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Newbie question - recommendation for external hard drive connection method

A newcomer's question that I'm sure is answered elsewhere but.. I need
to buy an external hard drive (approx 160Gb or more) and to me there
seem to be three primary methods of connecting the thing up - USB 2.0,
Firewire or network (via Ethernet card). Are there any strong opinions
on which is the best (primarily in terms of speed and value for money)
? Of course if a drive can be accessed by multiple methods that's
great, but I don't want to pay extra for something unnecessary. Also,
any specific recommendations for particular manufacturers would be be
very useful.. 

Thanks in advance

0
benjrees
5/13/2005 2:25:10 PM
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On 13 May 2005 07:25:10 -0700, "benjrees" <benjrees@gmail.com> wrote:

>A newcomer's question that I'm sure is answered elsewhere but.. I need
>to buy an external hard drive (approx 160Gb or more) and to me there
>seem to be three primary methods of connecting the thing up - USB 2.0,
>Firewire or network (via Ethernet card). Are there any strong opinions
>on which is the best (primarily in terms of speed and value for money)
>? Of course if a drive can be accessed by multiple methods that's
>great, but I don't want to pay extra for something unnecessary. Also,
>any specific recommendations for particular manufacturers would be be
>very useful.. 

We use a removeable drive bay.

http://www.directron.com/kf23.html

Be careful about putting more than one on a given IDE channel.

0
spam
5/13/2005 2:36:31 PM
In article <4284bb1e.6990702@news-server.houston.rr.com>,
Bob <spam@spamcop.com> wrote:
>On 13 May 2005 07:25:10 -0700, "benjrees" <benjrees@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>>A newcomer's question that I'm sure is answered elsewhere but.. I need
>>to buy an external hard drive (approx 160Gb or more) and to me there
>>seem to be three primary methods of connecting the thing up - USB 2.0,
>>Firewire or network (via Ethernet card). Are there any strong opinions
>>on which is the best (primarily in terms of speed and value for money)
>>? Of course if a drive can be accessed by multiple methods that's
>>great, but I don't want to pay extra for something unnecessary. Also,
>>any specific recommendations for particular manufacturers would be be
>>very useful.. 
>
>We use a removeable drive bay.
>
>http://www.directron.com/kf23.html
>
>Be careful about putting more than one on a given IDE channel.
>


There are external SATA exclosures and this would be my choice.
Someone makes a PCI card that puts a SATA connector on the PC rear
panel.  It's just a patter of time for someone to make a front panel
adapter. 

SATA was designed for hotpluging. IDE isn't.  

-- 
a d y k e s @ p a n i x . c o m 

Don't blame me. I voted for Gore.
0
adykes
5/13/2005 2:44:54 PM
On 13 May 2005 10:44:54 -0400, adykes@panix.com (Al Dykes) wrote:

>Don't blame me. I voted for Gore.

One political comment deserves another.

Thank God Gore lost or America would be as fucked up as Britain is
today.

Gore was the only reason Clinton was not run out of office - no one
wanted to have him as president so they backed off Clinton.

History will show that GW Bush is one of the greatest presidents ever.
He has to make the tough decisions that Clinton didn't have the balls
to make - and that's why he has to do drastic things.

We now return you to the regularly scheduled forum on hardware.



-- 

Map of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
http://home.houston.rr.com/rkba/vrwc.html

"The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.
All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and
denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the
country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
--Hermann Goering
0
spam
5/13/2005 3:09:39 PM
No wonder you have so many problems with computers. You are as fucked up as
America is.

GW Bush is retarded. How many billions do you want to waste on the Great
Hydrogen Fraud? Bush is also increasing imports of Oil and Gas, further
raising prices.

"Bob" <spam@spamcop.com> wrote in message
news:4284c1fc.8748820@news-server.houston.rr.com...
> On 13 May 2005 10:44:54 -0400, adykes@panix.com (Al Dykes) wrote:
>
> >Don't blame me. I voted for Gore.
>
> One political comment deserves another.
>
> Thank God Gore lost or America would be as fucked up as Britain is
> today.
>
> Gore was the only reason Clinton was not run out of office - no one
> wanted to have him as president so they backed off Clinton.
>
> History will show that GW Bush is one of the greatest presidents ever.
> He has to make the tough decisions that Clinton didn't have the balls
> to make - and that's why he has to do drastic things.
>
> We now return you to the regularly scheduled forum on hardware.
>


0
Eric
5/13/2005 4:00:45 PM
On Fri, 13 May 2005 09:00:45 -0700, "Eric Gisin"
<ericgisin@hotmail.com> wrote:

>You are as fucked up as America is.

