firewire faster then usb for external hdd?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by zerobotman, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. zerobotman macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2009
    hey yalls. i was wondering if firewire is faster then usb for external hard drives. as i mentioned in another post i have a bunch of mac g4s i want to make use out of but sata cards are very expensive if they're mac compatible. what i was thinking is that since i can get a firewire sata adapter for $20 if not less it would be about the same cost as a good sata card and would be allot more likely to be compatible. i could just drill a few holes in a pci placeholder so i can run some cables through it to have the drives internal without compromising the case. if i needed to i could swap the drives in between pc's allot easier then with a sata card. because it would be far too expensive to get one for each system. my main concern is what the speed of firewire is since i've never used it before. if it's better then usb then it would probably be pretty feasable. i'm not going to be using them for any intensive software but i think it would be nice to have a good r/w speed
  2. Beerfloat macrumors regular


    Feb 21, 2009
    Real world max throughput:
    FireWire800 786 Mb/s
    FireWire400 393 Mb/s
    USB 2.0 320 Mb/s (480 nominal)
    SATA300 3000 Mb/s

    Sustained throughput of decent single 7200RPM drives: about 700 Mb/s max.

    Pick your sweet spot.
  3. elgrecomac macrumors 65816


    Jan 15, 2008
    San Diego
    And it is for the speed reason I ...

    Connect my 2Tb drive that I use for TimeMachine on the Firewire 800 connection.
  4. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    It depends on what the intended purpose is, but I've used both firewire and USB hard drives and several drives hooked up both ways, despite the fact that per specs they are fairly close, in REAL WORLD use the USB drives have always been significantly slower and I never buy any usb based storage devices if at all possible.

    For example going to firewire vs. USB compact flash reader was a HUGE improvement in speed.

    If you're just copying small files and speed not critical, then no biggie. But if you're really going to be using the drives heavily, then firewire is well worth the investment IMO. eSATA even better.

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