2011 MBP Firewire vs USB Speed?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by LarryJoe33, Aug 4, 2017.

  1. LarryJoe33 macrumors 6502a

    LarryJoe33

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    #1
    From what I understand, these models have USB 2.0 (480mbps) and FW800 (800 mbps). Is this is correct, can I expect double the transfer speed using an external FW drive vs. USB?
     
  2. pixelatedscraps macrumors regular

    pixelatedscraps

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    #2
    FireWire 800 is significantly faster than USB 2.0, yes. Use it over USB if you can.

    You should also have a Thunderbolt / DisplayPort port as well, which I believe is a tad faster than FW800. Google will help there though.
     
  3. LarryJoe33 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LarryJoe33

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    #3
    Thanks, I do have that port as well. Ultimately I would look to buy a hard drive enclose for FW or Thunderbolt to use for backup.
     
  4. pixelatedscraps macrumors regular

    pixelatedscraps

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    #4
    Go with a Thunderbolt equipped external hard drive or enclosure - it should have more longevity than Firewire, as it has almost entirely been replaced by TB / TB3 and USB-C.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 4, 2017 ---
    Go with a Thunderbolt equipped external hard drive or enclosure - it should have more longevity than Firewire, as it has almost entirely been replaced by TB / TB3 and USB-C.
     
  5. LarryJoe33 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LarryJoe33

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    #5
    Pretty hard to find a Thunderbolt 2 or 1 hard drive enclosure or even a SATA to TB cable. I have my old 2.5 inch spinner I would like to use for backups.
     
  6. ZapNZs macrumors 68000

    ZapNZs

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    #6
    FW's working speed is, in my experience, about double that of USB 2.0. However, if you are using this primarily for backups, and that backup system is Time Machine, after the initial backup then the time it takes to complete the backup is going to be relatively small with both. Consequently, the higher cost of firewire enclosures, and the relative scarcity, plus the fact that you can buy a USB 3.0 enclosure for $5 that is compatible with 2.0, may make a USB enclosure more justifiable.
     
  7. LarryJoe33 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LarryJoe33

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    #7
    Thanks, I already have that drive in a USB enclosure. I think I will leave it be based on the unavailability and the cost of FW and Thunderbolt.
     
  8. killawat macrumors 65816

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    #8
    It will be hard to find TB enclosures because they entire solution had to be certified in order to be on retail shelves. With that said, I would go with Firewire over USB 2.0 for my backup drive. USB 3.0 is a different story of course. You could work on either, but if you need to boot from your external drive, you can continue to be semi productive on the FW side vs the pokey slow USB 2.
     
  9. LarryJoe33 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LarryJoe33

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    #9
    I'll try and find a FW enclosure. Hopefully as cheap as USB.
     
  10. killawat macrumors 65816

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    #10
    What's the size of the disk you're using? Some multi terabyte solutions (3+) get flakey when stuffed into USB enclosures, in some cases.

    If you don't mind buying used you can always find something from g-tech on eBay. just search for g-tech g-drive mini fw800.
     
  11. LarryJoe33 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LarryJoe33

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    #11
    Will do. It's my old 2.5" 250GB spinner that came with the machine (replaced with SSD). Nothing daunting.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 4, 2017 ---
    Good call on eBay, just got a used 750GB G Drive to $35. Better than spending $12 to put my 250GB in an enclosure.
     
  12. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    #12
    While FireWire 800 is nominally about twice the speed of USB 2.0; an older or slower spinning hard drive probably isn't even as fast as USB 2.0. But, using a FireWire enclosure leaves your USB ports free.
     

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