Ad-hom noted.


0
spam
5/13/2005 5:03:05 PM
On 13 May 2005 07:25:10 -0700, "benjrees" <benjrees@gmail.com> wrote:

>A newcomer's question that I'm sure is answered elsewhere but.. I need
>to buy an external hard drive (approx 160Gb or more) and to me there
>seem to be three primary methods of connecting the thing up - USB 2.0,
>Firewire or network (via Ethernet card). Are there any strong opinions
>on which is the best (primarily in terms of speed and value for money)
>? Of course if a drive can be accessed by multiple methods that's
>great, but I don't want to pay extra for something unnecessary. Also,
>any specific recommendations for particular manufacturers would be be
>very useful.. 
>
>Thanks in advance

As others have veered off into politics, I'll take a stab at this.

NAS (Network Attached Storage) is the slowest of the three attachment
methods you listed.  It is handy if you want multiple computers to
have access to the drive, otherwise not the best answer.

USB 2.0 has a theoretical maximum throughput of 480Mbps, while
Firewire is at 400 Mbps.  Yes, there is "Firewire2" at 800 Mbps, but
you are not likely to find one of those at a reasonable price at this
point in time.  Despite the theoretical advantage of USB 2.0 over
Firewire, Firewire tends to be better in practice.

0
Henry
5/13/2005 5:05:41 PM
Very interesting as I was assuming NAS would be fastest, based on
price.

If there's not a great deal of difference in speed between Firewire and
USB 2.0 I'll base my decision on what the best manufacturers have to
offer - are there any real stinkers to avoid ? And any sure bets for
good quality drives ?

0
benjrees
5/13/2005 5:33:55 PM
benjrees <benjrees@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1115994310.642353.167700@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...

> A newcomer's question that I'm sure is answered elsewhere but..
> I need to buy an external hard drive (approx 160Gb or more)
> and to me there seem to be three primary methods of connecting
> the thing up - USB 2.0, Firewire or network (via Ethernet card).

Correct.

> Are there any strong opinions on which is the best
> (primarily in terms of speed and value for money) ?

Like with most things, there isnt a clear best.

The network approach has some real advantages, mainly that
its been around for years and is very solid now, with the drive on
another PC on the network. Main downsides are that this is the
slowest, there arent very many drives with that approach interface
wise, and pretty crummy documentation on those that are around,
mainly because the hard drive majors dont use this approach much.

USB2 is the most common approach used, but it has real
downsides, mainly in that its still rather immature technology
so the life of the drives is often quite poor, just because they
arent adequately cooled so the drive gets stinking hot, and
there is a too high level of other problems, particularly with
the drive not being reliable enough data wise, nothing like
as reliable as an internal drive. And a real problem with
adequate tools that can run diagnostics on the drive and
even do stuff as basic as SMART and temperature monitoring.

Firewire has most of those problems too and has another,
quite a few of even recent PCs dont support firewire.
Quite a few drives are both firewire and USB2 tho.
Firewire is theoretically more efficient protocol wise,
but while you can see that in the benchmarks, it isnt
likely to be something that most could pick with a
proper double blind trial with no benchmark allowed.

> Of course if a drive can be accessed by multiple methods that's
> great, but I don't want to pay extra for something unnecessary.

> Also, any specific recommendations for particular
> manufacturers would be be very useful..

I havent seen any of the majors that are good
enough on the drive cooling for my taste. 


0
Rod
5/13/2005 6:19:40 PM
"benjrees" <benjrees@gmail.com> wrote in 
news:1115994310.642353.167700@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com:

> A newcomer's question that I'm sure is answered elsewhere but.. I need
> to buy an external hard drive (approx 160Gb or more) and to me there
> seem to be three primary methods of connecting the thing up - USB 2.0,
> Firewire or network (via Ethernet card). Are there any strong opinions
> on which is the best (primarily in terms of speed and value for money)
> ? Of course if a drive can be accessed by multiple methods that's
> great, but I don't want to pay extra for something unnecessary. Also,
> any specific recommendations for particular manufacturers would be be
> very useful.. 
> 
> Thanks in advance
> 

I bought a hard drive and enclosure separately.  I chose an enclosure that 
has both USB 2.0 and FireWire connections  It was only about $30 online.  I 
bought a 120GB 7500 RPM drive for $88.

