Eternal USB HD 7200RPM vs 5400RPM

I have an opportunity to purchase either a:

Hitachi 200GB External HD USB 7200RPM or
Seagate 160GB External HD USB 5400RPM or
Hitachi 160GB External HD USB 5400RPM.  

I'd be using the drive for an external drive for storage and mainly application use (PC games) on my new HP Pavilion DV9548us Notebook.  

If I go for the 7200RPM drive I know the transfer speed will be limited by the USB interface.....

1) Will the speed of my game play see a significant speed gain if I spend the extra cash and get the 72000RPM drive?

2) I've been advised to go with the Hitachi brand and stay away from Iomega -Wester Digital, but does anyone advise against the Seagate brand?
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Mark VolzAsked:
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PUNKYCommented:
Long run and good invest, go with Hitachi drives.
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ryansotoCommented:
Seagte has one of th ebest drives IMO
plus they have a longer warranty than most manufacturers
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midi152Commented:
seagate isn't bad, i've had good success with them. i'm sure the hitachi has come along way from the their deathstar harddrives. but again you will be limited by your bottlenecked usb connection. firewire would be a better suggestion to ease the transfer bottleneck
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Mark VolzAuthor Commented:
Midi152: I'm not sure what you mean by "firewire".  Do you mean a some sort ofcable?  If you do, what one do I need to get?

Here's what I'm looking at getting:  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=250209936588&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=015

And I'm going to connect it (externally) to my HP Pavilion DV9548us Notebook.  
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midi152Commented:
not too bad of a buy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FireWire

i think with what you are trying to do, you'll be fine.
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MarkCommented:
your laptop has an EXPRESS card slot and you could get an eSATA adapter that could give you higher speeds than either firewire or USB as long as the express card slot is controlled by a PCI express controller rather than the USB bus as it can be one or the other.
If you check in the Device manager and see where the express slot is controlled from, this may be a better choice.
http://www.addonics.com/products/host_controller/adexc34-2e.asp
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Mark VolzAuthor Commented:
Concerning IEEE  1394: I'm still confused about which cable/adapter to get.  I have a 1394 port (4PIN), but if the drive that I want to get has a USB interface, then is there some adapter?  Where can I order these things?
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
"... Here's what I'm looking at getting ..." ==> That is NOT an "external" drive ... I presume you're aware of that.   You'll need an external case for a laptop SATA drive to connect it to your system ... something like this:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817392015

If you want the best speed you can get, I'd buy the following:

(1)  Buy a PC Card eSATA adapter [http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16839139002 ];  (This eliminates the transfer speed limits of USB)

(2)  an external case that supports eSATA [http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817145167 ];

(3)  any SATA drive of your choice [Here's 500GB for $99.95:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136178 ]


If you want to stay with USB, I'd at least get a 3.5" external drive.   Both the access times and the sustained transfer rates are appreciably better than 2.5" drives; and you can get much higher capacity for less $$.   They do, of course, require a separate power adapter => but it's not really a good idea to use self-powered external drives anyway (there are many stories of "blown" USB ports on laptops here on EE that were caused by this).
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Whoops!!  I didn't check your laptop's specs ... sparkmaker obviously did :-)     I'd still suggest you go with eSATA, but instead of the adapter I listed in #1 above, get the one sparkmaker listed.

An alternative, since your laptop has a firewire port, is to use an external case that supports firewire:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817392003  [This requires an IDE drive ... not SATA => so be sure you buy the correct drive if you use this.   For example:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136110 ]

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MarkCommented:
Hi Gary, we still don't know if the laptop express card slot is controlled by the USB bus or a PCI express bus. It could have implications with the transfer speed aspect. I've seen quite a few laptop OEM's opt for the USB flavored Express slot.(cost savings I'm sure)
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Mark VolzAuthor Commented:
Garycase:  The model I want to get  comes in an enclosure (I'm buying from somewhere else, but the link has all the info on the model):

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=250209936588&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=015

"A powerful brand new note book hard drive + a FREE Hitachi 2.5 inch external enclosure with for 2.5-inch SATA hard drives with USB 2.0 interface .  Connection cable is included. The hard drive comes in the external enclosure sealed in blister packaging".

