10,000 - 15,000 RPM external drive on Laptop?


I am doing research to assemble a Portable Digital Audio workstation with my laptop (Toshiba Satellite 2435-S255) and looking for ways to get the fastest drives… I was looking at some of the very fast hard drives like the Western Digital Raptor, and Maxtor also has a few that are very fast.

I would like to know if I can put one in an external enclosure and connect it to my laptop (via firewire?), and still get the same or a significantly high speed out of it. Or what if I were to connect one via a SATA PCMCIA card?

What would be the fastest to slowest of these choices:

Firewire 800 PCMCIA card?

From what I hear, I might still have slower than desired results depending on what is going on inside with the PCI Bus…

Dont know if this helps shed any light, but it says that I have the O2 Micro 0Z6933 Cardbus Controller, and a Texas Instruments Firewire Controller.

thanks in advance,


You need to be very specific about your intended use of the drive. It’s true that neither firewire or USB2 will even come close to matching the potential throughput of the Raptor or similar high-end drives. However, the biggest advantage of these drives is the very fast access times, which will not be affected by the interface speeds. But firewire will top out at around 30MB/sec read and maybe 20-25 MB/sec write. USB2 will be closer to 20MB/sec for both.
Any decent HD will max out those 2 interfaces on sustained transfers.

USB2 is well known for NOT providing constant data streams on sustained transfers, firewire is much better in that regard.

Either SATA or SCSI is by far your best bet for sustained transfers. Of course, a laptop will never come close to being able to match those speeds to and from it’s internal drive.

allright -

I am thinking that the best setup for me would be a raptor in a firewire 800 enclosure, connected to my laptop via the siig firewire 800 pcmcia card. My question is will this work? The Raptor is a SATA drive. Can you put it in a firewire enclosure? My overall question is whether I will see a difference using this firewire 800 setup with a 7200 rpm drive vs with a 10k drive.

My intended use - to use my laptop as a portable digital audio workstation. Simultanously recording 8 or more tracks of 24-bit audio to this drive, and then editing, mixing down, etc. I might even want to use it doing live mixing as done with Ableton Live.

Also I might build a desktop system as well - and in that case, I would just plug the firewire 800 enclosure into that when needed.

thanks much

Sure you can put an SATA device in a FireWire case; the case has to support SATA of course. It’ll will work fine for data, but I’m not sure if it’ll work to use as main harddrive (in case you would be willing to do so), that really depends on the laptop.

There’s another option of course. There are brands that offer laptops with two internal 3,5" SATA harddrives that can even be made into a RAID 0 or 1 array (I think you’d be willing to use a RAID 0 array in this case). Although these internal harddrives won’t be as fast as a Raptor drive, I think they will beat the external Raptor solution with ease. Take a look here: http://www.clevo.com.tw/products/D900T.asp if you are interested!

any 7200 rpm serial drive
e serial case
bang for the buck winner

serial is the way

“Simultanously recording 8 or more tracks of 24-bit audio to this drive, and then editing, mixing down, etc. I might even want to use it doing live mixing as done with Ableton Live.”

good luck, but not with that laptop, maybe a high dollar one

friend tried it with a desktop, takes a good new computer
we looked at some $1000 sound cards