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Which is the best strategy to save the batteries of your macbook pro, to watch a movie that is stored on an usb hard drive (powered by the macbook) ?

1) Plug the usb hard drive and watch the movie from it.

2) Copy the movie on the the macbook hard drive, unplug the usb harddrive and watch the movie?

I personally think the 2) is the best, but can't say I'm sure 100%

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I agree that Number 2 is your best bet. If you watched a full length movie from a USB drive, it would cause the computer to have to constantly access that drives hard disk, and unless it was hooked directly to the motherboard like the internal hard disk, it would need to go through several different technologies (cable, serial bus, driver, etc) that the normal hard disk didn't have to, which would all cause the computer to have to run just that extra little harder to play your movie.

It doesn't seem like much, but if you're on a laptop, it will surely cause your battery to drain faster.

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Number 2 would definitely conserve battery as the device wouldn't need to be constantly powered

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