FireWire 400 or 800 for Time Machine

Discussion in 'macOS' started by KJmoon117, Nov 20, 2007.

  1. KJmoon117 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Location:
    NC
    #1
    Hey all,

    I have a 20" 2.2 Alu iMac with 500GB [internal hard drive]. The problem is that I only have 200GB free on my external hard drive [MyBook WD 300GB USB 2.0] formatted as HFS Journeled and the other 100GB as FAT32.

    I was planning on getting a 500GB hard drive with an external enclosure (due to price and hard drive swapping] for Time Machine. So I was wondering is the difference between FW 400 and 800 like day and night? Worth the extra 50 or 60$? Also, is the stability between FW 400 and 800 th same, so it won't lose data during transfer like USB does.

    Thanks,
    KJMoon117
     
  2. mnkeybsness macrumors 68030

    mnkeybsness

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2001
    Location:
    Moneyapolis, Minnesota
    #2
    Have you considered USB2.0? It'd be better for compatibility down the road, since Firewire800 is being phased out in favor of USB2.0.
     
  3. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    American Riviera
    #3
    I use FW800 for both of my external HDs, and when copying over large files it really flies compared to FW400 or USB 2.0. As for applicability with TM, I'd say it depends on what kinds of files you're backing up. If you have to copy a bunch of small files, FW400 or USB 2.0 might be indistinguishable. If you're working with large files like video, FW800 is the way to go.
     
  4. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Location:
    ~119W 34N
    #4
    Why would FW800 be phased out for USB2.0? There's no comparison in speed. Apple just added FW800 to the entire iMac line.

    But, to answer the TM question: Unless you're backing up a lot of large files, it probably doesn't matter which interface. Also, TM works very well in the background, so there's no time constraint. You could do the initial backup on FW800, then switch to 400 or USB2, if you're short on ports.
     
  5. kflook macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2007
    Location:
    Gettysburg, PA
  6. iHerzeleid macrumors 6502a

    iHerzeleid

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    #6
    If anything is gonna phase out FireWire its gonna be USB 3.0, and even then Apple will have FireWire 2 out or something similar.
     
  7. KJmoon117 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Location:
    NC
    #7
    I don't think that will happen and also, you can only boot from FireWire drives in Mac OS X, I think.

    Plus, all the FireWire enclosures and external hard drives I seen come with USB 2.0.

    Anyways, is the stability fine for both FW 400 and 800? Because I have backed up movie files and I have heard that USB 2.0 drops frames compare to 400/800.

    Thanks
     
  8. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Location:
    ~119W 34N
    #8
    Machines made in the last several years can boot from either USB (even flash drives) or Firewire.
     
  9. vansouza macrumors 68000

    vansouza

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Location:
    West Plains, MO USA Earth
    #9
    Glad you asked...

    Fast answer: FireWire 800; it blows the rest away. If money is an issue then by all means go with the FW 400; but Lord keep clear of USB unless you have an eternity to wait and don't love yourself. I won't even buy USB only drives, I don't care how big and at what price point... I just look for FW800. Your mileage may very as I am sure others here will attest to.
     
  10. unity macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Location:
    Green Bay, WI
    #10
    ditto
     
  11. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
  12. KJmoon117 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Location:
    NC
    #12
    Yeah, I waited 5 days for my USB 2.0 drive to back up in Time Machine. Not to mention I got couple errors, making me restart the backup. So that would be estimated, weeks wait.

    So is the money saved on FW 400 worth it? Because money is a problem right now but I really do not want to turn to those 30$ USB enclosures... Yet I do want to know if the difference of cost justifies going to FW400.

    Thanks
     
  13. je1ani macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    #13
    with FW800 I usually get about 10MB per second... it's REALLY quick
     
  14. psonice macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    #14
    I'd say avoid USB2 as well. It's slower than firewire 400, uses more system resources, and is less stable. Whether to go for fw400 or 800 is just down to cost really, 800 will be a bit quicker but probably not 2x faster as the disk won't write the data fast enough (unless you start looking at RAID arrays and such). If you want those backups to finish as fast as possible and don't mind spending a bit extra go for 800.
     
