is firewire 800 really better than 400? is it worth the extra cost?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Sossity, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. Sossity macrumors 65816

    May 12, 2010
    I see alot more firewire 400 enclosures, firewire 800 ones are almost 2 times as much & harder to find. I am looking for a good usb/firewire enclosures for my 3.5 inch 1tb external hard drives to use with my macbook pro.
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Well, FW800 is twice as fast. It's up to you but FW400 isn't that much faster than USB 2.0.
  3. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I'm going to assume that your computer has Firewire 800, which has twice the bandwidth of Firewire 400, and also does not use the same port. That's not to say that you can't use one with the other, as you can get cables that have one end 400 and the other 800. If you actually want to use firewire, you might as well buy 800, as Firewire 400 and USB 2.0 operate at roughly the same speed.
  4. Fubar1977 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2010
    North Yorkshire, UK
    Barely any point to FW400 these days, not much better than USB 2.
    Firewire has had its day (imo), watch it vanish over the next couple of years as USB 3.0 and possibly lightpeak take over.
  5. dolphin842, Feb 19, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2011

    dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    Even the low-power 3.5" drives are faster than FW800 nowadays, so it's worth it to get a FW800 enclosure if you'll be using it a lot. That said, it's weird paying more for the enclosure than the drive: I got a 2TB eco-drive for $70 last week and the two enclosures I found are in the $80 range...
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Firewire 800 is screaming fast (2-3+ times faster than USB 2.0) and is preferred if you do large data transfers, including audio and video.
    ... until Firewire S3200 comes out, that is! Then USB will be playing catch-up again.
  7. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    It depends upon your usage. If you are only using it for TM backup purposes, I do not think that speed is very important at all. After the initial backup, then the amount of data being transferred each hour is pretty minimal. For this purpose, I would prioritize something that I could easily attach to my home network. Many routers support USB attached drives... or just buy a network attached drive.

    If you are looking for external high performance drives, then FW800 is currently the best ways to go... assuming that is the fastest port on your MBP. I suspect that will be changing in the not so distant future, so you should probably consider today's purchase will become obsolete next time you update you MBP. External storage will evolve very quickly.


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