Firewire query

Discussion in 'macOS' started by PYR0M310N, Feb 20, 2007.

  1. PYR0M310N macrumors 6502a

    PYR0M310N

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    #1
    I have a iMac G5 with 2 firewire ports on the back of it, and i recently purchased a mybook external HDD which i have connected by firewire as i already have too many usb connections. I know there are different speeds of firewire (400 and 800) but are they both likely to be the same speed? and if they are different how do i tell which one is faster?
     
  2. Erendiox macrumors 6502a

    Erendiox

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    #2
    It's most likely they're both 400 but it's easy to tell.

    400 ports look like this:
    Firewire 400

    800 ports look like this:
    Firewire 800

    That's about it. 400 is rounded on one end. 800 is rectangular. Should be easy to tell.
     
  3. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

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    #3
    The iMac G5 didn't have FW800 ports, so you're going to be using FW400. 800 is theoretically twice as fast as either 400 or USB 2.0.
    Moreover on the Mac, FW tends to provide you higher sustained speeds than USB, so in a way it's a blessing that you're out of USB ports.
     
  4. PYR0M310N thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PYR0M310N

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    Aug 29, 2006
    #4
    well there both 400's. would you have to have a different cable in that case for firewire 800?
     
  5. wwooden macrumors 68000

    wwooden

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    Burlington, VT
    #5
    It's not going to do you any good to get a 800-->400 firewire cable as it will be limited by the 400 speed. Just stick with the 400, it is the fastest you computer is capable of.
     
  6. dllavaneras macrumors 68000

    dllavaneras

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    Location:
    Caracas, Venezuela
    #6
    Yes, FW is much better for external HDs than USB 2.0. I've found USB to be fast for small transfers, but for large files FW did a much better job.

    And seeing that the connectors are different, I can assume that you would need different cables for FW 400 and FW 800
     
  7. PYR0M310N thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PYR0M310N

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    #7
    sorry, i don't think i phrased that properly.

    if i was to buy a new mac for instance (i have no idea if they actually ship with them) and it had a fw 800 port on it, would i need different cables to the ones i have now?
     
  8. wwooden macrumors 68000

    wwooden

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    #8
    Yes, you would need a firewire 800 cable.
     
  9. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

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    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #9
    To use the FireWire 800 port, yes, you would need a different cable. Most likely, the Mac has both kinds of ports, and you can simply use the existing FW400 port.
     
  10. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

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    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #10
    Yes x 3
     
  11. daneoni macrumors G4

    daneoni

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    Mar 24, 2006
    #11
    I still wish iPods supported FW400, as i use mine as an external disk also and the extra edge in speed over USB 2 would've been handy
     
  12. CaptainHaddock macrumors 6502

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    Jul 6, 2004
    Location:
    Nagoya, Japan
    #12
    Yeah, I refuse to upgrade from my 4th-gen iPod Photo because Firewire updating is so blazingly fast and I can just chain it from the two FW400 drives already sitting beside my iMac.
     
  13. displaced macrumors 65816

    displaced

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    #13
    I think Apple addressed the craptacular USB2 performance of Macs when they switched to Intel. If I remember rightly, the Apple-designed 'southbridge' chip in the PowerPC era wasn't particularly hot regarding USB2. However, the Intel-designed southbridge on Intel-based Macintoshes works fine. Comparing my G4 Mac Mini USB2 performance versus my MBP USB2 performance seems to confirm this (processor speed shouldn't be a factor - the PPC Mac Mini's Firewire performance is fine).

    Technically, I still prefer Firewire 400 over USB2. USB2 may have a higher peak transfer rate (480Mbit/sec vs. 400Mbit/sec), but FW400 can consistently maintain high transfer rates.
     
  14. CaptainHaddock macrumors 6502

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    Nagoya, Japan
    #14
    Although there's a Macbook Pro in my near future, I'm currently using an iMac G4. All the USB devices I've used were slow, slow, slow.

    Agreed. The few speed comparisons I was able to find all showed sustained transfers via FW400 to be 50-100% faster than USB 2.0.
     
  15. displaced macrumors 65816

    displaced

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    Gravesend, United Kingdom
    #15
    Yeah... USB2 performance of PowerPC Macs was pretty dire. I remember Ars Technica did a technical analysis of what the problem was. Even in Linux, USB2 transfers were terribly slow on PPC machines and Ars went to great lengths to prove it was a hardware implementation problem rather than anything driver-related.

    The neat thing about Firewire is that it's much more intelligent than USB (1.1 or 2.0). USB requires that a device be acting as the 'host' to control transfers - USB devices can't just talk to eachother without the intervention of some kind of CPU. However, Firewire's got the smarts to perform transfers independently of any host.

    Plus, Firewire can provide more amps via its interface than USB2 can. My external 2.5" hard disk has both USB2 and Firewire 400. Using Firewire, the drive's transfer and power all comes from the one Firewire cable. Using USB2, I either have to conenct it to two USB ports using the special cable (one for data+power, one to supplement the power) or use an external AC adapter.

    Oh, and many Firewire devices have built-in pass-through conenctors, so it's a snap to daisy-chain them together without faffing about with a hub.

    Firewire 800's (IEEE 1394b) not quite as ubiquitous as FW400 (IEEE 1394b), sadly. However, I imagine that the upcoming FW1600 (you guessed it, IEE1394c) could have some interesting uses!
     
  16. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #16
    Errr. :rolleyes:

    I'm a big fan of firewire, and the lack of it in the new iPods is one of the main reasons that I've not upgraded yet, as I'm on a VAIO laptop that has a 4-pin firewire connection, but no USB 2.0.

    But it's a good thing that at the same time Apple removed the firewire from iPods, they also added support for booting from a USB drive.
     
  17. PYR0M310N thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PYR0M310N

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    #17
    wow i was considering upgrading to a 5th gen, but i certainly won't now
     

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