Mini FireWire?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Nermal, May 28, 2004.

  1. Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    #1
    A friend of mine showed me his Windows PC the other day. It had a port on the front with the FireWire logo, but it was a lot smaller than the one on my Mac. Is this a mini-FireWire or something?
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
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    #2
    No, it's just a different form of a firewire port. Same transfer speed, but a less efficient design--hardly anyone uses the smaller version.
     
  3. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2003
    #3
    It is a 4-pin firewire port which works in the same way as the 6-pin firewire ports found on Macs, except that it doesn't provide power to the external device.
     
  4. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
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    Nottingham
    #4
    Actually, I find that 90% of PC cases, and PC laptops ship with 4-pin FW. It's damn annoying, I can't upgrade my shuttle without losing the 6-pin connection, and both my partner's, and parent's laptops ship solely with the 4-pin derivative.

    It just ain't cricket, seriously.
     
  5. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2004
    #5
    Indeed

    Yes my PC has mini-Firewire. Id really like to use my iPod on Firewire, but I have to use USB 2.0 because it wont charge from mini-Firewire.
     
  6. Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

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    #6
    Its not really "mini-firewire." As kewpid said, it is a 4-pin 1394 rather than the 6-pin 1394 you are used to. Most of the time 6-pin is called firewire and 4-pin is called iLink. iLink is used by sony a lot (check the ps2 and sony labtops). It transfers with the same speed but it doesn't have the same voltage/current (I don't know which on) output. There are adapters that can go from on to the other.
     
  7. thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    #7
    Ah, OK, it's a dumb version of FireWire then :p
     
  8. macrumors demi-god

    LethalWolfe

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    #8
    It's not dumb because not all devices can be powered by FW. So why make everything use the much larger 6-pin plug if two of the 6 pins are not needed?

    Example, FW cannot power a MiniDV camera so why waste precious space (both internally and externally) w/the big 6-pin plug when the much smaller 4-pin plug will perform the same task?

    Lethal
     
  9. macrumors 68040

    JFreak

    Joined:
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    #9
    i would be happy to have even that 4pin firewire in this work pc i have - even though that is not as user friendly as the 6-pin version, it's still fw400. generally pc manufacturers don't have any idea about how useful the firewire actually is, and they cut costs by not including it. and if they decide to be "pro", they usually put in the 4pin version.

    maybe it's all changing when pc manufacturers begin to adopt the fw800. hopefully they will. they should think about "options" that seems to be the key word of the pc industry: using 4pin connector instead of 6pin forces user to use external power supplies for firewire devices. the 6pin connector leaves the option open to provide the poewr via the firewire cable.

    (i know that dv cams have the 4pin connectors, but that doesn't mean that computers should have it also. it'd be better to have a 6pin connector in the computer side and use a 6pin-4pin cable to connect the cam.)
     
  10. Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

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    #10
    I don't know if it would be "better," just different. Its a preference.
     
  11. macrumors 603

    janey

    Joined:
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    sunny los angeles
    #11
    the 4-pin version of fw400 isnt called iLink...iLink is Sony's name for Firewire in general, but FireWire caught on more than iLink did, which is why everyone says FireWire instead.
    4-pin/6-pin firewire ports are pain in the asses...i wish theyd make like firewire ports to be all 6-pin so I won't have to deal with adapters and ****e like that. Many a time have I discovered that my friends cant connect their iPods to my 'Book because neither of us had adapters. But I'm glad Apple at least tries to be somewhat nice, and include 4 to 6 pin firewire adapters for their iPods.
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
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    #12
    I know! I've noticed the same thing with PCs. I used to think it was a different kind of port, but I think PC companies use that port most of the time because it's smaller and they are too evil to use the kind of firewire the iPod uses.
     
  13. macrumors 601

    stoid

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    So long, and thanks for all the fish!
    #13
    So the difference between 6-pin and 4-pin ports is the ability to supply power. What's the difference between the 6-pin and 9-pin ports (9-pin being the FW800 standard)? I know that you can get a 9-pin to 6-pin cable so the standards are at least compatible...
     
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Blackheart

    Joined:
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    #14
    Having a 6-pin allows you to use things that are BOTH powered and unpowered. It's more convenient than having only a 4-pin and not having any choice in the topic. I don't quite understand why PC laptop makers choose to have the 4-pin (maybe something with licensing Apple's 1394 ? I have no idea), it isn't that much smaller, and has less ability. As to it being smaller...why is it that Apple laptops are able to fit the large one easily, yet the PC laptops (which are generally larger) can't seem to "fit" it in?
     
  15. macrumors 603

    janey

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    #15
    apple doesnt have ANYTHING to do with the IEEE 1394 standard, except maybe the name "FireWire".

    And yes ive wondered the 4pin/6pin laptop thing too, guess its just more convenient for PC manufacturers to do what everyone else is doing :p
     
  16. macrumors 65816

    ibookin'

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    #16
    Since when? Apple engineers developed the standard in the mid-80s and submitted it to the IEEE in 1995. Its original name was actually FireWire.
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Blackheart

    Joined:
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    #17
    You got to it before I did. lol. Well anywho, here's an article about their licensing on it too.

    http://news.com.com/2100-1040-220209.html?legacy=cnet
     
  18. macrumors demi-god

    LethalWolfe

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    #18

    Having 4-pin on the computer is crappy, IMO. But there are plenty of reasons to have 4-pin on devices that cannot be powered by FW.


    Lethal
     
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Blackheart

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Seattle
    #19
    Right, I can understand why they would have 4-pin on the device (because of the size constraints) but why not make the connection to the computer, universally 6-pin. It would make the laptops, sporting the 6-pin, more versatile by being able to use the 4-pin and take advantage of the power-fed 6-pin.
     
  20. macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #20
    Probably because PC companies are still way behind the game. PC desktops sometimes have the "normal" 6-pin firewire, but laptops still lag behind.
     
  21. macrumors 603

    janey

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    #21
    aw crap.
    /me sighs
    does apple still charge the $1 per port thing?
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Blackheart

    Joined:
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    #22
    I'm not sure, but I wouldn't think that it would be what's holding companies back if Apple IS still charging. I mean, the PC company's $800 laptop now costs $801...ooooo, big money. That's gotta be hurtin' the profit margin i'm sure... :rolleyes:
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    F/reW/re

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2001
    Location:
    Norway
    #23
    Apple did charge companies to use the name FireWire. Thats why everyone came up with their own name (sony=iLink, Dell=FireWave), but Apple managed to get it into their thick brain that charging companies to use the name is a bad idea!

    Charging per port, never heard of it..

    FYI, you do get firewire cables that has 4 pins in one end and 6 in the other.
     
  24. macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

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    #24
  25. macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #25
    Yeah I have a full size (not sure if it actually provides power) firewire port on the back of my PC tower at work, but the front of it has the smaller firewire port. I guess the thinking is that the front port will mostly be used for DV video transfer, but seriously just put the full size ports on both ends. It's not like there's a lack of space in this giant tower or anything. :rolleyes:
     

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