I have my entire music collection on an external HD which I connect to my network through a direct USB connection with my Apple base station. I'm finding that iTunes struggles to load the library (43,000 files - some of which are hour long podcasts/mixes etc) and I've also purchased TuneUp to tidy up my music collection, but given that iTunes struggles to load in the first place, this avenue isn't even worth considering right now.
Does anyone have suggestions on how I might improve the setup? What connection between the base station and the external HD would give the best result?
It isn't practical to connect the drive directly to my PC as I'm using a laptop for my main machine, plus I'd like for the setup to work when I'm not at home so my partner can use her iPad or iPhone to browse/play the music.
UPDATE: The iTunes library is on my machine running Win 7 as opposed to on the external HD.