Should I buy an external 320GB USB or Firewire for my MBP?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by matthewp, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. matthewp macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2007
    I'm looking to buy an external hdd to use with my MBP

    Which one should I buy,

    1) Lacie 320GB Desktop USB
    2) Lacie 320GB Desktop FireWire (FW400)

    The firewire one is marginally more expensive
  2. FJ218700 macrumors 68000


    Mar 8, 2007
    Blue Dot, Red State
    I've found FW to have a much better bandwidth than USB. maybe bandwidth is the wrong term, and maybe it's just my imagination though.
  3. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000


    Oct 31, 2005
    Twin Cities, MN
    I'd look for one with FW800, it simply owns both USB 2.0 and FW400.
  4. Multimedia macrumors 603


    Jul 27, 2001
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    Make Your Own And Make It FW800 NEVER USB 2.

    Make your own for way less money. NOT USB. It is Radically slower. Only FW and FW 800 would be best.

    Where are you? Do you have Fry's handy?
  5. ~J~ macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2007
    3rd Rock from the sun
    DEFINITELY FW! I have lots of external drives, both USB & FW (5 USB & 2 FW4)... FW4 is always faster. Ive tried lots of programs and methods for moving around large amounts of data (~2GB), and FW has out-performed USB every time. Now... FW800 is supposed to be faster still... havent had a chance to play with it yet.

    It also depends on what you are looking for... a portable drive? or a stationary drive. FW doesnt power the bus... so for a portable you would have to carry around a PSU in addition to the drive. I buy from Fry's & Hope that helps!
  6. Multimedia macrumors 603


    Jul 27, 2001
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    FW400 Bus Powewred 2.5" Enclosures and Ready Made Drives Do Exist

    Not necessarily. There are bus powered 2.5" FW Drives. You can have up to 250GB in a bus powered FW400 drive. I haven't seen bus powered FW800 enclosures yet.
  7. ~J~ macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2007
    3rd Rock from the sun
    Really....?? May be time to get some new portables... altho I was holding out until FW8 gained a little more in the market... dont know why its not...
  8. cobravap macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2006
    I think cause it is too expensive to gain much market share. I was waiting for it to drop but then just bought a usb hdd cause i dont really care that much about the speed. But to each is his own. I dont do much video editing and stuff. if you do, then get FW. It is the better choice.
  9. Drile macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2005
    The questions no one has asked:

    1) What are you using the drive for? Movie editing? Music? Document storage?

    2) Are you going to have multiple drives? Do you need to daisy chain them (plug one drive into another)?

    Sometime the extra cost of a FW drive is not worth it if you can get a steal on a usb drive that you will back up document to once a month. It depends on your use of it and the price.
  10. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    If you archive to USB2, it should be fine.

    If you actively work with the files on the drive, try FW.
  11. lancestraz macrumors 6502a


    Nov 27, 2005
    I was just testing the different connection speeds for on my Lacie triple interface hard drive yesterday. The results are....

    Score in xBench.
    FW 800: 45
    FW 400: 35
    USB 2.0: 14
    Internal HDD: 33

    Time it took to transfer a 730 MB file from the external to the internal HDD.
    FW 800: 20 seconds
    FW 400: 25 seconds
    USB 2.0: 45 seconds

    You should really spring for FW 800. It's a huge difference.
  12. Drile macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2005
    I agree.
  13. ravenvii macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    If you would like to use the HD as an AirDisk (with the new model AirPort Extreme), it would have to be USB 2.0.

    Just throwing that out there in case you're considering doing that.
  14. disconap macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2005
    Portland, OR
    You won't notice much of a difference between FW400 and FW800 due to the limitations of system hardware and read/write speeds of drives. FW800 really shines in RAID set-ups, but even then the speed differences aren't that huge at current tech levels. Best to save the money and get the FW400 drive.

    But I definitely agree on FW vs. USB. USB is quite a bit slower.
  15. jnash macrumors regular

    Apr 26, 2007
    not to jump off topic but does iMacs and mbp support eSata? I keep hearing its wayy faster then fw800 is this true?

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