Fundametal flaw in FW less late 09 MacBook

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by PracticalMac, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. PracticalMac macrumors 68030


    Jan 22, 2009
    Houston, TX
    Fundamental flaw in late *2009* MacBook (edit, I meant 2009, the new white one)

    Any marketing guru will tell you “luxurious” features, extra gadgets, tricks, techno buzzwords that will get people to open their wallets, even if not all of them will learn how to make use of those “goodies”.

    By extension you have bragging rights of those extra features. The limitation of USB2 are becoming more and more known, and performance minded consumers are purchasing FireWire 1394 and/or eSATA storage over USB2 despite the higher premium, and there is very good selection of FW supported external drives on the market.

    Microsoft finally addressed the FW failures in Vista with Windows7, so that market will at least be maintained.

    Just like a Mercedes or Lexus, people spend more $$ for extras that they may never use, but can brag about.

    Otherwise, the MB is functionally identical to the plethora of $499 laptops out there, some of which DO have 1394 (and can be hacked to run OS X).

    (I estimate it costs <$30 for the hardware, maybe <$23 with volume pricing of components.)


    in response to next post:
    The flaw is reducing both the methods and speed of data transfer from the MacBook.
    FW800 is by far the fastest transfer method compared to Giganet, USB2, Wi-Fi, BT, or optical.
    While there are those who do not use/need FW, there will be potential customers that do need that feature.
    And you lose the very useful feature of Target Disk Mode.

    In short, Apple cripples transfer ability and speed, alienates customers, and kills a servicing tool used since 1992 (as the "SCSI Disk Mode" in early PowerBooks, the ability now using FireWire instead of SCSI)
  2. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    And what is the fundamental flaw ? Somehow, it seems you have forgotten to state it after your rant about FW being sooooo good. :rolleyes:

    I'd rather have network attached storage than FW or USB storage anyhow. Most homes now have more than 1 computer, and local storage is becoming more and more of an issue rather than a solution.
  3. RealaT macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2008
    Well I didn't really understand the point of that post other than a couple of copy/paste from other sites, but anyway...

    I've just replaced my 2007 MBP with a Alu Unibody MacBook that I got on sale for a steal. It never occurred to me that it didn't have FW ports, and it never will because it seems that in the UK at least, FW drives are both hard to come by and also much more expensive that their USB cousins.

    I've only ever bought 1 FW device which is my JVC video camera. It connects happily to my iMac which is my workhorse machine.
  4. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    I believe the OP is complaining that there is no firewire on the late 08 MacBook.
  5. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    Took a stick to that poor horse again uh.

    People who bought it knew about it and still bought it.
  6. mosx macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    Late '08? Isn't this post a year late?

    Firewire is a dead technology anyway. What still uses Firewire? A handful of audio interfaces? Some old video cameras?

    Modern portable external storage is USB 2.0. High speed external storage is eSATA, something Apple doesn't offer. Only a handful of external HDDs are Firewire capable, and those are specifically targeted at the Mac crowd, so they generally cost more for less storage than USB or eSATA solutions.

    Whats the point of Firewire? Screw Firewire. Give me eSATA and HDMI. I don't need Firewire.

    Most desktop PCs and PC notebooks ship with eSATA these days, and its twice as fast as Firewire 800. So why does Apple stick with such an ancient interface that is so little supported? Why do Apple fans stick cling to the interface so much when its been eclipsed many times over?

    I had two plastic MacBooks with Firewire. I only used it once. One time. and that was because the Firewire cable for the HDD was already taken out. I have the late '08 MacBook now and it's never crossed my mind that I might need Firewire. I have Firewire on my PC, and I've had Firewire on several PCs over the last decade. I've never used it once.
  7. iSee macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2004
    The problem with esata is that it doesn't provide power.
  8. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    I use firewire disks for backup. They work fine and I can daisy chain them.
  9. mosx macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    Some do, some don't. eSATA's speed works against this "disadvantage". You're going to need at least a 7200RPM drive in your notebook, which means you'll need at least a 7200RPM external drive, or better yet, a 3.5" drive, which puts it out of the league of current portable external drives anyway.

