USB 3.0 VS Firewire 800

tigereat

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 23, 2009
214
2
I just returned my new iMac and 'm waiting for a replacement.

I know USB 3.0 is coming out and would like to know if it will be faster than Firewire 800?

It 's confirmed some of computer providers will be releasing their products with USB 3.0 ports on this month, January. like Lenovo Thinkpad W510

I'm thinking of returning my iMac for the refund and wait til new iMac comes with USB 3.0 ports (if it is a lot faster than firewire 800) and of course wait til Apple has eliminated all current problems for this iMac.


Do you think I should wait until then? or just keep this current iMac and sell it when the newer one comes out?
 

Kebabselector

macrumors 68030
May 25, 2007
2,804
1,092
Birmingham, UK
USB 3 support on an Apple product? Maybe late 2010. With light peak on the horizon who knows what will happen.

As for speed to quote a google search on wiki (so it could be wrong)....

The raw throughput is 4 Gbit/s, and the specification considers it reasonable to achieve 3.2 Gbit/s (0.4 GByte/s or 400 MByte/s)
On face value of these figures it's much quicker, though how much load is put on the processor I don't know.
 

tigereat

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 23, 2009
214
2
IIRC, Intel said no usb 3.0 support in their chipsets until 2011.
That's weird. I got this message from a Lenovo website about their new products releasing on January 2010


"Productivity through Performance


The new W510 brings mobile workstation performance to a higher level. More powerful than before, the W510 can now support up to 16 GB of memory and quad core processors. The W510 has four memory slots for up to 16GB of high performance 1333 MHz DDR3 memory. It also offers Nvidia's 1GB GPU and the latest Intel® Core™ i7 processors. As the first ThinkPad to offer USB 3.0, users can transfer data quickly reaching speeds up to 10x the performance over USB 2.0."
 

Badger^2

macrumors 68000
Oct 29, 2009
1,962
2
Sacramento
What drive do you plan on plugging into that USB 3 port?

What kind of external drive speed are you looking for? Just for backup?
 

old-wiz

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2008
8,318
221
West Suburban Boston Ma
That's weird. I got this message from a Lenovo website about their new products releasing on January 2010


"Productivity through Performance


The new W510 brings mobile workstation performance to a higher level. More powerful than before, the W510 can now support up to 16 GB of memory and quad core processors. The W510 has four memory slots for up to 16GB of high performance 1333 MHz DDR3 memory. It also offers Nvidia's 1GB GPU and the latest Intel® Core™ i7 processors. As the first ThinkPad to offer USB 3.0, users can transfer data quickly reaching speeds up to 10x the performance over USB 2.0."
Take a look at this:

http://gizmodo.com/5396965/nvidia-confirms-intels-senseless-usb-30-delay-until-2011

The ThinkPad could be using non-Intel parts to do usb 3.0
 

MacHamster68

macrumors 68040
Sep 17, 2009
3,252
3
so where do i start
best with wiki as its easy to understand

Although high-speed USB 2.0 normally runs at a higher signaling rate than FireWire 400, data transfers over S400 FireWire interfaces generally outperform similar transfers over USB 2.0 interfaces. Typical USB PC-hosts rarely exceed sustained transfers of 280 Mbit/s, with 240 Mbit/s being more typical. This is likely due to USB's reliance on the host-processor to manage low-level USB protocol, whereas FireWire delegates the same tasks to the interface hardware (requiring less or no CPU usage). For example, the FireWire host interface supports memory-mapped devices, which allows high-level protocols to run without loading the host CPU with interrupts and buffer-copy operations

so usb 3.0 is nominal faster then firewire 800, , in the real world it has the same drawbacks as usb2.0 a lower then promised sustained speed , so usb 3.0 maybe can just keep up with firewire 800 , but dont expect more then just that

better wait for

A project named IEEE P1394d was formed by the IEEE on March 9, 2009 to add single mode fiber as an additional transport medium to FireWire.

Other future iterations of FireWire are expected to bring a bump in speed to 6.4 Gbit/s and additional connectors such as the small multimedia interface.

but for the moment i`m happy with firewire 400

so i doubt apple will fit usb 3.0, to please 2 or 3 people with usb 3.0 needs
 

dwarfthemike

macrumors newbie
Jul 8, 2010
4
0
Sorry to bump such an old post.

Hey, I know this might be hard to believe, but USB 3.0 isn't the end all that you think. The theoretical speeds are higher, but Hard drives still have their limits. The only way to get these speeds is with a Solid State Drive.

I have compared USB 3.0 and Firewire 800 IRL and they are about the same, but firewire wins since it doesn't use much CPU if at all.

Like someone said above, the real winner will be Firewire 1600 and 3200.
 

Dr McKay

macrumors 68040
Aug 11, 2010
3,414
41
Kirkland
Bah, the fastest transfer speed ive seen to my USB harddrive was about 24mb/s, and that was transferring video, If I'm copying pictures or music accross, it never seems to exceed 7-8mb/s.

Am I just unlucky?
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,076
580
Finland
Sorry to bump such an old post.

Hey, I know this might be hard to believe, but USB 3.0 isn't the end all that you think. The theoretical speeds are higher, but Hard drives still have their limits. The only way to get these speeds is with a Solid State Drive.
SSDs are becoming more popular all the time. You can always put HDs in RAID 0 to achieve greater speeds and that's common if you have multi-bay enclosure

I have compared USB 3.0 and Firewire 800 IRL and they are about the same, but firewire wins since it doesn't use much CPU if at all.

