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Old June 25th, 2007, 01:34 AM   #1
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I Need Suggestions for External USB2 Drive

Hi.

I own two computers, one Pentium 4 desktop and one HP Pavilion DV4000 notebook.

I'm currently looking for an external USB 2.0 hard drive for capturing, storing and editing video, which is compatible with both machines and I'm looking for suggestions...

My desktop is running an Intel 865 chip motherboard called: D865PERL. Here is it's webpage: http://www.intel.com/products/mother...perl/index.htm

At the moment I have a pair of WD hard drives in my desktop - 80GB (running over 4 years), 160GB (running for 3 years, video/sound dedicated). I have been happy with both.

I need a new hard drive with at least 250 GB that I can use with my desktop and then move around and work with my HP notebook. I'm just not very techy and not sure about the new models out there, don't know the difference between IDE, ATA and SATA..... and since my desktop is getting to be a bit old (over 4 years old) I want to avoid getting a hard drive that won't work with it.

If you think you might be able to give me a good idea of which drive could work best for me, I'd appreciate it very much.


Thanks.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 07:29 AM   #2
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I have several drives of the external persuasion. I have a lacie drive, that little metal one that has worked very well. I have an icy dock single external enclosure that works well via usb, and I have a couple of western digital externals. All of the above have western digital drives in them. With all externals, your major concerns will be the connections to the drive being of good quality and heat. I've run my externals for a day or so at a time, but I try not to.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 07:30 AM   #3
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I think you can get exactly what you're looking.

First, check out this site and read the first 3-4 paragraphs:
http://www.serialata.org/esata.asp

Both the desktop and the laptop must be able to accept plugs for whatever type of drive you decide on.

IMO, eSATA would be your best choice, particularly for video.

The link you gave for your desktop motherboard seems to indicate that it may very well have a SATA interface, but not being eSATA, I suspect it is for internal drives only...not what you say you need/want. If your desktop already has an internal SATA connection that is unused, you should be able to get your desktop to work with eSATA by installing something inexpensive like this:
http://www.usb-ware.com/sata-port-ad...l-external.htm
or this
http://www.usb-ware.com/sata-single-...ta-adapter.htm
or this:
http://www.usb-ware.com/sata-dual-in...ta-adapter.htm

If you have no unused SATA ports within your computer, you should be able to buy an adapter/card to add some. Find some options here:
http://www.cooldrives.com/usb20cdrwdvd.html

Next, you must make sure the drive can also plug into your laptop. Something like this:

http://www.usb-ware.com/usb-2-esata-enclosure.htm

with a 250 GB hard drive in a combo eSATA/USB 2 enclosure would probably give you exactly what you want...all at approx $ 150, including cables.Be aware that if you do this, you'll have SATA speed from the drive when connected to your desktop but slightly lower USB 2 speed when connected to your laptop.

If you go this route, just make sure you get the right cables to connect the external drive to each machine. You'd need an eSATA cable to connect to the desktop, and a USB 2 cable to connect to the laptop. Call to order rather than using a "shopping cart" via the web; I'm sure the salesperson would help you get the right cables.

There may be more complicated things you can do, e.g. buy a RAID, but they'll be more expensive and raise potential problems of connectivity (For example, could you connect a RAID to your laptop if it has only a USB 2 connection)? Look here for other options:
http://www.usbgear.com/USB-RAID-System.html

As for what brand of drive to get, you'll find all extrermes described here: some folks love Seagate, others hate them; some folks love WD, others hate them; some folks love LaCie, others hate them, some folks,,,blah, blah. blah.

Hope this helps.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 10:01 AM   #4
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Thanks Steven and Denis for the response.

Denis, I went through the links you sent me and I think I've understood what you suggest I do.

I opened up my desktop and DID find one free flat red cable with a flat black plug at the end and SATA written on it. I assume thats the SATA cable you were talking about.

If so, now I understand I've just got to get one of them port adaptors, and a SATA hard drive of choice with a USB2/SATA external enclosure (and cables). Right?

I have a 300W power supply on my desktop. Will I be safe running the two internal hard drives along with the new external drive all together?

