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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is firewire faster than USB?


Do I just need a PCI adapter card to utilize firewire on my computer?


How much slower is firewire for data transfer than an internally mounted device - say a DVD Burner?


Thanks for any quick answers.
 

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Firewire is faster than standard USB, no doubt (regular USB -1.x- is too slow for hard disks, and DVD playback, IMHO)


In theory, USB 2.0 can get up to 480 Mbps, whereas most FW systems are limited to 400 Mbps... In practice, FW performs better and relies less on your CPU. I think that FW is overall a better solution, but USB2.0 products might become more common, and be cheaper.


Some motherboards have built in USB2.0 or FW connectors, if not, you'll have to add a card (see your manual)


The fastest hard disk interface commonly available (SATA 150) can transfer data at up to 1200 Mbps (150 MBps), so USB2.0 or FW could potentially create a bottleneck with disks that exploit these interfaces at their full potential (DVD burners are way slower than this).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you Eiffel, for the Intro to Firewire & USB-2.


I have found a PCI card by "Orange Works," which will give me a firewire and a USB-2 connection on one PCI card, so I think I will go with that.
 

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1394b (or if you prefer Firewire 2.0) has started to creep into the market. It's an 800Mbs bus :) But as we know new == expensive.
 

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Excellent summary Eiffel.

Quote:
Originally posted by Eiffel
The fastest hard disks commonly available (SATA 150) transfer data at 150 Mbps, so neither USB2.0 nor FW represent bottlenecks today (DVD burners are way slower than this).
SATA 150 is 150 MB/s, not 150 Mb/s.
 

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blackstar,


Thanks for the correction! This means that USB2.0 or FW are indeed potential bottlenecks with the fastest hard disks...


Here are some numbers in megabits per second (Mbps)


USB 1.1: 12 Mbps

Firewire: 400 Mbps

USB 2.0: 480 Mbps

ATA66: 528 Mbps

Firewire 2: 800 Mbps (there are actually some even faster 'standards', for more money)

ATA100: 800 Mbps

33Mhz 32bit PCI = 1056 Mbps

ATA133: 1064 Mbps

SATA 150: 1200 Mbps


Now let's compare these with the various storage options (max throughput):

CD (1x): 1.2 Mbps

CD (52x): 62.4 Mbps

DVD (1x): 10.8 Mbps

DVD (16x): 173 Mbps


One last thing to keep in mind is that most of the current hard disks do not make full use of the current max throughput (I suggest you look at www.tomshardware.com for your favorite disks). For instance, a high end Maxtor ATA133 they tested recently had a maximum throughput of 474 Mbps (average was also significantly lower)


Edited 'cause I can't get my numbers right today :mad: (thanks Blackstar!)
 

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Would you mind recommending a good 120-200 GB firewire drive, or are they all pretty much the same?
 

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I hate to do this again, but...


1x cd is 150KB/s (= 1.2Mb/s)


USB 1.0 is 1.5 Mb/s

USB 1.1 is 12 Mb/s


and just for fun, 33Mhz 32bit PCI = 1056 Mb/s
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Dandrek,


I believe the company KVM makes an external housing for standard internally mounted ATA hard drives. This allows you to buy the cheaper ATA hard drives, and plug them into an IEEE-1394 (Firewire) external connection. I would go that route before investing in external firewire hard drives.
 

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Diver - I think by the time you add the ~$70 for the enclosure, the difference between internal and external drives are about the same.


Plus, most firewire drives allow chaining.
 
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