Router file sharing
July 14, 2016 2:17 PM   Subscribe

USB flash drive or USB hard drive for sharing files via an Apple Airport Extreme's USB port? Tech details within.

I have an older Apple Airport Extreme with a USB 2.0 port for file/printer sharing. I'm currently sharing files on it via wifi to my Apple TV, but the 32 GB USB drive I'm using is too small. Would I get any speed/seek time benefits from moving to a 1 TB portable Seagate USB drive or should I stick with a flash drive and buy a comparably priced 256 GB one?

-They're both about $60, so price is moot.
- Both the current, new hard drive, or new USB flash drive are USB 3.0, but that's moot with the AppleTV's port being USB 2.0.
- Assume these are backed up/non essential files, so concerns about the longevity of the hard drive don't matter.
- With the current flash drive, I've noticed transferring large files to it sometimes slow down for some reason when it's getting full. Is it because it's a low quality flash drive? Does this happen to all flash drives? I'd like to avoid that.

I'm interested in more storage, but 1 TB is definitely overkill. If they're the same speed, I'm considering going for the 1 TB anyway.
posted by bluecore to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
The USB 3.0 flash drive and the USB 3.0 hard drive are going to be way faster than USB 2.0, so the bottleneck is there rather than the drive. I would get the 1TB drive.
posted by gregr at 2:23 PM on July 14, 2016

802.11n is 300 Mbps and 802.11ac is (if all three streams are used) 1300 Mbps. The best USB 2 data rate is 480 Mbps. I expect one of those three numbers will be your bottleneck, depending on your clients and their quality of wireless network connection. I would suggest the 1 TB drive, also.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 2:58 PM on July 14, 2016

Best answer: FWIW, this is very similar to the setup I have at home - older ('flat') 4th-gen Airport Extreme, where I occasionally swap between a 64GB USB stick & 500GB HDD (both 3.0-capable). I notice no difference in speed between the USB stick & HDD, even on the wired connection.
posted by Pinback at 4:38 PM on July 14, 2016

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