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External HDD, how much of a bottleneck through interfaces

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June 13, 2007 11:09:00 PM

Hey all,

My friend has a real budget computer..

Celeron CPU 2.20GHz
256 MB of RAM
Chip Type: Intel(R) 82845G/GL Chip << GFX 64mb mem...

We've already concluded, that the best solution for him would be to get more ram, he runs WoW on low low low... And still gets a bit o lag, but first he needs more storage space to install the game....


Anyways, he wants to run WoW through an external HDD. My hunch is, that even a 5400 RPM HDD will be enough to supply WoW with the data that it needs... The thing is I'm thinking that, with this setup, a few years old, and in the performance area that it is in... That it might only have USB1. I'm pretty sure that that is the case, so how would a 7200 external HDD fare with supplying data through USB1 for WoW???

What do you guys think, I'm not sure about the data rates being enough on usb1.1

Also, what external interface might be a better choice, obiously IDE.. but yea.. He is just an average Joe, I don't think he wants to meddle with much... (doesn't have external IDE)

Thanks guys!!

Oh, one more thing, what external HDDs would u recommend for under 100.. preferably 75

Oh, and one thing I have never done, if format an internal drive from windows.. if we got him another internal drive, how would i go about setting that up.. obviously BIOS and stuff, but what else?
June 13, 2007 11:16:50 PM

Running any program, especially a game, would be really slow even using an eSATA connection, which is the fastest connection for most external drives. I think your best bet would be to get a new hdd, SATA assuming he has SATA connectors on his board, which he should and load the OS and programs on the new hdd and use the old one for storage. If he doesn't want to do a clean install, he can get Acronis True Image and clone the old drive to the new one. Acronis works like a charm for cloning, just did it on a friends computer.
June 13, 2007 11:30:22 PM

Quote:
Running any program, especially a game, would be really slow even using an eSATA connection, which is the fastest connection for most external drives. I think your best bet would be to get a new hdd, SATA assuming he has SATA connectors on his board, which he should and load the OS and programs on the new hdd and use the old one for storage. If he doesn't want to do a clean install, he can get Acronis True Image and clone the old drive to the new one. Acronis works like a charm for cloning, just did it on a friends computer.



Thanks, so external is out of the question.. He doesn't have SATA, or I am pretty sure he doesn't. So yeah, IDE is what is probably gonna happen then. So how do I go about formatting that to be recognized? Without doing a new install of windows... Do I get it recognized in the BIOS, then somehow get it recognized in windows? (XP)
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June 13, 2007 11:52:36 PM

Just make sure the jumper on the boot drive is set to master and your secondary drive is the slave,install,reboot and you should be golden.
June 14, 2007 12:22:26 AM

The easiest solution would be to put in a larger secondary slave drive then install the game on that.
June 14, 2007 12:52:35 AM

OK here is what I would do.

with the Intel price cuts you could build a new computer for under $300. UH ok back to reality

Also you can buy a ESATA/SATA card or a Firewire card and install that then install your drives that will improve the external speeds and internal if you don't have Sata.

Also what I did is buy an external housing and put you hard drive inside of that that way you have all your data .
June 14, 2007 1:36:51 AM

Quote:
Just make sure the jumper on the boot drive is set to master and your secondary drive is the slave,install,reboot and you should be golden.


Ahh, great.. Thats all? No formating to NTFS or anything?
June 14, 2007 1:39:54 AM

Quote:
The easiest solution would be to put in a larger secondary slave drive then install the game on that.


yep, thats the plan
June 14, 2007 11:37:28 AM

If it's a new drive, you will likely have to format it. Easiest way is to download the install/diagnostic/repair software from the hdd mfg web site. Really easy
June 14, 2007 1:01:03 PM

Quote:
OK here is what I would do.

with the Intel price cuts you could build a new computer for under $300.


i second that he could build himself a very capable WoW machine for next to nothing hell if you look around some people give away stuff on this forum. there is a 7800gs up for grabs somewhere. pair that with a 4300 a cheap 775 mobo and some geil ram (normally the cheapest) and an 80Gig hdd you'll probably be looking at $150 -$200 there is no excuse AFAIK.

no doubt that if he plays wow he spends alot of time at his comp there is no reason not to invfest in something he spends a lot of time doing
a b G Storage
June 14, 2007 1:48:21 PM

Quote:
Running any program, especially a game, would be really slow even using an eSATA connection, which is the fastest connection for most external drives. I think your best bet would be to get a new hdd, SATA assuming he has SATA connectors on his board, which he should and load the OS and programs on the new hdd and use the old one for storage. If he doesn't want to do a clean install, he can get Acronis True Image and clone the old drive to the new one. Acronis works like a charm for cloning, just did it on a friends computer.


I have used Acronis. Its free(30 day trial version). Its fast. It's very, very easy.
Download and install the free trial software from web site.
Buy new drive.
Hook up new drive.
Use Acronis to create a mirror image of current drive to new drive.
Remove old drive, boot with new drive, tada!
June 14, 2007 6:28:46 PM

Quote:
Running any program, especially a game, would be really slow even using an eSATA connection, which is the fastest connection for most external drives.


SATA and eSATA are the same as far as interface speeds go. The only differences between the two are the connector shape (I-shaped for eSATA, L-shaped for internal SATA), and signalling voltage threshholds (modified to allow longer cables with eSATA). Otherwise, the interfaces are identical. eSATA runs at 150MB/sec or 300MB/sec depending on your controller and hard drive.

An external eSATA 7200RPM hard drive will perform identically to an internal SATA 7200RPM hard drive, provided everything else is the same. Now, he'll probably need to get an eSATA card, which is PCI-based, and therefore may have some issues that an on-the-motherboard SATA connection wouldn't, but I wouldn't expect any appreciable difference in speed unless the card or external enclosure has problems.

For the OP, the bottleneck(s) to decent game performance is going to be everything else in the computer -- RAM, video card, chipset, and processor.
June 15, 2007 12:13:49 AM

Quote:
Running any program, especially a game, would be really slow even using an eSATA connection, which is the fastest connection for most external drives.


SATA and eSATA are the same as far as interface speeds go. The only differences between the two are the connector shape (I-shaped for eSATA, L-shaped for internal SATA), and signalling voltage threshholds (modified to allow longer cables with eSATA). Otherwise, the interfaces are identical. eSATA runs at 150MB/sec or 300MB/sec depending on your controller and hard drive.

An external eSATA 7200RPM hard drive will perform identically to an internal SATA 7200RPM hard drive, provided everything else is the same. Now, he'll probably need to get an eSATA card, which is PCI-based, and therefore may have some issues that an on-the-motherboard SATA connection wouldn't, but I wouldn't expect any appreciable difference in speed unless the card or external enclosure has problems.

For the OP, the bottleneck(s) to decent game performance is going to be everything else in the computer -- RAM, video card, chipset, and
processor.


This system is pretty much beyond restoration, at least as a wise investment.. Kinda like trying to turn a Geo Tracker into any sort of real offroad vehicle.. it could be done with alot of money, it would still be a Geo, and why not buy something better for less than that investment....

this thing has no SATA, and Im not even sure what form factor it is yet, not even sure it could house another HDD...

Well, his sister has a trashed computer, maybe we can fix that up.. not sure on the specs yet, but it might be worth a shot.. He is pretty cheap and its surprising that he even wants to pay for WoW...
!