Firewire: Apple Wins One

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by MorganX, May 22, 2003.

  1. MorganX macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2003
    Looks like all new PC consumer motherboards, including all Springdale mobos are shipping with IEEE 1394. Don't konw if Apple gets a fee if they don't call it "Firewire" but it's a good win for Apple nontheless.
  2. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus


    Oct 5, 2001
    San Diego, CA
    Considering that that the IEEE group adopted "Firewire" as the new official name, I don't think Apple can charge a fee for its use.

    Just be happy knowing we've had it built-in for over 3 years now. :)
  3. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    Re: Firewire: Apple Wins One

    I recall from last year that the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers decided that Firewire was the coosen name for the 1394 standard....

    There were threads on it last year... maybe do a search if you're interested in finding more info!
  4. zarathustra macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2002
    Philadelphia, PA
    Yes, Apple nixed the licensing fee for the FireWire name, and so the IEEE adopted it. Now developers can use it free of charge.
  5. Gymnut macrumors 68000


    Apr 18, 2003
  6. pgwalsh macrumors 68000


    Jun 21, 2002
    New Zealand
    Now lets see them adopt FireWire 800..

    Though there's probably few devices if any that use it, it has as we all know serious bandwidth.

    Too bad firewire 800 doesn't used the same connectors as FireWire. That's one that USB and USB 2 have one.

    On another good note, I've seen some early test results that showed FireWire beating USB2 even though USB 2 is supposed to be a bit faster.
  7. donigian macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2003
    Washington, DC, USA
    While the FireWire or IEEE 1394 implementation on motherboards is a good thing it isn't making Apple any money. Last year they decided to stop charging people for the use of the word "FireWire." However, by that time most companies were simply producing "IEEE 1394" compatible products.

    It is good to see the PC world embracing another thing Apple introduced into the world (USB - although I know Apple didn't invent it, it was the first to implement with the iMac).

    Now I just want to get a FW400/800 and USB 2 PCI Card.
  8. ZildjianKX macrumors 68000


    May 18, 2003
    Can't blame PCs for not having it for 3 years (some Compaqs have had them a long time, ever since it was introduced)... just hasn't been a big fad...

    And why hasn't Apple included USB 2.0 yet? I think that's a bit dumber to stick to an existing outdated USB port... :(
  9. mangoman macrumors 6502a


    Nov 27, 2002
    Third Floor
    I've got an OrangeLink+ USB 2.0/Firewire PCI card sitting here on my desk. Thought I'd need it, but haven't used it yet. If you're interested in it, lemme know...
  10. ZeeOwl macrumors member

    May 31, 2003
    Sherbrooke, QC, Canada.
    Re: USB 2

    PCs haven't pushed FireWire for so long because they didn't see this coming: FireWire and USB replacing the RS-232 and Centronics ports so quickly. Apple did :D. Yah again to Apple, for seeing the light before the rest of the herd.

    I think the reason Apple hasn't included USB 2 in it's machines is because they've had FireWire in them since before USB 2 came out. FireWire 400 is better than USB 2. No point in having 2 different interfaces that do essentially the same thing. USB 1 is plenty fast for keyboards, mice and printers. That's my interpretation. I think their marketing strategy of pushing FireWire 800 makes more sense.
  11. bbarnhart macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2002
    FireWire 400 is better than USB 2. Look at TechTV benchmarks. In every test Firewire 400 wins.

    Also note that the technology behind FireWire is better. FireWire does not require a computer to sit between a source and destination. For example, in theory, your digital camcorder could record to or copy to a FireWire compatible external HD. USB2 does not have this feature.
  12. caveman_uk Guest


    Feb 17, 2003
    Hitchin, Herts, UK
    But most new stuf won't be Firewire it'll be USB2. For example new consumer-level scanners are USB2. If Macs don't get USB2 then were stuck with painfully slow USB1 for this stuff. The scanner manufacturers won't put firewire in cheap scanners so either we cough up more for the more expensive models or live with crap transfer speeds under USB1. Firewire being better doesn't help when most folks use USB2. It didn't help Betamax that it was better than VHS...
  13. bbarnhart macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2002
    If you absolutely need USB2 you can buy a card for your Power Mac. If your Mac can't be upgraded, I guess you need to decide if you have more time or more money.

    But, what is interesting now is that Apple refuses to add USB2 to their machines. At first they did it because they could earn revenue from licensing "FireWire". If all computer shipped with FireWire instead of USB2, more money for Apple. I guess FireWire is free now that it is a standard so I'm perplexed why Apple doesn't add USB2 now. My thinking is that Apple thinks FireWire is superior (it is) and it continuing to try and make FireWire the standard over USB. If this happens, then consumer level scanners would come equipped with FireWire instead of USB. Until then you're stuck with USB1.
  14. whitegold macrumors member

    Oct 3, 2001
    Brisbane, Australia

    Just thought I'd post a quick response, because there was a bit of misinformation here.

    Regarding USB 2.0 vs Firewire: They both have plus and minuses. USB 2.0 has the highest overall bandwidth, yes. Not by much, of course, but a little. Something like 450 mbps to 480. The major differences though are more technical.

