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  1. #1
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    Default Speed of external hdd vs. internal hdd

    Someone told me that an external USB 2.0 hard drive is faster than an internal hard drive, as USB is faster than ATA or something.

    Is this true?

    I always thought an external hard drive would be a lot slower, but if not, it makes a USB hard drive caddy whatsit sound quite nice.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Speed of external hdd vs. internal hdd

    USB 2 is as fast as firewire. BUT I think in order to boot from a USB 2 hdd, it has to have USB 2 onboard, (the mobo), and have an option in the BIOS of the system, to allow booting from USB/2. And if u only have USB 1 onboard, and trying to run a USB 2 hdd, I wouldnt bother. It wouldnt keep up.

    It might be faster than normal IDE not too sure about SATA.

  3. #3
    Gratis versus Libre johnd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speed of external hdd vs. internal hdd

    I have two hard disks in my machine. A Linux command hdparm -tT /dev/hda checks the actual performance of the drive.

    My older drive is 5400rpm. The output is:

    /dev/hda:
    Timing cached reads: 528 MB in 2.00 seconds = 263.78 MB/sec
    Timing buffered disk reads: 68 MB in 3.07 seconds = 22.17 MB/sec

    The newer drive is 7200rpm (still ATA parallel). It's figures are:


    /dev/hdb:
    Timing cached reads: 496 MB in 2.00 seconds = 247.79 MB/sec
    Timing buffered disk reads: 108 MB in 3.04 seconds = 35.57 MB/sec

    The first figure is from the cache. The second figure is actual disk performance.

    USB2 speed (theoretical) is 480MB/s. I'm not sure how much of this you would get in practice?

    John
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Speed of external hdd vs. internal hdd

    usb 2.0 is faster than firewire

  5. #5
    Gratis versus Libre johnd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speed of external hdd vs. internal hdd

    You may notice that the IDE speeds above are considerably slower than the often quoted 133MB/s (from memory). That is because the 133MB/s is burst mode, not sustained data transfer.
    # Linux kernel on:
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    - Oppo AX7

  6. #6
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    Wink Re: Speed of external hdd vs. internal hdd

    Quote Originally Posted by Prescott
    usb 2.0 is faster than firewire
    Firewire 400 or 800 though ...

    Firewire (400) seems to offer better real-world performance. But the performance of external hard drives doesn't look too flash to me (maybe the enclosure interfaces were of a poor quality).

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Speed of external hdd vs. internal hdd

    USB 2 maybe faster than firewire 400 BUT it isnt that great, if u use a USB 2 cam for video editing.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Speed of external hdd vs. internal hdd

    external hdds are ok because they are handy and easy to install in your pc, but they are insanly expensive and are slowed down to what resources you have eg usb 2.0, firewire etc.

    go for an internal SATA

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Speed of external hdd vs. internal hdd

    All the external hard drives I've come across are just standard internal drives attached to a converter so it would be impossible for it to be faster than an internal drive (assuming the same drive make and model). But then again I don't think the USB2 part is the bottle neck in the data transfer so they are no slower.
    The two USB2 external drives I use don't appear to be any slower than my internal hard drive and I can still watch DivX movies etc directly off them without any frame skipping.

  10. #10
    Lets play Metla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speed of external hdd vs. internal hdd

    usb2 gets spanked by firewire,Ignore the spec sheets people, real world performance is what matters.

    There was a detailed explanation as too the whys and hows posted some time ago, possibly by the big GF. (at the time i think it had to do with someone deciding whether to purchase a usb or firewire external DVD_Burner)

    Also keep in mind that usb1 is now labeled USB2, USB2 comes in 2 flavours,full speed and high speed. Doesnt matter which is which, as it defies logic.

    And a HD is limited by its read speed,not by the transfer speed.....
    better Dredd then dead

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