Will this work for my electronic music library?

I’ve got around 150 GB of music and about 400 GB of video on my PC. I’m thinking about moving it all to a separate USB harddrive, to free up more diskspace on the PC’s harddrive. I run iTunes for my music. Will I see a slowing down of response time in iTunes if it’s having to find files on the separate harddrive as opposed to the normal C drive?

ETA: What else am I not thinking of under this scenario? I don’t want to go to the trouble of the time and expense to do this if it’s going to be sluggish or create problems I haven’t considered.


I doubt that you will see a significant, or even noticeable, drop in performance for music. In my experience, USB 2 can create bottlenecks for video, so you might want to consider going USB 3.

Alternately, since you probably don’t have USB3 yet, you could use an eSATA drive, which will be as fast as your internal hdd. Keep in mind that an eSATA drive will require a separate power cord.

I’ve been pondering the same problem. I’ve been looking at Synology NAS boxes but not sure how they work with apps like iTunes. At least they have RAID… you might want to consider that. If anyone has experience with NAS I would appreciate feedback.

USB2 hard drives are plenty fast enough for most purposes and they are cheap. Many models don’t require a power cord and they tend to be small as well as true plug and play. You don’t have a lot to lose buy trying it. The drive and USB2 interface can handle music playback with no problems. Transferring that much data at once will take hours but you don’t have to babysit it and it is a one time conversion. Future saves are are quick. USB3 would be faster but you probably don’t need it for this.

I have heard of problems specific to iTunes when moving music to any new location although there are fixes if you encounter them so you may want to research that before you do it. That would apply to any solution you come up with however. Here is one how-to guide but you can google many more.

If you have USB2 (most computers in the last 5+ years do) then the throughput should not be a problem. The USB port itself should handle any speed necessary - especially for music.

Most video for PC’s is crunched down enough that reading the video file through the USB interface is not a bottleneck in the process.

I.e. dual-layer DVD is 9GB, for 150min+ of video; this works out to 40MB/minute, or less than a megabyte a second. You could easily play a ripped DVD through USB, which is not surprising since you can play a DVD on a USB player. Blu-Ray? 3 to 6 times the data? Still should not be a problem. DIVX and other heavily compressed files? No problem!! IIRC, USB2 is nominally 480Mbps, or about 60Mega BYTES per second. The bottleneck will be the disk’s read speed or your computer’s ability to process it.