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Topic: OT: External harddisk for Laptop samples data - best options?

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  1. #1

    OT: External harddisk for Laptop samples data - best options?

    The laptop Im buying will have a 40 GB 5400 rpm disk that will have WinXP Home, Sonar3, Soundforge, plus vst synths like Albino2 and Realguitar and effects like Waves. I would need to keep the samples and audio projects on a separate harddisk 7200 rpm (minimum 60 GBs, but I could use upto 250 GBs of sample storage).

    What would be the best option for the 2nd harddisk -
    - USB or Firewire or something else? Why?
    - How does it attach to the laptop, as an external device hanging out from a cable or is there a more compact way to use it/carry it around?
    - Which brand is preferable, if that makes a difference? I use Seagate/Maxtor in my DAW.

  2. #2

    Re: OT: External harddisk for Laptop samples data - best options?

    Hi Neole,

    In regards to the external hard disk, it depends I guess. Are you using a USB audio interface or will you be using an internal one? If you'll be using a USB audio interface, you'd be better off to use a FW drive then IMHO since the audio interface won't be fighting with the hard drive for bandwidth on the bus. Each would have its own bus (HD on FW and AI on USB). Also, does the laptop come with a Firewire interface on it? If not, it may force you one way or the other.

    These essentially hook up to the laptop via a cable. I don't know what you mean by more compact way to carry it around. That's pretty much as compact as it gets. I have a M-Audio Oxygen-8 with the Midiman backpack that holds my controller, LaCie hard drive, and Powerbook all in the same bag. I take it with me all the time.

    In regards to hard drive brand, you can pretty much get the drive that you want and put it into an external FW case (if you go that route).

    HTH,
    FV

  3. #3

    Re: OT: External harddisk for Laptop samples data - best options?

    Quote Originally Posted by FV
    In regards to the external hard disk, it depends I guess. Are you using a USB audio interface or will you be using an internal one? If you'll be using a USB audio interface, you'd be better off to use a FW drive then IMHO since the audio interface won't be fighting with the hard drive for bandwidth on the bus. Each would have its own bus (HD on FW and AI on USB). Also, does the laptop come with a Firewire interface on it? If not, it may force you one way or the other.
    If the laptop has dedicated USB connections, it won't be a problem having the soundcard and the harddisk on usb. Be sure it has USB 2 connections though. Earlier versions are too slow for harddrives. Both USB 2 and Firewire drives seem to be adequate nowadays.

    In terms of smallest, an internal 7200rpm drive is more convenient, faster and more reliable. However, the biggest 7200rpm internal drive for laptop I know of is only 60 gb, so that might not be enough. [And an echo indigo pcmcia soundcard is also a nice thing if you seek for a small set; or just the build-in soundcard]

  4. #4

    Re: OT: External harddisk for Laptop samples data - best options?

    Quote Originally Posted by Neole
    What would be the best option for the 2nd harddisk -
    - USB or Firewire or something else? Why?
    I've been using Maxtor "OneTouch" drives lately. They come in 160 GB, 200 GB, 250 GB and 300 GB sizes and have both USB and Firewire interfaces on them. They come with all the cables you need, so it's just a matter of turning them on and plugging them in. (Note: you can only use one of the interfaces at a time.) I use the USB connection when I'm using my laptop, and then I unplug and use the Firewire interface on my tower...

    --
    -Doug
    http://www.softsampling.com

  5. #5

    Re: OT: External harddisk for Laptop samples data - best options?

    USB 2.0 is a bit more faster than the standard Firewire (400) AFAIK.

    I've bought myself an USB harddrive case for about 40usd$ because I had an 80gb hd left. I think it's better (cheaper !?) and more flexible to buy both seperately but even a set like Doug mentioned should be fine esp if you have the choice of port.

    There are already good FW based audio interfaces but you could easily try to go with pcmcia cards. Don't know how good USB AIs are.

  6. #6

    Re: OT: External harddisk for Laptop samples data - best options?

    Thanks for the helpful replies everyone. My laptop has both USB2 and Firewire. Ill be using a USB controller/audio interface. I'll also get an Echo Indigo later so I can mix without needing to plugin my controller.

    However, Im a little confused, should I

    - get a firewire harddisk so it doesnt compete with the USB controller/audio interface
    - get a USB2 harddisk cos its faster than Firewire
    - or it hardly matters significantly either way, so go for whichever is cheaper/convenient (the maxtor one touch firewire USB combo comes more expensive than just the USB ones, so I would prefer going for the cheaper usb only if it doesnt matter)

  7. #7

    Re: OT: External harddisk for Laptop samples data - best options?

    Try to avoid more than one taxing device per buss.

    I have a MidiMan Ozone for controller/interface (USB) and a Lacie FW Drive for audio/samples on a Powerbook. Works great. If you are unsure, just get a drive with all flavors (USB2, FW400, FW800). I would also suggest getting a case then adding the drive of choice. And that seems to be the only option if you want to use 10,000 RPM drives. In retrospect, that is what i would have done.

    Or i recommend LaCie - they now offer 3 TERAbyte external drives

  8. #8

    Re: OT: External harddisk for Laptop samples data - best options?

    Im new to external HDs. What do you mean by ' I would also suggest getting a case then adding the drive of choice.' ? Does this mean the case would have USB and firewire support and I can add any HD to it?

    Terabyte harddisks... *drools*

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