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1 Terabyte External Hardrive Question

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June 23, 2007 5:54:26 AM

I am looking into buy an external hardrive that stores a terabyte. I am curious what you think is the best one and I am going to be using it for storage of videos and music and I am editing videos on to it and maybe even recording and while streaming data onto it. Any suggestions or ideas. Thanks Much Appreciated!
June 24, 2007 3:23:49 PM

hmm... so that would be good for streaming vidoe onto it like recording? Also about Firewire 400 vs 800 whats the difference and is that recommended or should I be alright with USB 2.0 thanks
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June 24, 2007 4:06:29 PM

with firewire you will see faster transfer speeds than USB 2.0, and obviously firewire 800 is faster than 800. how much faster than USB I don't know because I've never had or used that type of connection to tell you.

well what sort of video would you be recording to the hard drive? 1TB is absolutely huge, even for HD video I think 1TB is enough.
June 24, 2007 10:43:43 PM

Personally I'd get a larger internal drive, say a 350GB and use it for the capturing, editing, rendering or burning from it. Then copy it to the external drive for storage/backup and delight from the internal. I think the external would be too slow for video. In fact given how long capturing and rendering take, I just put together an inexpensive PC that I use only for video.
June 24, 2007 11:14:31 PM

Many of the 1Tb drives on the market get to 1Tb by using multiple drives. This is OK, but you need to understand it going into your purchase. Hitachi is the only manufacturer making a single drive unit with a 1Tb capacity. Getting to 1Tb using multiple mechanisms has risks in terms of the possibility of a single drive failure killing all of your data. You may want to consider picking up a 1Tb internal Hitachi drive and an empty enclosure and make it yourself. Sometimes a bare drive has a longer warranty than a drive in an enclosure too.
June 24, 2007 11:42:48 PM

If you have to capture to an external drive, you don't want USB2.0, it is unreliable. Firewire guarantees a solid connection at the advertised speeds (USB will vary in speed.. not good for live capture).

Go with Firewire 800 if you are going external. However, I would agree that internal is your best option in terms of performance & capacity VS. price.
June 25, 2007 12:11:03 AM

eSATA would be your best bet (much faster), but you'd have to buy the card for the back of your computer.
James
a b G Storage
June 25, 2007 12:36:37 AM

I'd get two 500 GB drives, it's cheaper than one 1 TB drive and if something bad happens you don't lose it all. I hear that Western Digital makes some very good external drives. I got a LaCie, it's very fast.
a c 342 G Storage
June 25, 2007 1:59:58 PM

In real-world tests of actual average data transfer speeds from one disk to another, Firewire 800 (aka IEEE 1394b) was the fastest, almost twice as fast as Firewire 400 (aka IEEE 1394a). eSATA was very nearly the same speed as Firewire 400, and those two were quite similar to the speed from an internal SATA drive. However, that last comparison may depend somewhat on the details of the interface card you install (assuming your motherboard does not have it, already). USB2 is slower yet, and the older USB1.1 is 'way too slow for this.

As others have said, the only commercial 1TB drive now is from Hitachi, and you could buy one and install it in a separately-purchased case. Make sure the case has:
1. The right connection system to the HDD you are buying (SATAII or ATA)
2. The right interface to your computer (Firewire 800, 400, eSATA, or whatever)
3. Its own power supply so it does not pull from your computer's.

If you buy a case with eSATA interface, be aware of something. Many come with an adapter plate that allows you to hook up the eSATA case and drive to one of you mobo's internal SATA connectors. This gets you working easily, but it does not give you ALL the features of a true eSATA connection. Your really should have (either built into the mobo or as an add-on card) an eSATA controller. Of course, that's only if you choose to go eSATA.
June 25, 2007 2:44:38 PM

would a standard pci interface even supply enough bandwidth to provide the same full speed as a true esata controller on the motherboard? I would think there'd be a bottleneck at the pci slot.

I know I have that concern about my pci SATA 300mb controller, I am skeptical it can provide 300mb/sec between a hard drive on the card and one on the motherboard.
June 25, 2007 2:48:47 PM

Quote:
In real-world tests of actual average data transfer speeds from one disk to another, Firewire 800 (aka IEEE 1394b) was the fastest, almost twice as fast as Firewire 400 (aka IEEE 1394a). eSATA was very nearly the same speed as Firewire 400, and those two were quite similar to the speed from an internal SATA drive.