Thanks
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Old June 25th, 2007, 12:21 PM   #5
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Adi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adi Head View Post
Thanks Steven and Denis for the response.

I opened up my desktop and DID find one free flat red cable with a flat black plug at the end and SATA written on it. I assume thats the SATA cable you were talking about.
Good. That should be connected to the SATA controller. SATA uses a unique connector. If you look very closely at that, you should see that it is different from either USB or 1394.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adi Head View Post
If so, now I understand I've just got to get one of them port adaptors, and a SATA hard drive of choice with a USB2/SATA external enclosure (and cables). Right?
Sounds like it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adi Head View Post
I have a 300W power supply on my desktop. Will I be safe running the two internal hard drives along with the new external drive all together?
The power for the external drive will most likely come from a separate A/C adapter that you'll have to plug into a wall outlet, with the other end plugging into the back of the housing for the external drive. So, you'll end up needing one more outlet to power the external drive wherever/whenever you use it. Additional draw on your existing 300W power supply should be minimal, if any. Other than USB bus-powered devices, I've never seen an external hard drive that draws power from the computer's power supply. (They may exsit, but I've never seen one).

Again, discuss this with the vendor you decide to purchase from. (I wasn't necessarily recommending that you use the vendor from the links I posted; they were just examples to show what was available. If you can find what you need at a better price, consider using them).

BTW, here's another enclosure that might be good for you because it provides backward compatility from Sata II to Sata 1:
http://www.cooldrives.com/sahadrenfors.html
I didn't notice if the other examples were backwards-compatible.
I don't know if your desktop has SATA I or SATA II. Backwards compatility (like USB and Firewire) would cover you whatever the situation.

Lastly, if you have any unused slot(s) in your desktop where you could add an additional PCI card if necessary, then I believe you should have no problem whatsoever with your existing 300W power supply. I've always been under the impression that reputable builders of computers use power supplies that should provide enough power to handle a full load of PCI cards, so the empty slot means your machine is not "fully loaded" with adapters. I believe probems most commonly arise when you choose to install an additional internal device, something a bit more power-hungry like a CD burner, DVD burner, tape drive, or something else with a motor.

Good luck.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 12:30 PM   #6
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Thanks Denis!!

It's a bit late to contact a local vendor here in Tel Aviv (already evening). I'll give them a call tomorrow morning and let you know if things worked out. Thanks for helping me out.

Best,
Adi
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Old June 26th, 2007, 05:33 AM   #7
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Found a vendor. This seems to be what I need:

Western Digital My Book Premium ES 320GB
http://www.westerndigital.com/en/pro...sp?DriveID=276

What do you think...?

Also, I had one other question. How does the regular IDE connection (the way I have my two internal hard drives hooked up at the moment) compare with SATA as far as speed?

Thanks.
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Old June 26th, 2007, 07:15 AM   #8
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I have a 500GB USB Western Digi My Book and love it. The eSata version should be even better.
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Old June 26th, 2007, 08:08 AM   #9
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Looks like a fine choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adi Head View Post
Found a vendor. This seems to be what I need:

Western Digital My Book Premium ES 320GB
http://www.westerndigital.com/en/pro...sp?DriveID=276

What do you think...?

Also, I had one other question. How does the regular IDE connection (the way I have my two internal hard drives hooked up at the moment) compare with SATA as far as speed?

Thanks.
The first external drive I got for my NLE was a WD MyBook. I use it to store stills and other non-video files.(I have 4 SATA 500 Gig drives in a RAID, so I didn't need it for video). Had it about 2 months and works fine. I particularly like the SmartPower feature. I even share it over my network with my other computer.

Be sure to ask the vendor about backwards compatilibility. I strongly doubt that's likely to be a problem, but it won't hurt to ask.

On a drive-to-drive comparison, and all other "internal" things being equal (amount of RAM, type & brand of graphics card, etc), SATA contributes to faster performance. (For more details on speed differences, go back to the very first link I posted and read beyond the first 3-4 paragraphs).

Good luck w/it...and be sure to back up your files from time to time.
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