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Firewire 400/800/USB = confusing

symbian

Established Member
I was going to buy an 1TB hard drive. I was confusing about firewire 400 and 800. I'm not sure that which one is compatible with my laptop. Normally, I use my laptop's firewire with my comcorder. I dont even know that they are different. I tried to seach it first but I am getting more confused. Then, I had a look at this site and I found this.

http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=260345&highlight=firewire


I thought that firewire is much faster than USB2.0 but I am not sure about it now.

I'm planning to buy WESTERN DIGITAL My Book Premium 1.0TB 7200rpm 16MB

http://www.misco.co.uk/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=282006&Tab=2&NoMapp=0

Will it be compatible with my laptop?

Thanks
 

andy1249

Distinguished Member
Firewire 800 is relatively new , if your laptop is new then it may support it , otherwise it should just work at firewire 400 or just firewire as it used to be called , speeds.

Firewire works at 400mb/s , USB 2.0 is theoretically 480mb/s , however , USB is a shared interface , and that bandwidth is usually split , so the likelihood of any single device actually getting to work at that speed is slim.

So that makes firewire better than USB 2.0 , usually.

That WD drive should work with just about any computer , you have all the options there , so just pick the interface that works best for you. As far as I know all the cable types you need are included in the package.
 

HMHB

Distinguished Member
I've had a Firewire 800 drive since 2005 so they've been around for about 3 years or so now, but I don't remember seeing 800 ports on a laptop. You can buy Firewire 800 ports for a laptop though if your machine can take a cardbus card (PCMCIA). The hard drive will be backwardly compatible with Firewire 400 though as it will have a different port for this.
 

Paul Shirley

Established Member
I thought that firewire is much faster than USB2.0 but I am not sure about it now.
USB2 rarely achieves more than 50% of its headline bandwidth, external drives top out at around 30mb/s - well below the drives maximum. In practice Firewire400 is much faster, around 2x on my dual interface WD Media drive for general use. Still slower than the fastest zone on a drive but not by much.

The other issue is USB uses more CPU power than firewire, which is also why USB runs slower - less hardware support in the interface. Perhaps important on a laptop.

Go with Firewire, either version.
 

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