    And when you're feeding the drive files at twice the speed of Firewire 800, 4 times USB 2 and Firewire 400, does it matter that you need to plug in power? ;)
  10. RobertD63 macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2008
    A place
    Im on the edge with the whole firewire thing. I use to use Firewire 400 with my mini and external. Now that I have the MacBook (late 08') I just use USB no huge over kill for me to rant, I still got to say that USB is slower than my Firewire 400. I wanna test out USB 3.0 and Firewire 800.
  11. Langonoddy macrumors newbie

    Dec 29, 2009
    Firewire pros and cons

    Big plus with firewire is its ability to boot a mac from an external drive.
    Handy if a machine has a dead internal drive.
    Also, the internal optical drives on Macs are selective when it comes to burning discs. An external optical drive overcomes this. And a FW drive is faster than a USB. (regardless of what the specs say, USB is slower than FW in either guise)
    FW on a USB 1 Mac extends its life as for example a USB1 Mac with FW can still shift data to a fw drive in good time. It thus extends its useful life.
    I have a G4 Mac Mini, a year 2000 iBook clamshell, a ATI graphics eMac, and two early iMacs. Sourcing good external sata FW cases new on ebay for not much money is easy.

    Target disc mode, enabled by the presence of FW is a real plus.


    It seems to me the presence of FW may be one reason why USB2 on Macs seems (to me, and I stand to be corrected, its my experience with my machines) slower than USB 2 on Dos boxes. (I call em that, Im talking about Win***s machines.)

    Also, FW carriers a zapping grear 30 odd volts. I had misfortune to buy a FW from a non Apple retailer and it turned out that the lead was faulty. voltage was intermittently shorting to the data wires inside the cable. It fried the FW on one of my iMacs, and my Mac Mini refused to boot. After a Pmu reset, that was solved, and it was back up and running. Its the only USB 2 machine I have.

    Now, sadly, the FW on my Mac Mini has died. Its about six months after the faulty cable caused the initial havoc.

    So, with the proviso that one keeps their FW cables in good conditon, one uses good quality cables to start with, I would be reluctant to buy a Mac not fitted with Firewire.

    However, if Apple released machines featuring eSata ports instead, and if it target disc mode and external booting became possible with either usb or eSata or both, maybe I woudl be happy with that.

    As it is I will be replacing the G4 Mac Mini with an Intel one. But only because its FW is now dead.
  12. mosx macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    You can boot from USB on a Mac, and its been a normal thing for PCs for almost all of this decade.

    Thats absolutely not true at all. All but LaCie external optical drives are USB 2.0. A USB 2.0 full size optical drive will be able to burn at the same 20-22x modern DVD writers burn at.

    Second, real world benchmarks with modern USB 2.0 chipsets and drivers show that USB 2.0's real world speed is at least the same as Firewire 400. USB 2.0 is only slower on a Mac due to Apple's poor drivers. All one needs to do is switch over to Windows on their Intel Mac and see the difference for themselves.

    Look at the nvidia 9400M based Macs. In OS X, the USB drivers are written by Apple. In Windows the USB drivers are written by nvidia.

    One thing I've always noticed is that writing files out to my 80GB iPod was painfully slow in OS X, and in Windows on the same machine it took less than half the time to complete the same task. It's gotten better in Snow Leopard, 10.6.2, but its still slower than Windows.

    Where a PC from the USB 1.1 era could just have a USB 2.0 PCI card thrown in. So what? In the case of a notebook, PC notebooks have almost always come with full size PCMCIA or ExpressCard slots, or in the case of one laptop I had, BOTH. So you could always just add in a USB 2.0 card. I can buy an ExpressCard for my notebook PC right now that will add another Firewire port, eSATA, and several USB 2.0 ports. My Mac, however, is limited to what it has.

    Nope, its because of Apple's drivers.