With both USB 2.0 and FireWire connections on the enclosure, I've got almost 
universal connectivity.  I can take the drive to almost any PC/MAC/Linux box 
and hook up for data transfer.  Since USB 2.0 is backward compatible with 
USB, it means I can still connect and transfer to a "slow USB" computer--it 
just takes more time.

I guess you'd have to consider whether you want to use it on your own 
computer or if you want to be able to "take it anywhere."

SATA isn't available on lots of computers.  External SATA is very rare these 
days.  SATA would be nice and fast.  If for your home computer only, maybe 
that would be best.  If you plan to take the drive somewhere, might be best 
to see if there's a SATA hook up available.

For speed?  Let's look at speed.

USB and FireWire claim 400 Megabits per second.  400megabits � 8 bits per 
byte =50 MegaBytes per second.

50 Megabytes per second.  Most hard drives aren't going to be able to sustain 
that rate of transfer.  They may "burst" faster, but, that only lasts a 
portion of a second in time.

Most hard drive companies won't divulge their "sustained" rate of data 
transfer.  The "sustained" data transfer rate is largely dependant on platter 
rotation speed and platter density.  You can search the web for hardware 
reviews to see what the "sustained" rate of data transfer is for some drives.

The "bigger" the drive--usually--the faster it is ... as long as they are 
cramming those Gigs on the same number of platters.

In other words, if you have a 7500RPM 160 GB drive using 3 platters compared 
to a 7500 RPM 300 GB drive also using 3 platters, you can see that the 
magnetic material must be packed more densely onto the 3 platters of the 
300GB drive.

Packed more densly means that more data "space" travels under the read/write 
head at any given moment in time.

So ...

When you consider what connection you want, you may want to consider the 
maximum sustained transfer rate of the hard drive that your choose.

If you choose a 7500RPM drive of 200GB or less, you probably won't see a 
sustained rate of data transfer much more than 50MegaBytes per second.  So, 
FireWire and/or USB 2.0 would be fine.  (You probably would want to dedicate 
the hard drive to one particular USB or FireWire port.  If you shared the 
port with a printer or something, you'd be giving up some bandwidth to the 
other device running on that port.)

There is double-speed FireWire.  See the 800Mbps FireWire stuff at 
http://www.orangemicro.com.  To utilize that speed, however, you'd have to 
have a double-speed FireWire PCI adapter (or chip on your MoBo) along with a 
hard drive enclosure that is 800Mbps FireWire.  It is backward compatible 
with regular FireWire.  That would give you a sustained rate of transfer 
somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 MegaBytes per second.  However, I doubt 
that even a 350 GB drive could sustain that speed.  It might, though.  I 
haven't clocked them.  Reviewers online could answer that question.

At any rate, you see specs for ATA133 and SATA 150.  These are 133 
MegaBytes/second and 150 MegaBytes per second.

These rates can only be delivered from your computer to the memory chip in 
the hard drive.  These rates cannot be "sustained" through transfers to the 
magnetic medium of the hard drive platter.

So, the ATA133 and the SATA 150 only pertain to a fraction of a second where 
data can be written to the memory chips of the drive.  Once that memory chip 
is saturated after the first second or so, you are slowed to whatever data 
transfer rate can be accomplished by the pure mechanics of the platters 
spinning under the read/write head--known as the "sustained" transfer rate.

So?

USB 2.0 and plain old FireWire is usually good enough for most people.  An 
enclosure at one of the smaller outlets on the web will have USB 2.0 and 
FireWire chips in a plastic enclosure for about $30.  Often, there's free 
shipping.

What brand to choose?  Doesn't really matter.  There's only a few companies 
out there making chips.  No matter what you buy, you'll probably get Oxford, 
VIA, or NEC chips in the external enclosure.

//rus//

 
0
Rus
5/13/2005 8:28:57 PM
Thanks everyone - really useful stuff. I'm going to check out the
enclosure options and also see what the manufacturers claim about
heating problems. And I'll definitely go for a Firewire / USB2.0 as
there doesn't seem to be much in it between the two and having both
gives me more flexibility.

