Adding firewire 400 ports (yes, plural) to your new MBP

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by cohenben, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. cohenben macrumors member

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    #1
    Like a lot of others right now I'm debating between a previous gen MBP or a new one. The lack of firewire 400 is a bummer (I have a lot of firewire devices that i use often) - but then I saw this. I know it's an obvious solution to some of you, but to be honest I didn't realize i could add 2 Firewire ports to my new MBP for $40. Pretty cool.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/EXPC342F1U/
     
  2. danny_w macrumors 601

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    #2
  3. panoz7 macrumors 6502a

    panoz7

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    #3
    If you didn't already know the FW800 port on the new MBP is backwards compatible with FW400. All you need is a 800 to 400 cable like this one.
     
  4. Tosser macrumors 68030

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    Jan 15, 2008
    #4
    Yes, and if you (the OP) works with anything but FW-harddiscs (i.e. with, say, audio interfaces) you better double check your interface works with the reintroduced Lucent Agere chipset in the new ones as well.
     
  5. Horst Guest

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    Jan 10, 2006
    #5
    Throw in a Belkin 6 port FW hub, and you have all you need.
     
  6. Tosser macrumors 68030

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    #6
    As mentioned: Unless your stuff doesn't work with the Agere chipset – which is quite a lot if you do _anything_ audio related.

    Yes, I'm mentioning it again, because people keep implying that "fw" plus any sort of adaptor/cables/hubs is the holy grail, seemingl not knowing that it matters little when a) the chipset sucks and b) not even an expresscard fw-adaptor (as the OP mentions) works properly under OS X.
     
  7. cohenben thread starter macrumors member

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    #7
    I'm noticing that both the new MBP and the previous gen have a max firewire bus of 800 mb/sec -so with a WORKING hub, I would assume I'm not losing anything with this new MBP. Am I correct?

    Also - is these "agere" chipset incompatibility issue something that can be fixed by apple with a download in the future, or will the third party manufacturers have to update their gear?
     
  8. Tosser macrumors 68030

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    #8
    Yup. Absolutely.


    It's very unlikely it can or will be fixed by a download. Third parties would have to update their gear, which sounds all fine and well, until you realise there is already much gear out in the world and it all works, except with the Agere chipset which is the flawed part.
    What's weird though, even if you buy that Expresscard you link to (it has the good TI (Texas Instruments) chipset, it's OS X cocking things up. Plenty of people have had problems with TI expresscards in OS X, but those cards works in windows.

    I would certainly not count on Apple "fixing" anything, as FW is on the way out in Cupertino, and if you buy something used or have to connect to a friend's interface, you most likely won't be able to. There's a reason that the last time they introduced the Agere chipset they silently went back to the TI-ones without telling anyone. This time, though, they seem dead set on killing it off completely.
     
  9. cohenben thread starter macrumors member

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    #9
    I think people need to be more adamant about talking about the max firewire bus being the same (800 mb/sec) between the previous gen and the new MBPs. I almost pulled the trigger and bought a previous gen thinking that the firewire 400 was somehow giving me 1200 mb/sec....400+800 for each port. I'm glad I checked into that.

    I still feel bad for those in the MB market though - I personally don't think that they're truly going to get rid of firewire completely. First off, we've invested in so many devices! Second - they're still putting them all over the Mac Pros (front and back!) - so it's not like Apple is really trying to kill it completely, right?

    I think the truth is that SJobs decided having a firewire 400 and 800 port together on a machine with a 800 mb max bus is kind of silly. After a long meditation, I can't blame him, either. I'm not going to get the full benefit of the 800 port if I'm simultaneously using the 400 port at the same time, so be gone with it! If I want to dumb down the 800 port, I can gladly go find a hub to do it for me.

    Now, if only they would fix these damn expresscard slots! I think it is a serious shame that they don't tout those things as the key to keeping your MBP endlessly cutting-edge and connected to changing technology...old and new. c'mon guys!
     
  10. iVeBeenDrinkin' macrumors 65816

    iVeBeenDrinkin'

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    #10
    This whole thread is silly
     
  11. cohenben thread starter macrumors member

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    #11
    Hey Tosser - can you explain how I can figure out if a certain device will work with the Agere chipset? Thanks!
     
  12. Piplodocus macrumors regular

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    Apr 2, 2008
    #12
  13. dwd3885 macrumors 68020

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    #13


    Really? When was the last Mac Pro update? That's like saying they still have firewire on the iMac, because they haven't updated that yet. I'd be surprised if the iMac had FW400, it'll probably be like the MBP and have one FW800.

    And when was the last time Apple cared about people investing money in devices? If that were true, you wouldn't have to buy a new dock or new ipod accessories each time a new ipod or iphone came out.
     
  14. cohenben thread starter macrumors member

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    #14
    I guess we'll see...I just hate to hear people immediately claim Apple is trying to completely get rid of firewire, when they're still building machines with it! Sure, they didn't include it on the MB, but they didn't put it on the MBair either.

    I do believe Apple is trying to get rid of fw 400 ports...but 800 will be be here to stay for quite some time. I'd bet the new Mac Pro's will have a fw800 in front and at least 1 (maybe 2) in the back. So, don't just kiss firewire goodbye because they didn't put it on the MB! Okay, I'm done now.
     
  15. Tosser macrumors 68030

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    Jan 15, 2008
    #15
    You can't really. You have to see if there is "something" out there – either from users or from the manufacturers of the interface themselves – that or simply trial-and-error it. I'd go with the research before anything else, though. Let other people do the trial-and-error – it's much cheaper :D
     

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