Anybody think USB 2.0 is more reliable than firewire?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by steffi, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. steffi macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2003
    I've been having a lot of problems booting with external FW devices attached. Sometimes you get a "ghosted" login panel, other times a black login panel and sometimes a regular login panel that doesn't accept any mouse clicks.

    I've just changed to USB 2.0 since these devices are triple interface and everything appears to be working again.

    I understand the benefits of FW 800 but I have to say that USB 2.0 just seems to be a whole lot more reliable for me right now.
  2. 6-0 Prolene macrumors 6502

    Feb 11, 2010
    Never had a problem with FireWire. It's still my favorite.
  3. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    Never had an issue with my FW800 external HDD attached
  4. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    Firewire performance depends on the chipset of the external HDD, so if you bought a cheap external HDD, you might also get a cheap (thus less quality) chipset, which might explain the erratic behaviour.

    What Mac do you have?

    Have you tried an SMC reset with it yet? That worked for me when problems with an external HDD occurred.

    Btw, USB 2.0 does not even come close to the speed of FW800.
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    FW800 is 100% reliable for me. MUCH better than USB for external drives.
  6. steffi thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2003
    The fact that when I have this hardware plugged in with FW800 and I get two-three different login panel experiences is troubling. I will come back to try to diagnose this further but for now I need to get some work done and USB 2.0 is letting me continue. The goal is probably to reinstall SL from scratch and then I expect my problems to disappear but it's odd that only FW devices are affected by whatever the problem I'm having is.
  7. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

    Jun 21, 2006
    I have never had a problem with any of my FireWire drives related to connectivity. I don't think that one interface is more reliable than the other per say; I think it's dependent on the controller in both the host device and the peripheral in use. If USB works better for you then you should continue using it.
  8. scottness macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2009
    Room 101
    Firewire 400/800 is reliably much faster than USB 2 when transferring large amounts of data.
  9. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
  10. steffi thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2003
    The two devices in question are

    G-Technology G-DRIVE SSD RAID and daisy chained to that is G-Technology G-DRIVE mini HD with a western digital 640 GB drive inside it.

    MacBook Pro 13.3 Unibody

    I did PRAM reset I'll look into SMC

    Yes I'm aware of that but I had consistently bad behaviour when using firewire. I'll come back to FW after I get my Time Machine backup finished. USB is hopefully a temporary solution for now.
  11. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    If you have a FW chipset and firmware that work with the current version of the OS, all is dandy.

    However, Apple has been known to update their OS and render some chipsets problematic with the OS.

    Usually cured by a Firmware patch on the FW device.

    If you have an older device that the manufacturer refuses to update, the device is problematic or unusable.

    Have one myself that got punted with Leopard, the way it slept no longer was supported by Apple so the OS thought there is a bus error and keeps pinging the device ... crashes the OS when the error log gets too big.

    So I have a FW/USB device that only works under USB now, if I want to leave it in long enough for the drive to sleep it has to be USB -- though FW works for short term use fine.

    Quite a few realized FW got the short stick with Time Machine.
  12. steffi thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2003
    Yeah I don't think these devices are really supported anymore. Also I have an OWC Voyager drive dock but that is plugged into as USB as it's also problematic when used with Firewire. It's got a second Firewire port on it but it doesn't pass thru bus power which I find annoying.


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