Can anyone help me find a solution to this puzzle?
The internal harddrive on my laptop is getting pretty full of sample libraries and I'm running out of room. I have a firewire external harddrive that I could use but I have an Indigo Echo sound card and I can't have firewire plugged in while I'm using it (audio out wire gets in the way). Now, I could just take out the Indigo Card when using the external harddrive, but the built-in sound card on my laptop is absolutely horrendous (a fuzzy/staticy abomination that never should've been manufactured or even thought of, let alone put in a computer) and not something I'd like to mix with. Now my USB 2.0 connectors are located on the other side of the machine and nothing is in the way with them. So, I'm thinking my best solution would be to just get a USB 2.0 External Hard drive (like a LaCie Porche or something), but I've heard some people say USB 2.0 hard drives aren't good for streaming samples off of. I'm not sure what to do. Anyone have any ideas? Any other solutions for this aside from getting a new computer?
Interesting question as I also am trying to get a laptop solution with an excellent but convenient audio configuration. While I cannot provide a definitive answer on USB 2.0 vs. FireWire, here is some general information. USB 2.0 may have the higher max interface transfer rate of 480 Mbps vs. 400 Mbps of FireWire, but FireWire has a higher sustained transfer rate of 42 MB/s vs. 34 MB/s of USB 2.0. Also, FireWire uses a peer-to-peer configuration instead of the host configuration of USB 2.0 so will not use up some CPU power like USB 2.0. Overall, USB 2.0 and FireWire are probably very comparable, but FireWire might be slightly preferable for the reasons mentioned above.
With your particular setup contraints, you might consider also using a FireWire audio interface which will allow you to string a FireWire hard drive. There are also FireWire PCMCIA cards with several FireWire ports to connect the FireWire audio interface and the FireWire hard drive if you do not want to string the two together.
Hope that helps. Looks like laptops are starting to be powerhouse audio workstations, especially once the next generation Centrino ones come out.
Thanks for the info. I wonder what are some good firewire audio interfaces. If I took that route, I could maybe get a Firewire 800 card which would be really fast (my external hard drive is setup for both Firewire 400 and 800). At any rate, this solution would require me to buy two things - a firewire audio interface (expensive probably) and a firewire card (not too expensive, maybe).
I was also thinking about the possibility of getting another PCMCIA sound card. My Echo Indigo I/O works beautifully, but its input and outputs are poorly positioned and get in the way (they run parallel with the side of the computer instead of perpendicular like most inputs - look at a picture of one and you'd get the idea). I'm wondering if there's another I/O PCMCIA sound card out there that's at least as good as the Indigo.
Hi...FireWire 800...now that sounds very attractive with twice the max transfer rate of FireWire at 800 Mbps and a substantial increase in max sustained transfer rate to 64 MB/s.
For FireWire audio interfaces, you can look at M-audio. They have some at some very good prices. I am thinking about trying them. Actually Echo, the makers of Indigo, also make a nice but more expensive FireWire interface too called AudioFire. The RME Fireface 800 looks awesome but that is now quite expensive.