external USB vs external SCSI harddisks?

Posted on 2003-02-20
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
Hi there,

I wonder if you guys could help me out with the following scenario:

I have a P3-600 laptop running W2K-server and I want more storage space... I recon there are 2 options to accomplish this:

1. Build my Adaptec 2940 UW SCSI adapter into it's docking base and connect this to an external SCSI box containing my 10k rpm 16GB disk (and maybe more)

Pro: Fast, low load on processor, ability to expand (ie cd/rw, extra hd, etc)
Contra: I now use the controller and HD in my main pc...

2. USB external HD storage

Pro: Portable
Contra: Processor load? Speed? Dunno?

Can you give me some advice on this? I want a fast, but not too expensive solution (if possible)

Thanx in advance,

Question by:aling
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Expert Comment

ID: 7993702

Go to:


They have "Flip2disks" you can use as external hard drives.

Expert Comment

ID: 7999801
Rather than buy a USB drive from amacom, I'd be tempted to buy a 3.5" external USB drive case for about £30 and put a normal 3.5" drive in it, much cheaper than using the amacom 2.5" versions. You must make sure to get a USB2 case and have a spare USB2 port on your machine otherwise it will be way to slow when compared with a SCSI drive.

Expert Comment

ID: 8004659
I had a similar problem to you, I am currently at uni, using my Pentium 1Ghz Celeron laptop however, it only has a 20Gb HDD. I therefore (using very cheap parts) stripped down an old motherboard I had lying around (basically all that's needed is the Motherboard, a network card (100 base) and some RAM) i then built a compact case for this (just out of ply wood) and put 4 Hard Drives in it. The os i used is windows 98 SE (however i did the minimal install and used a program called windows 98 lite to remove even more of the unneeded parts from windows) i then set the computer to login automatically, shared the other harddrives, bought a 100 base PC network card for my laptop so that i could connect to the uni network and my server at the same time, and voila! it's working well and for around 20 quid i've got 142Gb of Hard Drive space.

However, the cons are that it took a while to build and it isn't THAT portable. It does however look cool and hardly cost me anything to do. 8)
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Expert Comment

ID: 8042382
With a P3-600 I think you only have USB 1.0 which is VERY slow when used to connect a hard drive.

If you have the scsi components, i'd go with that, but the higher prices for the disks could mean you are coming close to an affordable file server which i would really prefer to the scsi solution

- bigger space due to low disc prices
- reusable if you get a new machine to use with

You can use an old desktop machine which you get almost for free now and add a decent harddrive. Most of these machines already have a 100BT network card of bought used

If you want something stable and cheap, use linux on your server and connect with SAMBA... not too hard to configure, and maybe you find someone who does it for you.
Maintenance is almost zero then.

My machine i have now cost me nothing more than the price for a 80G harddrive and some time to set up  linux and the file sharing. (It is a P1-200 and works very well.)


Author Comment

ID: 8136944
Sorry for the somewhat late reaction (understatement).

I moved recently and I didn'n have an internet connection until now...

Thank you guys very much for the replies, but I'm still in need of a little help:

- How can I check wether I've got an 1.x or 2.0 USB?
- Some examples of external SCSI cases (the shops in the neigbourhood don't have these in their assortiment for some reason)

If I got the 1.x USB I obviously will go for the SCSI option.

Again thank you for the comments so far, but please help me out with the last step(s)...

Greetz, Harold...

Author Comment

ID: 8136993
I allmost forgot, I don't want to set up a desktop as server cause of the noise, extra devices (keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers), space and last but certaintly not least: electrical costs.

Expert Comment

ID: 9428365
In order to find if you have usb1 or usb2 you should go to the website of your computer's manufacturer and check there which type of usb your model has. You can also check your computer's manual if it is accessible ;-)

Though, bear in mind that, from personal experience, I don't really trust usb2 disks. Although they can go as fast as 480mbps which is 40 times faster than usb1, I've had many problems finding the right driver (usb2 drivers are not build in w2k, you need updates etc.) and sometimes I even lost files (!!) because of errors in transmission. Simply by copying a file from one disk to the other may lead to an mfg error and access to your data is lost (they're there, but they aren't..). Yes maybe scandisk fixes that, but not always and trust me, it is not that easy to scandisk a usb drive (when windows are open the disk is in use, when windows boot it's not recognized fast enough for scandisk to check it..).

I hope I didn't let you down in any way. Enjoy the new apartment ;-)

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