USB hard drives?

Could anyone tell me anything about USB2 hard drives? I don’t mean the flash based pen sized drives, but rather the large 40+ gig variety. Basically, I want to get a large external hard drive for my laptop, which currently only has a 6gb hard drive. I want to be able to install and run programs smoothly from it when it is connected. Can a USB2 connected drive accomodate these desires? 7200RPM with 8MB cache’s seem to be pretty standard. Reading the boxes of these sorts of drives, I can’t immediately see why it -couldn’t-, but these USB2 external hard drives seem commercially geared towards file backup. Will these things be able to run applications or games? Any advice is appreciated.

I don’t see why not. Chances are your laptop’s drive is 4500rpm or maybe 5400, so it’s going to probably be faster than what you’ve got already.

My only concern would be that while USB2’s burst speed is faster than firewire, it can’t maintain it for as long. My knowledge of these drives is pretty limited, but I can’t think of any reasons why it wouldn’t do fine.

Yep, I use a USB hard drive for backup on my laptop – but I just use a script file for backup; it’s treating it like regular file copies. It shows up just like a regular drive letter.

It’s pretty easy to replace the drive in your notebook, though, and probably cheaper if you’re also factoring in the price of a USB 2 PCMCIA card. (I’m guessing a laptop with a 6GB drive doesn’t have USB 2 built in…)

If you don’t need the entire drive, you can buy just the enclosure and slap a regular 3.5" drive in them.

Thanks for the advice, guys. I did check out prices on laptop drives, but I can get a 120 gig 7200/8MB USB2 hard drive for about 150 bucks after rebate and the laptop drives weren’t remotely comparable to that. Plus, this can double as a backup device. And I already have a 4 port USB2 PCMCIA card, so no added investment there. I think I’ll pick one up tomorrow, unless someone rolls out their own personal USB2 HD horror show for my perusal. Thanks!