External Harddrives Any Good?

I’m caught having no harddrive space left on my notebook… so I would like to hear from anyone with experince playing gigantic GIGA orchestras from external USB harddrive, is it possible? I’m not sure if they are fast enough!?

I have read this article www.xbitlabs.com/articles/storage/display/120gb-external-hdds.html and it seems firewire is best, but as my firewire port is right next to the Echo indigo soundcard, the output blocks the firewire port so I have to use USB :(

[Edit: ups! this was meant to be posted in the general forum]

I wouldn’t risk it with a standard USB/Firewire HDD as they seem to be only designed for short bursts of I/O. I’ve heard lots of bad things about people using external drives as music servers and having them fail.

One option might be to get an IcyBox external HD enclosure and put a more robust HD inside (one designed for everyday use inside a PC).

Why would a HD designed to be used inside the PC be more robust than the one you’re supposed to be able to carry around? I’m not saying you’re wrong, but that seems counterintuitive to me?

What sort of data transfer rates are we talking about? I have 3 external HD’s and I get a constant 10-15 MB/s in all directions, no hiccups. The only annoyance is when they go to sleep just before you access them again, but there’s workarounds for that. But then again that’s just when moving files etc., I don’t do sample streaming. I guess that is also dependant on access times than just transfer rates?

I would look for a good small store and explain them your problem, maybe you can simply check it out yourself before you buy.

Guess he means they will last longer because they are made to be used all the time, where portables probably isn’t!? maybe internal drives uses newer technology aswell!? :rolleyes:

I found a roundup of some more enclosures: 9 External Enclosures for 3.5-Inch Hard Disk Drives

Whoops… I’d love to hear more about that, since I use mine all the time… are they really so bad that this outweighs the temperature advantage of having them outside the case? :(

External harddrive and internal one are pretty much the same… The internal one won’t last longer… it’s the same thing… the only difference is how they are linked to your computer and thats exactly what Garf is asking about…

I have an external HD and it works perfectly to read files on it… but suppose i’m adding a 5gb file on it… it takes a while… so I wouldn’t suggest using the external as your main harddrive… I wouldn’t install stuff on it… personally, I just keep all my audio and video files on it and I keep a copy of every programs I downloaded and that I use… it’s like a backup, so I can reformat my computer at anytime…

If your current harddrive is like 100ish gb… you should get an external one and just put all your audio and video stuff on the external one so you can use your current harddrive can be used for what wouldn’t work with the external one…

If it’s like a 20gb… you might want to upgrade this before getting an external HD…

Of course, firewire is much faster than usb 1.1 or 2.0…
but I’m using usb 1.1 (yeah lol) and Ive never had problem with my external HD… I think 2.0 would be like twice as fast… and firewire is even faster…

If you have usb 2.0 you wouldn’t have any problems with your external HD

oh and btw… if you buy an external one… be sure you get at least 500gb, they are much cheaper than small ones… and they often are faster…

yeah… the speed of the HD is an imporant factor too… most of the external one are 7200’s… which isnt the fastest thing around… but its ok for file reading… You should always keep the files you are working on, on your main HD…

I hope my comment helped you… I know it’s a little bit messy, so if you have any questions… ask them!


oh btw… Johann… is that your real first name?

I use my 30GB HDD exactly as you: all my MP3/OGG/FLAC files, application setup files and drivers are backuped on it.

I also used USB 1.1 external HD for about 5 years. I suggest you to find a USB 2.0 HDD-Box (only the box and controller, without the HDD), unmount your HDD from the 1.1 box, and plug it into the 2.0 BOX: you will get a performance boost at low cost. Also, you may reuse the same box for bigger disks in the future.

I did so and I’m perfectly satisfied. I’m also still keeping the USB1.1 box for any evenience.

back to the topic, I would never recommend such a try: I’ve didn’t try myself, but it’s obvious from my experience that using external drives would not give you enough speed to be satisfied.

30gb? anyway… it’s probably a typo… unless you bought it like 5 years ago

yeah… switching to 2.0 would be a good idea… I’ve seen these box you are talking about… it’s pretty cheap… I might do this soon…

off topic: is that you on the picture in your avatar? if so, you look cool! (and no, im not try to lick admin’s balls lol he just looks cool its not my fault)

USB 1.1: 12 Mbps
Firewire (1394a): 400 Mbps
USB 2.0 480 Mbps
Firewire (1394b): 800 (up to 3200 in future) Mbps

Yes, but with Firewire you actually get those transfer rates in practice, not so with USB.

thanks for the numbers… I thought usb 1.1 was a little bit faster than this though…

and I’m pretty sure firewire is faster than usb 2.0 in practice…

Thanks guys. Guess it’s not a good idea to play big instruments from externals. But anyway i’ll go ahead and get an USB 2 enclosure and this new samsung SpinPoint S166 (quiet) harddrive, and move all sound and photo files from the notebook to this one, that will give me 10-20GB free space for now.

Good idea… you can keep your internal HD for what really needs it the most and keep everything else on the external one…

btw… i’m going to copy your idea for an avatar…

Right, just too bad it prabably can’t run big sample libraries though, I would really like some strings and nice pianos… but i’ll try, and will post the result here once done.

Go for it!! But you know, if yours doesn’t include Renoise it’s not as good as mine ;) HEHEHE

indeed I have written I’ve used it for about 5 years :)

yes it’s me, but I don’t really look cool, be sure :)
actually, I wanted to change my avatar a couple of years ago, but the forum users claimed it back, because I look astonishly stupid in that picture, and it was intended to be like this :)

ohh i missed the 5 years part… now i see it…

and i think you look cool lol…
looking cool isnt always about smoking cigarettes and wearing sunglasses…

Yeah i made some avatars but then when i tried to upload them i saw the 20kb limit… so thats why i still dont have an avatar…

ill just host it somewhere… it’s easier.

edit: job done, what do you think?

avatar looks nice JBL, but the sig imo is rather obnoxious.

my recommendation for external hdd is to only use Firewire
serious, anything less is a total waste of Your time.

the good externals are ruggedized an are meant for bumps and scrapes from being carried to and fro & very few drops. internals are not meant for any of that.

haha yeah… this isnt really a sig… first of all the size isnt good for a sig… and this is just a stack of about 15 fx… lol… i just wanted something until I have like an hour or two to make a cool “renoise” signature…

I don’t think that less than firewire is a waste of time… the only time I was waiting for my external HD is when i was adding like… 10 movies on it at the same time… but I didn’t really care to wait…

but it probably depends of what you are doing with it…

oh yeah that one looks much better!
it has a very renoisesque’ feel to it :) (renoisesque i dub thee!)
the jbl part reminds me of one of the renoise wallpapers. good work!

yeah. using usb 2.0 i guess isnt that bad,
it truly does come down to how much you are moving.
the main reason i wrote that is i find myself needing to move gigs of sample images.
its rather humorous what i have to do to move mass data around to an fro the external. (also partly the reason i only use it when i’m going abroad.)

since i havent gotten around to getting firewire on any of my w32 boxes yet, i connect my external drive to an ibook w/ fw port, then i transfer everything over my wifi network! an its much much faster! :D

but, if its just little files here an there, even usb 1.1 does work out.

It’s nice, you never go wrong with the “Big R” :D