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Internal HD Vs. External HD (pros & cons)


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#1 of 23 OFFLINE   Jean D

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Posted June 08 2007 - 02:09 AM

Hi, I recently filled my 120 gig drive w/ media (mp3's, mpegs, etc) and backed up documents. I am in the market for a larger drive. my question is, Should I get an internal (as I have now) or an external. Basically Id like to get a compare contrast going on like this:

Internal
Pro:Faster read/write/transmission speeds
Con: permanent location

External
Pro: portable
Con: Depending on where its connected, it cannot be accessed by the network.

I don't know if those are true or not, but you get the idea. If you'd rather just tell me what you think I should get let me know. Id even consider an internal drive in an external case. Thanks for all your help. Oh yeah, and let me know if there are certain brands to avoid or lean towards. The last thing I need is all my data lost one day.
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#2 of 23 OFFLINE   Chris

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Posted June 08 2007 - 02:21 AM

You could also look at an eSATA external. Exactly as fast as an internal (it's SATA bus, not USB/Firewire) while being external. Most also have other options (like USB) when you do take it to a PC without eSATA.
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#3 of 23 OFFLINE   Jean D

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Posted June 08 2007 - 02:56 AM

So I can buy an internal drive, and get an external case that has eSATA? What should the specs be on the internal drive? I'm thinking of getting a 500gig drive.
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#4 of 23 OFFLINE   Tekara

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Posted June 08 2007 - 03:20 AM

You can do anything with an external drive that you can do with an internal one. And that does include installing an OS onto it and sharing it over a network. I would say that if you have any intention of moving the drive around at all, just go ahead and get an external one.

As far as what hard drive to get, I usually just look for where the price break is and buy at there. A quick glance at Newegg makes the 500's look the best.
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#5 of 23 OFFLINE   Jean D

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Posted June 08 2007 - 03:32 AM

OK, I'm thinking about getting a Seagate barracuda drive, but I'm kind of lost on the external case. Some ones Ive looked at some reviews and they are scary. Cases melting and loosing data on formatted drives. Any recommendations for external cases?
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#6 of 23 OFFLINE   Tekara

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Posted June 08 2007 - 09:53 AM

Hmm, well, this one has *a lot* of good reviews, so it's topping my list:
http://www.newegg.co....82E16817145656

I really like that built in 80mm fan to keep the drive cool.
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#7 of 23 OFFLINE   Kimmo Jaskari

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Posted June 09 2007 - 02:43 AM

Personally I'd recommend a case without a fan, but made out of Aluminium. All-metal cases dissipate heat better, and no fan keeps the noise down. A 7200rpm drive doesn't really get THAT hot, unless you do something profoundly dumb like burying it under a lot of other stuff or some such.

Just pay attention to what the case is, ie if it is a sata case or a parallel ATA case. If it is the latter (like the case linked to above here) you must also get the PATA drive to go with it, not sata.
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#8 of 23 OFFLINE   Will_B

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Posted June 09 2007 - 06:12 AM

I like the MyBooks because they are pretty. Only the more expensive ones are metal though, the cheaper ones are plastic.

http://www.newegg.co....82E16822136047
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#9 of 23 OFFLINE   Chris

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Posted June 09 2007 - 11:21 AM

eSATA is really what you want if you can get it.

http://www.newegg.co....82E16817145167

Most of the enclosures linked above are USB/Firewire. So they will have the same bottleneck as the USB bus (pooled) or FireWire (better, as Point to Point, but still much slower). eSATA is BY FAR the fastest, and because it's native SATA, you get all of those benefits as well.

http://news.com.com/...673.html?tag=tb

So, eSATA almost 10X+ faster then USB2.0.

Which would you prefer? Posted Image
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#10 of 23 OFFLINE   Kimmo Jaskari

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Posted June 09 2007 - 09:34 PM

Meanwhile, USB2 has no problems pushing data through at 30+MB, and most hard drives themselves can only go somewhat higher than that - and that is under optimal conditions with large files on a system that does nothing else.

Yes, SATA with or without e is a lot faster, but since they're still moving data to and from a clunky mechanical device like a hard drive it doesn't really matter more than very very slightly, and USB2 is a lot more ubiquitous and for that matter user friendly.
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#11 of 23 OFFLINE   Ian-Fl

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Posted June 10 2007 - 08:32 AM

I bought a Seagate external hard drive a couple of months ago.
Plugged it in via the USB and changed it from fat32 to NTSC and it works great for playing HD movies off of it.
I was thinking if I bought a internal drive I'd have to upgrade my power supply.
Now I see the externals are even cheaper this month . I might just go for another one.

