Does Firewire make a difference

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by jusacruiser, May 16, 2011.

  1. jusacruiser macrumors 6502

    jusacruiser

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Location:
    Palm Beach, Florida
    #1
    Ok, I know Firewire is supposed to make backing up faster. But does it really make a big difference whether you have firewire or not? Is firewire good?
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #2
    For the initial backup it will make a difference, as the initial backup may be around 100GB (for example), which would be twice as fast via Firewire 800 as via USB 2.0. 100GB will transfer in 34 minutes via FW800 (if the transfer is at 60MB/s) or 68 minutes via USB 2.0 (30MB/s).
    But for the subsequent backups (100MB for example) the difference is still there, but if such small backup takes five seconds or two seconds doesn't really matter (USB at 20MB/s, FW800 at 50MB/s, as Time Machine transfers slower than the interface permits).
     
  3. jusacruiser thread starter macrumors 6502

    jusacruiser

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Location:
    Palm Beach, Florida
    #3
    Ok, so given the choice of two Western Digital Backups:

    Choice 1 - 1 TB with no firewire
    Choice 2 - 500 GB with firewire

    Which choice would you go with?

    FYI.....My current laptop has 250 GB Capacity.

    Thanks.
     
  4. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
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    located
    #4
    Capacity-wise I would go with the 1TB HDD and as it will be solely used for backup purposes, USB 2.0 is fine.
    If it would be my working HDD, I would go with the FW800 HDD.
     
  5. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    #5
    Are you going to use it as e.g. a Time Machine backup, or a bootable clone?

    I regularly use SuperDuper to update an external 500GB FW800 drive to keep it in sync with my laptop. If anything happened to the laptop drive I could boot off it and work until I got a replacement drive. I've had a hard drive failure with another Mac and booted off both FW and USB and there's a noticeable difference. If this is your intention, go for FW.

    If you're just keeping a data backup go with the larger USB drive.
     
  6. jusacruiser thread starter macrumors 6502

    jusacruiser

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Location:
    Palm Beach, Florida
    #6
    Well, because this is a laptop, I will be primarily using my external drive for just backing up. I carry my laptop around with me a lot and it would not be realistic to have the external drive attached to my laptop all the time.

    Yes, I would be using time machine.

    So what would your opinion be with this additional information?
     
  7. Ledgem macrumors 65816

    Ledgem

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hawaii, USA
    #7
    Get the larger capacity USB drive. As has been mentioned previously, Time Machine will generally be transferring more slowly than USB or Firewire permits, simply because there are delays in disk activity when going through multiple files.

    Firewire is good for applications requiring a fast connection to the drive. For example, if you were doing video editing and had your video stored on external drives, you would want Firewire (eSATA would be even better). That's not a case of copying files, but of actively accessing large files. Program responsiveness and such depends on how fast it can read and write the data.
     
  8. jusacruiser thread starter macrumors 6502

    jusacruiser

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Location:
    Palm Beach, Florida
    #8
    Whew! I am glad you said get the larger capacity USB drive.....because I did just that. Just got home from Best Buy and purchased the WD 1 TB Drive.

    Your reply sounded very IT technical. Another IT guy I would assume, just like myself!
     

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