USB 2.0 Too slow?
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  1. #1
    Tech Convert
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Default USB 2.0 Too slow?

    So I'm a recent guitarist -> controllerist convert and have never had to work with an external harddrive before. I want to pick one up but after doing some research I'm unsure about what to get. I've always been one to spend a little extra to get the sure thing so I was looking at getting something that utilizes Firewire instead of USB 2.0 (I'm using a new MBP 15" so no USB 3.0). I found the fancy-looking WD passport firewire edition to be appealing but there were a bunch of negative reviews about it being a CPU hog. The LaCie rugged seems like the only option but I'm trying to avoid it just because it just seems like such a hideous brick (I'm a fan of compact). If I need to I'll go with that but I was just curious as to how "slow" USB 2.0 actually is and if it truly impedes your ability to DJ well. I've seen several forums talking about it being too slow but I feel as though people just exaggerate, though I really don't know. Point being, I'd love to get a WD USB 2.0 passport or something similar if it's really not a problem (cheap and reliable apparently). But if it is an issue, LaCie rugged it is. Any insight would be greatly appreciated and my setup is in my sig, thanks in advance!
    Traktor Pro 2 + Kontrol S4 + Midi Fighter Classic + Kaossilator Pro

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  2. #2
    Tech Mentor ranzerox's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Austin, TX


    i run my 1.5Tb HDD external and it runs off of regular USB 2.0. its pretty hasty. if you want the fastest go with a solid state ($$$) that has a firewire jack. but ive never had a problem with my external keeping up.
    Dell 2.3 Ghz 4 Gb Laptop - Windows 7 Premium
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  3. #3
    Tech Guru MrPopinjay's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    London, UK


    USB 2.0 is ~50MB/s apparently. What's that? Nearly 10 songs in a second? Seriously I don't how it's an issue. I mean the decoder will take longer to work through the file and route it into a deck than it'll take to transfer through the USB 2.0 port.

    And I've never thought to myself- Damn. I wish that tune loaded up a tenth of a second faster. That's totally why I screwed up that mix.

    It may take a while to fill up but just plug it in and watch TV or something.
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  4. #4
    Tech Guru Flash101uk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Derby, UK


    To be honest its not the USB standard that will hold you up. Its the hard drive read/write speed, which is down to many factors.

    The mini hard drives typically spin at 5400 rpm. There are also ones out there that spin at 7200 rpm. Guess which is better?

    Yeah, the faster one can read & write to the disk faster. But then youve got all the components in between. A hard drive plugged directly through SATA/IDE into your motherboard will run at maxumum performance because of the direct interface with your PC's motherboard. A USB drive has its own interface board to convert the data to be sent over USB and manage the drive. This is a crucial part of USB hard drive design and if you put a shit one in. You get crap read/write times.

    Its a lucky dip to be honest. I'd say go middle of the road on price and get a drive thats 7200 rpm.

    IMO, if you have a spare drive bay in your PC/Lappy, put another hard drive in there rather than getting an external one. Nothing will beat the speed. Externals are only good for backing up.

    You should also consider why you need one. Why would you store all your songs on there to play at a gig when you already have a hard drive installed? What happens if someone pulls said external hard drive out of your usb port? What happens if it starts to chug for no good reason? what happens if you drop it and it breaks!?

    Its just an extra link in the chain to get broken.
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