Firewire 800 much faster than USB 3.0?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Pngwyn, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. Pngwyn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    #1
    I have been wanting to get an HD for scratch disks and to edit directly onto the external HD in Final Cut.

    Due to my lack of experience with external HD'S, I went ahead and bought a 1TB USB 3.0 Western Digital passport drive.. but I just found out about Firewire 800 that is seemingly faster and better for constant transfer (which I believe video editing falls under).

    I'm just wondering how significant the difference is? Afaik, right now the biggest Firewire 800 drive available (that runs power off source and not outlet) is the Western Digital 640GB, and it costs around $40 more than the 1TB USB 3.0 passport.

    Is it worth the upgrade if size/cost isn't an issue? I could always get a bigger USB3.0 drive for storage, and then use the FW800 drive for editing, but don't really want to make the plunge unless the speeds are considerably faster/noticeable. Any insight would be lovely.

    Thanks!
     
  2. SandboxGeneral, Mar 27, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011

    SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Location:
    Detroit
    #2
    Well if you're using a Mac, your question is moot. OS/X does not support USB 3.0.
    Steve even said so himself. Especially now that Thunderbolt is out and in the Mac line, I don't think we'll ever see USB 3 on OS/X.

    Steve Jobs: USB 3 Not Taking Off At This Time
    Thunderbolt Details Emerge: Bus Power, Mini DisplayPort, and More

    Your USB 3.0 HDD you bought is only running at 2.0 speeds connected to your Mac.

    Here are a couple of threads on FW800 vs USB 3.0:

    USB 3.0 VS Firewire 800
    FireWire vs. USB: Which Is Faster?
     
  3. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #3
    Currently USB 3.0 is pointless with a Mac, as Macs only support USB 2.0 for now. When it does gain support, it will be considerably faster than FW800, which is the fastest for now. At OWC's website, you can buy a FW800 enclosure and put as big of a drive as you want in it, so there isn't a limit of 640GB
     
  4. Pngwyn thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 20, 2008
    #4
    Ahh thanks for the responses. Sorry for my ignorance, I had no idea 3.0 wasn't compatible, I just assumed it worked since the plug fits :p Yes I am using a new model macbook pro (well waiting for it to arrive, anyway)

    You mentioned "when it does gain support" does that mean there is talk of updating drivers, or is it more likely that it will only be supported in future updates of the Macbook model itself?

    Also about OWC, I wasn't able to find any that were NOT run off an external power source so I assumed the Western Digital 640gb was the only size available. I'm on the go a lot, so I don't always have a convenient outlet to plug an external into.
     
  5. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    #5
    Some folks are optimistic that Apple will eventually support USB 3.0, but I am not one of them. When Steve said it wasn't taking off, I think that was a euphemism for saying that USB 3.0 will not be taking off in Apple products. Back when he said that, they and Intel were working on Light Peak, now called Thunderbolt. Now that the new MacBook Pros have Thunderbolt and the expectation that the new iMac's later this year will have Thunderbolt, I do not see any reason why Apple would add USB 3.0.

    Light Peak Coming in Early 2011 With Apple at Forefront?
     
  6. G.T. macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Future updates of the model itself
     
  7. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    USA
    #7
    For future reference, please do your product research before making your purchase.
     
  8. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 6, 2007
    #8
    Firewire 800 is worth the premium over USB2 for video editing, but the additional bandwidth USB3 offers wouldn't see much use with most hobbiest video editors.

    Almost all 2.5" drives can be bus-powered, and the highest capacity I've seen is 1.5TB.
     
  9. Pngwyn, Mar 27, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011

    Pngwyn thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 20, 2008
    #9
    Ahh bus-powered is the term I was looking for. Thank you for all the informative replies, much appreciated.

    Just some final questions.. is there any advantage to using a outlet-powered HD over a portable bus-powered HD? And how much difference will I notice between a 5400RPM and a 7200RPM drive? The difference in size would be 250GB, since OWC only sells up to 750GB at 7200RPM, is it really worth the speed?

    Heck, is there a reason to use a portable? Now that I'm thinking about it, it's convenient, but maybe unnecessary. What are you guys using? Bus-powered or outlet?
     
  10. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    #10
    I don't know technically if there is an advantage of powered HDD's over bus powered HDD's, but I feel better with a powered drive knowing that I am not over-taxing my USB ports with added load.

    You will notice a measurable but not extravagant difference in performance in a 7200RPM HDD over the 5400RPM HDD.

    Only you can decide if the trade off in speed over capacity is worth it.

    I have a few powered HDD's that I use for Time Machine backups, and I do not carry them around. They stay in one place 99% of the time. Therefore I have no need for a more portable storage device other than my laptop itself. Again, this is a decision only you can make because it comes down to personal preference. There are many options available to you no matter which way you decide.
     
  11. Pngwyn thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 20, 2008
    #11
    I guess if I am running into a lot of situations where I will actually NEED a portable I can always switch. Most of the time I don't do any video editing without a power source since it eats up my batteries anyways.

    Many thanks, I appreciate it. I opted for a 1TB plug powered drive by OWC :)
     
  12. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #12
    If it really matters lacie little big disk is coming out with double SSD thunderbolt drive. It'll blow USB 3 away.

    WRONG. Accessories can let your Mac have USB 3.0:
    http://www.lacie.com/company/news/news.htm?id=10602
     
  13. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    #13
  14. Pngwyn thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 20, 2008
    #14
    Boo, I thought I had decided which one I wanted, then I came across this:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/EliteALmini/RAID/eSATA_FW800_FW400_USB

    The one I was originally looking at was

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/1394/USB/EliteAL/eSATA_FW800_FW400_USB

    It says the portable drive has up to 300mb/s transfer rate, while the other one has up to 150mb/s transfer rate. Is it safe to say that the portable drive is significantly faster in this case or is it just for SSD? I'd imagine 7200RPM drives from the same company would run at similar speeds. I'm not completely familiar with RAID either, and I know SSDs are a lot faster (so maybe the 300mb/s was talking about an SSD which I don't want).

    Any confirmation would be great =D
     
  15. weckart macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #15
    The bus powered WD drives will transfer about 70MB/s for a sustained transfer of large files vs over 100MB/s for the full-fat powered varieties. Speeds drop a bit for smaller files.

    That is for traditional mechanical hard drives. That is what I have achieved under Windows, for what it is worth.

    Speeds for SSDs will depend upon the drive itself.
     
  16. mBox macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2002
    #16
    are you editing long format or a hobbiest? mind you Ive seen first time students edit "epic" length projects :p
    its simple, find the fastest possible. you cant go wrong with FW800. if however you run into "free" FW400 drives, all you will need is a convertor.
    we still use our FW400s at work for FCP and Avid.
    We do alot of offline and live shoot/edits/output using FW400 drives.
    just so you know FCP will not work with USB Cameras but will work with USB externals.
    From day one its always been "dont use internal HD, use FW drives" when it comes to FCP.
     
  17. Consultant, Mar 28, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011

    Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #17
    What computer do you have? Do you have an express card slot?

    If you do you can get an eSATA adapter.

    SATA is not bus powered though.

    No problem. Trying my best to be an arse sometimes. ;)
     
  18. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #18
    This speed difference exists only via eSATA.
     

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