  15. kolax macrumors G3

    kolax

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    #15
    I have a FW400/800/USB2 drive for TM.

    First backup I used FW800, and now I just use USB2 since it is fast enough for the little backups every hour.
     
  16. AlexisV macrumors 68000

    AlexisV

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
  17. psonice macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    #17
    Just curious, but why use usb2 if you have fw800 on the drive? Or are you using the FW ports for something else?
     
  18. kolax macrumors G3

    kolax

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    #18
    Simply because the USB cable is a lot thinner and more flexible - ideal for me because I have my cables attached to my desk so I just plonk my MBP down and plug it all in. The FireWire cables are really thick and don't do right-angles too well.

    The little backups only contain up to 1GB at the most, which takes a few minutes on USB2.0, so I'm not too fussed.

    If I were to copy a lot of data, yeah I'd obviously use Firewire.
     
  19. DaLurker macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2006
    #19
    Not true. USB 2.0 was introduced between FW400 and FW800. You can say its the PC equivalent to FW400. FW800 was developed only 4 years ago and specs wise much better than FW400 and USB 2.0.

    USB3.0 is in the works I believe and will compete with FW800 in terms of specs.

    In short, FW800 is not being phased out in favour or USB 2.0.

    Btw if you have a firewire enclosure with a complete image of your bootup disk (ie using SuperDuper! or CarbonCopyCloner), if you're main bootup disk hits the bricks you can boot into your firewire disk to continue working :) Personally this was the biggest reason why I went high and low looking for a good affordable firewire drive. I use SuperDuper! (well CCC right now) in lieu of Time Machine.
     
  20. kolax macrumors G3

    kolax

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    #20
    USB 2.0 speeds are up to 480Mbits/s (60MB/s), FireWire 400 is 400Mbits/s (50MB/s).

    But we know that in the real world, FireWire 400 performs a hell of a lot better than USB 2.0. So I wouldn't say USB 2.0 lies between FW400 and 800.

    USB 3.0 is possibly capable of delivering speeds up to 4.8Gbits/s (600MB/s), which is really really fast.

    Whether it'll perform that fast in the real world is in question though..
     
  21. Raid macrumors 68020

    Raid

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    Toronto
    #21
    In a related note can anybody recommend an external enclosure/drive with FW800 that is reasonably priced? I've looked around and the most affordable I could find was the g-tech g-drive (which can be found on the apple website).

    I was kind of looking for one that is better set-up to swap SATA drives... from other information I found it looks like you can swap out the drive on a g-drive, but it's really not meant for it and it voids the warranty. :eek:
     
  22. vansouza macrumors 68000

    vansouza

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Location:
    West Plains, MO USA Earth
    #22
    Apple does

    I bought an Apple Firewire cable that was white and as thin as the iPod cable. And remember USB reaches 400 in bursts but not constantly, FW on the other hand does 400/800 constantly ... That is why I prefer it. Oh, and you can daisy chain firewire...
     
  23. vansouza macrumors 68000

    vansouza

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Location:
    West Plains, MO USA Earth
    #23
    Did you try Other World Computing? http://eshop.macsales.com/
    You could try looking there. I got a good deal on a 1Tb external at the local Apple store.

    Also places will be having BlackFriday sales....
     
  24. BornAgainMac macrumors 603

    BornAgainMac

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    Florida Resident
    #24
    Firewire 800 would be 3 hours compared to USB 2.0's 8 hours.
     
  25. DroboGuy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    #25
    FW and Time Machine

    Okay - before USB 2.0 gets the total bumm wrap, the speed issues with Time Machine backups do not seem to be interconnect related. People are seeing slow backup times from USB and FW alike. Also, there seems to be some tie to Spotlight (disable spotlight during the initial TM backup and it's faster).

    I have used a Drobo for a good deal of time, and while it's definitely slower than FW800, it's not that I notice huge performance hits when I am using or anything like that. AND, it's easy and expandable. Just my 2 cents, you can check out the "how it works" video at http://www.drobo.com or check out the MacWorld review at: http://www.macworld.com/2007/08/reviews/drobo/index.php

    Cheers
     

Share This Page