Cite your source for this. eSATA is the fastest available interface, period, excepting SCSI 320 and Fibre Channel.

Fibre Channel = 425 MB/sec (4.25 Gb/sec)
SCSI 320 = 320 MB/sec
eSATA = 150 MB/sec (1.5 Gb/sec) or 300 MB/sec (3.0 Gb/sec)
Internal SATA = 150 MB/sec (1.5 Gb/sec) or 300 MB/sec (3.0 Gb/sec)
IEEE1394b (AKA Firewire 800) = 80 MB/sec (800 Mb/sec)
IEEE1394a (AKA Firewire 400) = 40 MB/sec (400 Mb/sec)
USB 2.0 = 48 MB/sec (480 Mb/sec)
USB 1.1 = 1.2 MB/sec (12 Mb/sec)

Of course, most hard drives have a physical data transfer maximum of near 70 MB/sec, so there is likely no difference in real-world transfer rate for an external hard drive between eSATA and Firewire 800. Also be aware that USB has a large amount of overhead, and though the interface speed indicates you should get 48 MB/sec out of it, real-world transfer rates are more like 30 MB/sec.

Quote:
If you buy a case with eSATA interface, be aware of something. Many come with an adapter plate that allows you to hook up the eSATA case and drive to one of you mobo's internal SATA connectors. This gets you working easily, but it does not give you ALL the features of a true eSATA connection. Your really should have (either built into the mobo or as an add-on card) an eSATA controller. Of course, that's only if you choose to go eSATA.


The adapter plates are indeed a cause for concern on some motherboards. If the motherboard's SATA controller doesn't conform to eSATA signalling specifications (which are backward compatible with previous intended-for-internal-SATA-only signalling specifications), then using the adapter plate is bound to cause problems. But if the motherboard's SATA controller conforms to eSATA specifications, then there's nothing wrong with using the eSATA adapter plate provided you don't use a full two meter cable. A full two meters on the cable plus the pigtail on the adapter plate is longer than 2 meters total, which is out of specification.
June 25, 2007 2:52:55 PM

Quote:
would a standard pci interface even supply enough bandwidth to provide the same full speed as a true esata controller on the motherboard? I would think there'd be a bottleneck at the pci slot.

I know I have that concern about my pci SATA 300mb controller, I am skeptical it can provide 300mb/sec between a hard drive on the card and one on the motherboard.


Correct, the PCI interface speed limits you.

PCI Theoretical transfer rate = 133 MB/sec
PCI real-world transfer rate, Intel chipsets = ~ 120 MB/sec
PCI real-world transfer rate, AMD & NForce = ~ 110 MB/sec
PCI real-world transfer rate, VIA & SiS = ~ 90 MB/sec

If you want higher transfer rates to hard drives on a controller card, you need to use a PCI-X interface (266 MB/sec and 533 MB/sec varieties), or PCI Express (PCIe) - each lane of PCI Express transfers data at 250 MB/sec. PCIe x1 = 250 MB/sec, PCIe x4 = 1 GB/sec, etc.
June 25, 2007 3:28:49 PM

Quote:
Fibre Channel = 400 MB/sec (4 Gb/sec)
SCSI 320 = 320 MB/sec
eSATA = 150 MB/sec (1.5 Gb/sec) or 300 MB/sec (3.0 Gb/sec)
Internal SATA = 150 MB/sec (1.5 Gb/sec) or 300 MB/sec (3.0 Gb/sec)
IEEE1394b (AKA Firewire 800) = 80 MB/sec (800 Mb/sec)
IEEE1394a (AKA Firewire 400) = 40 MB/sec (400 Mb/sec)
USB 2.0 = 48 MB/sec (480 Mb/sec)
USB 1.1 = 1.2 MB/sec (12 Mb/sec)


That's more along the lines of 500MB/sec for the latest Fibre Channel. It's a 4 gigabit link divided by 8 ~ 500 MB/sec.

EDIT: You should be dividing by 8, not 10 (8 bits = 1 byte). Ultra SCSI is the only one who gives a number in straight MB/sec. So, FW800 ~ 100MB/sec, FW400 ~ 50MB/sec, USB 2.0 ~ 60 MB/sec, USB 1.1 (who cares).
June 25, 2007 3:42:11 PM

eSata or Firewire best bet

Firewire card is plug in play (not plug in pray in this case and it even works with windows 98)
whare as eSata is not but once the drivers are installed the hdd should just be able to plug in (Most eSata are slicion image PCI to Sata bridge (Not PCI-E) so not be much faster then an firewire card any way)

you can Buy Segate ext USB2/Firewire/eSata all in one, up to 1TB (but the 500GB is the best buy as the others start to cost alot more then the space you are getting)
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/productlist.php?groupid=7...
June 25, 2007 5:18:55 PM

Quote:
That's more along the lines of 500MB/sec for the latest Fibre Channel. It's a 4 gigabit link divided by 8 ~ 500 MB/sec.

