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Got the hardware...need some suggestions

Posted on 2006-05-23
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
Inspiron 5150 lappy:
XP pro
3ghz p4
1gig ram
5400rpm 30gig hd (i am thinking of buying a larger one)
nvidia geforce 5200

the additions:
USB 2 hub
brother printer
19" Sony LCD flat panel
1 SATA 300gig (need external sata case, this is what i'm lookin at:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817185006)
1 SATA 160gig (with OS XP pro, need external sata case, this is what i'm lookin at:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817185006)
Plextor PX716A 8x dvd+r burner (need external case)

What I want to do (try):
I want to run my laptops OS like normal.  
*** MOST IMPORTANT***S
Should I wipe the OS from the 160gig or should I try and keep it? (I have backup storage on the 300 no worries)

Basically I want to have my laptop as the main OS and have my two sata hds and my dvd burner accessible externally, but run with the laptop system (would this be best running the second OS on the 160?)
Should I make my printer accessible on the network only instead of making it USB to my laptop?
What kind of performance difference will I see if I'm going to be running a network of mine own like this?

Confused?  Let me know, happy to enlighten ;)
Thanks!

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Question by:Wooky Jack
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by:Wooky Jack
ID: 16740303
regarding>>>(would this be best running the second OS on the 160?)

I mean this because will running all this extra equipment overload the laptop?
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by:rindi
rindi earned 1000 total points
ID: 16740364
How are you going to attach the external drive? If you want to do this via USB or firewire, you can forget about having the OS on that drive, it won't work. If you can get a SATA interface for your laptop to which you can directly connect the external SATA drive it MIGHT work. So you will end up with no OS on the external drive.

I suggest you get a 2nd internal HD, an extra caddy so you can change them easily (dells usually use an easy to remove HD caddy, so changing the internal drive is quick and simple), and have the 2nd OS on that disk.

With some multifunction printers with scanner etc., the extra functions often only work bia the USB connection, and not the LAN connection. The newer brother printers I know of, work perfectly via LAN, so after you have checked that, I'd use the LAN and not the USB port. There should be no noticeable performance issues, as printers themselves are slow devices and the printing itself takes much longer than even a slow data connection.
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crnz earned 1000 total points
ID: 16740889
Hi thephalanx.

I think we might have some terminology differences here.

To me, a "network" is when you connect two or more computers together.  From your description, as I understand it, you are building a number of external devices using USB connectivity to a single computer; your laptop.

So, only one OS is needed, the one on your laptop hard drive.  That's all.  Right now I am typing this on my laptop and it has two external hard drives attached via USB, a flas drive via USB, an iPAQ cradle via USB and two printers via USB.  Not a network.

As for performance of a USB chain of devices versus a real network, it varies.  If your laptop has quality USB 2.0 ports, then things go quite fast.  But frequently USB ports on laptops are slower (in my experience) than optimal.  I find a 100Mbit network faster, in general.

Just format the external drives - use them for data storage.  No point keeping an OS on them.


A note about buring DVDs on USB attached external drives - you probably will find you have to burn at a relatively slow speed to allow for the lack of data throughput between your laptop and the DVD burner.

Hope that covers it?

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by:Wooky Jack
ID: 16745661
I was planning USB 2 for all external devices.  But if that means slower performance I might not want that.  I have my printer networked on the LAN and that is great stuff so I'm interested in a network (thanks for the clear up crnz)  :)  

In the link from newegg is the SATA for my two sata hds.  Anyone ever used or know of a LAN external sata hd and ide dvd burner?

*I'm dropping the idea of keeping the OS on the 160 ;), thanks for the input on that.

Let me know! thanks!
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by:Wooky Jack
ID: 16745826
My laptop hard drive is only 30 gigs.  I forgot to mention that.  I need the two sata external to install and archive programs since there obviously won't be enough room on the lappy.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 16745835
Something like these below should do. Again you probably won't be able to boot from them. You'd need something internal with BIOS for that, which is unlikely to exist for standard laptops, so you won't be able to have the OS on these drives either. An extra internal disk stays the best option for you in my point of view.

http://www.bixnet.com/seatasapccac.html
http://www.sunix.com.tw/it/en/Product_Sub.php?cate=2&class_a_id=23&class_b_id=68
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by:rindi
ID: 16745868
For archiving data and programs a USB based external disk should be quite OK. USB2 is fast enough for most, and you probably not see many differences with a faster system. Archiving normally doesn't need top speeds.
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by:crnz
ID: 16745893
Actually, some computers, including laptops, can boot from a USB attached device (Flash drive, HDD).  So of the "lappy" can do that, thephalanx could theoretically boot of the drives.  The way to find out is to go into the BIOS and look through the "Boot" section and see if it offers "USB device" as one of the boot option.

But I don't recommend it for your setup - keep it simple!

