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portable hard drives

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  • portable hard drives

    I edit on a MacBook Pro and am looking for a portable hard drive for working while I travel (the ones that run of of USB/firewire power). I've heard from different sources that firewire 800 is faster that USB 2.0, as well as the opposite, and I also have better luck finding USB harddrives over FW. Which do you recommend to edit off of? Is there really that big of a difference in speed?


  • #2
    It's not a matter in the difference in speed. It's a matter of how the data is accessed.

    USB sends data in packets. FW uses a sustained throughput. Video is a bandwidth hog, and in order to get the continuos bandwidth you need, you need FW 400 minimum.

    That being said, firewire isn't 100% supported for media storage, either. Some use it and get away with it, but many report data bottlenecks and other issues when using FW for media storage. If you don't expect to be doing more than cuts and dissolves, FW should be fine, but there's no guarantee.

    The current best reasonable cost solution is getting a SATA card for the Express 34 card slot on your MacBook Pro and using eSATA drives for external storage.

    You can check CalDigit and G-Tech for good quality FW and SATA drives. If you're a build-your own kind of person, you can look at or Sonnet for enclosures and buy bare hard drives from a place line or

    There are other options, and I'm sure someone will chime in with other recommendations.

    Last edited by debe; 12-25-2007, 04:44 PM.


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply.

      Do the eSATA drives come in the portable format? I'm looking for something that will not need to be plugged in to anything but my laptop (i.e. the wall)


      • #4
        I don't think eSata provides power like FW and USB do. The eSata enclosure would need to be plugged into a power supply.

        One of my clients has had good luck with the 120GB LaCie Rugged drives over FW800.

        What res is your source material?


        • #5
          Well, this issue with using bus power for your media drives is that bus powered drives drain the battery of the laptop really fast. You'd be lucky to get more than a couple of hours of laptop power if you're running the media drives off of the same battery.

          Therefore you'll need to be somewhere where you can have the laptop plugged in unless working for a few hours is all you're looking to do. If you're going to have the laptop plugged in, why not plug in the media drives as well?

          I'd still recommend eSATA over FW, unless you're planning on workin' on an airplane or something.