#12 of 23 OFFLINE   Nathan_W

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Posted June 11 2007 - 02:33 PM

These older Seagate eSATA only drives, if you can find them, come with a PCI/PCI-(X, i think it was) card, quite handy for desktops. There's a 300gb and 500gb model. http://www.amazon.co....611774-4077438
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#13 of 23 OFFLINE   bobbyg2

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Posted June 11 2007 - 02:49 PM

Look into the Seagate Barracuda series. They are great quality, fast, quiet drives. I can't even hear mine, unless I put my ear up to it. And I'm 16, with perfect hearing, so hearing loss isn't a factor in it being quiet. Posted Image
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#14 of 23 ONLINE   DaveF

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Posted June 12 2007 - 12:46 AM

If I may borrow this thread for a related question...

I've bought a new computer, a Mac laptop. I'd like to pull the 160GB IDE drive from my old computer, put it in an external enclosure and use it as a USB external drive.

The links given so far have been helpful, but are there any details or issues to watch for in getting an enclosure for a normal, 3.5" internal HD?

What about forward compatibility? If I fill the 160GB drive and want to buy a new drive to swap with? The world has gone SATA or PATA or something? Posted Image

#15 of 23 OFFLINE   Kimmo Jaskari

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Posted June 12 2007 - 05:22 AM

ATA or PATA is the same thing. Also, ATA-100 or ATA-133. They differ mildly on top speed (the latter two) but a drive will work on either. Also known as IDE. Your basic ribbon cable with a wide connector.

SATA is the newer format. Still, the older ATA type drives are still available now. I'm considering buying a new 750GB drive in the parallel format myself to fill an external case that used to hold a 100 gig drive. In time, the choice in the ATA variant will definitely drop a lot, but it will be some time still before they cease making them entirely.

Since a cheap external case will set you back a few tens of dollars, it's not like it would be the end of the world if you wanted a bigger external. You'd probably be better off in fact just leaving the 160 in the case you get now and buy a new external drive or drive+case later.
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#16 of 23 OFFLINE   Chris

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Posted June 16 2007 - 09:58 AM

The issue, though is that USB is a shared bus. You have 480Mbps divided amongst all the items on your bus, so if you've got a ton of USB devices, USB polling kills you. Plus, USB CPU usage is way higher then eSATA.
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#17 of 23 OFFLINE   bobbyg2

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Posted June 16 2007 - 04:46 PM

SATA hard drives are also a lot faster than ATA and PATA.
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#18 of 23 OFFLINE   Kimmo Jaskari

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Posted June 16 2007 - 10:31 PM

Actually, no, the SATA and PATA drives of the same generation have the same mechanical components in them, the only difference is the bus type. The bus type is faster, but since the bottleneck is essentially in the mechanical performance it matters a lot less than one would think for sheer performance reasons, at least for current generation 7200rpm drives.

SATA has many other advantages - it is hotswappable, so you can plug and unplug one without causing damage, and the cables are much smaller so they don't clutter up a computer as much, but IMHO USB2 is fine for external drives.

I'm not knocking eSATA either, but if one has USB2 but doesn't have eSATA, there seems to be little reason to go out of ones way and pay money to get eSATA in the machine first and then an eSATA enclosure for the majority of people.
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#19 of 23 OFFLINE   Thomas Newton

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Posted June 19 2007 - 06:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveF
The links given so far have been helpful, but are there any details or issues to watch for in getting an enclosure for a normal, 3.5" internal HD?

Yes. Considering that you're pulling the drive from a laptop, I'd say that you want a case for a normal, 2.5" internal HD. (Standard laptop size is 2.5".)

That gives you some smaller cases to choose from ...

#20 of 23 OFFLINE   Jean D

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Posted August 06 2007 - 10:03 PM

I bite the bullet 2 weeks ago and bought a Western Digital 500GB Mybook external drive (USB 2.0 only) for $159. from Circuit City. its on sale this week, so I may get some money back, also, if I would have bought it from Best Buy, its about the same price, but would also has eSata. Circuit City doesnt carry those models. but I had a $100. gift cert to use up at Circuit, so its alright. Works great. actually, when I play my media through WMP11, it loads my library faster than my smaller internal drive was.
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