USB or Firewire Harddrive

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by opoppe, Nov 12, 2004.

  1. opoppe macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    #1
    What is the difference between a USB and a FW connection on a harddrive? I've looked at the specs on some LaCie USB and FW harddrives and they look pretty much the same...
     
  2. Solafaa macrumors 6502a

    Solafaa

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Location:
    Daddy said not to talk to strangers
    #2
    I think USB 2.0 is a bit faster (i read somewere) but i use a firewire hard drive (300GB from LaCie) and i love it. I have not had any problems with it and its fast enough for me. Just get whatever connection you have free, i have 2 firewire inputs one is for my iSight then other is free so i got a firewire hard drive.

    There both about the same.
     
  3. neilrobinson macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    Location:
    Perth, WA, Australia
    #3
    firewire is slightly faster than USB 2.0, especially on large files, usb/firewire combos are kinda useful if you want to hook it up to a PC, cause you can use usb 1.1 but it will be slow...
     
  4. H&Kie macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    #4
    In numbers USB2 is faster than FireWire (480Mbit/s vs. 400 Mbit/s), but it seems that in practice FireWire in fact works slightly faster. I'm looking for an external harddrive myself (I like the looks of the La Cie products) and I myself favour FireWire. Mostly my USB ports are already in use and for some reason I got a better feeling towards FireWire. Why?... Dunno really... Seems more Apple-ish to me ;)
     
  5. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Location:
    Norway
    #5
    Wrong!
    USB2.0 is MUCH slower than Firewire!
    Take a look here: http://www.barefeats.com/usb2.html

    I recently got a LaCie D2 extreme and its very nice!
    Its built like a tank, it looke great, but it also a bit noisy (if you own a G4 tower you won't hear it..) compared to my 12-incher
     
  6. MacNeXT macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2004
    #6
    Some XBench test results of my setup:
    iBook 12" 1,2 GHz
    External FW/USB2.0 case with "Oxford" bridge chip and Western Digital WD800 (80GB, 7200rpm, 2MB cache)

    Firewire
    Code:
    Disk Test	71.95	
    	Sequential	61.28	
    		Uncached Write	64.62	26.94 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    		Uncached Write	64.31	26.34 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    		Uncached Read	47.67	7.55 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    		Uncached Read	75.33	30.44 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    	Random	87.12	
    		Uncached Write	90.18	1.35 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    		Uncached Write	92.19	20.79 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    		Uncached Read	82.58	0.55 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    		Uncached Read	84.26	17.34 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    
    USB2.0
    Code:
    Disk Test	29.42	
    	Sequential	18.82	
    		Uncached Write	35.88	14.96 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    		Uncached Write	34.65	14.19 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    		Uncached Read	7.87	1.25 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    		Uncached Read	34.79	14.05 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    	Random	67.37	
    		Uncached Write	80.72	1.21 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    		Uncached Write	64.92	14.64 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    		Uncached Read	69.51	0.46 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    		Uncached Read	58.15	11.97 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    
    Internal iBook drive (4200rpm, 30GB)
    Code:
    Disk Test	49.17	
    	Sequential	50.99	
    		Uncached Write	47.69	19.88 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    		Uncached Write	40.58	16.62 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    		Uncached Read	103.12	16.32 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    		Uncached Read	43.21	17.46 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    	Random	47.47	
    		Uncached Write	44.66	0.67 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    		Uncached Write	43.82	9.88 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    		Uncached Read	54.49	0.36 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    		Uncached Read	48.30	9.94 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    
    As you can see, Firewire is way faster than USB2.0, even faster than my internal drive. Get Firewire if you can!
     
  7. Solafaa macrumors 6502a

    Solafaa

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Location:
    Daddy said not to talk to strangers
    #7
    http://www.digit-life.com/articles/usb20vsfirewire/

    Thtas were i got my info, i never used a usb hard drive so i cant tell the diffrence. Now i am glade i went with the firewair.
     
  8. SasyBabe macrumors member

    SasyBabe

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2003
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #8
    Anyone have any problems locating your firewire hard drive? Mine doesnt even locate... :( Does the brand of hard drive matter?
     
  9. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Location:
    Norway
    #9
    Nope.

    What version of macosx are you using?
    And what brand are you using?
     
  10. wdlove macrumors P6

    wdlove

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    #10
    I have an external OWC Mercury Elite Fire Wire HD, would not want to be without. It works great.
     
  11. SasyBabe macrumors member

    SasyBabe

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2003
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #11
    I have jaguar and its a Seagate
     
  12. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Location:
    Norway
    #12
  13. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #13
    FireWire also provides more bus power, so you may not need a power cable. USB you usually need an AC adapter.

    I'd go FireWire if possible, then USB. But there are quite a few devices that are both interfaces, so you might just want to get one of those for transfer of files from Mac->PC and back... for Mac only FireWire.
     
  14. trailblazer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    #14
    doesnt usb2 require processor time, whereas firewire is just the bus, and say, the harddrive...eg usb2 --> cpu --> hd, fw --> hd?
     
  15. SasyBabe macrumors member

    SasyBabe

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2003
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #15
    I have called the company about this hard drive and they were no help at all.. It was a joke. They said "thats strange". I did upgrade my operating system and everything.. I then tried the drive on a Mac G4 and still nothing. That computer was using Panther... so it isnt the operating system. I then checked my PB by connecting this music thing my bf has to the firewire port. My PB found that hardware!! Sooo its the hard drive! :mad: I sent that back today! I am going to buy another one but NOT that brand. I was very disappointed in the support and the product. My Lacie should be here by Tues! :)
     
  16. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Location:
    Norway
    #16
    The last couple of years is has became more and more common that drives are failing and not even working at all.
    I think that i've heard about dead-on-arrival drives from any manufacturers out there..
    I've had very good experience with seagate, and i also think the iMacs and powermacs has internal seagates.

    I've got a LaCie d2 and it's great!

    Hope the next drive you get is a working one.. ;)
     

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