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SATA II drive in USB 2.0 Enclosure

Last response: in Storage
September 30, 2007 9:24:04 PM

I was thinking of placing my SATA II Hard Disk which is currently plugged into my SATA 1 controller into a USB 2.0 enclosure. I currently use this drive as my boot drive but I will soon format this and use it as a spare hard disk as I will be reinstalling my OS onto a Raptor (regular SATA drive) which will be connected to the SATA controller.

By placing my SATA II drive into a USB 2.0 enclosure, is it right to think that I will no longer have a 150mbps bottleneck of SATA 1 and thus will get a performance increase to around 480mbps, of course increasing to SATA II's 3Gbps when using the eSATA connection?

If I was to move my SATA II hard disk (which I currently use for my installation) what problems if any will I suffer or can I just use my PC as if I hadn't moved the PC into the enclosure.

September 30, 2007 10:22:25 PM

sata150 offers up to 150MB/s bandwidth (1500mb/s), wheras usb2.0 offers up to 48MB/s (480mb/s).

but, say you wanted to move your os hdd to a usb2.0 enclosure, and run it from there, even the (480mb/s) bandwidth limit would still be enough to run the os off of for basic usages such as internet browsing and light gaming, at little to no performance penalty.

for optimal performance however, having at least 100MB/s of bandwidth (pata100) is the way to go for current hdds, that way you wont get random pauses and slowdowns, that you might get from running your os over usb2.0
September 30, 2007 10:22:47 PM

Right now eSATA is the fastest connection for an external hdd. If you're getting a new case, get one that comes with an external eSATA connector as well as USB. In all likelihood you'll need an eSATA PCI card, which comes with most enclosures with eSATA but make sure. As for connecting the hdd, just make sure the enclosure has an internal SATA connection. The only problem I ran into with my external hdd is that every time I want to share it I have to activate the sharing, for some reason it won't hold, which is why I added an internal back up drive. Still use the back up but just on the computer it's connected to, back up the other computers on the internal back up drive. From what I've read the eSATA is about as fast as the internal SATA connection
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October 1, 2007 8:59:27 PM

Looks like I have read SATA speeds all wrong then :-S. So the USB 2.0 connection would be considered a bottleneck for me. I have been used to ATA 100 drives (which if I havent read wrongly run at 100mb/s) so surely a USB 2.0 drive wont be too much of a bottleneck considering I am accustomed to ATA 100 speeds.

If I was to use my OS hard in a USB 2.0 what problems could I suffer apart from slight drop in performance?? (i.e. could I suffer any potential blue screens or problems at startup, or problems with conflicting drivers)
October 1, 2007 9:16:45 PM

For storage the USB would be fine and a friend of mine has his music collection on an external with a USB connection and he has no problems. Personally I wouldn't put the OS or programs on the external because it will be slower If you have to put the OS/programs on an external I would definitely go with the eSATA connection. Externals are really for back up/storage. Putting the OS/programs on an external would be a bottleneck
October 1, 2007 9:42:56 PM

normally when it comes to booting off of a usb2.0 hdd with winxp, you would need to modify the iso image to allow it to function properly (ie, an unmodified xp iso will have bluescreens when you try to boot from it, even if it seemed to install without any problems), theres some info via google if youre interested in finding out which files need to be changed, and how to change them

realistically youll be capped at about 30MB/s for regular use, give or take a couple MB/s... 30MB/s is still enough to allow an os such as xp to function without many performance problems though (it may not run ideally in some instances, but itll run)... i had run a 36gb gd raptor over usb 2.0 before, so the access and seek times more than made up for any bandwidth deficit most of the time, such as games still took the same amount of time to load for the ones i tried, such as bf2 and c&c3 and such (or not any different that i noticed)... but the os itself took noticably longer to boot up, the os booting up can take advantage of much higher bandwidth than usb 2.0 can provide, cant say that for too many things though.
October 1, 2007 10:16:14 PM

So does this mean I will have to tinker about with my installation to include some special files to stop it from blue screening - I simply installed XP using normal XP discs no iso hacking or any **** like that. Just to be able to use it in USB 2.0 enclosure I'll have to reinstall Windows :-S !!?!
October 1, 2007 10:27:19 PM

yeah, if you want to successfully boot xp from usb 2.0, some usb related files on the installation disk need to be modified, and then the os either needs to be reinstalled, or at the very least a repair needs to be made to it (not positive a repair will work though)... otherwise a bluescreen will come up, every time you try to boot i believe.

if you were to use win98 however, there wouldnt be this problem, but this is one of the few things ms changed
October 2, 2007 9:57:02 PM

Well looks like no moving to enclosures and some more careful case planning.
April 1, 2009 1:27:05 PM

top limits: ([top speeds for read & write] achievable only with raid arrays)

Sata 2= 3000mb/s
Sata 1= 1500mb/s

real limits:

(non-raid sata2) depending on sata2 hard drive (example 32mb cache) = 80 to 100 mb/s
(raid array needed for 300 mb/s)

bottleneck slowdown:

same sata2 on sata2 controller =82mb/s, then only performed at 30mb/s when put into Antec MX-100 Sata2 to USB2 enclosure (all USB2 connection ports).

April 1, 2009 1:38:30 PM

It depends on the hard drive...

Hitachi Cinemastar sata2 on sata2 controller (non raid array) will read at 1500mb/s, however the write will be limited to 80 to 90mb/s

These are specialized drives for HD PVR's however they load and operating system lightning fast.