Also I'll look in to the different disk speeds - this was part of my
thinking about going for a good, solid manufacturer. Like PCs, a good
manufacturer won't take shortcuts to make savings on the sale price,
only to cause subsequent problems either with bottlenecks on speed (an
obvious one for PCs, being to sell high end processors with low memory)
or problems with build quality (e.g. the heat problems you mention). A
good manufacturer will have thought of all these things (so that I
don't have to !)...

0
benjrees
5/14/2005 7:17:34 AM
"Rus" <me@meander.net> wrote in message news:Xns9655A7AEDF3B598270982304987102398@63.240.76.16
> "benjrees" <benjrees@gmail.com> wrote in
> news:1115994310.642353.167700@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com:
>
> > A newcomer's question that I'm sure is answered elsewhere but.. I need
> > to buy an external hard drive (approx 160Gb or more) and to me there
> > seem to be three primary methods of connecting the thing up - USB 2.0,
> > Firewire or network (via Ethernet card). Are there any strong opinions
> > on which is the best (primarily in terms of speed and value for money)
> > ? Of course if a drive can be accessed by multiple methods that's
> > great, but I don't want to pay extra for something unnecessary. Also,
> > any specific recommendations for particular manufacturers would be be
> > very useful..
> >
> > Thanks in advance
> >
>
> I bought a hard drive and enclosure separately.  I chose an enclosure that
> has both USB 2.0 and FireWire connections  It was only about $30 online.  I
> bought a 120GB 7500 RPM drive for $88.
>
> With both USB 2.0 and FireWire connections on the enclosure, I've got almost
> universal connectivity.  I can take the drive to almost any PC/MAC/Linux box
> and hook up for data transfer.  Since USB 2.0 is backward compatible with
> USB, it means I can still connect and transfer to a "slow USB" computer--it
> just takes more time.
>
> I guess you'd have to consider whether you want to use it on your own
> computer or if you want to be able to "take it anywhere."
>
> SATA isn't available on lots of computers.  External SATA is very rare these
> days.  SATA would be nice and fast.  If for your home computer only, maybe
> that would be best.  If you plan to take the drive somewhere, might be best
> to see if there's a SATA hook up available.
>
> For speed?  Let's look at speed.
>
> USB and FireWire claim 400 Megabits per second.

Nope. USB is 480 Mb/s.

> 400megabits � 8 bits per byte =50 MegaBytes per second.

Nope. It's 480Mb/s � 10 bits per byte = 48MB/s.
But that 48MB/s includes serial protocol and command overhead.

>
> 50 Megabytes per second.

Think more of like 33MB/s or so.

> Most hard drives aren't going to be able to sustain that rate of transfer.

Most recent ones certainly will.

> They may "burst" faster, but, that only lasts a portion of a second in time.

Continuously on the first 2 or 3 zones or so.

>
> Most hard drive companies won't divulge their "sustained" rate of data
> transfer.

If you consider WDC most.

> The "sustained" data transfer rate is largely dependant on platter
> rotation speed and platter density.  You can search the web for hardware
> reviews to see what the "sustained" rate of data transfer is for some drives.
>
> The "bigger" the drive--usually--the faster it is ... as long as they are
> cramming those Gigs on the same number of platters.
>
> In other words, if you have a 7500RPM 160 GB drive using 3 platters compared
> to a 7500 RPM 300 GB drive also using 3 platters, you can see that the
> magnetic material must be packed more densely onto the 3 platters of the
> 300GB drive.
>
> Packed more densly means that more data "space" travels under the read/write
> head at any given moment in time.

Obviously depends on where the increased density is achieved from, bit-density
or track-density. Usually a combination of both, but not necessarily 50:50.

>
> So ...
>
> When you consider what connection you want, you may want to consider the
> maximum sustained transfer rate of the hard drive that your choose.
>
> If you choose a 7500RPM drive of 200GB or less, you probably won't see a
> sustained rate of data transfer much more than 50MegaBytes per second.

> So, FireWire and/or USB 2.0 would be fine.

Not.

> (You probably would want to dedicate
> the hard drive to one particular USB or FireWire port.

Channel. Several ports (connectors) are connected to the same channel.

> If you shared the
> port with a printer or something, you'd be giving up some bandwidth to the
> other device running on that port.)

Channel.