EDIT: You should be dividing by 8, not 10 (8 bits = 1 byte). Ultra SCSI is the only one who gives a number in straight MB/sec. So, FW800 ~ 100MB/sec, FW400 ~ 50MB/sec, USB 2.0 ~ 60 MB/sec, USB 1.1 (who cares).


All high speed serial protocols we're speaking of, including SATA/eSATA, IEEE1394, USB, and Fibre Channel all use 8b/10b encoding, which transports 8 bits of user data by transmitting 10 bits of signalling data on the wire. Thus, 10 clock cycles of the wire transport must be used to transport only 8 bits of user data. This is why all the figures are divided by 10, not 8.

This means that the numbers in parenthesis represent the raw signalling rate of the transport medium, while the numbers outside parentheses represent the theoretical amount of user data that can be transported.

SCSI is a parallel bus, not high-speed serial, and does not use 8b/10b encoding.

(I did go back and edit the Fibre Channel number, the raw signalling rate for Fibre Channel 4GFC is 4.25 Gb/sec, not 4 Gb/sec).

Also see Wikipedia's Storage Bandwidths for additional details.
a c 342 G Storage
June 25, 2007 8:14:59 PM

Check out these two tests reports:
http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/10/25/icydocks_mb559_h...
compares two interfaces on one external enclosure, and cites other tests data for comparison.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/08/24/seagate_500_gb_e...
benchmarks a Seagate 500GB external dive against test data from other similar systems.

SomeJoe7777 is exactly right in the comments on the subtleties of using an internal SATA controller as a substitute for true eSATA. It depends on the controller, and some really do have all the eSATA features covered. Two of the most important for external drives are hot swapping and cable length limits.
June 25, 2007 9:16:14 PM

The eSATA transfer rate performance in both articles is identical to internal SATA, both of which show that the hard drives physical data transfer limitations are in effect.

The access time via eSATA in the second article is puzzling. That has to be a result of either the particular card they're using or some odd thing with the enclosure. It's definitely not a normal behavior associated with eSATA.

I currently have several laptops here at work that were pressed into light video editing applications. I set them up with an eSATA PC Card that supports hot swap, an external eSATA enclosure that accepts 5 1/4" devices, and put a 5 1/4" caddy/dock system in that. I then put standard 3.5" internal SATA hard drives in caddys, and now have the ability to pull a caddy out of the enclosures that the laptops use (hot swapping it, of course), and putting the caddy into a desktop system for final video rendering.

Access times to those hard drives in the caddys are identical to using the drives internally in desktops (~ 8 msec seek, ~ 12 msec access to data), and the data transfer rates are identical as well.
June 25, 2007 9:22:51 PM

How about a LAN enclosure? TS-101 from Mediasonic. Supports 750G and up (guess that was the largest hard drive available when the description was written) and connects via Gigabit LAN.

Always keeping in mind the words of SomeJoe7777:
Quote:
Of course, most hard drives have a physical data transfer maximum of near 70 MB/sec, so there is likely no difference in real-world transfer rate
June 25, 2007 11:52:47 PM

Quote:
All high speed serial protocols we're speaking of, including SATA/eSATA, IEEE1394, USB, and Fibre Channel all use 8b/10b encoding, which transports 8 bits of user data by transmitting 10 bits of signalling data on the wire. Thus, 10 clock cycles of the wire transport must be used to transport only 8 bits of user data. This is why all the figures are divided by 10, not 8.

This means that the numbers in parenthesis represent the raw signalling rate of the transport medium, while the numbers outside parentheses represent the theoretical amount of user data that can be transported.

SCSI is a parallel bus, not high-speed serial, and does not use 8b/10b encoding.

(I did go back and edit the Fibre Channel number, the raw signalling rate for Fibre Channel 4GFC is 4.25 Gb/sec, not 4 Gb/sec).

Also see Wikipedia's Storage Bandwidths for additional details.


Learn something new every day! Thanks for the feedback.
!