    Not because PPC technology was dead in the water when the AMD Athlon was released 10 years ago?
  13. ZazenZach macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2009
  14. skubish macrumors 68030


    Feb 2, 2005
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    yeah the MB is a deal breaker for me because it doesn't SCSI or parallel port for my dot matrix printer. I need to be able to hook up my 5.25" floppy drive to SCSI to be about to run PrintShop from Broderbund to make Christmas cards. They look real nice on my dot matrix printer.
  15. MooneyFlyer macrumors 65816


    Nov 18, 2007
    or had the need to.
  16. mricks macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2009
    FW for MUSIC!

    Macs are typically used for professional media creators i.e. film/video, animation, print design, and oh yeah - MUSIC. The comment that really got me was the one about only a handful of audio interfaces use firewire. Seriously? So how long have you worked in the industry. Apple not including a FW 400 port on that macbook was a deal breaker for almost EVERY professional in the audio industry because most if not ALL of the high-end recording interfaces (Digidesign, M-Audio, Lexicon, MOTU, Focusrite, RME, Presonus) use FW 400.

    USB audio interfaces are almost always met with significant issues because of the way it handles data. FW streams audio in a continuos stream while USB sends data (audio) through "packets." Imagine trying to record someone and they hear their natural voice followed by the recorded voice in their headphones only the two signals are a few milliseconds apart. We call this "latency" which is extremely common in USB 2.0 interfaces. FW is the standard for audio professionals for this reason. Macs by far dominate the audio recording industry and for Apple to just arbitrarily decide to no longer include it on the macbook was a slap in the face.

    So now I have to get a Macbook Pro to get a FW 800 port but the only problem is Digidesign doesn't make a FW 800 interface yet. That's too bad since Pro Tools is the industry standard and My mobile recording rig alone cost more than $20,000.

    Apple screwed us without even so much as a thought to the industry that kept it a float for so many years. Videos guys can back up this info as well because trying to edit HD from a USB 2.0 drive just ain't happening.

    It may sound like I'm not an apple fan but I just got my second iphone for christmas. My production company owns 5 iMacs, 1 G5, 1 Mac Pro, 3 macbooks, 2 G4s, and more iPods than you can shake a stick at.

    They just blew it with this call.

    Oh yeah, and you haven't seen a movie in the last 10 years that wasn't edited or mixed at some point on Pro Tools or have you listened to an album recently that didn't at least have one or two tracks recorded from a FW 400 Pro Tools interface.
  17. ebika macrumors 6502

    Nov 17, 2008
    I would be more willing to agree with "professional media creators typically use macs". The sheer number of computers sold by Apple must far exceed the number of professional media creators out there.

    I understand the argument that FW is important to some people out there and I agree. However, I'm not sure I follow your reasoning about the FW800 interfaces. They responded to consumer demand to put FW back into their 13" laptop line-up and chose the latest Firewire standard port that is backward compatible with FW400 by the means of a simple adapter (ex. Technology/FIR1369AD/ ). It would be shortsighted of them to include the slower port, preventing usage of FW800 peripherals, or having to add more ports to cover FW400 and FW800.
  18. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    The only fundamental flaw fake or real in this thread is that the OP lacks sufficient knowledge on the topic he is humiliating himself with.

    Computers aren't just about hardware. If the OP ever responds and proves that he's not a troll, please name 3 notebooks on the market that are under $400 with tax and shipping with IEEE 1394 FireWire ports.

    If this fundamental flaw was fundamental, Apple wouldn't be beating company records every quarter. Somehow they make more revenue each year than the previous but their products fundamentally flawed. Jonathan Ives designed it, it can't be flawed. :D
  19. Langonoddy macrumors newbie

    Dec 29, 2009
    well, I did say I stand to be corrected. and really, and will double check, I have believed (thought it was "known") that booting my macs from usb was not possible.

    My PPCs serve perfectly well at enabling me to research, store data, and write 500 -1000 page reference works with graphics on every page. For my readers with dos boxes, I have to break the resultant pdfs into 3 or 4 parts so that they can open them. My readers with Macs have access to the complete document. My readers and I are not computer experts. At the basic level, a typewriter with memory is great.