>
> There is double-speed FireWire.  See the 800Mbps FireWire stuff at
> http://www.orangemicro.com.  To utilize that speed, however, you'd have to
> have a double-speed FireWire PCI adapter (or chip on your MoBo) along with a
> hard drive enclosure that is 800Mbps FireWire.  It is backward compatible
> with regular FireWire.

> That would give you a sustained rate of transfer somewhere in the neighborhood
> of 100 MegaBytes per second.

Wrong again. 60 to 70 maybe.

> However, I doubt that even a 350 GB drive could sustain that speed.

A 74GB Raptor will.

> It might, though.  I haven't clocked them.
> Reviewers online could answer that question.
>
> At any rate, you see specs for ATA133 and SATA 150.  These are 133
> MegaBytes/second and 150 MegaBytes per second.
>
> These rates can only be delivered from your computer to the memory chip in
> the hard drive.  These rates cannot be "sustained" through transfers to the
> magnetic medium of the hard drive platter.

But have to sustain 2 drives, (133 � 2) - 10% overhead = 60MB/s.
Barely enough for 2 recent drives in Raid.

>
> So, the ATA133 and the SATA 150 only pertain to a fraction of a second where
> data can be written to the memory chips of the drive.  Once that memory chip
> is saturated after the first second or so, you are slowed to whatever data
> transfer rate can be accomplished by the pure mechanics of the platters
> spinning under the read/write head--known as the "sustained" transfer rate.
>
> So?
>
> USB 2.0 and plain old FireWire is usually good enough for most people.

It's as dated as UDMA33.

> An enclosure at one of the smaller outlets on the web will have USB 2.0 and
> FireWire chips in a plastic enclosure for about $30.  Often, there's free
> shipping.
>
> What brand to choose?  Doesn't really matter.  There's only a few companies
> out there making chips.  No matter what you buy, you'll probably get Oxford,
> VIA, or NEC chips in the external enclosure.
>
> //rus//

0
Folkert
5/14/2005 4:18:52 PM
"Bob" <spam@spamcop.com> wrote in message
news:4284dda7.1375417@news-server.houston.rr.com...
> On Fri, 13 May 2005 09:00:45 -0700, "Eric Gisin"
> <ericgisin@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> >You are as fucked up as America is.
>
> Ad-hom noted.
>
So what. You are an ugly american. Crawl back under your rock.

Only a patriotic retard defends GW Bush.



0
Eric
5/14/2005 10:23:40 PM
On Sat, 14 May 2005 15:23:40 -0700, "Eric Gisin"
<ericgisin@hotmail.com> wrote:

>> >You are as fucked up as America is.

>> Ad-hom noted.

>So what. You are an ugly american. Crawl back under your rock.

You are obviously a leftist queer asshole.

>Only a patriotic retard defends GW Bush.

Crawl back to your Socialist Workers Paradise, commie fruitcake.

Or we will nuke you.

0
spam
5/15/2005 2:27:32 AM
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I would like to add an exteranl connection to my computer for an ATA drive. I would like the IDE connector to fit in the slot in the rear of the computer used for the various PCI cards. The only thing my search came up with is a IDE card that fits in the PCI slot giving one the option of adding 3 additional ATA hard drives. However, this does not allow the IDE cable to be brought outside the case without cutting a hole. I found a such a connection for SATA that connects to the SATA connection on the motherboard and the other end fits in the PCI opening. This allows for a SATA...

Premade external hard drive or internal hard drive with enclosure?
Hi, My WD mybook external hardrive died, and now i need a new one for my laptop (which has th elaptop firewire conneciton, which isn't the same as the pc firewire connection that most external harddrives come with, thus need to use usb) So I'm thinking of getting the following toshiba 320 gb external ( see link below). However I have also been considering getting a regular internal harddrive and enclosure. would this be better in terms of reliability and speed? How difficult is this to set up? If this is better any recommendations for a 300-500 gb drive and enclosure? T...

Hardware question (connecting a tape drive)
Hello I have a VAX 4100 to which is connected a disk tower (SCSI) from the port on the back of the VAX. I think I can connect a tape drive to the inside of the disk tower, as I see another port in there. But I don't have a cable that fits. On the other hand, I do have a SCSI cable that can connect to the tape drive directly from the VAX. As the tape drive has another connector, I figured I could then go from there to the disk tower. I tried, and at the >>> prompt a SHOW DEVICE now shows several MKA devices instead of DKA devices. I see the new tape is there (...

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