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Connecting multiple drives together?

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#tbone
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I have 4 hard drives that I want to connect together and either make them run as one large drive or individually. For each of the drives I have a device that connects the the IDE and power slot and outputs them both to a single parallel female parallel port. The device also supports a small fan and an indicator light (I would like to continue to use this device if it is possible).

A. Would it be possible to connect the hdds together through a parallel cable? Is it possible to connect 4 hdds together with a parallel cable? And if so, can the out put of those devices be either USB or FireWIre?

B. Or if that is not possible, can I connect the hdds with an IDE cable and use a power supply and have that output as a USB or FireWire?

C. Or can I buy 4 parallel to USB converters? Will that support the power issue?

Thanks,
#tbone

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Coconut Monkey
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A. Would it be possible to connect the hdds together through a parallel cable? Is it possible to connect 4 hdds together with a parallel cable?

I doubt that you could connect 4 hard drives together through a single parallel port unless you had a device designed specifically to handle that many (unless you have 4 of these enclosures). Plus, I doubt that the parallel port provides the power for the connected drive. Is there no connection for external power?

You also need to keep in mind that a parallel port connection is a very slow means of data transfer.

And if so, can the out put of those devices be either USB or FireWIre?

You can buy USB and Firewire "enclosures", allowing you to connect laptop (2.5") and desktop (3.5") hard drives to your PC via those interfaces.

Alternatively, you could buy a motherboard with more IDE controllers and ports, so you can plug in all of those drives internally. You might also want to consider JBOD support (Just a Bunch of Disks) which allows you to cobble together (rather inefficiently) all of those disks into one virtual drive (since I am assuming they are different sizes/brands making them undesirable for RAID arrays).

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alc6379
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With what you're wanting to do, you'd probably be best off with either an IDE raid controller, or a plain-old IDE controller with four disks attached. Windows XP and 2000 support JBOD-- it's called spanning in there. In generic terms, you have to turn your disks into "Dynamic Disks" under XP, and then you can make one single NTFS volume that spans all the drives.

There are drawbacks, of course. If one of your disks dies, you lose everything on all of the drives. I learned this the hard way, when I connected a 4GB, 20GB and an 80GB drive in a spanned volume-- the old 4GB drive died, and I lost all 100GB of stuff on that volume! :(

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#tbone
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Im sorry. I dont think you guys understood what I wanted to do. I need these drives to operate externally. I want to be able to connect them so that they either operate as one large drive or individually.

I need the drives to be reduced down to one USB port to hook up to my laptop. I do video editing and am very mobile and it is a pain to set up everything and have to move it withint the hour.

I found something that might work but I dont understand it verywell.

http://www.addonics.com/products/io/adideu2.asp

Can you guys look at this and tell me if it provides a place to attach a small fan, and whether or not I would have to buy a power supply to run the drives.
I would not mind just getting these if they work like I need them too.

Ultimatly, I want these drive to be running together in something like a briefcase with only a single wire for power and a single USB going to my laptop. What is the simplest, most cost effective, easy to move way to do this?

Thanks for you quick responces.

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alc6379
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I don't know about that... I'm not sure if performance is going to that great, even if you could do something like that. My experience with USB hard drives has been that the interface with those devices are actually an interface to a CompactFlash device-- the system treats the hard drive like a really, really, big CF card. If you can partition and treat it like a hard drive, you might be able to do it. You mentioned wanting to use them seperately or independantly; that's going to be darn near impossible.

Personally, I wouldn't hold my breath trying to get what you're asking done. If you're really serious about wanting to do mobile video editing, you should check out LaCie's Big Disk and Bigger Disk devices:

Big Disk
http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?pid=10491

Bigger Disk
http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?pid=10610

These bad boys start at 320GB-500GB with the Big Disks, and the Bigger disks range from 1TB up to a WHOPPING 2TB!!! If the current disks you have aren't sufficient, you might want to look into something like those. It's a little pricey off-hand, but bills to bytes it's pretty cost-effective.

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Thong_Ispector
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I think if you try to run those drives without adding a power supply to the briefcase you are puting your laptop at risk.

It looks like you could use that adionics hot swap drive holder and a usb hub...

You should avoid trying to use them as one big drive.

Does your laptop have firewire?

That might be a better way to go..

I found 3 port firewire for PCMCIA slot for $62

Firewire Single Hard drive enclosures for $45

I do quite a bit of video editing myself and had considered a mobile video editing business..


OR you can go the pro way with...

http://www.storcase.com/DataSilo/ds351.asp

4 drive rack mount just right for a briefcase...

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#tbone
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In theory I guess I wanted to try to make one of these 4 bay onclosures. I didnt know that I could just buy one. You guys know if it would be possible to make one of these? Would it be cheaper than buying one?

Sorry for the slow responce. Had a drive crash and needed to play catch up for a while.

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Thong_Ispector
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Yep you could just duct tape them all together...

If this is a business and people are going to pay for your service the professional appearance of these (cases) more than justifies the cost.

How long would it take you to build something that looks sharp and works well?

How much money would you make if that same time was being billed to a customer...?

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kc0arf
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Hello,

Your best bet for performance is an external firewire device, or if you have older technology, an external SCSI device.

USB was not designed for the raw speed requirements that you need... that is what firewire is for.

Christian

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#tbone
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Hey sorry to take so long on responding, but I got it fgured out now. My company just gave me a half a tera drive. So now I have to put aside my little project until i figure out what I want to do with it. Thanks for all the help. All that trouble for nothing, well atleast nothing yet. Later.

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nowhere
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Hello,

Your best bet for performance is an external firewire device, or if you have older technology, an external SCSI device.

USB was not designed for the raw speed requirements that you need... that is what firewire is for.

Christian

USB 2.0 has a 480 Mbps interface and FireWire has a 400 Mbps interface

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Coconut Monkey
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USB 2.0 has a 480 Mbps interface and FireWire has a 400 Mbps interface

That's true nowhere, but it's not as simple as that. ;)

I pulled this handy little explanation off another messageboard:

Technically, firewire is better at SUSTAINED data. Firewire is fairly simple - it does some handshaking at both ends, then pours data down the line. That's compared to usb, which sends little fragments of data, with handshaking for each. This makes firewire superb for high-bandwidth situations (such as scanners or DV cams), pretty poor for packet-type situations (e.g. input devices) and middling (depending on the type of data and disk fragmentation) for disk access.

So as we can see, it depends on what kinds of data transfer are in mind. Plus, there's always IEEE1394b - a new firewire standard with a maximum 800Mbps transfer rate!

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duckmurder
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no the drives cannot be connected together unless they are plugged into seperate ports on your computer. you can only have as many hard drives as you have ports that suport you hard drives. if you are using a SATA cable supported hard drive than up to four hard drives can be connected at once. It is not safe for your harddrive to addapt them to be connected by usb if they are not external.. plus too many drives will cause your computer too overheat because the internal fans cannot handle it alone.

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