USB vs Firewire

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by imacfreak85, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. imacfreak85 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    #1
    So, with all these different versions of USB and Firewire going around, which one truly is the fastest?

    It was my understanding that the list went like this (from slowest to fastest)

    USB 1
    USB 2
    Firewire 400
    Firewire 800

    Is that correct?

    Are there any other benefits of firewire or USB? Ive heard the new intel macs can boot from a USB drive now.
    So what are the pros and cons of each?
     
  2. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #2
    USB1
    FW400
    USB2
    FW800

    USB 2 is slightly faster than FW400....technically, sorta, maybe.
     
  3. bartelby macrumors Core

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    #3
    Isn't USB 2 only faster in bursts. In a sustained transfer FW400 is quicker, isn't it?
     
  4. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #4
    Yes, in real use the OP is correct. However theoretically e is right.
     
  5. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #5
    My knowledge of these port speeds ended at the end of my last post. I have no idea! :p :eek:
     
  6. bartelby macrumors Core

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    #6
    That's ok, neither have I:eek:
     
  7. mattraehl macrumors 6502

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    #7
    see for yourself

    If you have an external HD that supports USB2 and FW400, you can see the difference for yourself. Download XBench, and run the disk test against the external HD, once using FW400 and once using USB2. Typically FW400 is faster than USB2 for external HDs, and uses less CPU.
     
  8. Synchro macrumors member

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    #8
    If you're talking about external HDs, go firewire. USB2 maxes out at about 12Mb/sec in real life (I think I saw a report once of it doing 17), but firewire 400 on the exact same drive will give you 25+ and I've had 50Mb/sec peaks. Firewire can also deliver way more power, so you're much less likely to need external PSUs. Apple have never shipped a machine that didn't provide firewire with power (i.e. 6-pin connectors).
     
  9. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #9
    I just purchased a USB 2.0 and FW 400 external HD enclosure.

    I timed it transferring a 12GB file. FW was about 2.5 times faster than USB.

    As someone mentioned already, FW 400 is much better than USB 2.0 for sustained transfer speeds. The reason for this speed difference is the different way FW and USB is implemented.
     
  10. Sinsinnati macrumors regular

    Sinsinnati

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    #10
    For external enclosures, FW400 is faster than USB2.0
     
  11. hdsalinas macrumors 6502

    hdsalinas

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    #11
    Another good example is transfering video from my Sony Handycam.

    With USB the transfered video is choppy and very low quality, I think it drops frames a lot. With FW, it is very smooth and the video quality is as high as the camera allows.
     
  12. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

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    #12
    FW800 Is Twice As Fast As FW400 Which Is 3 Times As Fast As USB2

    No it is NOT. USB2 is very slow and should only be used to access music, data and movie archives. FW800 is twice as fast as FW400 which is much faster than USB2. Only according to the specification is USB2 faster and that does not translate into any working reality at all. Reality is USB2 is DOG SLOW period.
    You are NEVER supposed to transfer video with USB2. That port is only to transfer STILLS from the camcorder.
     
  13. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #13
    I go with USB2 for external drives, as OSX shuts the drive off when not in use. FW seems to always on. I don't like that and I've noticed no real world speed limitation through using USB2...
     
  14. darkcurse macrumors 6502a

    darkcurse

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    #14
    FW > USB that is for sure. Oh and Mac > Windows for multiple transfers! I did a test the other day, I transferred about 100GB's worth of data in multiple folders using my Mac and my friends windows PC (not simultaneously mind you) and Windows could only do a max of 4 transfers before crapping out. My Mac on the other hand had transfers running from the top of my screen to the bottom of my screen and then some and it was all smooth and stable. Though it could be attributed to me using FW on my Mac and USB2 on the PC.
     
  15. thworple macrumors 6502

    thworple

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    #15
    All my firewire drives spin down when they're not in use.
     
  16. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #16
    yea FW is clearly the winner.. even over USB2.0..
    it also has a clear advantage because of the power it can provide watt-wise. usb is 1.5w?? FW is 60w??? i think...
     
  17. Heb1228 macrumors 68020

    Heb1228

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  18. georgi0 macrumors regular

    georgi0

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    #18
    advice needed !!

    i
     
  19. Heb1228 macrumors 68020

    Heb1228

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    #19
    Only USB drives will work with the Airport Extreme. There shouldn't be any problem with the drive going to sleep, but I don't have personal experience with it so I'll let someone else comment on that.
     
  20. georgi0 macrumors regular

    georgi0

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    #20

    do you think that a USB 2.0 hub palys a part in delaying the tranfer if you have it shared with another hard disk and a printer all attached on the airport extreme USB port ?
     
  21. Heb1228 macrumors 68020

    Heb1228

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    #21
    That has nothing to do with Firewire itself, its just your firewire drives have a cheap chipset that doesn't support the feature. Most FW drives will spin down after a period of inactivity.

    The wattage supplied by the connection has nothing to do with it. The drives we are talking about here all have their own external power source.

    And wikipedia
     
  22. Heb1228 macrumors 68020

    Heb1228

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    #22
    The hub only reduces the speed if the other devices are also transferring data. If both hard drives are transferring data at the same time, you'll get about 50% of the speed you'd get if only one was transferring. A printer doesn't transfer enough data to noticeably affect the situation you're describing.
     
  23. georgi0 macrumors regular

    georgi0

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    #23
    tnx,
    can you reccoment a quiet and auto power off or spin down USB 2,0 external disk as well as a Firewire one?
     
  24. Heb1228 macrumors 68020

    Heb1228

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    #24
    it depends on what size you're looking for and what price range.

    ~$200 - 750 GB Maxtor here: http://www.jr.com/JRProductPage.process?Product=4141246

    ~$150 - 500 GB Maxtor (but USB 2.0 ONLY) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822144069

    ~$135 - 320 GB Seagate http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148237

    Those are a few suggestions, look around at newegg.com and see what you like. I'd be fine with any of the name brands, Seagate, Maxtor, Western Digital, my personal favorite is LaCie.
     
  25. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #25
     

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