FireWire v. High-Speed USB 2.0 for Lacie Portable Drives?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by smartgirlglasse, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. smartgirlglasse macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    #1
    I'm looking to move my iTunes to a portable drive to free up space on my laptop, and I'm wondering what the difference is between these two LaCie portable drives:
    http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?pid=10722 (FW)
    and
    http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?pid=10718 (USB)

    I understand that the first (and more expensive one) has FW800 and FW400 capabilities in addition to high-speed USB, but the question is this: will that translate into a noticeable difference in speed for my Powerbook that runs Tiger? And, if so, is it a big enough difference that it's worth the higher price?


    Thanks!!
     
  2. McGiord, Apr 1, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011

    McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Dark Castle
    #2
    AFAIK: FW800 is twice as fast as FW400, and its extremely faster than USB.
    What ports does your powerbook have?

    I don't want to end the fun in your next purchase, but I suggest you to better check reviews on amazon, cnet, etc. about those HDD, I remember seeing some bad reviews and not nice stories some weeks ago.
    ________
    herbal vaporizer forum
     
  3. richard.mac macrumors 603

    richard.mac

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    51.50024, -0.12662
    #3
    FW 400 and USB 2.0 have similar speeds in writing but in reality FW 400 is a lot faster. FW doesnt use CPU load whereas USB does and FW's speed is in short bursts. i once tested FW 400 and it was 10 MB/s moving a 1 gig file from my MBPs HDD to an external HDD. USB would be a little slower but FW 800 is double as fast as FW 400. do you have a MB or MBP? MB's dont have FW 400 but MBP's do.

    an analogy i once heard was FW is a semi trailer whereas USB is a small sports car.

    eSATA is even faster if you can get an external that supports it. you would then need to buy an eSATA PCIMA card (for MBP) or a PCI card (Mac Pro).
     
  4. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #4
    I don't have numbers, but, believe me, Firewire 800 is much faster than Firewire 400 which is much, much faster than USB2. USB2 gets even worse if you have several items on the same bus (for example, if you have 2 drives connected via a USB hub.)

    If/when possible, go with at least Firewire 400.

    Edit: I just found these two links...

    http://www.barefeats.com/hard66.html

    http://www.barefeats.com/5472.html
     
  5. smartgirlglasse thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    #5
  6. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #6
  7. Kittychan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #7
    I am looking for one firewire HDD as well, but I have looked and searched around the internet and found out the Mybook from WD is not that good. I was planing to buy MybookPro 1TB with firewire 800....

    Anyone has a bad experience on that ?

    P.S. I am quite new to mac. So I have an iMac, how can I use eSata?
     
  8. Montie Da Champ macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    #8
    what I don't understand is how fw400 is faster than USB2.0 when USB2.0 transfers at 480mbps and FW400 does it at 400mbps...?
     
  9. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #9
    More data less overhead.

    But USB2.0 is fine for archiving stuff, FW400 a bit better, if you want to manipulate data on the drive get FW800.

    http://www.barefeats.com/hard70.html

    If you want the drive to work in more machines, stick with USB2.0
     
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #10
    USB has a high protocol overhead. Much of the 480mbps is filled with sending messages like "I have some data are you ready?", Yes, OK Send it", Did you get it OK?, "yes OK" after each message there is a deley so it turns out the the 480mbps is not used 100% of the time. The __efective__ speed is the bips per second times the "duty cycle". Duty cycle being the fraction of time when data is actually being sent. With FW almost all of ther 400mbps is used.
     
  11. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #11
    I don't have any experience with WD external drives... But I can't see why it would be any worse than any other external drive...

    As for eSATA, there's no easy way to add an eSATA port to iMacs. Therefore, you won't be able to use it.
     

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