Inventory X from and check what is eating up your space.
  3. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    USB 3 sticks read speeds are generally on par, or faster, than a 5400 HDD. But write speeds vary, and in many cases are much worse. I've done this, and as long as you can get something in the 50-70MB/sec range you'll probably be happy enough. But you are doing disk IO through a USB port, not through SATA. FWIW, I have clocked my SSD in a USB 3 enclosure at 280-300 MB/sec, using BlackMagic to measure. The enclosure was about $25. You could easily get a 128GB SSD for under $50. Not as small, but way faster.
  4. Michael CM1 thread starter macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    Thanks for the info. I haven't used it much yet, so I can't say much about the speed. I really just don't like needing to remember to pack that hard disk to use Windows. I'll take a look at the write speeds and see if they're up to snuff. I may just see if I can find 10GB of stuff to delete. I honestly don't even know how I have 100GB of stuff on there.

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