external hdds [few q's]


Ex Member
im looking at one of these type external hdds http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos...0613535-4610817 and i have a few questions.

1. how much wattage/electricity do they use when theyre on?
2. can they be turnt off and/or put on standby?
3. are they simple to use? (eg. like a memory stick (plug n play))

overall im not really looking for a internal hdd so before you say it dont , and all im going to really use this for is data backup and other backup's that are like 2-4gb a peice .

any help greatly appreciated

The Dude

Distinguished Member
I use maxtors and they are

a) power friendly - the supplied software can spin down the drives, or you can just switch them off when not accessing them

b) absolutely plug'n'play under 2000/XP, you don't need to install anything.
Any 2000/XP machine will recognise and correctly identify ant of my drives ( I have 6 )

power consumption is when running...... 12V :D

The Dude

Distinguished Member
if you install the SW that comes with the drive, you can set them to spin down/suspend... I just use the switch on the back.. :)

TBH though, with such low power consumption anyway ( just the same as an internal HDD, that's literally all they are) it's not worth turning them off... unless the blue light annoys you.. :D


Ex Member
and what are the actuall drives like for transffering data like speed etc.

ive heard of sata and ide(sata being the better of the 2), what do these externals use?

The Dude

Distinguished Member
the maxtors I have are an 8mb, 7200rpm, IDE interface... USB2 and FW connectors (FW good for daisychaining) more than fast enough for any normal use, SATA is almost pointless anyway in my eyes..

Maff et1

Sata cabling is easier and they support hotswap, but performance wise nothing in it.

Virtually all external drives, both USB2 and firewire, have IDE drives inside them. I've been using Formac half terabyte firewire drives and am very happy with them.

Typical hard disks are about 10-15watts, I'd guess the external ones have less efficent transformers so probably about 15-20, considering an average light bulb is a hundred thats not too bad.


Established Member
two most common options are USB and Firewire, both of which have two varients. It really all depends on what interfaces your computer will support.

I am using both usb2 and firewire400 for external drives and typically get just under 1 Gbyte of data transfered in a minute from internal drive to external drive, eg 3 1/3 gbyte files just copied came in at 1min 10 secs, hope that gives you some idea on throughput. But as already pointed out external drives are fine for everyday use, backups, video conversion and you can easily play video files off them.

I dont really see too much difference between the two, but would say the usb2 does seem ever so slightly faster.

there is also firewire800 but havent got that but should be twice as fast as firewire400, there is also a slower version of usb, usb1 which is significantly slower than usb2.

Finally there is sataII which is designed to also go external from the computer case, ie connect a sata drive externally and get the same performance as internal drives. Again havent tested this as top end stuff.


Prominent Member
It may be cheaper to fit a standard IDE drive inside an enclosure - that's what I do, just flick it on and windows recognises it.

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