I found a great deal on a mid-level gaming laptop, but like most laptops, it only has a 5400 RPM HDD. I noticed it has an eSata/USB combo port, so I got the idea of possible buying an SSD (or other fast drive) and running games and other programs on it via eSATA. Will this run as well as an internal drive? Will it work for all games/programs? How well would this work?
Any help is appreciated.
I would go the SSD route. I just picked up the OCZ Vertex 30GB for my main Desktop homebuilt PC. I run Win 7 64-bit, MS Office, Norton 2010, HP Utilities and a few other small programs and install everything else to another internal drive. I must say, the SSD is AWESOME. Programs load instantly. Few things to look for...make sure it supports TRIM. Most of the newer controllers do. If you find one you like, look for some tests showing it's performance both new and once it's filled up - because this can vary significantly on some drives. Check out this article
here on TH's for some good reading on SSD's.
It would help to know what your budget is. I would take out the 5400rpm drive completely & replace it with an SSD drive for your primary drive. Personally, if you can afford it - I would go with a 120gb or 160gb SSD drive, this should be able to accommodate your OS, major applications and games. Otherwise, opt for an 80gb SSD; run the OS & games off the SSD and put your apps & media files on the external drive if really necessary (actually, you can take the 5400 rpm drive that comes with the laptop out of it and buy an external enclosure, use this for your storage drive - you can get an eSATA external enclosure like this one
Basically, put what you're going to use most on the SSD. Obviously, this becomes less relevant if you can afford a higher capacity SSD.
Or, you could always go with a 7200 rpm internal drive. You can pick up the Seagate 7200.4 500GB
for about $100. I have the 320gb version of the 7200rpm Seagate in my laptop & love it.
Hope this helps some...