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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking to purchase an external hard drive. The purpose for this is to mainly watch high definition movies (mostly avi files). I plan on having this hard drive hooked up to my Xbox 360 via usb.

I've noticed some slowdowns when I burned movies to disc....must be the DVD drive not being able to keep with the high video bit rates. My question is, what's the best thing to look for if I'm mainly using this external drive for watching HD flicks?

Is buffer size more important than the cache? I'm not worried about size as even a nice 500GB drive is more than enough. Should I be sticking to brand names or not? In other words, do you get what you pay for? My budget is around $100 bucks.

I welcome your feedback and guidance. :cool:
 

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The USB2 interface is the bottleneck with USB drives. It is typically about half the speed of the drive itself. eSATA is faster but not always supported and sometimes not supported well when it is available. USB3 is faster still but not yet widely available. There are lots of posts about recommended external hard drives. A search might turn some up. The general consensus is that Western Digital are the most reliable. A Western Digital bare drive in a good quality case also works well if you would rather DIY. (Bare drive warranties are typically much longer than external drive warranties.)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So that's it? Interface is the most important thing? Shouldn't I be looking at other features of the drive?

The main thing is I want the movie to play without any hiccups (freezing up, long pauses, audio/video out of sync).

I've heard great things about WD.
 

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The fact is that almost any drive you purchase today will be more than fast enough to stream HD. More than fast enough. The key is the enclosure - make sure it is compatible with whatever you're going to hook it up to. Any glitches will be caused by the CPU or disk controller - not the drive itself.

USB 2.0 should be just fine to stream HD. HD needs less (usually much less) than 45 Mb/s. USB 2.0 tops out at 480 Mb/s (in actual practice you'll likely only see perhaps 300-350 Mb/s.

Recommended HD is a WD, 1TB, black drive - usually goes for ~$80.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for clearing that up Larry.

So what you're telling me is that not all external HD are compatible with Xbox 360? I assumed that as long as it's usb 2.0 everything worked.

Can you explain to me more about enclosures?
 

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Usually a usb drive is a usb drive. They all use universal specs (thus the name :p)
As for the drive inside, if you're going with USB2.0 it doesn't really matter what you get as it will be bottlenecked by the usb interface.
I wouldn't waste money on a black drive as its performance will be lost through USB.

I'd recommend a WD blue drive in a vantec usb2.0/eSATA enclosure.
That's your best value & performance* for money and gives you future-proof in terms of use of the drive's potential with the eSATA connection. (* performance only seen through eSATA, though)
This particular enclosure can be had for the same price as USB-only ones, making it a great deal.

I'd verify with other xbox users that it's not picky on enclosures first, though.
 

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The WD greens are also a great drive because they generate less heat, sure they are "slower" than many drives but your limited by the USB anyway so whats the difference?

To put it in perspective I can easily record a HD show while watching an HD show off the same drive on my bell PVR with a WD Green in a USB enclosure. That a lot of data coming and going!

If you plan on building up quite a collection I'd highly recommend a Rosewill R2-JBOD, I got one for just over $30 and it can expand up to 4TB! (2tb drives x 2). USB 2.0 only though.
 
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