Firewire 800 on External Hard Drive

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mackage, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. mackage macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    #1
    Ok, so do I? I purchased the 2011 MBP with the 128gb SSD and need a place to store my music, videos, and to backup documents. The plan is to purchase a 750gb WD Scorpio Black 7200rpm from Amazon but I am getting lost in all the different hard drive enclosure options. I will not be transferring large files back and forth very often (maybe a 4gb file here and there) from my SSD to my external. However, I will be downloading movies and such to my external. Do I need firewire?

    This is the enclosure I really like the looks of. Sleek and small. Just doesn't have firewire. I really don't want to spend a ton on a firewire enclosure if I don't need to, seeing as Thunderbolt is on the rise.


    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/USB2/OWC_Express
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #2
    If maximum speed isn't a priority for now, USB is fine.
     
  3. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a

    Angelo95210

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    #3
    If it's for backup, Itunes and pictures you can cope perfectly with an USB disk. They are much easier to find. However if you intend to use it as a scratch drive (for FCP ie) or for HD video grab a FW one.
     
  4. simsaladimbamba

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    #4
    EVen though HD consumer movies (using MPEG-4 as codec) are larger than SD versions, USB is quite capable to play them back, as most HD consumer movies only have a bitrate of 2MB/s at maximum and Blu Ray has only 5MB/s at maximum. USB can offer up to 37MB/s, even though not in a constant stream, but for 2 to 5 MB/s USB is more than enough.

    A 10GB file will take five to six minutes via USB 2.0 and three minutes via Firewire 800.
     
  5. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a

    Angelo95210

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    #5
    Good numbers. I was not sure about the HD bitrates :rolleyes:
     
  6. johnnyturbouk macrumors 68000

    johnnyturbouk

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    #6
    i have a fw800 drive and it's fast enough

    i have the seagate go flex portable 1TB
    -2 partions, one for storage/media(fat-32); other for time capsule (HFS)
    ps this drive allows hot swapping of the connectors usb 2/3; fw 800, esata and TB soon
    -one major limitation of this drive is that it's only 5400 rpm
     
  7. mackage thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7

    So downloading files (movies and music) from the internet directly to my external through USB shouldn't slow it down any?
     
  8. simsaladimbamba

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    #8
    I do that. Unless you have a download rate of 35MB/s and more, USB is more than enough for that use.
     
  9. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

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    Dec 11, 2010
    #9
    FireWire is a dead technology. Stick with USB2 for now unless you need blazing fast speeds or are going to an external SSD. eSata is another potential option (depending on your setup), as you can get drive enclosures with eSata and USB1/2/3 ports. If you get a nice HDD, be sure it does USB2 simply based on the compatability aspect, as many computers do not have the newer and more oddball ports, and you never know when you might use it on a diff comp.
     
  10. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #10
    You're joking, right?
     
  11. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

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    Dec 11, 2010
    #11
    No. I am not saying that off of speed but I am saying that off of how many people actively use FireWire. Most people don't even know what it is. An external drive in FireWire only is a poor choice, even with ThunderBolt adapters being available.
     
  12. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #12
    I think you'd be surprised to learn how many use it.
    Well, considering that Thunderbolt devices are not widely available yet, and it remains to be seen if the PC crowd will adopt it (likely not, since they appear to be moving toward USB 3.0, which also isn't widely available yet), Firewire is still the best choice for high-speed external drive connections. FW800 is 2-3 times faster than USB 2.0 and it's widely available at reasonable prices.
     
  13. BigRedOne macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    #13
    You might want two back up EHD's. One for the house and one for the road. The OWC has a nice what they call "on the road Pro" external hard drive that will hold every thing most people would need for back up on the road, including a whole bunch of movies.

    I have a couple of their larger Aluminum Pro's for home use and they work great. When I purchase my new laptop (soon) I will buy one of the "on the road pro" to throw into my brief case or back pack. By the way, the Firewall 800 is sweet and not much more money, i would make sure my external hard drives had that as an option, the OWC'd do. Good luck.
     
