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Hope For Future of Firewire
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Big Mac
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Dec 15, 2007, 09:17 PM
 
The 1394 Trade Association is finishing up 1394c, which will boost Firewire up to 3200Mbs:

Slashdot | FireWire Spec to Boost Data Speeds to 3.2 Gbps

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Dec 15, 2007, 09:25 PM
 
how long do you think that this will be put into Apple computers?
     
Big Mac  (op)
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Dec 15, 2007, 09:28 PM
 
According to the literature it's a relatively simple upgrade from from Firewire 800. If Apple isn't blackmailed by Intel into killing Firewire, we should see it soon.

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Art Vandelay
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Dec 15, 2007, 09:33 PM
 
Hopefully Apple won't do the same thing with FireWire 3200 that they've done with FireWire 800. After five years, FireWire 800 is just now being added to the consumer Macs. With FireWire 3200, hopefully they'll push it rapidly across the lineup to allow it to gain market share quickly.
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medicman55
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Dec 15, 2007, 09:36 PM
 
I've been pretty disappointed by firewire, and how it never caught on. I wish there were more flash drives, external drives, etc. that would use it.
     
Big Mac  (op)
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Dec 15, 2007, 09:42 PM
 
Yeah, Apple's its own worst enemy when it comes to many of its groundbreaking technologies.

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Dec 15, 2007, 11:27 PM
 
It's not really a consumer technology though, is it? I mean, I love it, but it is harder to find, more expensive, and 800 devices will not work in 400 ports. USB is cheaper, ubiquitous, and backward compatible. Unless you need the better performance, USB is a better consumer option. Firewire is always going to be a niche for higher end applications.
     
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Dec 15, 2007, 11:42 PM
 
I'm not emotionally attached to Firewire. If it goes on living, then fine. I keep to use my Firewire devices longer. If it dies, then fine, USB progresses faster. It's a win-win-situation for me.
     
Big Mac  (op)
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Dec 16, 2007, 12:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
It's not really a consumer technology though, is it? I mean, I love it, but it is harder to find, more expensive, and 800 devices will not work in 400 ports. USB is cheaper, ubiquitous, and backward compatible. Unless you need the better performance, USB is a better consumer option. Firewire is always going to be a niche for higher end applications.
USB is cheaper, but I would never use it for any high performance application. USB 2 is still inferior to Firewire 400. As for the change in port designs, everyone realizes that the 800 port is superior to 400 because of the design flaw with the 400 that allowed people to force the cable in the wrong way and break the port. And are you sure you can't use an 800 device with a 400 port?

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Dec 16, 2007, 12:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
USB is cheaper, but I would never use it for any high performance application.
Which is why peeb said it’s for higher-end applications. FireWire is superior to USB, I agree with you; but it’s less of a consumer technology than USB is.

And are you sure you can't use an 800 device with a 400 port?
You can’t use an 800 cable with a 400 port, so for most practical examples and purposes, the answer is yes.
     
Big Mac  (op)
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Dec 16, 2007, 12:43 AM
 
The specs are compatible and I think all that's necessary is a converter cable. That's what this product page states, at least:

Firewire 800 Cables / FireWire 1394b Cables

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Dec 16, 2007, 12:44 AM
 
I have a Firewire 800 to Firewire 400 cable to connect my Firewire 400 external hard disk to the Firewire 800 port of my PowerMac. With that cable it would by physically possible to connect a Firewire 800 device to an Firewire 400 port, but laking a Firewire 800 device I have never tried whether that would work.

Big Mac, I don't see how you could force in a Firewire 400 plug the wrong way into the outlet. The shape of both makes that impossible.
     
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Dec 16, 2007, 12:48 AM
 
I don't like how USB eats up CPU time during I/O.

It may be fine for keyboards, mice and the occational USB memory module, but I don't like it for active HDs or intensive data transfers (such as media).

I hope FW will be with us for a long time to come.

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Dec 16, 2007, 12:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by TETENAL View Post
Big Mac, I don't see how you could force in a Firewire 400 plug the wrong way into the outlet. The shape of both makes that impossible.
It's pretty widely reported, Tetenal. That's the big reason why the changed it for Firewire 800.