    I do know which os Id rather use to write my tomes with. And it aint Windows.

    Firewire is better to have than to not have.

    I havent used Windows since 1998. Im in a Mac forum. The reason was two fold : I got sick of crashes and hangs in Windows. I suddenly was in a work environment (a Uni) that was Mac based at time. On that first exposure, I realised that for what I did, Id waste less time when doing I do if I did it on a Mac. And yea, for sure, for what I do, a PPC g4 is fine. A g3 is capable of enabling me to do what I do with it.

    Does every Beetle owner HAVE to buy a Porsche? (yea Im an old coot. Itll happen to you ).

    Lastly my issue with the inbuilt optical drives in Apples : you go to "cheap as chips" and buy some crap blank discs. The apple internal drive wont burn them successfully. Throw them in an external drive with some el cheapo burner in it and they burn fine. Thats what I do. That was upper most in my mind. And I have a firewire box for the external burner. I dont care about the burning speed really. I accept your information. My machines are happier burning via firewire. I care about the ability to burn any disc on the market, not just the ones the Apple burner likes. Finally, I will come back with my findings re your information about Macs (my g4 and g3 macs) being bootable from an external usb drive. It is news to me. Im not here because of what I know. Quite the reverse, so thanks for you thoughts. Seeing as one can get a used Intel mini for 200 bucks on ebay, may as well. The remote control is nice. Hope its not too powerful for me. Might have to learn to type faster.

    OK my initial checking on booting a PPC Mac from an external usb drive threw up this and it seems limited.
    As the PPC Mac will externally boot from firewire its not a big deal. Might try it on the Mac Mini with the dead FW though. I reckon even if it worked on the G4, actually installing Tiger on the G4 via a usb burner is another matter. No probs with firewire though.


    Confirms precisely what you say applied to Intel Macs and Im happy about that. Question is, can you install OSX onto an Intel machine from an external usb optical drive?

    Edit again: 2.1.10. Having learnt a lot here (thx to thread creator and everyone else) OK, I'd buy a Macbook and live without firewire. But Im not a muso - pro or otherwise. And Ive learnt that yea, OK, that an Intel Mac, when its internal optical drive dies, can have a reinstall via an external drive via usb, and that can be done in a couple of ways. And I discovered that Carbon Copy etc bootable backups are a good way to go anyway. Intel or PPC. The post below is a good one, so Ill just edit this post here and not play submarine commander. And yea, Apple USB drivers , Apple USB could be better. And comparatively, that's perhaps a flaw.
  20. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    Bolded some parts. The Macbook Pro kept Firewire this whole time. The Macbook simply wasn't marketed to Pros.

    But it's not a flaw if it's not there. I personnally don't have a single FW peripheral, nor would I ever have one. My only USB devices are input devices anyhow, and my cellphone.
  21. mosx macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    And PCs aren't used? All of the same tools, minus the inferior Apple made products, are available for PCs.

    Because a MacBook with a Core 2 Duo will be able to somehow keep up with modern recording? I don't think so.

    Don't forget that the truly high end products use PCI or PCIe solutions. No Mac offers PCI, and only the horrendously overpriced Mac Pro offers a limited PCIe upgrade path.

    Latency would only be an issue if the hardware itself is not well designed, not a problem with USB 2.0. Have you looked at USB 2.0 interfaces lately? Good USB 2.0 interfaces have 0 latency on Windows with proper ASIO drivers.

    Pro Tools is native on Windows as well you know. Plus, for the cost of a MacBook "Pro" you can get a high end Core i7 Windows notebook PC with dual 7200 RPM HDDs running in RAID 0.

    You know, a system actually capable of handling modern high end audio recording and mixing.

    Why not?

    Oh yeah, why would any modern video outfit use Macs for HD video editing when Macs can't even play back blu-ray? Core 2 based Macs can't even run high end 20Mbps+ H.264 in software in OS X.

    Seems counter-intuitive to be able to edit the video but not be able to play it to see your edits or final product.

    IF thats true, you can blame Adobe for poor PDF reading software in Windows.