    Specifically, Firewire shares it's bandwidth better in the bus. Lets say you have a Firewire Mouse. (I know they don't exist. Shut up.) It uses up maybe 4 megabits a second. Max. Anyway you also have a firewire harddrive running. It uses the rest. So, your mouse uses 4, your HDD has 446 Mbps. By contrast, USB2 uses it much less efficiently. If you have a USB 2 mouse, or even, I believe a USB 1 mouse! it will divide the bandwidth between the devices, despite the fact that one is only using 1%. This leaves your HDD with only 240 Mbps.

    Additionally, to the best of my knowledge, firewire is a peer based system. So two firewire devices are even. USB 2.0 on the other hand is master/slave. This means that while firewire can be used (at least theoretically) to connect, say 2 ipods, or an stereo and speakers, or anything else, USB 2.0 CANNOT.

    So it would probably be accurate to say that neither firewire nor USB 2.0 is "better". But firewire is better :D

    That being said, "better" really doesn't mean anything. "Beta" was better than VHS. The Dreamcast was "better" than the PSX. Market forces are more complex, and often more simple, than technical superiority.

    In this case I think USB 2.0 will emerge supreme. Why? Backward compatibility. To be completely honest, I have not ever used a firewire device in my computer. In actual fact, I HAVE NEVER USED A USB 1.0 DEVICE. Yes, I use a PC. My keyboard and mouse are both PS2. Actually, I used a USB mouse for about four seconds to test that my motherboard was plugged into the front panel properly and the ports were working.

    This brings me to an important point. How many people, specifically in the PC world, actually would use either Firewire OR USB 2? I would hazard a guess that the percentage would be tiny. Who needs an external hard drive? Not many. Who actually HAS a digital video camera? Some, but they aren't exactly ubiquitous.

    That is why I think USB 2.0 will be more common. MOBO makers can put one plug on there, and that's all that's needed. Mouse. keyboard. Video Camera. Even some speakers. Firewire is simply not necessary.

    To be blunt, the only motherboards you really see with Firewire is more expensive ones that have EVERYTHING on it. Lan, Raid controllers, SATA, etc. And yes, these boards DO all have USB 2.0. In fact, I would say that by far more boards in more price ranges have USB 2.0 than have Firewire.

    So in closing, a few quick things. Should Apple include USB 2.0? No. Why? There's no need. They have USB for their little stuff. Firewire for the big stuff. That covers it. Improving the overall bandwidth of Firewire to 800 is cool, though a pity it means a different plug. While you wouldn't expect old cards to go faster, being able to drop down to 400 on an older system would be a benefit.

    "Apple Wins One"? Hardly. USB 2.0 is gaining more popularity in the PC world than Firewire. It is simply more useful for more people. But who really cares? The Apple world and the PC world are different. They're allowed to play with different stuff.
  15. yzedf macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2002
    USB 2.0 versus USB 1.1 versus Firewire (400)...

    The point is not whether FW is faster or slower than USB 2.0

    The point is that many scanners and other peripherals are now coming as USB 2.0 enabled. The reason is simple, it is just a chipset change. The physical connection is the same, and it scales to 1.1 speeds without any problem. The theoretical speed is faster for 2.0 than Firewire, but in real world testing it isn't. But, Firewire is much faster now than it was when released.

    There are many pros and cons to all 3. Although I think Firewire is the most elegant solution of the 3 (4pin or 6pin powered bus). It is to bad that FW800 has a different plug stule than standard Firwire does. That will slow the implementation of it (IMO).

    Apple not shipping with USB 2.0 is based on politics, nothing else. That is not the way to make a business decision.
  16. Kid Red macrumors 65816

    Dec 14, 2001
    Actually Apple invented ASB or some acronym which is what USB is based on. So technically they invented what led to USB.
  17. donigian macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2003
    Washington, DC, USA
    Documentation? And do you mean ADB? That was a precursor to PS/2 connections for keyboards and mice on PCs. It was introduced in the Apple IIgs in 1986. It wasn't a precursor to USB though.

    And that is the most intelligent post on this thread. All these posts about how FireWire is technically superior to USB 1.1/2 are just kidding themselves. It really doesn't matter who'se better, what matters is who is adopted by the most people. For example, I think we can all agree that Windows is not the best operating system and yet it's got the highest adoption rate. See my point?
  18. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus


    Oct 5, 2001
    San Diego, CA
    Is everyone forgetting that the current MDD PowerMacs seem to have a USB 2 controller that is simply disabled by current software/drivers?
  19. ZildjianKX macrumors 68000


    May 18, 2003
    Re: Firewire/USB2.0

    I agreed with your whole post up to this point.

    Firewire devices, as someone else posted, are quite a bit more expensive... so you shouldn't have to suffer if you buy a cheap scanner that uses USB 2.0 intead of paying twice as much for a firewire model (maybe firewire devices are so expensive since they are targeted at a mac audience :)). Anyways... the point is its simply stupid not to upgrade the chipset since the same port is already there. Its like saying:

    "Its okay to have a speed boat and a slow car since the speed boat is fast"... but the speed boat doesn't help you much if 99% of the time you only drive on the freeway.

Share This Page