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Dec 16, 2007, 12:53 AM
 
According to this quasi-witness, Steve's greed and thick-headedness prevented Firewire from cleaning the floor with USB, as it should have been.
Originally Posted by Teener
After Steve Jobs came back to Apple, he was somehow convinced that Apple should change the game midstream and ask for $1 per port for the Apple patents (his argument was that it was consistent with the MPEG patent fees). I left Apple before Steve came back, so I have no idea how this really happened.
What would be the killer app? Hard-drive High-Def Videocameras? Could Sony, Canon, JVC, Panasonic, etc be convinced to provide S3200 for the sake of consumer satisfaction?

Personally, I stick with FW because I hear on the internets that USB bogs down your CPU quite a bit. I'll have to pay a lot more for my external HD enclosure, but cest la vie.
     
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Dec 16, 2007, 12:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
It's pretty widely reported, Tetenal. That's the big reason why the changed it for Firewire 800.
Why couldn’t they do that with USB plugs, too? USB plugs are far worse in that department than FireWire ever was.

I often have to look twice to figure out which way to turn a FireWire plug before plugging it in, but at least I can see it when I look. With USB, you just have to guess, try your luck, and if you can’t get the plug pushed in properly, you try turning it over and trying again.

Doesn’t help, of course, that computers tend to be rather inconsistent about which way to turn the USB plug, too.
     
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Dec 16, 2007, 01:48 AM
 

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Dec 16, 2007, 02:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by TETENAL View Post
Big Mac, I don't see how you could force in a Firewire 400 plug the wrong way into the outlet. The shape of both makes that impossible.
It's actually quite easy. The shape does not prevent it. With just a little extra force, you can plug it in backwards. I've done it myself when trying to connect a cable blindly.
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Dec 16, 2007, 05:46 AM
 
So if this gets ratified by IEEE 1394 we could see this in Macs, or at least Mac Pros, by 2009?

edit: reading Error it says we might see it later in 2008

WTF? What is this error?

edit 2: see if this works: Electronista | FireWire to climb to 3.2Gbps

edit 3: It works!
( Last edited by C.A.T.S. CEO; Dec 16, 2007 at 05:59 AM. )
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Dec 16, 2007, 06:22 AM
 
I bought a good looking LaCie BRICK USB2 external hard disk to use as backup with a 24" iMac, that thing sucks when it comes to boot the iMac up… so I have it collecting dust with no real purpose besides to storage files, my 'old' LaCie d2 FireWire 400 blows the doors off it.
     
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Dec 16, 2007, 10:11 AM
 
When looking for a new external hard drive the first thing I did was search for firewire drives. I've never been really happy with USB 2. I've never been unhappy with firewire.

Should have never changed the iPods to USB. It would have forced PC makers to include firewire. (Though I do understand why they did it. I'm just a jerk that way.)
     
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Dec 16, 2007, 10:20 AM
 
same here, everyone recommends firewire over usb2 or ethernet drives anyhow.

I have tried usb2 drives too and they are just too slow. The only usb2 products i use is a DVD-burner, my camera and recently my iphone
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Dec 16, 2007, 10:32 AM
 
800Mbps over UPT with RJ45 connectors is pretty neat, but otherwise 1394c looks pointless to me.

For cameras even DVCPROHD is only 100Mbps so FW400 is more than adequate. Even if you're shooting 4K I think most codecs should still leave you at less than 79MBps (FW800 beta mode).

For external hard drives? 1394c will still have less bandwidth and higher latency after conversion than (e)SATA, while being much more expensive.

I'd rather see Apple make every Mac with FW800 as the only Firewire and add eSATA.
     
Big Mac  (op)
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Dec 16, 2007, 02:08 PM
 
The 1394ta press release identifies uses for 1394c. And Firewire does have some advantages over eSATA, like bus power and daisy chaining. But if they're going to go with only 800 (or 3200) ports, they'll need to include a 400 converter cable to get the message to people that they can still use their 400 devices.

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Dec 16, 2007, 03:14 PM
 
I've always liked FireWire. They are starting to make large capacity FireWire flash drives now too.
     
