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Need advice about Self-Powered and USB Powered devices.

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Ok my current configuration has both a self powered external hard drive (Western Digital WD2500JB), and a self powered DAC (Teac UD-H01). The hard drive is becoming slow and I'm in fear it will fail with all my music being lost. I have another drive that's USB powered drive I could use, but I'm curious if this will have any effect on the performance of music playback when my DAC is also connected. Since the DAC is Self-Powered I'm assuming it won't be as big of an issue as if they were both powered by USB. But I just wanna be sure.

Edited by TJ Max - 2/5/13 at 12:04pm
post #2 of 5

The WD slowness may be just caused by file fragmentation, it's not necessarily a sign of an imminent failure. Do some defragging or move files back and forth to another drive - that may help with performance.


If you have concerns about losing your library, then get a USB disk and use it for backup: they are ideal for that purpose. I don't think that drawing power from USB is a concern - I'd be more worried about the effect of both devices sharing the USB bandwidth. While DAC uses only a fragment of the bandwidth, a hard disk can easily saturate USB2, and that in turn can cause issues with delivering data stream to the DAC. This shouldn't happen if all you use the external HD for is to supply the music, but operations requiring large data transfers may be a concern.

post #3 of 5

Completely agree with Pleasant Sounds (Hi, PS!)


I had similar issues and it appears to have been caused by a very full USB drive. I have bought a second drive to house non-music content so that the music drive is only at about 50% capacity. This seems to have helped.


As PS said, defragmenting is also a good idea.


Finally, each USB socket has 5V / 500mA (USB 3.0 has 5V / 900mA) dedicated to it so each socket can be seen as a completely separate entity in terms of power. The only issues happen if you use a non-powered USB hub and therefore are splitting the original socket's 5V / 500mA amongst multiple devices.

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice, I've defraged my drive occasionally, and run scandisk on it also. But there are still times when it is very fast and times when it slows to a crawl. Like 24 kilobytes a second. Windows will report the drive needs scanning frequently.  The drive is only used for music storage. This Laptop is used only as a Music server. Plus its old.


Any my concern is that the 2 USB ports are connected to the same internal hub and that one device such as the USB powered hard drive can diminish the performance of the port with the DAC and diminish sound quality in some way with interference. Thats why I have 2 Self Powered devices since they wouldn't be as taxing to the ports.

Edited by TJ Max - 2/5/13 at 4:40pm
post #5 of 5

Sorry, you clearly said self-powered in your original post. I just had wisdom teeth removed and am in a bit of a codeine haze.


Not an expert, but it sounds like your issue could be the laptop, not the HDD.


Maybe time for a newer laptop?

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