A question about downloading from a digital movie camera to an external hard drive

I am downloading and editing many miniDV tapes (from my Canon Optura Xi) onto my computer. In the past I’ve been doing this to my internal C: drive with good results. I use Pinnacle software to do the downloading.

Since these movies takes up a lot of space, I bought a 200 Gbyte external hard drive (Maxtor OneTouch II). Here is the problem: When I attempt to download onto the external hard drive, it does a test of the data rate on the drive, and I get the following messages:

** Read: 937 Kbyte/sec
Write: 857 Kbyte/sec
Drive F: is not capable of capturing DV data. **

However, my internal drive has no such problem. After the data rate test, it shows these messages:
** Read: 774394 Kbyte/sec
Write: 17745 Kbyte/sec**

Is my new external hard drive totally unusable for downloading movies directly?
Or is this somehow related to my capture card?
On the box, the only thing is says about rate is “12 to 480 Mbits/sec”.
The box also lured me by saying that this drive holds “14 hours of DV video”. This led me to believe that I could use this drive to capture DV videos.

So am I totally out of luck with this hard drive? Is it really that much slower than my internal hard drive? Is this true of all external hard drives? Any recommendations?

It sounds like you are connecting it through a USB 1.1 port instead of USB 2.0. Does the computer have USB 2? Or a second firewire port you can connect the drive to? You can always capture to the C: and then move the .avi file to the external drive.

I think YoYodyne has very succinctly answered your question. In case it was not clear, the slow USB port is on your computer, not the new hard drive. On the off chance that you may not have be aware that “firewire” is basically the same thing as the output from your camera and your computer has a port labeled “IEEE1394”, you can hook it up from there, also, and guarantee faster downloads, to boot.

Assuming you do not have a high speed connection (i.e., IEEE1394, USB 2.0) available, you may be able to add one very easily to allow faster communication with your new big drive. If your other components are up to it, and you have spare PCI slots, you can install either firewire (IEEE1394) or USB 2.0 PCI cards, or even combination cards, for around 30 bucks.

If you are only downloading one or two videos at a time and you are using the big drive for long term storage, you may be able to set up the external drive to back up a given folder into which you place all your downloaded video.

I agree with yoyodyne and Stan Doubt.

I just bought and installed a USB 2.0 card, and plugged the external hard drive into it, and now the downloads work like a charm.
Thanks, Yo, Stan, & Go.