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16 September, 2008

seven sisters came to rescue my storage problem

Last week, I mentioned that I bought a 1TB hard drive. It was just the just the hard disk itself, without the enclosure. Yesterday, the external HDD enclosure arrived - IceCube second generation (G2) Pleiades for SATA, featuring eSATA, FireWire 800 (IEEE1394b), FireWire 400 (IEEE1394a), USB 2.0 connections.
Pleiades for SATA

(As usual, more photos follow...)

After having connected external HDDs with USB 2.0, FireWire 400, and FireWire 800. It is without a doubt that FireWire 800 provides the best connectivity. Between USB 2.0 and FireWire 400, although the USB 2.0's theoretical maximum data rate (480MB/sec) is higher than FireWire 400's (400MB/sec). I found that data transferring with a FireWire 400 seems to be faster and more reliable than on a USB 2.0 connection.

The explanation from our trusted Apple website:

Because FireWire is processor-independent, its speed is consistent. With devices like an external hard drive, FireWire 400 actually delivers quicker performance than USB 2.0. But FireWire 800 is much faster than the other two.

It turns out that buying an external HDD enclosure with FireWire 800 connection appears to be a bit difficult. There are plenty of USB 2.0 connection cases around, and quite a few supports eSATA. Except my iMac and MacBook Pro does not support eSATA out of the box.

IceCube_G2_Pleiades_contents.jpg

And there's the final setup:
external HDDs setup
The thinner enclosure in front is the new IceCube G2 Pleiades for SATA, the fatter one behind is the SATA Xpress XP800-S Dual Bay enclosure. Both are 1TB. The Pleiades uses one single 1TB HDD, and the Xpress enclosure uses two 500GB HDDs in RAID 0 mode. Only one FireWire 800 cable is connected to the iMac. Both enclosures are connected by another FireWire 800 cable in daisy chain mode.

There's some useless knowledge. Pleiades were the seven sisters of Titan Atlas and the Oceanid Pleione in Greek mythology. They were pursued by the hunter Orion until Zeus changed them into a cluster of stars. And in Astronomy, Pleiades is star cluster which is also called Seven Sisters.

This entry has Lightbox effect enabled. Click on the thumbnails for larger photos.

(Well, this entry is backdated. Sorry. My excuse: I decided to use this opportunity to re-arrange my iMac's HDD... a.k.a. an Erase and (re-)Install of Mac OS X ‘Leopard’. Erase and Install is commonly known in Windows world as "clean install".)

related blog entries:
another TB joins my storage, well almost (11 September, 2008)
1TB of storage (24 January, 2008)

Posted by Antony on 16 September 2008 10:18 PM | gadget, photos

more September 2008 blogs. (or 2008 blogs)
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comments
About a year ago I'd been thinking of a FireWire-based external drive enclosure. I opted to turn an old machine into a NAS instead: it was free with parts I already had and could encrypt my backups.
Posted by Don_HH2K on 18 September 2008 2:54 AM.
Don,
By looking at the data transfer rate, you do know that without Gigabit Ethernet, you won't get faster than the speed of FireWire 400 or USB 2.0.
Posted by Antony Shen on 18 September 2008 3:23 AM.
My NAS has a maximum throughput of roughly 30Mbps. The bottleneck actually isn't my network; I can get 70Mbps off the Xbox using the exact same switch, and the hard drive is a 5400rpm, same as the one I'm reading and writing from on my laptop. 30Mbps is just how fast the 500MHz CPU can decrypt the data using AES.


If anything, instead of buying a Firewire drive enclosure for 400Mbps, I should buy a faster CPU for that machine. The fastest it can officially take is 600MHz; if I downgrade the BIOS, I can bypass a restriction that Intel built into later BIOSes and go to 1GHz.
Posted by Don_HH2K on 18 September 2008 9:41 AM.
All "gobble-de-gook", all "gobble-de-gook" I say!
Bah Humbug!The Great Chicken will strike you down!!
Posted by Rev.Dr. Wu Yi on 18 September 2008 1:15 PM.
Don, do you really need to encrypt/decrypt while transfering the files?
BTW, Do you really need encryption on files stored on your own machines / local network?
Posted by Antony Shen on 18 September 2008 9:25 PM.
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