cMP uses for FireWire Port?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by eksu, Oct 20, 2018.

  1. eksu macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2017
    I ended up with some free LaCie Triple Interface external drives yesterday, and it got me thinking, what other ways could I use my Firewire ports to free up my USB ports on my Mac Pro 5,1?

    My understanding is that I can use FireWire for storage devices as well as to connect a digital camera through Firewire to use as a webcam.

    Are there any other possible FireWire use cases?

  2. bookemdano macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2011
    I have an Epson flatbed scanner that can use either FW or USB 2.0. Speeds are pretty much equivalent but I went ahead and connected it via FW for grins and to preserve a USB 2.0 port.

    There aren't very many firewire devices today that are actually relevant and useful. Maybe a few niche things. But even those hard drives you have would probably be faster in a USB 3.0 enclosure than they would over FW or USB 2.0 (course you would need to add a USB 3.0 card, but those can be had cheaply).
  3. joebclash macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2016
    back in the data many audio interfaces used firewire because it was better then usb for things like low latency audio.
  4. orph macrumors 68000


    Dec 12, 2005
    i got a USB 3 PCI card that worked to free up usb space :D

    fire wire was mainly used in audio and video applications from I/O devices to video/audio capture and some old school HD's.

    back in the day fire wire 800 was amazing for large file transfers in comparison to usb 2 :eek: super fast.

    but today USB 3 relay is the way to go for future use.

    maybe some old used kit will have firewire but for new things it's dead now USB 3 is hear for 99% of the time.

    a good example was the apple webcam that used firewire 400 as usb was not able to cary the data, it was not till Logitech put a video encoder on the camera that then sent compressed video to the computer that usb 2 webcams where big.

    and firewire 400 was amazing back in the days of usb 1 & 1.1, dark days
  5. Macschrauber macrumors 6502


    Dec 27, 2015
    You can do a TCP/IP Network via Firewire, too
  6. JeffPerrin macrumors 6502


    Jul 21, 2014
    Firewire is as solid and reliable an interface as it gets. (Just not the fastest connection anymore) Audio devices won't saturate a Firewire bus. And you can edit 1080p video projects just fine over Firewire 800. Yeah, you have to wait a few more seconds compared to USB 3 to transfer the footage onto or off the project drive...
  7. orph macrumors 68000


    Dec 12, 2005
    there used to be big latency problems with audio on USB that was not there on fire wire and used to be amazing for dumping files from digital camera's DV/microdrives/SD cards etc
    a quick google found this
    • FireWire streams data rather than packets data. This results in more stable synchronization and performance. A FireWire device can stream data in both directions at the same time, while USB requires the sent packets of data to finish transmission before the device can receive more data. While seemingly a minor technical detail, this can impact performance and stability to some degree.
    • FireWire is typically dedicated for audio/video purposes, and wouldn't be in use by other services on your computer. Your system will most likely have a single controller for FireWire that shouldn't receive interference from other services or hardware on your system in a normal situation. Conversely, USB is used by a wide variety of hardware peripherals, resulting in an increase in the chance that a conflict could occur.
    • FireWire devices have the ability to cascade or daisy-chain. This means multiple FireWire devices of the same family can be connected together for additional inputs and outputs. For instance, you can connect two PreSonus FireStudio Projects together for a total of 20 inputs and 20 outputs. USB devices cannot be connected together in this fashion.

    forgot about the daisy chaining that was massive having 6 external drives all daisy chained so you never had to play with cables all the time.

    still relay cool for used equipment that's still has a use (id gess mostly audio kit now & some video if you want to play with retro looks)
  8. bookemdano macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2011
    You reminded me that I made really good use of the firewire port during my home video digitizing project. I was able to plug my MiniDV camcorder into the firewire port on my cMP and iMovie picked it right up and transferred all the clips from the tapes in their original quality, date and time stamped properly. Was really a smooth experience.
  9. orph macrumors 68000


    Dec 12, 2005
    used to edit DV video on the DV camera with imovie on an imac G3 400hz with firewire 400, only had a 13GB HD :p relay not shore how it work seemed to just copy bits of video and shuffle it around the tape to work?
    thinking back at the time i did not care how it worked and now im kind of interested, seemed amazingly fast at the time.
    when i say edit, was kid pressing buttons with dad's DV cam around 2000? id gess :D

    last year ended up capturing 60 DV tapes from a Sony dsr-45p over firewire.
    relay nice piece of kit and for any SD capture it's still working with PP and FCX, relay amazed me how well DV holds up even today and those cams tended to have good audio which helps a lot.

    o forgot to mention Sony relay supported fire wire for a long time under the name i.Link, they used to have it on all there hardware and computers. so yep i.Link = firewire

    but relay it's for legacy use only now, usb 3 for 99% of people is what you want and thunderbolt for the top end of us.
  10. Ludacrisvp macrumors regular

    May 14, 2008
    Back in the day I would use the Mac Pro as a DVR for my cable tv using the FireWire 400 output on the cable box would record the broadcast 1080i stream from the cable company. This port was there to handle HD-VCRs apparently but worked great with the Mac.
    Modern usage of Firewire though not sure (haven’t had cable in years) beyond target disk mode from Mac to Mac when some odd issue comes up.
  11. orph macrumors 68000


    Dec 12, 2005
    target disk mode works over USB to, how iv done it for the last few years

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11 October 20, 2018