Few questions about Firewire externals

TheStu

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 20, 2006
1,245
0
Carlisle, PA
I currently have a USB External Enclosure with a Samsung 500GB SATA drive inside of it.

My problem is this. Although I knew that USB is massively slower than Firewire when it comes to data transfers (I am watching SuperDuper backup my files at a whopping 3.7MB/s) I still got the USB enclosure for compatibility's sake for when I had to connect to my Windows friends' machines. Well, most of my friends are mac users now, and I neglected the fact that most Firewire enclosures also have USB.

So, I am going to get a firewire enclosure, and perhaps will finally have decent transfer rates... something that can actually take advantage of either of my drives (internal 5400RPM with 16MB cache, external 7200RPM PMR with 16MB cache). But i have a couple of questions.

I know that you can daisy chain firewire, but does placement of devices in the chain matter? Meaning, if I have bus powered devices first (external notebook drives) is that worse than having independently powered devices first (large external drive).

Can multiple machines be connected to the same external at once, either 2 over firewire, or 1 over USB & 1 over FW?

Do you have any single drive enclosures that you would recommend?

I am currently eying this one

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817198004
 

speakerwizard

macrumors 68000
Aug 8, 2006
1,655
0
London
The difference in speed between firewire 400 and usb2 isnt that great, just firewire is faster with larger data transfers. firewire can be daisychained by something like 30 devices aslong as they are powered. im pretty sure you can only connect it to 1 machine at a time. Also super duper is slower than a normal data transfer when you make a bootable clone! cant recommend an enclosure, i just use the WD mybook pro, they have usb/fw400 and 800 (which i use daisychained with 3 of them) only problem i have with daisychaining is that sometimes after a computer sleep they will power up in the wrong order and some will not mount properly, saying that it hasnt happened yet since i stuck leopard on my machine.
 

trainguy77

macrumors 68040
Nov 13, 2003
3,567
1
Those slow data rates could be explained if he is using USB 1.1. In which case firewire would be much faster.
 

maestrokev

macrumors 6502a
Apr 23, 2007
874
8
Canada
It's not just the speed difference between FW400 and USB2, it's also that FW doesn't require as much cpu overhead. Also, if you're daisychaining USB, using various USB devices at the same time will degrade performance of all items on that chain.

I have 3 FW800 external hard drives daisychained. I can turn on the one I need without turning on the first items in the daisychain.

With the current external hard drives you can not connect more than 1 computer at a time directly to the enclosure.
 

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