  14. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

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    #14
    We are a Mac community which has used FW for years. It's relevance in a PC Word is questionable. The State Government of Maryland, much of United States Federal Government, the five public and private institutions I am affiliated with, and the companies that I am a "board member" (what a silly name) of have not and do not use FW, but they are adopting USB3 slowly.

    I don't think FW 1600/3200 actually made it to the production phase did they?

    I ordered a Thunderbolt to USB3 adapter, so we will see where that goes and how well it works.
     
  15. ThaDoggg macrumors 6502a

    ThaDoggg

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    #15
    I use a Verbatim Surefire that has firewire. It has been working pretty much 24/7 for 1.5 years and it's been great. The extra speed over USB does make a difference.
     
  16. johnnyturbouk macrumors 68000

    johnnyturbouk

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    #16
    in re to my 1tb external hdd: seagate go flex portable
    was thinkin of getting an esata expresscard 34 by owc
    im ecstatic that seagate has announced a TB adapter for the go-flex drives
     
  17. aznguyen316 macrumors 68020

    aznguyen316

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    Oct 1, 2008
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    Tampa, FL
    #17
    I just recently got a firewire enclosure that I will be dedicated to using on my MacBook. I have a USB drive too, but the firewire is nice because it doesn't take up the 2 USB ports I have lol. It just takes up that single port leaving the other two free, which is nice. Also it's faster.
     
  18. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #18
    While that may be your opinion, the fact is that Firewire will be around for many more years. It is no where close to being "dead".
     
  19. TheFarmer macrumors 6502

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    Jan 13, 2011
    #19
    ^Agreed :)
     
  20. Miss Terri macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Okay, ignoring the debate about whether some people not knowing what Firewire is/not using it makes it a poor technology, I still don't see your point, because most (all?) of the Firewire enclosures I have seen also have USB. Certainly the one at OWC does (where the OP is purchasing).

    Since the main two interfaces in question for the OP right now are USB or Firewire, I don't see how getting a drive that has both would limit the OP?

    Now if the OP does not need or want Firewire, fine and dandy - there is no need for him to buy it; but it's still a good/valid interface, and if for some reason it is not on my next computer then I will still be able to use the USB port on my Firewire enclosure (mine is a G-Drive). In other words, I have more options; not fewer.
     
  21. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #21
    No. USB can transfer around 20-30 Megabytes per second in normal use, depending on the quality of the external drive. Your home broadband connection is nowhere near that (those figures are quoted in Mega BITS, not bytes)
     
  22. sjinsjca macrumors 68000

    sjinsjca

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    Oct 30, 2008
    #22
    USB2 is fine.

    I used to do all my virtual machine work over USB2 using external disks I'd velcro to the back of my MacBook Pro.

    Then I found a Western Digital external drive with bus-powered USB2 and FW800 interfaces. Sweet. FW800 does make a difference in running VMs, which is a highly transaction-intensive thing to do. But it was adequate even over USB2. I still have a pile of USB2 disks, including two 2TB wall-powered Seagates that I use in alternating fashion for Time Machine backup.

    Having said that, the moment some nice bus-powered Thunderbolt drives come out, I'm springing for one for my VM work (and a new MBP to go with it!). :D Even FW800 is overburdened when I try to run more than two VMs at a time.
     
  23. TXBDan macrumors regular

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    Oct 19, 2008
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #23
    The real beauty of FW is that it doesn't hit the CPU like USB does. Doing large transfers of USB kills the whole computer. with FW, its truly a background process and the computer continues to run as normal.
     
  24. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #24
    And that is one reason why FW is faster than USB2's "rated" speed. While on paper USB2 is faster than FW400, the reality is it's not. And FW800 is almost 4x faster than USB2. On top of that you get daisy chaining. I haven't bought a USB2-only drive in probably 6 or 7 years now. They just aren't worth the headaches because the USB "standard" isn't really standardized.

    Same hard drive (500 gb 2.5" 7200 rpm) in an OWC USB2/FW400/FW800 enclosure.
     

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