Firewire 800 external drive is slower than USB2.0

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by bmpwe, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. bmpwe macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    #1
    I recently bought a VANTEC NexStar 3 NST-360FBSU-BK. In the exclosure, I have a SATA drive capable of 3.0Gb/second. It's attached to my Late 2009 Mac Mini via FireWire 800.

    Based upon my understanding and in this situation, the FireWire should be the bottleneck. Therefore, I should be enjoying bandwidth somewhere shy of 800Mb/second.

    Unfortunately, I'm not getting any where near that speed. I can transfer a 726MB file in 18.6 seconds. According to my math, that's ~5808Mb/18.6 seconds = ~312 Mb/second. This is not even FireWire 400 or USB 2.0 speed.

    For completeness sake, I also just upgraded from 2GB of ram to 4GB (both PC8500) but nothing seems negatively affected (in fact the computer is much, much more snappy!).

    Any idea whats going on and how to get up closer to FireWire 800 speeds?

    Thanks,
    Brandon
     
  2. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    forlod bygningen
    #2
    As you can see here, the reviews are quite bad for that drive.

    And as far as I can guess just from the exterior of the enclosure, the Firewire chipset might be not the best and thus resulting in such low speeds (39MB/s).

    But don't get your hopes up, you will never get 800Mbit (100MB/s) with FW800, more like 75MB/s.
     
  3. bmpwe thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    #3
    I know, it was all that was available.

    That's what I'm thinking as well. How did you guess that by the exterior?

    I know, that's why I said "close" to FW800.

    Thanks.
     
  4. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

    Joined:
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    forlod bygningen
    #4
    The enclosure seems cheap, thus I guess not much effort and money was put toward the acquisition of a proper chipset.

    I have had my fair share of external Firewire enclosures, 15/20 in the last 9 years, and some were bad, and they looked bad too, and some were good, and they looked good too (except one piece, which looked like hell, but worked alright).
     
  5. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #5
    Probably 'cos it looks like cheap junk. I wouldn't expect much from a FW800 enclosure in that price range. If you have a genuine technical need for the speed, like video editing, spend the money for a good one. Otherwise, it's better to get a good-quality USB enclosure for the same price.
     
  6. Heb1228 macrumors 68020

    Heb1228

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2004
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    #7
    Here's the speed tests I ran awhile back on the same external HDD. Its triple interface, so should give a good comparison. You can see USB sucks. And you should know that no interface gives real-world speeds that even approach the theoretical maximum.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #8
    FireWire is, however, much better at approaching its theoretical maximum than USB. That's why USB 2.0 is so much slower that FW400, even though the theoretical maximum is higher (480 Mbps vs. 400 Mbps).
     

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