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I want a portable data device for my Laptop, thinking about 2 solutions:

1- PCMCIA card SATAII adaptor + SATAII HDD 320 GB + External Case for HDD

2- External HDD USB 2.0 interface 320GB

what solution sounds better in terms of price and speed ?

if I am going to buy External HDD, can I change the inside HDD (upgrade it) ? I am thinking about WD 320 GB MYBook series.

Thank you

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I don't know for pcmcia sata II but if you're going to buy an external case you should find one with e-sata/usb 2.0 and if you want firewire and ethernet because if you have low speed with usb 2 (like i had) you'll be able to try with another interface. For me the fastest was firewire.

Also if you're going to buy an external case, you'll have to be sure to choose a case which will allow you to use the hard drive you choose. Because some case doesn't allow you to read or write more than 128Gb.

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Thank you allen2 for your reply, actually thats what I am feared of, a slow speed of USB2.0 when considering that I play easily with gigas, I work more than 8 hours a day, and spend 2 more commuting and other, last what I want is a lost time drinking coffees while the basta^^ external finishes copying just before I fall entirely asleep !!

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Buy a PCMCIA firewire card and connect it to a external housing with firewire indeed. Don’t worry about the 134GB mark, never had one that didn’t work over 134GB ;).

Actually I got firewire in my laptop, what I am aiming is a faster than 400Mbps speed, and a flexibility of having a drive that fits every situation, just wondering if anybody have any remarks about that.

well I am worried too about the 136GB barrier.

in addition to I want to boot of that drive.

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I'm not sure why 400mbit isn't fast enough... Can someone elaborate on that?

That's an effective transfer rate of 50 megabytes per second, and while it's possible that a 7200RPM drive can exceed that transfer capacity in rare cases, it isn't anything typical and will not impede your performance unless you're streaming a single very large file from the very outer edges of the drive track.

Both serial and parallel ATA standards can theoretically transfer quite a bit more data than 50 megabytes per second, the actual problem is your physical drive cannot. Spindle speed and data density on the platters does not even saturate the current "old" ATA-133 mark right now, even on the uber-highest-end SATA drives.

Most consumer-grade drives (with exception to the Raptors) will hit between 50 and 65mb/min of sustainable sequential-pattern read speed at an absolute maximum limit. Unfortunately, almost all of your boot process and application process has a considerable amount of random-seek pattern to it, you never actually hit that mark in any real world environment outside of a carefully crafted benchmark scenario.

Cliff notes?

USB2 is as fast as you need for a standard bootable 7200RPM hard drive of *any* size. The 134mb limitation comes from a firmware limitation in the drive enclosure you choose, so don't get an old or ungodly cheap one -- make sure somewhere it mentions support for 48-bit LBA and you're fine.

Edited by Albuquerque
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