firewire vs USB external HDD

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mark28, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. mark28 macrumors 68000

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    #1
    Is firewire worth the extra money?

    For the price of a 1 Tb firewire drive, you can buy a 2 Tb USB drive for the same money.
     
  2. xDC macrumors member

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    Jul 7, 2010
    #2
    I have the seagate go flex with the firewire 800, My backups are completed in half the time. Its your decision but I recommend getting firewire, if money is not an issue.
     
  3. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #3
    Which is more important to you... speed or size?

    Firewire is noticeably faster and I prefer to have the option for it personally
     
  4. bobr1952 macrumors 68020

    bobr1952

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    #4
    I have an Iomega eGo 1TB which I like a lot. Very quite and was not that much more expensive--currently goes for $127 at Amazon.
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #5
    USB 2.0 sustained speed: ~35MB/s
    FireWire 800 sustained speed: ~80MB/s

    What is it going to be used for? For backups, USB is just fine and I don't think FireWire is worth it in this case. The first backup will anyway take some time but incremental backups are much quicker. If it's going to be used for something else, then FireWire may be worth it.
     
  6. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #6
    It boils down to this IMHO.

    As for me, FW800 is much preferred. FW800 is so much faster than USB 2.0 in actual use.
     
  7. Reapur macrumors regular

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    May 5, 2010
    #7
    Not only is FW 800 faster, it does not slow down your system performance simply because firewire bypasses the CPU and transfers right from drive to drive. This keeps your system resources open for normal operations.
     
  8. pprior macrumors 65816

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    #9
    FW is definitely way faster in real world use. If you're just now and then storing stuff on a drive, then USB is tolerable but quite honestly I would never buy one (and I'm skeptical about USB3 for that matter, USB always seems to slow system responsiveness and never fulfills what the spec says it will provide in terms of max throughput).
     
  9. ljonesj macrumors 6502a

    ljonesj

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    #10
    only thing i have is usb external drives hooked up to a emachine that has a 2 gig celeron and 2 gigs of ram with a 512 ddr2 8400gs vid that runs 10.04 ubuntu linux as a media server and i have no lag now when it was xp the moves skipped and audio was off i think it has to do with what u use them for in my case usb is fine as i have an os that helps and does not saturate my network with junk
     
  10. mulo macrumors 68020

    mulo

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    #11
    I don't know where you get your speeds, but I have never seen USB go above 22MB/s
    My FW800 drive sustains 75-77, even while transferring to my encrypted image.
     
  11. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #12
    It varies somewhat, but the numbers are real:
    You'll find various speeds quoted, depending on the systems used for testing. The bottom line is FW800 is significantly faster than USB 2.0.
     
  12. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #13
    If it is just for storage and backup...

    USB2 is fine, it is cheaper and more importantly less problematic.

    If you need to actually work on files... you'll need the fastest anyhow.

    FW800 is what you will need, you might have problems with OS updates occasionally, but the speed is worth it.

    Just research the FW chips used and see which company supports their product with firmware updates. Some out there kick something out the door and never update their product again, making a possible FW brick (happens), though the USB2 interface would likely keep working.
     
  13. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #14
    How is FW800 "problematic"? I've never had any problems with it, and use it extensively.
     
  14. ryan0402 macrumors 6502

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    #15
    go with the fw it is very very fast compared to usb2
     
  15. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #16
    Guess you had one of the FW drives that didn't end up with problems, but FW drives have been known to break with OS updates.

    Usually solved with firmware updates, but then again some case manufacturers don't update after a period of time -- or in some cases never.

    A big note was Panther and FW800, which basically corrupted the FW800 drive until firmware updates were made.

    I had a FW drive that stopped working with the update to Leopard, it needed a firmware patch -- but the controller manufacturer, EOL'd it.

    ---

    I think the most recent and less serious FW drive problem was with the WD MyBook drives and Time Machine. So it is still happening, and not something from 2003 only.
     
  16. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #17
    That is a problem with the drive firmware, rather than the FW 800 itself.
     
  17. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 27, 2010
    #18
    USB 2.0
    Pros: cheap bulk storage
    Cons: slow and chokes to death when CPU is really busy

    FW 800
    Pros: three times as fast as USB 2.0! speed is mostly constant
    Cons: Price

    Basically you get what you pay for
     
  18. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #19
    And can be solved by getting a reliable brand that updates the firmware frequently. Never had a single issue with my LaCies and in case the FireWire stops working, I can always use USB
     
  19. mark28 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Jan 29, 2010
    #20
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Western-Digital-MyBook-Firewire-External/dp/B0016M2824

    I just ordered this one. I believe this version doesn't have the WD smartware that people have problems with.

    It also has 5 year on-site warranty which is good. Also has eSata in case I want to use it on my Pc.

    At first I was thinking of using it only for backup, but I think the extra speed of firewire 800 can be useful when doing music production on it.
     
  20. Freyqq macrumors 68040

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  21. mulo macrumors 68020

    mulo

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    #22
    lightpeak>esata
     
  22. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #23
    eSATA can't carry power, you need an external PSU which is always a minus. It's only useful for attaching external HDs but seeing that USB and FireWire, especially USB can be used for millions of other things, such as connecting your speaker, printer, iPhone, camera....

    eSATA provides speed but that's it. USB and FireWire are more all-around
     
  23. ArmCortexA8 macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    I as recently tossing up between the WD Passport Studio 650GB as shown here: http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=783 or the WD MyBook Studio 1TB which requires a separate PSU but has more capacity as listed here: http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=755. I went for the larger capacity for the cheaper price. These both support Firewire 800 and damn its quick - I copied about 4GB of data in about 15 seconds - I was amazed. Now remember most Windows laptops don't include Firewire, instead they choose USB 2 / USB 3, due to royalties having to be paid to Apple to use FireWire. Makes sense why Firewire is standard on the MacBook series.

    Based on my first ever FireWire 800 experience, I would never ever revert to USB ever again.
     

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