Maximum size of flash drive/external HD that connects to an SP3 without using a Y-cable

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 3' started by aba987, Jul 1, 2015.

  1. aba987

    aba987 New Member

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    Hello.

    I was wondering what the maximum size of a flash drive or external hard disk that would connect to an SP3 without an external source of power. I tried connecting my WD 500GB external HD to my SP3 but I needed a Y-cable to connect to the external battery because the USB 3.0 wasn't providing enough power. Would a 128GB connect to an SP3 just by itself? Or is it 64GB or even 32GB?
     
  2. hughlle

    hughlle Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well my new 1tb hdd is working just fine ;) there was a thread of a user considering a 2rb harddrive, so will be interesting to learn the results if hegoes through with the purchase.
     
  3. rikracer

    rikracer New Member

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    I use a freecom 256gb HDD with no problem. It is the small form factor, the whole unit is only 2.5 x 3.5 x <.5
     
  4. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    What was the vintage of the 500gb HDD you had trouble with?

    This is more about power draw than actual storage size. Yes, there might be a small incremental difference between some sizes but the total power requirements of newer vs older drives is significantly lower.

    The SP3 USB port provides the minimum (daily) requirements of 900ma so if the devices exceeds that there will be trouble. I has been common practice for ports and devices to exceed the minimum at the cost of battery life in the case of laptops but most were used connected to mains. Many newer devices are more efficient and do not exceed 900ma.
     
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  5. xbliss

    xbliss Member

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    My X61T (7 years old) can support an external HD that I have but SP3 wont. And then people tell me that this should be standard.
     
  6. malberttoo

    malberttoo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That's because your X61T (which I also own) gives barely any consideration to conservation of battery power.
     
  7. tarrant64

    tarrant64 Member

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    As an FYI I don't believe that the size/space of the external hard drive has anything to do with whether or not the power source is required. It's about how it's designed from the manufacturer and the form factor.

    in general I think it's safe to say that most of the time the smaller the form factor the more likely you'll find it doesn't require a power source. The smaller drives usually require less power than a few years ago when you still had to use the larger 3.5 drives. I have 5 or 6 external drives now, all small form factor, different sizes from 256-2tb, and all work with a USB connection.
     
  8. malberttoo

    malberttoo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes completely agree.

    I also have about 6 modern small external drives, and they all work fine with my SP3's USB port.
     
  9. Ford Prefect

    Ford Prefect New Member

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    I've used 1TB and 2TB WD Elements drives as well as Seagate Slim 2TB and they have all worked fine and fast.
     
  10. bugmenot1234

    bugmenot1234 Member

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    It really depends on how much power your external drive draws. I assume with a flash-based drive, this is less of an issue, but with a spindle drive, it could be an issue.

    And not necessarily larger capacity draws more power, it varies from vendor to vendor and model to model.
     
  11. xbliss

    xbliss Member

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    @malberttoo - When I am plugged in to AC Wall adapter with SPro 3, do I really care about power conservation? That's an issue only when a person is mobile and not on AC. So power step down would be understandable, but step up is needed.

    Great report. Thanks. I am going to go for a 2Tb one.
     
  12. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Size doesn't matter... 900mw is deciding factor. YMMV slightly.
     

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