I have two 200G USB drives attached to 40G laptop myself, so I understand where you're coming from :)
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by:Wooky Jack
ID: 16745967
crnz, cool you know what I'm ultimately wanting.  so ethernet might not be worth it...i'll check that out.

I'm not interested in making bootable externals anymore ;)

I also forgot to mention *slaps self* that I have an ethernet switch and a wireless router, so I have the room :)
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by:rindi
ID: 16745971
The problem isn't if one can boot from a USB drive or not. Windows of the NT class (nt, 2k, xp or server versions) can't be setup to run off USB drives. When installing the OS you need to supply a driver floppy for the disk's interface, and such drivers just don't exist for the USB port. Theoretically it should work for PCCard adapters, but these are normally not bootable, or the adapter doesn't have a builtin BIOS which would be necessary. The USB booting disks would work for proper OS's like linux, but windows, no.
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by:Wooky Jack
ID: 16746031
I did have two OSs in my desktop before because I had one on my sata 160 and one on my ide.  the sata was on a pci card for sata and I used a floppy to install xp on it.  So I understand what you mean rindi :)
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by:crnz
ID: 16746037
I frequently forget to detach a USB HDD from a system I am re-installing XP on after backing the data onto the USB HDD first (hence forgetting to unplug it), and XP fresh install process off the CD detects it and allows me to install XP onto it.  I can attest that at least XP SP2 can detect USB attached HDDs during installation time and lists it as one of the destinations for the XP install.  But in the first instance your computer needs to be able to boot of a USB drive, otherwise it won't even get that far.

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by:Wooky Jack
ID: 16746076
i know exactly what you're talking about haha.  that happend when I accidently wiped one of my external ide's during a re-installation of xp one time...that sucked!

regaring points here and in the pointer question...can I up the pointer question to award crnz for helping me and award rindi here as well?

How do I go about working that out?
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by:crnz
ID: 16746089
just split the points when you close the question in the proportion you consider fair ;-)
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by:Wooky Jack
ID: 16746140
rindi?
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by:rindi
ID: 16746245
No problem about the points.

Just to comment about installing XP on a USB drive. During the first part of the installation that works and the installer can see the drive, but then later it needs to install a further driver, and that doesn't work. This driver should normally be similar to a SCSI driver, but the USB drivers you get are something else. Also, if you install the OS on the USB disk while it isn't USB yet (maybe as internal IDE drive), and then you place that drive into a USB box and boot from that, you will get a Blue screen of death.
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by:Wooky Jack
ID: 16746352
ah one more question.

with the links you posted Rindi:

I would still need an external hd case for the sata drives right?  what would you recommend? or is what I posted from newegg good for that?
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by:rindi
ID: 16746480
I think those from newegg internally connect SATA drives to some internal electronics in that case, and what goes out is then actually a USB port.

These below have SATA, and UJSB (Except the last one only has SATA):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817145237
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817146057
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817106097

These docks here would be good too. the disks aren't inside enclosures and therefore very easily changed:

http://www.wiebetech.com/products/miniDocks.php
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by:crnz
ID: 16746493
I've got another 200G USB HDD on the way, I'll actually try to put XP on it and see what happens.  I suspect you're right - that the USB support isn't there after the fiirst reboot during the install.  In which case you have to ask yourself - why did they bother?  
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by:rindi
ID: 16746523
It does work with non windows OS's. One reason is that windows doesn't like to be on a removable disk, there are issues with the swap file for instance.
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by:crnz
ID: 16746556
And I suspect Microsoft has a big problem about license control that way.
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by:rindi
ID: 16746601
That could be a further reason.
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by:Wooky Jack
ID: 16746739
I really like the newegg suggestions, but if this one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817185006
works then I think i'll get this :)
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by:Wooky Jack
ID: 16746744
I'm not a fan of firewire..
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by:rindi
ID: 16746789
It works for USB2, but not if you want to use a SATA PCCard
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by:crnz
ID: 16748150
Thank you for your generosity!  Good luck - you seem to be having fun with it, no matter what you end up with! :)
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by:crnz
ID: 16748157
And by the way rindi, I bow to your knowledge - I get a little arrogant at times with my 25 years experience.  Didn't realise you outranked me ;)  Nice list of qualifications you have garnered here.  Wish I had the *time* to do same - self employment and young families don't leave much.  (click PayPal donate button now ;)
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by:crnz
ID: 16748168
Oh, and I'm still going to try to put XP on the extrernal USB HDD.  Just to see for myself.  It seems weird that it can boot USB support from the Bios and then commence a USB HDD install, but then when XP takes over it suddenly loses USB capability.  Smarter people have failed, so dumber ones can try again :)
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by:Wooky Jack
ID: 16748234
let me know here if you still can about the usb external ok crnz?  Or you can email me at my email address on my profile, i'm interested to know!

Thanks again!
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by:crnz
ID: 16748269
Deal.
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by:rindi
ID: 16748707
Thanks all.
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