I'm thinking of picking up an external USB 2.0 hard drive but my system only has USB 1.1 and I don't have a free slot for a USB 2.0 controller card.
Since I'll be using the drive for MP3 archival, will it be fast enough for sustained playback or will I have to transfer files to my internal drive first? The math seems to indicate that it will (for example a 128 kbps file on a 12Mbps connection), but I can't seem to find clear answers on the net.
It takes about 2 minutes to move 128 MB of music on a USB 1.1 connection, that's about 4 hours of music in 128 Kbps MP3 format in 2 minutes. Every second, a little over half a MB is transferred (equivalent to 12 Mbps.) This rate may differ if you have a lot of USB devices on it though, but a mouse and keyboard wouldn't effect it noticably.
So in short you have bandwith to spare if your only going to play mp3's off of it. Video will need to be transferred to an internal drive unless you get a USB 2.0 card.