Thursday, September 9, 2010

Samsung S2 are quite good external HDDs. Unless you're going to use them with Multimedia Players (Popcorn Hour/WD HD TV).

Samsung S2 external HDDs are quite attractive products. Mostly because of the variety of capacities, and because of the available colors. So, they look good, they are perfect for backups, and they work well (I get somewhere around 25-30 MBs reading/writing rates on my computers). But if you're planning to use them with multimedia players, such as Popcorn Hour or Western Digital HD TV Media Player, they are going to give you an enormous headache.

I also got one, a blue one, with 640 GB, and I have some issues with it. As long as it is on FAT32 file system or HFS+ (Apple native), it works like a charm, both on my Popcorn Hour and on my WD HD TV. But when I'm converting it to NTFS, it is completely unreadable by my both multimedia players.

WD HD TV used to say that it didn't recognize it, but after I was told that an unofficial firmware might make it work with my HDD, now it doesn't react at all when I'm connecting my HDD to it. On Popcorn Hour, it simply says that "USB failed". I tried connecting it through an external USB hub (which was externally powered), in order to exclude the possibility of failing because of not getting enough power, but the S2, formatted on NTFS, won't work at all.

I found on some forums users complaining of this (reproducing exactly the same situation, the S2 work on these multimedia players as long as it isn't formatted as NTFS), but there's no fix for this (only some suggestions that were tried by everybody having these issues, suggestions that don't help).

If you're stuck here, you can format the external HDD as HFS+ (FAT isn't an option, as it has  limitations), and then install MacDrive on your Windows computer (unfortunately, you have to buy it), which will give you the possibility of both reading and writing to HFS+ partitions from Windows. I don't know if MacDrive can format the HDD as HFS+, because I did it from my MacBook.

Anyway, the idea is that if you want to buy an external HDD and you're planning to use it with a multimedia player, you should avoid Samsung's S2 external HDD.

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