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  1. #1
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    Maxtor External HD Questions

    I decided on the spur of the moment to buy a 200GB 8MB Cache Maxtor External HD. Now after looking over the package and the documentation, I am considering a couple of questions that I should have asked before making the purchase? Is there an advantage of Firewire Transfer of data versus USB transfer of data? This model is USB 2.0 interface which I do have available on my XP box. But I also have a firewire card in it, if that is a better choice for data transfer. Or is there no significant difference?

    Second question


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  2. #2
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    Re: Maxtor External HD Questions

    I can't really comment on the Firewire / USB question - although I suspect that the most important factor is number of available ports of each type on the various systems you may want to connect to.

    For the cache, size is important, but not nearly as important as the quality of the algorithms used to allocate data to the cache. Unfortunately you can only judge these by looking at the results of benchmarks etc. 8MBytes is plenty big enough unless they are using it really inefficiently.

    StuartR

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    Re: Maxtor External HD Questions

    Theoretically USB 2.0 should offer faster transfer speeds than Firewire, but in practice this does not seem to be the case.
    See here and here. And possible here...

    John

    PS Another impulse purchase regretted, hum? <img src=/S/blush.gif border=0 alt=blush width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/crybaby.gif border=0 alt=crybaby width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/hushmouth.gif border=0 alt=hushmouth width=16 height=16>
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

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    Re: Maxtor External HD Questions

    Skitterbug

    I have the same piece equipment attached to my PC using USB2. I find it invaluable as I use large sets of data for my work and it keeps it off my Harddisk when I am doing data tests.

    I do not use firewire but I have no complaints in respect to speed of the device, I only have a problem when my <img src=/w3timages/censored.gif alt=censored border=0> colleague finds it fun to repeatedly press the one touch button on the front to annoy me! I then have to get rid of about 20 or so dialogue boxes on my screen gggrrrrrr!
    Jerry

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    Re: Maxtor External HD Questions

    The effectiveness of cache size and algorithm are really dependent on hwo you use the drive. If you use it to read & update large data sets in a mostly sequential manner then the cache is largely irrevlevant. Cache is most effective when you have multiple programs accessing data in smaller chunks in a non-sequential manner. Then the algorithm comes into play in determining what the usage pattern is and predicting what will happen next.

    Joe
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    Re: Maxtor External HD Questions

    Thanks for the replies! From the links, it does look like firewire would be faster but after considering Jezza's real life application of this same unit, I think I will be pleased with my purchase. I had been thinking about something like this for backup but I guess I hadn't done enough "homework" in preparation for it. The impulse buying happened because the "price was right"! I just wanted to be certain that in my quest for saving a few $$, I woudn't end up disappointed in the long run! And I don't believe I will be!! <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> Now it is installation and "back-up" time!!

    Thanks again for sharing!!


    "Peace begins with a smile. "-- Mother Teresa

  7. #7
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    Re: Maxtor External HD Questions

    I have to admit that the business of caching has always been complex to me. Since I am only going to be using this external hard drive for backing up files and not accessing it for every day use, am I correct to think that the 8MB cache will work without me even noticing a performance hit? And to take this question one step further, caching would become a bigger consideration when thinking in terms of a hard drive for creating DVD movies, etc.? <img src=/S/confused.gif border=0 alt=confused width=15 height=20>


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  8. #8
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    Re: Maxtor External HD Questions

    If you are primarily using a drive for one application or activity caching is largely irrelevant. Even if you have lots of different kinds of data on a drive if you are usually only running one application caching does not make a difference. If you have your data separate from the OS and programs, you'll probably never notice any performance difference especially with large sequential type files (i.e. backups, movies, etc.).

    Joe
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  9. #9
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    Re: Maxtor External HD Questions

    Some caches are brilliant for sequential access because the disk controller detects the behaviour (even if other reads are interleaved with the sequential ones) and prefetches the next chunk ready for you.

    StuartR

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    Re: Maxtor External HD Questions

    FYI:

    USB 1.x: 12 mb/s
    USB 2.0: 480 mb/s
    Firewire: 400 mb/s
    Firewire 800: 800 mb/s

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    Re: Maxtor External HD Questions

    Skitterbug

    Are you saying that your hard disk enclosure gives you a choice of interface, USB-2 or Firewire? I presume that inside the enclosure, there will be one or more interface-interfaces, to convert to the ATA (or perhaps SATA) protocol that the physical hard disk knows and loves...

    John
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  12. #12
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    Re: Maxtor External HD Questions

    Mark

    Those figures are theoretical... It seems that in practice USB-2 imposes more overhead than does Firewire, so the maximum data transfer rate is marginally faster for Firewire. (Not that it will matter much in practice, since there are so many other bottlenecks!).

    John

    PS And are your mb/s (milli-bits/second) really MB/s (mega-bytes/second?!)

    (PostScript courtesy of The Lounge Pedant...)
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    Re: Maxtor External HD Questions

    Hi John,

    This particular model does not give me a choice of connection. If I had been more selective, I could have purchased a model that would have. But - I would also have paid a higher price for this convenience! So after having made this purchase, I was second guessing myself - wondering if I should have forked over the extra $$ or not? But it appears that the choice I made was a decent one from the replies I have received.

    Presently, I am trying to get it installed properly - does nothing go the way it is suppose to? <img src=/S/sigh.gif border=0 alt=sigh width=15 height=15>


    "Peace begins with a smile. "-- Mother Teresa

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    Re: Maxtor External HD Questions

    Perhaps they *should* be MB/s rather than mb/s...

    I agree completely - there are MANY other bottlenecks in the data flow process. I'd LOVE to see a motherboard that can handle more than 150 MB/s transfer from a hard drive (even SATA)!

  15. #15
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    Re: Maxtor External HD Questions

    True. But for most of us using PCs we'll never notice the difference.

    Joe
    Joe

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