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I'm looking to buy/build an external Hardrive. CONFUSED!

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First let me apologize if I have come here in error but I didn't know where else to turn & this option seems impersonal & hopefully free of embarrasment (apart from feeling stoopid cause I can't spill).
I have spent a long time over the past few days trying to decide on which external Harddrive to buy.
I have already gathered from these forums that SEAGATE & WESTERN DIGITAL are two of the good guys.
So with this knowledge in hand I narrowed my search down to a mere handful of options.
Seagate 300GB USB 2.0 7200 rpm (16 MB cache - very important I gather) etc
My Notebook essential 320 GB blah blah blah.
Sure some of you are familiar with these products (I hope)
Now I plan to use this drive to store a 'SHEDLOAD' (alot!) of video files (which are currently residing on various DVD-rs), so I thought to myself
"...ah I wonder if there are any issues with playback of video files from an external device..."
So I started to hunt and sure enough discovered that NTFS file fomatting of my new hardrive would be an excellent idea - okay.
Then I kept looking and couldn't find a definitive answer to my question. DARN!
But I did discover that USB 2.0 & FIREWIRE are not as fast as Serial ATA (2?). (Is this correct?)
So then I had a look at SATA drives and found them to be MUCH cheaper than the RETAIL option.
All I need is an enclosure (of which there are many. All of groovey & sexy design!) - Cool
Now I really don't know if SATA is faster than USB 2.0 or Firewire.
I have a USB port (2.0) & a FireWire port.
I don't have a SATA port but I have discovered SATA II PCMCIA cards (that only support SATA 1.0 and the internal drives are SATA 2.0 but backwards compatible with a loss in speed.(I think))

Part of the confusion in speed comes from specified transfers rates.
SATA 300MB/s USB 2.0 480Mbits/s (if u are very lucky is the impression I get)
The rest of the confusion is from my desire to not waste my money.

To confuse the issue even more I discovered that many companies sell Media Harddrives which I imagine may be designed for the task I require.

The final insult not sure if I can pull off buying an external drive and sticking it in an enclosure with out failure. :whistling:

Please somebody tell me what my best option is to provide optimum playback of video files for not so much money. Think the money aspect is my real issue. Things are tight at the moment I really don't want to be stuck with a lemon of a drive.

Thanks in advance
Off to massage temples to avoid explosion of head.

P.S. running a Toshiba A105 Laptop if that makes any difference
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For your needs any drives made by Seagate and WD will be fine. If you wanna cut down the cost buying a nice drive and sticking it in an enclosure will save you some dough. Interms of the USB/SATA stuff you will not be able to notice any differences if all you are doing is playing vid files off of it. If you do decided to go for performance eSATA's are the new standard for external drives. Media Drives... are just normal drives with a fancy name to get more $$ from you.
For around 150 you should be able to get some nice External HD's

BTW installing a drive inside an enclosure is like putting a cd in a case..... it will not be hard at all

Edited by †Gladiator†, 24 September 2006 - 01:35 PM.

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A big THANK YOU to †Gladiator† :whistling:
After reading his helpful and concise advice I ordered a harddrive and an enclosure from Newegg.
It was a Seagate 320 something or other.
Came bundled with an unreviewed enclosure by Rosewill RX353-S.
(the silver one perfectly matches my laptop :blink: )


(Which runs nice and cool with its own fan if a man who knows nothing about enclosures can highly recommend one this is it. Only downside is a rough finish to the metal case!)
It arrived via UPS today.
Stupidly easy to put together.
(Although another downside is the incredibly tiny instructios!)
Within 20 minutes it was up and running.
Thank you dude for your help and for putting my mind at rest!

:help: :) :lol:
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