    Why use PDF anyway when there are better document formats anyway?

    Thats kind of ironic that you went from a relatively stable platform with pre-emptive multi-tasking to a notoriously unstable platform with co-operative multi-tasking that, on most hardware at the time, couldn't even play an MP3 in the background if you were trying to browse the web at the same time.

    So would an Athlon 500 from 1999. Athlon 500 with 256MB of RAM would run Windows XP better than a 90s G3 would run any flavor of OS X Apple supports on it.

    Apple just uses crap drive. Those Matsushita drives lived up to the last 4 of 5 letters in their name. The LG drives they've been using so far haven't been too bad. We'll see about that though. That last firmware update has been giving me issues in Windows. I haven't tried burning in OS X, but I do have something to burn later. If it errors out then Apple's going to be getting a call from me, despite my system being out of warranty. I live in California so they can't hide behind an EULA and try to tell me they're not responsible for any damage done.

    Yes you can. You can even image the OS X DVD to an external drive of some type (HDD, flash) and install from it too.

    Well, thankfully, Apple finally started designing systems so its not quite as hard to replace the internal optical drive. It's possible now. It still requires complete system surgery but its not the worst thing in the world like it used to be.

    Oh come on. You can't honestly still believe Apple has a separate "Pro" and "Consumer" market when the MacBook "Pro" is anything but a "Pro" machine and the Mac "Pro" is just an overpriced desktop.
  22. Langonoddy macrumors newbie

    Dec 29, 2009
    Theres nothing wrong with pdf.
  23. pcs are junk macrumors 65816

    Sep 28, 2009
    which can run os x? indeed they can, but can they operate just like a mac, can u use the full features just like a mac? can u use boot camp? no. can u use parallels? no. can u get in big legal trouble? YES. does it glitch up alot? YES. do you have all the right kexts to make it work on your machine? yes i think so except i cant use wifi or ethernet. =( - these are the flaws with hackintoshes. i have one that i hacked just for the challenge, and let me tell you, it is nothing compared to a mac. macs are so much faster, and ur hackintosh crashes and get kernal panics way to much. the kexts work but are faulty and u have to reinstall. its better to do it on a real mac, because some software verifies if its a mac, and if its not, well looks like u cant use that nice new software that u paid 900 bucks on. or windows 7, on a mac, i just insert and os x disk and then i can have all the drivers, on a pc, u gotta go out and pay the geek squad to install the drivers, or spend endless hours trying to install them urself. its not worth it, its so much better to get a mac, u can do so much more. and u dont go to jail and get sued $2500 like one guy did. look at Pystar, they got sued for a lot. now do u want that to happen to u? i mean if u really want to waste $400 for a pc, that u have to wipe the hard drive, and hope that you'll be able to run mac os x on there, then go for it, i mean if ur gonna spend countless hours hunting down that method just to get it to run on ur machine, but find out that they havnt developed the proper kexts for your hardware, then go for it! i would enjoy watching u waste ur money on a computer that u cant even use now, because u wiped the hard drive. ROFL good luck with ur hackintosh thats gonna crash!
  24. mosx macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    Heh, I think this post is in the wrong thread.

    But I still gotta ask, why do I need Geek Squad to install drivers for me?

    Heres a nice little story.

    I confirmed last night that both of the firmware updates for the "SuperDrive Firmware Update 3.0" update killed my MacBook's ability to write DVDs. So I wiped my PC clean and reinstalled WIndows 7 on it, getting it all nice and set up to be my primary system while I deal with whatever hassle Apple puts me through trying to get them to fix it, since it is their responsibility.

    Anyway, I put in the Windows 7 disc and ran it. When it was done I opened up Windows update and it had the driver for every single piece of hardware in my system. It had the 64-bit driver for my 4 year old TV tuner, it had my card reader, fingerprint reader, everything. The only driver I installed myself was the nvidia driver, because the one on the nvidia website is newer than the one at Windows Update. The Windows 7 disc already had the drivers for my WiFi and ethernet.
  25. rusty2192 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2008

    And the point of this post was...........

Share This Page