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I've been wondering if read/write time matters a lot in external hds...I'm mainly going to play back HD video, but I may periodocally transfer large files (up to 10 GB) or use it as a scratch disk for FCP, im just wondering if the read/write speeds matter...

here's the 2 drives if more detail is needed


drive 1: http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/proddetai..._Flyer_Tracking 27.7Mbps Read, 17.1Mbps Write

drive 2: http://www.bestbuy.ca/catalog/proddetail.a...amp;catid=20238 Maximum Data Transfer Rate 480Mbps

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You are probably not going to be very happy using USB 2 connections with HD-material.


You really need Firewire 800 or an eSata connection. There are cards for both Laptops and PCI offering these ports if you don't already have them.



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  • 3 weeks later...
I am also in the market for a hard drive for the same reason... is firewire 800 better or esata?
No, eSata destroys firewire 800. PLUS - unless you're running a real Mac, a firewire 800 interface is really difficult to find (firewire 400 is common. eSata is really essentially SATA - just like your internal SATA drives. Here's a comparison:


USB2 = USB 2.0 port rated at 48MB/s

1394a FW400 = FireWire 400 port rated at up to 40MB/s

1394b FW800 = FireWire 800 port rated at up to 80MB/s

SATA = SATA port rated at up to 150MB/s

SATA2 = SATA II port rated at up to 300MB/s

eSata will be either SATA or SATA2 speed, depending on your setup - either way, faster than firewire. (Although it can be argued that a single SATA2 drive never exceeds 150MB/s, etc - but the potential speed is there.)


300MB/s eSata vs 80MB/s firewire 800.

USB is one of the slowest interfaces, but you'll get the most compatibility if you connect your drive to a lot of different computers (older PC's, even some newer PC's, Mac, etc).


Not everyone has an eSata connection, and probably not a free one if they do.

I'm not sure on how common eSata is on Mac's though - so that may be a factor too.


Not all PC's have firewire, and will most likely have firewire400 (arguabley slower than USB - measurements get grey depending on how you calculate) if they do.


One other thing to maybe consider - firewire is the most common way of transferring video/audio from prosumer video cameras. How many firewire ports do you have? If you have only 1, where are you going to dump those large video files?


NOTE - why the heck does is say I just joined today and have only 1 post? I know I don't have many posts - MAYBE this is my first here and it only says "joined" when you make your first post? I do know I joined about 1 year ago, and I do know I did not "register" today - been lurking for many months logged in...I try to keep my mouth shut when I don't know what I'm talking about, and I'm a complete noob to the hackintosh scene...

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Yeah, if you work with videos on Macs, you should stick to FW800. eSATA is much better, however, from my experience, eSATA is very uncommon for Macs. USB 2.0 is just not adequate for video editing as it does not have as much throughput as FW800 or eSATA and cannot efficiently utilize all the available bandwidth. When working with videos on a Mac, I personally use a Lacie d2 Quadra 500GB FW800 external HDD:




and there's also a 750GB version:



On a side note, if you haven't heard already, new hardware technology is coming in late 2008 or early-mid 2009: Super-Speed USB 3.0, and FireWire S3200


The preliminary specs are:


Super-Speed USB 3.0: approx. 4.8 Gbit/s (about 10x Hi-Speed USB 2.0 speeds)

FireWire S3200: approx. 3.2 Gbit/s

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  • 1 month later...

I have found that a cheap "file server" using gigabit lan satisfies my needs. Although I am only working with SD video (8mbps mpeg2) I do move video clips up to 4+Gb quite often. The 1000mbps network moves files over 2x faster than an external USB2 and Firewire 400.

I have a mixed platform network with WinXp, Linux, and OSX so setting up a shared network drive works real well for me.

The eSata is also an alternative and if I had to transfer something really big, I would consider that since I have eSata (II) in everything but my iMac.

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