So whats the deal about booting from External Drives?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Dorfdad, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. Dorfdad macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2007
    I have a 2007 Imac 24inch and I was reading somewhere about there is the ability to boot from an external USB2.0 or FireWire drive. Is this true, and is it worth it?

    I would like to get a external drive and boot Vista from it, for gaming. Im not sure if Fiber or USB 2.0 is fast enough compared to the internal drive!?

    Has anyone done this and if so is it possible to make this work effectively?
  2. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Internal drive will always be faster since it's 3 gbps SATA. FW is 800 or 400 mbps, USB2 is really only about 200 mbps - I've never seen it run better than FW400.
  3. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    That's not always true. Yes the internal has more bandwidth, but none of the drives max out the available bandwidth for anything but USB1. A fast FW800 drive can be 'faster' than a slow internal drive.
  4. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
  5. JJServer macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2008
    Booting from external drives does work. And for the most part it can work well if you are not overloading 400 of 800 mbps. I have never seen an external drive that runs on fibre. Fibre is technically a high speed way to connect to things to transfer data. You probably could hook up some sort of rig to be able to have an external drive with a fibre. However Imacs have no capability of my knowledge of a way to put on a fibre channel.
    Good Luck :apple:
  6. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    Booting OS X on external drives works. But the OP is considering booting Vista. There's no point in even discussing the best external drive to use unless the OP is geek enough to go through the headache of trying.
  7. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    I have tested FW800 and eSATA on my machine and only eSATA approaches the internal drive's speed. I have also tested a 7200rpm 32 mb cache fw400 drive vs. my Mini's internal 5400/8 SATA drive, and the internal wins almost every benchmark. The area in which it ties or is slightly slower is in large moves on the same drive (where the cache of the FW drive comes in handy.

    If I boot my Mini from an external FW400 drive, its overall performance is less than booting from the internal.
  8. Moriarty macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2008
    Windows doesn't support booting from an external drive, only OS X can, and it isn't as fast as using an internal drive.
  9. Dorfdad thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2007
    thanks for all the feedback.. Im sorry in an earlier posts I said Fiber when I meant Firewire..

    Sounds like the best solution for me is to split the 320 HD in half for vista and OSX and than use an external drive for all my files osx journaled and using Macdrive for Vista so I can read/write to it. This way both OS's can see the same music and video files... So It would be better to use a Firewire external drive than the USB flavor it seems?
  10. phifer8390 macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2008
    Could you create 2 different partitions and just boot from the second? Would this not also suffice?
  11. Dorfdad thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2007
    Yes I could but the Internal harddrive is limted in size.. I can do that yes and I will but for all my movies, and Music I would need a faster external solution that both OS's can share...
  12. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    USB2 has more than enough bandwidth for video and audio. Heck, my Blu-Ray drive is USB2 and it plays perfectly well.

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