USB 3 and FireWire 800 for 2012 Mac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by hajime, May 19, 2012.

  1. hajime macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    Hello, I am buying an external hard drive. How likely will a FireWire 800 port be available in the 2012 MBP 15" and iMac? What about the chance of having an USB 3.0 port in these two groups of Mac? Thanks.
  2. Moonjumper macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    I think it very likely that the new Macs will get USB3. Intel have support for it for the first time, meaning implementation is much easier than before.

    FW800 it quite an unknown. If it does go, it will probably be supported by an adaptor. But that adaptor will likely be expensive, and Firewire drives tend to be more expensive anyway.

    If I was looking at buy a new Mac when they came out, but needed to buy an external drive now, I would get a USB3 one.
  3. juanm macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    Yep. I wouldn't count on FW800. Apple has a history of cleaning the slate from time to time, and the purpose of Thunderbolt is to replace Firewire. If it's there, cool, but don't count on it, just in case...
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "How likely will a FireWire 800 port be available in the 2012 MBP 15" and iMac? What about the chance of having an USB 3.0 port in these two groups of Mac?"

    USB3 - certainty
    Firewire 800 - unknown. This could "go either way". We may see TWO thunderbolt ports on the new iMacs, perhaps one FW800 port, perhaps none.

    MacBook Pro:
    USB3 - certainty
    Firewire 800 - probably gone, replaced by two thunderbolt ports. It would surprise me if the new MBP's have a firewire port.

    As another poster mentioned, there will still be "connectivity options" for firewire. But these solutions will likely involve "adapters" of some sort...
  5. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    I would miss firewire 800, but I only use it for backups via SuperDuper and Time Machine. The drives all have USB 2.0, so I could still use them.

    They will probably put usb3.0 on since Ivy Bridge supports it.
  6. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    The rumour is USB3 and no Firewire (at least in the MacBook) but nobody knows for sure. It seems unlikely that they'd produce a MacBook Pro without one or the other, but who knows?

    You could hedge your bets and get something that supports both, e.g:

    ...or one of those Seagate GoFlex drives that can take different adapters.

    Of course, if you guess wrong, the worst case scenario is that you rip out the SATA drive from the enclosure it comes with and put it in a new enclosure with the appropriate interface.

    Maybe, if Apple plans to reduce the number of ports on the MacBook Pro, they'll also come out with a Thunderbolt dock, with Firewire, USB and Ethernet, that doesn't come with a $800 cinema display attached - but that's just a wish.
  7. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007

    I have a Seagate GoFlex drive. I am considering whether to get the USB 3 version or the Firewire one.

    I know that a few companies have made usb 3.0 card for the MBP 17".
    Are they good for working under both Mac OS and Bootcamp Windows 7? I suppose the transfer speed may not be as fast as that of a native usb 3.0 port.
  8. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    I thought the point of GoFlex drives was that you could buy different adapters - so you could start with Firewire and swap it for USB 3.0 later?

    That's something you should check with the vendor, but since these are almost certainly re-badged generic cards made for the PC market, they are highly likely to work under Bootcamp Windows. Since its an ExpressCard connection it ought to be fairly fast. I'd be more worried about the restrictions on the OS X side - storage devices only, no bus-powered drives, no hubs...

    (Also, you may also need something like Paragon NTFS for Mac and/or HFS for Windows if you want to use an external drive on both - otherwise the only format that both can read & write is FAT32 which is fine for USB sticks but not so good for a large hard drive).

    If you have - or are considering - a MBP 17", bear in mind that all the current "coming soon" rumours seem to be about the MBP 15" - it might be a while longer before there's a desirable update for the 17". People buy the 17" for screen real estate and extra expandability (ExpressCard and an extra USB port) so a more "Air-like" version with fewer ports and a "retina" display (its half-way there already) doesn't really make sense. I wouldn't be surprised to see it either dropped or just given a minor speed bump to keep it going.

    Seriously - I think your best bet is to get a drive which can do both FireWire and USB3, and use Firewire until the new Macs arrive, since the one thing that Apple would be totally insane to do is produce a new MacBook Pro with neither of those (unless they also launch an affordable Thunderbolt dock). If you already have a GoFlex drive then you're halfway there anyway.

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