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  #1  
02-19-2011, 02:51 AM
Sossity Sossity is offline
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Starting a new thread to break up my questions, I am on a macbook pro 2010 laptop, & learned it has a firewire port as well as usb.

If I decide to with separate enclosures for my external hard drives, I would like to utilize the firewire port on my mac, & am torn for the firewire spec. Is 800 really better than 400? I ask as I am a college student on a budget, & will likely get more hard drives in the future, & notice firewire 800/usb enclosures are alot harder to find & are about 2 times as much as 400/usb enclosures.

I like the idea of firewire drives not using the cpu. I work with photo & video files as well as music files.

or would I be better off just sticking with usb 2.0?

I would still like usb option as well as firewire as I want my hard drives to be cross platform to use with pc's as well.
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  #2  
02-21-2011, 04:17 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Quote:
Is 800 really better than 400?
It's maybe twice as fast. I don't recall the exact actual speeds (ignoring the theoretical), but it is most definitely faster. I use a firewire 800 drive for photography work.

Quote:
notice firewire 800/usb enclosures are alot harder to find & are about 2 times as much as 400/usb enclosures.
That sounds about right.

Quote:
I like the idea of firewire drives not using the cpu.
This isn't always important. It really depends on the setup. For example, for a shared network drive, USB is terrible, because it will hobble the machine from doing anything else that's CPU intensive.

Quote:
I work with photo & video files as well as music files.
This is a bit generic.
Speed needs come down to the size and complexity of data.
Consider:
JPEG vs DNG / NEF / CR2 ?
MP3 vs WAV / AIFF / DolbyE / multi-channel AC3 or DTS ?

Quote:
or would I be better off just sticking with usb 2.0?
USB is easy and cheap, quick to find. But it's USB. You need enough open non-hub ports, etc.

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  #3  
02-21-2011, 11:04 PM
kaliree kaliree is offline
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If you are working with large files (Gigabytes of data) on a regular basis, then I suggest Firewire 800. In practice, it really is close to twice as fast as Firewire 400 is in practice. (In other words neither one hits their theoretical limit, but they both maintain a steady speed that averages out higher than USB 2.0)

If you will be running video of any type directly from the drive then you will at least need Firewire 400. I suggest Firewire 400 unless you are using HD video files because Firewire 400 ports will be available on older Macs while Firewire 800 will not. Yet Firewire 400 doesn't really have the bandwidth for directly editing HD video from your external drive.

If compatibility is most important to you, then you'll want USB 2.0. It will connect to any computer you encounter, but it will not be sufficient for directly editing any video files.

Not to confuse you, but my personal suggestion would be to buy an eSATA adapter. eSATA lets your external drive connect at the same speed as your internal hard drive because it uses the same interface. Of course, your external hard drive has to use an eSATA adapter as well. eSATA blows the doors off of any version of USB or Firewire (even USB 3.0). You can buy external drives that have eSATA and USB 2.0 connections. That way you could maximize the speed on your Macbook, but you would still be able to connect to any other computer if you needed to do so.

Here is an article that ought to clarify the eSATA options for a Macbook: http://macperformanceguide.com/Revie...BPCore_i7.html
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02-22-2011, 02:28 AM
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My Windows laptop has an eSATA ExpressCard in it, and it works quite well. Few Windows systems have ExpressCards, however. At least in my experience. If you have one, it's a nice bonus. That would further reduce issues with not enough USB ports, or chaining firewire drives.

There's no reason you can't have a couple of each drive type. I have USB2, eSATA, firewire 400 and firewire 800 in use -- all at the same time. Sometimes all connected to the same system.

Works well.

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  #5  
02-22-2011, 03:38 PM
Sossity Sossity is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaliree View Post
If you are working with large files (Gigabytes of data) on a regular basis, then I suggest Firewire 800. In practice, it really is close to twice as fast as Firewire 400 is in practice. (In other words neither one hits their theoretical limit, but they both maintain a steady speed that averages out higher than USB 2.0)

If you will be running video of any type directly from the drive then you will at least need Firewire 400. I suggest Firewire 400 unless you are using HD video files because Firewire 400 ports will be available on older Macs while Firewire 800 will not. Yet Firewire 400 doesn't really have the bandwidth for directly editing HD video from your external drive.

If compatibility is most important to you, then you'll want USB 2.0. It will connect to any computer you encounter, but it will not be sufficient for directly editing any video files.

Not to confuse you, but my personal suggestion would be to buy an eSATA adapter. eSATA lets your external drive connect at the same speed as your internal hard drive because it uses the same interface. Of course, your external hard drive has to use an eSATA adapter as well. eSATA blows the doors off of any version of USB or Firewire (even USB 3.0). You can buy external drives that have eSATA and USB 2.0 connections. That way you could maximize the speed on your Macbook, but you would still be able to connect to any other computer if you needed to do so.

Here is an article that ought to clarify the eSATA options for a Macbook: http://macperformanceguide.com/Revie...BPCore_i7.html
Are there esata adapters that can plug into my mac's firewire port? like firewire to esata?

My laptop does not have express card slots, it is a 2010 unibody macbook pro, so I dont think there are expansions like this, also I am new to macs, & dont want to get into opening up my laptop just yet.
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02-22-2011, 04:06 PM
kaliree kaliree is offline
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Hi Sossity,

Quote:
Are there esata adapters that can plug into my mac's firewire port? like firewire to esata?

Read more: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/newr...#ixzz1EjB2VQWZ
.

No, I don't believe they exist. Even if esata to firewire adapters do exist, you would have no benefit from it because the eSATA connection would be slowed down to the maximum speed of your firewire port. Express cards connect at even faster speeds that eSATA, which is why you can connect an eSATA adapter to an express card slot and still get full speed out of the connection.

Quote:
My laptop does not have express card slots, it is a 2010 unibody macbook pro, so I dont think there are expansions like this, also I am new to macs, & dont want to get into opening up my laptop just yet.

Read more: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/newr...#ixzz1EjBBLJ99
An express card slot doesn't require disassembling your laptop. Express card slots are similar to SD card slots, they can be accessed on the side of the laptop and you just slide the card right in.

Unfortunately, from what I just read, 2010 Macbooks smaller than 17" do not have an express card slot. What size Macbook do you have?
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  #7  
02-22-2011, 11:41 PM
Sossity Sossity is offline
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My laptop is 15.4" inch anti glare hig res 2010 macbook pro.
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  #8  
02-23-2011, 04:05 AM
kaliree kaliree is offline
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Quote:
My laptop is 15.4" inch anti glare hig res 2010 macbook pro.
Okay. Then it seems unlikely that you have an express card slot.

Here is my suggestion, buy one of these drives which have USB 2.0, Firewire 400 and Firewire 800 connections.

I have the 320GB model (that's the blue one) myself. I paid over $110 a year ago for it and now it is only $67. Or you can get the 500GB model (the red one) for $113. They are portable drives that can fit easily in a jacket pocket. Pick up a case like this one and you should be able to take the drives and cables with you wherever you go. They have all the interface options you will need.

I run Windows 7 x64 at home, but I use iMacs at college. The 320GB drive has been a wonderful bridge for files that are too large for a flash drive. Okay? Problem solved.
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