External Hard Drive: USB or FireWire?

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    • #47993

      Hey guys πŸ™‚

      Last month my computer entered a suicidal phase and decided to stop working. Afternumerouslong nights, i was able to do a Backup, but strangely enough, after i wiped my Hard Drive clean, 200 GB dissaperead from it. Now, winodws will only recognize 300 GB out of the 500 GB.

      After such a traumatic experiece, i decided i am going to invest in an external Hard drive. I am thinking about going with a 1 TB one. But all external Hard Drives under $200 only have USB 2.0. Should i invest another $100 Bucks to get a firewire port or am i good with the USB? I am mainly going to save all my photography stuff in the External Hard drive and edit my pictures with Adobe Lightroom and Photop.

      Thanks guy πŸ™‚

    • #197421

      Hey Caio,

      BTW, did you run a ‘Disk Error’ check on your main drive? Sounds like you’ve got some bad blocks on it that is keeping a portion of your drive unreadable. If existing space on your drive can still be salvaged, that’s the first thing you should try.

      Anyway, concerning USB or Firewire, here’s my take on it. Personally, I despise USB (no really, how do you really fell about it?) Despite what the spec’s say, it’s slow as frozen molasses in the middle of a glacier on Titan! It’s a totally consumer grade method of data transfer and should only be used by anyone trying to do anything serious if there is absolutely no other way to get it done.

      Now USB 3.0 is slowly getting out there but I haven’t heard any reviews on it yet. The spec’s list it as faster than eSATA (I’ll believe it when I see it) but the drawback is you’ll need to yank your current mobo for a USB 3.0 capable one.

      Firewire on the other hand is readily available and in my opinion a much faster and more reliable means of data transport than USB (3.0 withstanding.) At the moment you have 2 ‘flavors’ such as Firewire 400 and 800 with hints of 1200, 1600 and possibly 3200 coming down the pike. However, the standard is 400 and most laptops that still offer firewire (except for mac’s) offer baseline 400. You can if you have an open PCI slot on a Desktop put in a firewire 800 card to get the faster transfer rate available with some external drives made by Western Digital to name one of many.

      My personal recommendation would be to go with eSATA. Either through a dedicated PCI-x or PCIe slot in your Desktop, you can add the much faster and far more stable data transfer rate and take advantage of really large eSATA drives in external enclosures or hot swappable ‘toasters’.

      Yes, if you are looking in your local ‘S-mart’ or the equivalent the consumer grade drives offered are USB 2.0 (yuck!) To get something that offers more or other options like firewire, eSATA or USB 3.0 you’ll either have to go to a dedicated electronics store or shop online. Check online with reputable outfits like Tiger Direct, Newegg, Bestbuy and so on. Since you are outside the US, you may have to pay higher shipping costs and your country’s import tariffs so weigh the cost of all that versus what you’ll need to pay locally.

      So now in answer to your question, if all you are doing is moving photos and graphics back and forth for storage, yeah you can use USB 2.0 without a lot of hassle. However, when you have to move really large files or edit and store video, at minimum you should use firewire 400 or better. Hope that helps.

    • #197422

      eSATA, USB3 or Firewire 800 and the respective cards for you computer to utilize these connections if you do not already have them.

      However, for your photo operations there’s nothing inherently WRONG with going USB 2

    • #197423

      does USB 3.0 still transfer data in packets like USB 2.0, or is it a steady stream like FW?

    • #197424


      “BTW, did you run a ‘Disk Error’ check on your main drive?”

      LOL Yeah… Besides being a videomaker/photographer, i am one of those computer-savvy nerds πŸ™‚ I did try EVERYTHING. I think Half of my HDD just fried…

      “Yes, if you are looking in your local ‘S-mart’ or the equivalent the consumer grade drives offered are USB 2.0 (yuck!)”

      I was actually looking into BHPhoto, Circuitcity, and BestBuy. But they are all the same.

      “Since you are outside the US, you may have to pay higher shipping costs and your country’s import tariffs so weigh the cost of all that versus what you’ll need to pay locally.”

      Actually, i am living in Houston, Texas. I might be Brazilian, but i am a proudsoutherner;) lol


      Yeah… Thats what i though. But i MIGHT do some editing with files in it later on. I still have to decide.


      I have no idea. sorry…

    • #197425

      Houston?! (sounding like a Drill instructor) Well son, only two things come outta’ Texas… Steers and guys driving cars with the horns of steers!

      Okay, scratch the ‘outside the US’ thing. As for not being able to find non USB 2 drives only, I’d say definitely check with Tiger Direct or New Egg. They’ll be cheaper there too and you shouldn’t have to pay sales tax like with Best Buy. I’m also surprised you couldn’t find any on B&H.

      I now have you listed as a registered ‘computer savvy nerd’. However, you’d be surprised how many people are clueless about how running a simple error check/repair can save a drive. Since you weren’t able to recover the space, my recommendation is to dupe your drive to a newer (larger if possible) one asap!

    • #197426
    • #197427

      I was thinking of something around $200…

      I am only 15 πŸ˜› I have very limited budget lol

    • #197428

      right…and those are 2 links to 1TB hard drives that are less than $200…

    • #197429

      oh my bad…typo πŸ™‚

      I meant under $100.

    • #197430


      Check these out:

      Fantom External 1TB eSATA Drive

      Fantom External 500GB triple interface Drive

      WD Passport External 320GB double interface Drive

      All of these are under a ‘C-Note’ (not including shipping.) Except for the first one, they all have firewire 400 inputs. Hope this helps.

    • #197431

      I would also look at NewEGG and consider buying an external drive case and the drive separately.

    • #197432

      I actually got a ITB External HD for $50 in a sale πŸ™‚ I have it conected to my router, so all the users in my house can acess it. I can edit photos in lightroom without problems πŸ™‚

      And come on, it is not everyday you see a shirtless brazilian guy. EVERYBODY wants to tap that xD

      LOL nah, just kidding ^^

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