So your advice is, for the most part, true.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Surely HP's slot is compliant with the standard !!   ... which requires support for BOTH "... low-, full- and high-speed USB data rates ..." and "... a single PCI Express lane (x1) operating at the baseline 2.5Gbps data rate, in each direction, as defined in the PCI Express Base Specification 1.0a by the PCI-SIG."  :-)

I'd especially think since it supports the larger ExpressCard/54 cards that it supports the full data rate.

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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
AKMARK5000 => The Hitachi unit is nice and will undoubtedly work well.   But as I noted before, if your primary consideration is how to get "... a significant speed gain ..." then I'd go with a 3.5" drive and an eSATA interface.   Much faster access times; better sustained transfer rate; and faster interface.

Note that the total cost is about the same if you use a 250GB drive [$45 for the eSATA card; $35 for the external case; and $70 for a 250GB drive = $150 ]   [Here's a 250GB drive that would work nicely: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136161 ]
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Mark VolzAuthor Commented:
Sparkmaker: I can't find anything that says where the express slot controlled from.  Would it be under a different name? .... not sure what else to look for.  ... I'll have to research your suggestion about the eSATA, which looks really good.

Can you give me an answer on the  Firewire/IEEE 1394 question cause I think Midi152 is not going to answer? <I'm still confused about which cable/adapter to get.  I have a 1394 port (4PIN), but if the drive that I want to get has a USB interface, then is there some adapter?  Where can I order these things?>


PS. Garycase, I decided not to go with 3.5".  One, I have no more room for another AC adapter and I never can count on an available plug where ever I travel to.  Two, I need the 2.5 small form for travel and overnight trips.
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Mark VolzAuthor Commented:
Garycase and Sparkmaker:

Please give me some moments here to catchup and read/research your suggestions... plus I type slow, so my replies are slow also.

have to go eat... be back in a little bit.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
AKMARK5000 => Take your time catching up :-)

Since you don't want to use a 3.5" drive, then I'd just buy the Hitachi unit you have been considering.

Alternative methods to connect it to your laptop would be the following:

(1)  Instead of using the external case it comes with, you could buy an external case with a firewire interface:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817347013   Note that with this case you could use either the USB port or the firewire port.

(2)  You could install the drive in an eSATA case and buy the eSATA adapter sparkmaker referred to => this would give you the best performance you can get with that drive.   This would be a good enclosure:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817392009
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Mark VolzAuthor Commented:
Ok, I sorted everything out and I really like your options.  They are clear, concise and really helped me organize my thoughts.

First) If I go with your above listed options 1 or 2, both enclosure pictures indicate there is a DC power port... am I going to need to buy one seperately? ...if yes, wouldn't that defeat the purpose of wanting a bus powered HD?

Second) Is it pretty simple taking out / putting in a drive into an external enclosure?

If I can scrape up the cash, I am leaning toward option 2 by the way.  So is the eSATA adapter card that sparkmaker referred to something simple that I can do myself?
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
An external power adapter is Optional in both cases => they'll work fine without one.
... so you'll still have a bus-powered drive.

It's VERY simple to take the drive out of one enclosure and mount it in another :-)

The eSATA card sparkmaker referred to simply plugs into your  ExpressCard slot ... then you install the drivers (it comes with a CD) ... and you're done :-)    Might take 3 minutes ... tops !!
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Mark VolzAuthor Commented:
One more question concerning the 2 Port eSATA ExpressCard  34 and RAID5/JBOD eSATA ExpressCard 34... I don't quite understand which to get... I just want to make sure I am looking at the right thing.  If it calls for a separate thread I'll make one so Sparkmaker can answer..
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
You don't need the RAID card ... just get the 2 Port eSATA Express Card.

If you want details on the differences, ask a question and I'm sure Sparkmaker will respond.
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Mark VolzAuthor Commented:
Cool, thanks again Garycase.
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