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Dec 16, 2007, 05:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
The 1394ta press release identifies uses for 1394c. And Firewire does have some advantages over eSATA, like bus power
I haven't had time to read the 1394c spec, but does it place a requirement on bus power? Or are we left with the current 1394/b available power crapshoot? Does it implement any of the power management intelligence that USB has for detecting and reporting devices attempting to draw too much, etc?
     
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Dec 16, 2007, 05:12 PM
 
I had been reading up on the development of FireWire around a year ago. Both FireWire 1600 and 3200 were mentioned as being in development.

After hearing nothing new for so long, I started to suspect that FireWire development was completely falling off. Glad to see that not only was I wrong, but that they're leapfrogging 1600 entirely and going to 3200 much more quickly than I'd have expected.

I'm a big proponent of FireWire, and I'm very happy to see that Apple has reaffirmed their commitment to it this year. Hopefully things will only get better in the future.
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Dec 16, 2007, 06:45 PM
 
So the key to FW3200 surviving is using the same connector as FW800?

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CharlesS
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Dec 16, 2007, 07:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
According to the literature it's a relatively simple upgrade from from Firewire 800. If Apple isn't blackmailed by Intel into killing Firewire, we should see it soon.
I doubt it. Look at how many years FW800 has been around, and yet it's still available in only the most expensive machines from Apple.

Originally Posted by peeb View Post
It's not really a consumer technology though, is it? I mean, I love it, but it is harder to find, more expensive, and 800 devices will not work in 400 ports.
Sure they will. Just get a cable with a 9-pin connector on one end and a 6-pin connector on the other end.

Video camcorders don't use the 6-pin connector either, but that doesn't stop people from connecting them to Macs with 6-pin FireWire ports.

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Dec 16, 2007, 08:38 PM
 
I meant that they would not work on their own, without an adaptor, the way usb 1 and 2 do.
     
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Dec 16, 2007, 08:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
I meant that they would not work on their own, without an adaptor, the way usb 1 and 2 do.
I have never once seen a video or still camera with a full-size USB port. They always have a mini-USB or micro-USB port. So you still need to get a special adapter cable to use them, exactly as with FireWire.
     
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Dec 16, 2007, 08:48 PM
 
You are right that devices have different size ports, but every computer I have seen in the last I don't even know how many years has a standard size USB port. You don't have to figure out what type of connector you need to connect it to.
     
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Dec 16, 2007, 08:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
I have never once seen a video or still camera with a full-size USB port. They always have a mini-USB or micro-USB port. So you still need to get a special adapter cable to use them, exactly as with FireWire.
Similarly, I’ve never once see a video or still camera that didn’t come with this adapter cable.

peeb was referring to FireWire 400-to-FireWire 800 compatibility, not peripheral-to-computer compatibility. A USB port doesn’t care whether you plug in a USB 1 cable or a USB 2 cable, which makes it completely compatible. FireWire doesn’t have that.

Edit: Oh, he got in before me. Oopsies.
     
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Dec 16, 2007, 09:32 PM
 
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Dec 16, 2007, 10:09 PM
 
I lol'ed when I saw that "Firewire" commented on the thread "Hope for future of firewire"
     
CharlesS
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Dec 16, 2007, 10:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
I meant that they would not work on their own, without an adaptor, the way usb 1 and 2 do.
Again, that doesn't seem to be a problem with video camcorders, which is where FireWire 400 is most often used. Video camcorders require a special cable to go from 6-pin to 4-pin, and no one complains about that.

Originally Posted by peeb View Post
You are right that devices have different size ports, but every computer I have seen in the last I don't even know how many years has a standard size USB port. You don't have to figure out what type of connector you need to connect it to.
If Apple had standardized on FireWire 800 across their lineup years ago, as they should have done, FireWire 400 ports would have disappeared from the face of the earth by now, every FireWire port you'd see would be FW800, and it would be the exact same situation (considering that this new FW standard uses the same connector as FW800).

Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
Similarly, I’ve never once see a video or still camera that didn’t come with this adapter cable.
There's an easy solution to that too - just bundle a 9-pin to 4-pin FireWire cable with the first couple of generations of Macs that don't include FW400. That's what Apple did when FW400 first came out - every new Mac that had FW came with a 6-pin to 4-pin cable. They were still doing this all the way into the G4 era, because my G4/450 came with one of these cables. By the time they quit, FW400 had become sufficiently ubiquitous for video that people were used to the FW400 connector. If Apple did something similar with FW800 or this new FW spec, the same thing would most likely happen again.

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peeb
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Dec 17, 2007, 12:30 AM
 
This is all fine and good, and I am a huge fan of FW for high end applications, but for flash disks and consumer tech that I want to be sure will work on virtually all computers, give me USB.
     
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Dec 17, 2007, 02:57 AM
 
The problem with USB is that it's dog slow (USB 3.0 may fix this). So while it's good enough for a flash disk, for an actual hard disk, I'd rather have FireWire. Of course, eSATA beats them both, but for some reason Apple refuses to put eSATA ports on any of their computers.

What I did was to get a quad-interface enclosure. It has FireWire 800 for speed, FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 for compatibility with virtually all computers, and eSATA for whatever time in the future Apple finally wakes up and adds eSATA to their machines.

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Dec 17, 2007, 09:19 AM
 
I agree.
     
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Dec 17, 2007, 09:37 AM
 
Yes Firewire will be around for a LONG time to come. There have been people calling it's death for years now. Mostly because Apple dropped using firewire on the iPod to make them cheaper. (Certainly not because it worked better)

I wont even go into that whole mess. I'd still love to get a Firewire equipped iPod. But nooooOo.
     
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Dec 17, 2007, 09:42 AM
 
That's the problem - USB on the iPod works just fine, and you know that it will work with any computer. I love Firewire for high end applications, but not for consumer tech.
     
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Dec 17, 2007, 09:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
That's the problem - USB on the iPod works just fine, and you know that it will work with any computer. I love Firewire for high end applications, but not for consumer tech.
Oh yeah the USB 2.0 iPods work. But not as fast as the FIreWire versions did at the time when they came out.

And if you didn't happen to have a USB 2.0 equipped Mac at the time ( Many didn't) you were really screwed with a slow connection.
     
shabbasuraj
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Dec 17, 2007, 11:39 AM
 
eSATA sux...

FW FTW.
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Big Mac  (op)
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Dec 17, 2007, 11:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by shabbasuraj View Post
eSATA sux...

FW FTW.
That's the spirit.

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olePigeon
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Dec 17, 2007, 12:58 PM
 
Firewire is based off similar technologies that SCSI uses. While the throughput may be a little bit lower, it has a much higher sustained transfer rate. Coupled with an independent CPU that handles a lot of the low-level communication within the interface for Firewire, it is independent of any CPU requirements. USB is dependent on the CPU.

According to Wikipedia, Firewire 800 is backwards compatible with 400. It's also used as a replacement to centronics (finally?) in the F-22 Raptor, and the F-35 Lightening.
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Dec 17, 2007, 01:23 PM
 
If Apple was serious about Firewire they should have left support for it on the iPods, put FW 800 in more macs sooner, and even put a FW port on the airport Extreme so you don't have to use Airdisk with USB.
     
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Dec 17, 2007, 02:10 PM
 
The reason Apple went USB on the iPods is that USB controllers are available in much smaller sizes that consume less power than FireWire controllers. And the moment they decided that they would be putting effort into making the iPod as small as possible, FireWire was one of the first things that had to go.
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Dec 17, 2007, 02:11 PM
 
They should work on FW to be smaller and consume less then I guess?

I think it probably had more to do with price than anything else.
     
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Dec 17, 2007, 02:14 PM
 
Why? USB works fine in iPods - they don't need the performance that the extra processor and power provides - USB is ideal for iPods. FW comes into its own in high performance hard drive and video applications.
     
Lateralus
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Dec 17, 2007, 02:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
They should work on FW to be smaller and consume less then I guess?

I think it probably had more to do with price than anything else.
Possibly.

I have no doubt that USB is the cheaper of the two to deploy, Intel probably makes sure of that.

And the fact that Apple still charges a 25 cent royalty for the inclusion of FireWire on any device certainly isn't helping adoption of it on the PC side. Even now, only higher-end PC motherboards come standard with it.
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