Firewire 800-400 Adapter or PICe Card?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 19, 2012
I'll be moving up to a refurb Mac Pro soon and I still have a number of peripherals with Firewire 400 interface only. My original plan was to install a Firewire 800 to 400 PCIe card to use until I'm ready for 800 exclusively. However, recently I've been researching the possibility of using the 800 to 400 adapter instead, which would of course leave the PCI slot open for other usage. This seems to me like the best approach, but I'd like to get some input from the forum before I make that final decision. Cost isn't a factor, strictly logistics. Is there a preference for one approach over the other, as in performance etc?



macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
The adapter is much better. You'll be using the native FireWire for maximum compatibility and stability. It will achieve full 400mbps speeds as well. The adapters cost less than $10 as opposed to the PCIe cards which can get pricy.


macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2008
3 Port FireWire 400 PCIe Host Adapter


NewerTech FireWire 800-400 Adapter

Sonnet Technology 9-pin male (FW800) to 6-pin female (FW400) adapter

Depends on the FW devices you use, your dependency on the speed, and how many of them you intend to use simultaneously. If you connect a FW400 device to the FW800 bus via an adapter, all devices in that bus will go down to FW400 speeds, even if the other devices are FW800. That's where a PCIE card has an advantage, plus it gives you extra ports.

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macrumors regular
Mar 10, 2008
You can also buy a cable with a 4 or 6-pin Firewire 400 connector on one end and a 9-pin Firewire 800 connector on the other. I've done that in the past since the cable avoided the need for a big ugly adapter and was cheaper anyway.