Using Firewire 800 cable with black Macbook (Firewire 400 port)

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by ramparts, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. ramparts macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    #1
    I have the black Macbook which I believe has a Firewire 400 port. A hard drive I'm buying offers a Firewire 800 cable, and I'm wondering if there's any way I can connect this to my Macbook's 400 port. If there is, would it offer a significant performance boost over the USB 2.0 port?
     
  2. Alrescha, Aug 19, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011

    Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #2
    You would need a Firewire 400 to Firewire 800 cable (or equivalent adaptor). One might even come in the box with your drive.

    Both Firewire 400 and USB-2 operate at around 400 megabits/sec. A nice thing about Firewire is that unlike USB, it does not use the CPU to do all the work - it has its own chipset for most of that.

    Expect Firewire 400 to be a little bit faster than USB2, with a lot less CPU overhead.

    A.
     
  3. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #3
    Just recently bought another Firewire 800 drive. It comes with USB cables, and a firewire 800 to firewire 800 cable and a firewire 800 to firewire 400 cable. If you plug a firewire 800 cable into a firewire 400 port it will work fine, but at firewire 400 speeds.
     
  4. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Location:
    Terra
    #4
    The other nice thing is that USB can't maintain its throughput and FireWire can. During transfers of large files, or large number of files, USB2 starts out a little faster than FW400 but quickly looses speed due to the CPU overhead. FW400 does not.

    OP, use FW if you can, it's much better. You can also daisy-chain it, so you can add more drives without having to buy a hub or something of that sort.
     
  5. ramparts thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    #5
    Well, the drive didn't come with a 400-800 adapter, just the 800 cable. All of the adapters I've seen between 400 and 800 allow you to plug a 400 device into an 800 port, which is the opposite of what I'm trying to do. If anyone has recommendations for products that work the way I'm looking for I'd appreciate it!
     
  6. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #6
    otherworldcomputing.com
    monoprice.com
    apple.com

    and 10,000 other places sell Firewire 400/800 cables (6 pin/9pin).

    A.
     
  7. ramparts thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    #7
    Thanks. Ideally I'd like an adapter (since most of the cables are way longer than I need) but it looks like all of them are the opposite of what I need, like this one:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Sonnet Technology/FAD824/

    What about a cable like this?

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/NewerTech/1394B96012/

    It looks like one end plugs into my Firewire 400 port, but where does the other end go? Will it accept the male end of my Firewire 800 cable? Unfortunately I can't plug any cables directly into my hard drive (Seagate GoFlex) because it uses a proprietary end for its cables.
     

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