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Old 27-03-2013, 20:22
andybaws
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Hi guys,

I'm looking for some advanced advice around the purchase of a new external HDD as my current 2Tb USB 2.0 is now pretty much full, and has never been the fastest.

What I'm looking for is a drive with the best transfer speeds and high ability when it comes to streaming HD videos onto my laptop.

I have a Dell Studio 1558 laptop which has several USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA port, and a Gigabit LAN port.

The option of an eSATA external HDD is one way I could go, but I'm trying to find out whether or not a NAS HDD would be a better option?

My set up is a TP-Link 500Mbps powerline adapter supplying internet access from my BT Homehub3 to a TP-Link 5-port Gigabit Switch in my upstairs bedroom. As well as the other powerline adapter, I also have my laptop, Sky OnDemand, and xbox 360 all plugged into this Switch.

This leaves me with one free Ethernet port on my Gigabit switch; if I buy a NAS HDD and plug it in to my Switch, will this HDD be accessible without any issues from my laptop, and what would the performance be like vs eSATA option?

Hope you guys can help, thanks in advance
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Old 28-03-2013, 08:24
karma mechanic
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I've got a studio 1558 too. Although esata has never seemed all that popular it is a whole lot faster than USB2. I use one of these:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Icybox-IB-11.../dp/B00485FCIS

Currently it has the original 750 Gig drive from the laptop in it as a data disk, while the laptop was upgraded to a SSD. It takes 2.5 and 3.5 inch drives so much more versatile than a simple backup drive.

It is comparable in speed to using a NAS via Gigabit ethernet, I'll make some measurements in a minute.

Edited to add: here's a CrystalDiskMark run for the esata drive followed by the Netgear ReadyNAS.

http://www.infrared.webspace.virginm...ides/esata.jpg

http://www.infrared.webspace.virginm...slides/NAS.jpg

Either solution would be fine for streaming. The NAS scores in that it is accessible from multiple machines, but the esata caddy is neat and much cheaper.
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Old 28-03-2013, 15:27
andybaws
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Thanks, that's very helpful. I was thinking of purchasing this:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Freecom-5606...I2LH9NOUPPCC81

Do you think this would be suitable?

Also, since you also have a Studio 1558 hopefully you can help me; my Realtek PCIe gbe family controller will only connect to my Gigabit switch at a max of 100Mbps, and not 1Gbps. Any advice?
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Old 28-03-2013, 15:29
Stig
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my Realtek PCIe gbe family controller will only connect to my Gigabit switch at a max of 100Mbps, and not 1Gbps. Any advice?
Have you got the latest driver?
Have you tried altering the properties of the network adaptor to force gigabit?
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Old 28-03-2013, 16:11
andybaws
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Have you got the latest driver?
Have you tried altering the properties of the network adaptor to force gigabit?
Yeh I've checked the driver, and I've tried to change a few of the advanced settings to no avail. After doing a few google searches on the topic, a Cat6 cable seems to have solved the issue for a few users.

My laptop is connected to a Gigabit switch in my room, along with my xbox 360 and Sky OnDemand; will the Switch make my laptop connection reduced to the same ability as my other devices, or could the solution be a simple Cat6 cable?
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Old 28-03-2013, 17:48
karma mechanic
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Cat 5, 5e or 6 shouldn't make any difference, it sounds more like a configuration thing. There's nothing I can see in Device Manager that would make it go at 100 instead of 1000.

What speed does the network indicate if you disconnect everything else from the switch, leaving just the laptop?

That drive looks fine BTW...
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Old 28-03-2013, 20:19
andybaws
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Still says I'm connected to the HomeHub3 at 100Mbps. So frustrating and pretty much rules out a NAS for me if it's not fixable.
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Old 29-03-2013, 11:45
ibatten
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Cat 5, 5e or 6 shouldn't make any difference,
My experience was that cheap cat5 patch leads are all over the place for standards compliance, while pretty much all cables claimed to be cat5e actually are. It's unlikely to be an issue at house, rather than office, distances, but if you have a cat5e patch lead (or a couple of other cat5 ones) it might be worth trying swapping the cabling. Unlikely, but if it happens to work, then you're lucky and it's a cheap solution.
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Old 29-03-2013, 14:53
karma mechanic
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Just had a thought. You've mentioned a HomeHub3. If I recall that's only got a single Gigabit port. Could your switch be connected via one of the a non-Gigabit ports?

Might be worth connected the laptop directly to the HH3 as well, to verify that Gigabit on port 4 is actually Gigabit and help to determine if it is the HH3 or the switch or the cable.
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Old 29-03-2013, 15:06
d'@ve
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Hi guys,

I'm looking for some advanced advice around the purchase of a new external HDD as my current 2Tb USB 2.0 is now pretty much full, and has never been the fastest.

What I'm looking for is a drive with the best transfer speeds and high ability when it comes to streaming HD videos onto my laptop.
I'm late to this conversation but it's perhaps worth mentioning usb3, which is about 5 times faster in real-World use than usb2 (88 to 98 MB/s on a 4GB .iso file). I bought a cheap usb3 PCIe card for my desktop, icybox usb3 switchable HDD enclosure and a 3TB SATA III internal hard drive to go in the external icybox.

It all works like a dream but the question is, can your laptop handle (or be made to handle) usb3, and would it then be fast enough to meet your needs?
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Old 29-03-2013, 15:15
karma mechanic
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Andy's laptop only has USB 2.0. The esata/USB3 combo in the drive he's chosen gives high performance with his current machine but will still be fast with a USB3 machine in the future.
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Old 29-03-2013, 15:30
d'@ve
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OK, just wanted to put that out there in case his eSATA port supports USB3, or eSATA to USB3 adapters are available, which might let him (or anyone) do it cheaper. My setup including the 3TB drive, external drive case and usb3 card for a usb2 PC cost 138 in total and I could have done it for less.
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Old 31-03-2013, 15:13
andybaws
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Just had a thought. You've mentioned a HomeHub3. If I recall that's only got a single Gigabit port. Could your switch be connected via one of the a non-Gigabit ports?

Might be worth connected the laptop directly to the HH3 as well, to verify that Gigabit on port 4 is actually Gigabit and help to determine if it is the HH3 or the switch or the cable.
I've got the 500Mbps powerline adapter plugged into the Gigabit port on the back of the Homehub, which is transferred to the corresponding powerline adapter upstairs and then into the back of the Gigabit switch. I'll test it direct from laptop into the HomeHub gigabit port and take it from there, probably should have already done that really.
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Old 31-03-2013, 15:14
andybaws
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Actually, can you only connect at 100Mbps or 1Gbps? Is there no in between? If it's only the two then it's pretty obvious that it's because my powerline adapters are maxed out at 500Mbps, or am I being stupid somewhere here?
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Old 31-03-2013, 16:02
andybaws
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Laptop direct to GigE on BT Homehub connection is 1000Mbps, so it's the powerline adapters not being strong enough that's causing a max 100Mbps connection. I don't think I really need to be worried about this anyway because my download max speed is only around 60Mbps anyway.

Could a possible external hard drive solution be to connect a NAS to my Gigabit switch upstairs that my xbox and laptop are all usually on. This won't direct affect the Homehub, so will I be able to connect my laptop on the same switch to the NAS at 1000Mbps to achieve full speed of transfers / streaming etc. Or will I still be limited to 100Mbps somehow?
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