FireWire IDE Hard Drive enclosure or USB IDE Hard Drive enclosure?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by n459umb4786ers, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. n459umb4786ers macrumors regular

    Aug 9, 2009
    I have removed my old desktop PC's hard drive and I was planning on buying an enclosure for it but which type of interface would be better? FireWire or USB? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using FireWire. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using USB? If the interface of the enclosure is FireWire 1394 but my computer has FireWire 1394b, will my data transfer at 400 Mbit/s or 800 Mbit/s? And if the enclosure's interface is USB 2.0 and my computer is USB 1.1, will my data transfer at 12 - 15 Mbit/s or 400 - 480 Mbit/s?


  2. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    If you plan on keeping files on the drive, either is OK, get the cheapest enclosure that you like.

    If you actually plan on manipulating files on the drive, like editing a movie off it in real time, you'd want to look at FW800.

    FW is great and speedy, but there have been some speedbumps every now and then during OS updates.
  3. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2008
    OR get a FW drive if you need all your usb ports.
  4. n459umb4786ers thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 9, 2009
    Thanks for the info. Anymore answers or suggestions?
  5. barkmonster macrumors 68020


    Dec 3, 2001
    Firewire is always going to be either 400 or 800. USB 2.0 into a USB 1.1 port will always be so slow you'll get really annoyed with it very quickly. It even works in reverse because I bought a cheap USB memory stick that's only USB 1.1 and it takes an absolute age to copy files to it even to my USB 2.0 PCI card.

    If you're restricted to USB 1.1 and can't add an expansion card to your mac with USB 2.0 ports, I'd pay a little extra and go with the firewire case for the extra speed, you won't regret it.

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