Like someone said above, the real winner will be Firewire 1600 and 3200.
That depends on the drive you used. Most 3.5" can provide faster speeds than FW800 can (~80MB/s in real world). Burst speeds can be well over 200MB/s.

FW HDs cost a nasty extra over USB or eSATA drives, that sucks. FW 1600 and 3200 have existed on paper since 2008 or so but there are no products that actually use them
 

spinnerlys

Guest
Sep 7, 2008
14,329
7
forlod bygningen
Bah, the fastest transfer speed ive seen to my USB harddrive was about 24mb/s, and that was transferring video, If I'm copying pictures or music accross, it never seems to exceed 7-8mb/s.

Am I just unlucky?
I get up to 35MB/s with USB 2.0, but it is more like 27 to 32 MB/s at average. I use external enclosures for 2.5" HDDs with my 2009 MBP. Though USB 2.0 is slower on older, USB 2.0 equipped Macs, especially PPC ones, where I only got around 10 MB/s.
 

sammich

macrumors 601
Sep 26, 2006
4,281
212
Sarcasmville.
So Intel USB3 might be eons away in the tech world, but what stops Apple from putting it in a 3rd party controller next revision? I decided to go for the USB3 camp in my lastest purchase, FW800 enclosures still cost an arm and a leg, and even a fairly pedestrian 500GB laptop drive can reach 90MB/s, just beyond FW800.
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,076
580
Finland
So Intel USB3 might be eons away in the tech world, but what stops Apple from putting it in a 3rd party controller next revision?
Laziness. It would require redesigning the logic board (it's a small chip but you can't just put in there) and writing the drivers. Maybe Apple don't see it being so important
 

sammich

macrumors 601
Sep 26, 2006
4,281
212
Sarcasmville.
Laziness. It would require redesigning the logic board (it's a small chip but you can't just put in there) and writing the drivers. Maybe Apple don't see it being so important
I can see Apple putting things on lower priority (Blu-ray comes to mind, but we'll never know the true reason for that delay), but laziness isn't something I would attribute to Apple.

Hell (pardon the usage here :p), they made the mDP port, they co-built firewire, they were the first to use USB2 etc etc. I don't think a simple 3rd party chip would stop them if they were so inclined.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,360
701
... they were the first to use USB2
Not true. Computers with USB 2.0 were released in 2002, such as the Dell Dimension 4500, but the first Apple computer with it was the PowerMac 7,2, released in June, 2003. The first Apple notebook with USB 2.0 was the PowerBook 6,2, released in September, 2003.
 

Thermonuclear

macrumors 6502
May 23, 2009
362
21
Prior to using USB (first version, 12.5 Mbps peak) in 1997, Apple used ADB (Apple Desktop Bus) for connecting keyboards, mice, and other slow speed serial peripherals. ADB had been in use since 1987 on Macs and Apple IIgs boxes.

I doubt if Apple will ever use USB 3.0. Slow speed peripherals don't need it and can be better handled with Bluetooth anyway. High speed peripherals can use FireWire 800 for now and Light Peak soon; both are peer-to-peer just like Ethernet and don't load down the CPU as does USB.

Light Peak (dual fiber optic with optional DC power cable pair) is the way to go, not just for peripherals but for networking, too. The spec says 10 Gbps over 100 meters and (eventually) 100 Gbps over ten meters. It will take a very long time before workstations need anything better. Light Peak will also kill off DVI and Display Port eventually; even HDMI will go if the HDTV makers convert.
 

tears2040

macrumors 6502
Aug 27, 2010
401
1
Forget USB 3 and firewire just for the love of the Tech God give us a standard eSata port on my iMac!!
 

aliensporebomb

macrumors 68000
Jun 19, 2005
1,826
204
Minneapolis, MN, USA, Urth
Thinking...

Why not use gigabit ethernet instead of either?

Until my G5 blew up I was connecting to its drives via that and it was faster than even firewire 800 and it was a good solution for me.

I wish I could find an ethernet capable box to put two SATA drives in that would let me connect the same way.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,360
701
Don't forget this:

FireWire S1600 and S3200

In December 2007, the 1394 Trade Association announced that products would be available before the end of 2008 using the S1600 and S3200 modes that, for the most part, had already been defined in 1394b and was further clarified in IEEE Std. 1394-2008.[4] The 1.6 Gbit/s and 3.2 Gbit/s devices use the same 9-circuit beta connectors as the existing FireWire 800 and will be fully compatible with existing S400 and S800 devices. It will compete with the forthcoming USB 3.0.[24]

S1600 (Symwave [25]) and S3200 (Dap Technology [26]) development units have been made, with the latter promising a consumer version by late 2010.
 

aliensporebomb

macrumors 68000
Jun 19, 2005
1,826
204
Minneapolis, MN, USA, Urth
LightPeak

It would be great to see LightPeak but the WHEN is the big question? Next year? The year after? By then USB3 will be pretty entrenched I'd say. Makes it hard to say "we'll spring for that" unless it's so much faster than USB3 that it makes it look like a toy (it probably will) and it will be on every computing device on the planet.

Waiting...