I'm looking to upgrade my system, first time in several years so I'm not really up to date on a number of components.
First, I'd like a solid state drive. Preferably a basic 80GB (OCZ Vertex 2). Is there a big performance hit with games running off ordinary HDD's whilst the SSD is the primary drive? Does a SSD improve data transfer to ordinary HDD's?
I often have to move large amounts of data (500GB+) to and from my current PC through USB, which is obviously a very long and painful process!! I'm wondering if a USB 3.0 motherboard siginificantly improves this? I'm not expecting miracles but if it takes like 5 hours instead of 10+ I'd be happy!
SSD do increase data transfers to ordinary HDD's but you are still bottle necked to the speed of the HDD when it's writing. I personally have a 120GB SSD and i am able (if barely) to run all my games and OS off it while i keep my 2TB HDD as my data drive. You will probably see the 80GB fill up quickly. If you are putting your games on the HDD, you will still have average load times. The SSD only increases the speed of the programs on it's drive, not necessarily the ones on other drives.
If you are transfering 500GB or more from one drive to an external drive, you might want to look into eSata drives. Many motherboards now days include an eSata port on them allowing up to 6Gb/s transfer speeds and will probably be your best bet with transferring to an external device.
USB 3.0 has it's transfer speeds up to 5Gb/s which is about 10x faster than 2.0. Keep in mind, that the motherboard AND the device must be both 3.0 compatible, or it goes back to 2.0 speeds.
I remember I had a friend almost 20 years ago that would carry an IDE hard drive with him back and forth between home and work. He had the IDE and power cables hanging out the back of his computer case- he could just plug in the wires and turn on the machine. eSATA is a modernized version of that.
No problem buddy. If you're going with eSata, keep in mind, they use a different connector than the normal SATA. They do make cables that go from esata-sata and vise versa if need be. Read up on how they work. Here is the wiki for ya