Mac Firewire - No eSATA??

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by tronic72, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. tronic72 macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2007
    I've just seen a post here in MR, about a new form of Firewire running at 3 GB.

    That got me thinking.

    Why is Apple sticking with firewire (400-800 Mbs) when eSATA (3GB) exists

    There may be reasons relating to bursts and theoretical limits but I'd love to put this one out there. I know for example, that firewire 800 still beats USB 2, even though they both have theoretically the same top speeds.

    If firewire is 400-800, and eSATA is 3.2 GB, it's seems like a no-brainer for Apple to ditch firwire in favour for SATA. After all, Macs already use SATA internally for their HDs.

    Interested to hear what MR readers think.

  2. pinktank macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2005
    esata couldn't become a common standard, the new dells have it on, hopefully, the new mac series will have it as well as it needs 0 hardware upgrades, it's just a cable from the sata controller terminated in a female esata plug.
  3. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    eSATA isn't a replacement for Firewire. Max cable length on eSATA is 2m and Firewire 800 is 100m. Firewire can provide power, eSATA cannot. The newer Firewire 3200 is also backwards compatible so there is no reason for Apple to drop it. They could of course add eSATA to the Pro systems and I wouldn't be suprised to see it on the next revisions.
  4. nufanec macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2005
    Actually FW400 will still outperform USB2 although having similar speeds. FW800 is far faster. FW400 = 400Mbps, USB2 = 480Mbps, and FW800 = 800Mbps. FW has a continuous transfer rate while USB works in bursts, so basically on sustained transfers FW400 is faster than USB2.

    To be honest with current hard disk speeds you are not going to notice any real difference between FW800 and eSATA. If you look at 7200RPM HDs the typical transfer rate is about 70MB/s. FW400 can handle up to about 50MB/s and 800 100MB/s. So although you would see a slight advantage on a FW400 transfer, you would see no benefit if you have FW800.

    Where you would see an advantage is when running fast HDs 10000-15000 RPM disks which can fully saturate the FW800 connection. You would also see gains if you are daisy chaining. eSATA cant be daisy chained but FW can so if you have say a FW HD and a DV Camera connected at the same time, they will split the transfer rate.

    The other advantage FW has at the moment is that it is bus powered which is more advantageous for notebook users as you don't have to carry a power supply for your external drive like you would with eSATA at the moment. Supposedly eSATA is going to have bus power at some point though. Some manufacturers are providing USB power adaptors for their eSATA drives to get around this problem.

    I considered getting an eSATA card for my MacBook Pro but to be honest it doesn't do anything for me that FW800 doesn't. If it was built in I might use it but then again I would have to go and buy new hardware to use it so perhaps not...
  5. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    No one even mentioned USB in any of the posts prior to yours.
  6. bigandy macrumors G3


    Apr 30, 2004
    ...apart from the OP... :rolleyes:
  7. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Well said.

    FW800 is very convenient when using external 2.5 inch external HDs. It only requires on cable with simple connectors. No power supply is needed.


    Same here.

    Decided that FW800 was plenty good.


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