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Old 4th August 2010, 01:47 AM   #11
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USB is a packet based peripheral bus designed to replace a whole host of different serial/parallel standard ports on the back of a PC.

FireWire is a multiplexed component bus more related to PCI/PCIe than any serial port.

One of the fundamental differences between the two is that a FireWire device will negotiate how many time lots it needs with the host computer and gets a reservation on them. This means that it can always be assured tat it will get the amount of bandwidth it needs to pass data. A practical upshot of this is that FireWire audio interfaces exhibit less jitter due to transition over the cable than USB interfaces.

The downside of FireWire is that it's rarer and more expensive to implement than USB. It is also equally susceptible to what bridge chipset is used to get data from the SATA or IDE drive onto the wire.

Personally I'd run with eSATA if I really cared about performance as it's native from end to end. Also there's less in the middle to go wrong!

Other than that it's down to assessing if you really need the benefits of FireWire and are willing to pay for it over the ubiquity of USB drives. That's a personal choice we each must make.

Finally, I mentionined this in another thread - bigger numbers in specs are NOT the only way to judge performance. This is particularly true with USB/Firewire throughput numbers. For example, how many devices can you name that support streaming HD video over USB? Not many. Why, as surely manufactures would love to avoid paying Apple royalties on Firewire interfaces.
It's because even though on paper there is enough bandwidth to deliver the stream it can never be done as reliably as Firewire does.

None of my comments should be taken as me saying USB sucks. It doesn't, but both standards exist for different reasons and are intended to do quite different things.

Cheers,

Rob
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Old 4th August 2010, 02:14 AM   #12
infinia is offline infinia  United States
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Well I've used both Apple and PC's, I'm currently using a PC with both USB 2.0 and Firewire ports along w / an external drive with both Firewire and USB 2.0
If you use PC's and MS products stick with USB unless transferring raw video from a Vid Cam. Recognition and organizing files of an external drive is light years faster and more robust with USB. USB 3.0 is here (sort of) but I believe SATA ext will be more better for what I want.
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Old 4th August 2010, 02:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infinia View Post
Well I've used both Apple and PC's, I'm currently using a PC with both USB 2.0 and Firewire ports along w / an external drive with both Firewire and USB 2.0
If you use PC's and MS products stick with USB unless transferring raw video from a Vid Cam. Recognition and organizing files of an external drive is light years faster and more robust with USB. USB 3.0 is here (sort of) but I believe SATA ext will be more better for what I want.
For HDs I think you're right, convenience outweighs any performance benefit. eSATA is just SATAwith a funky cable. Electrically it's the same, and there are no electronics between the drive and the disk controller to introduce latency or other oddities. It's just a cable! I can't say enough good things about it.

For audio interfaces though, performance via FireWire should always match or exceed usb2/3 - unless the manufacturer screwed up the driver. This is true on any plaform, and is simply down to the characteristics of the FireWire bus when it comes to streaming anything (audio/video).

Certainly, once it's running, you'll never see a FireWire interface generate a "bus too slow" message or have glitches/drops in your signal unless there is something seriously wrong elsewhere in your system.

The same can't be said for USBx
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Old 4th August 2010, 03:26 AM   #14
infinia is offline infinia  United States
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It comes down to the operating system and how it handles the interface. Not really a hardware thing. Audio Files are low bit rate. Firewire or USB for Audio neither is any good IMO. HDMI is the way forward it seems.

Apple = Firewire
PC = USB
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Old 4th August 2010, 03:36 AM   #15
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Jitter is universal..
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Old 4th August 2010, 03:40 AM   #16
N4CR is offline N4CR  New Zealand
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Little difference, few mbit theoretically however real world especially with 2.5" drives you are limited to a pretty low transfer rate as the drive is physically slow. 3.5" drive I'd reccomend esata, bit quicker than usb for peak transfer rates. ATA133 data rates are barely saturated today continuously by the best single drives, let along 6gbps sata pipes.
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Old 4th August 2010, 11:36 AM   #17
doug20 is offline doug20  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diginerd View Post
USB is a packet based peripheral bus designed to replace a whole host of different serial/parallel standard ports on the back of a PC.

FireWire is a multiplexed component bus more related to PCI/PCIe than any serial port.

One of the fundamental differences between the two is that a FireWire device will negotiate how many time lots it needs with the host computer and gets a reservation on them. This means that it can always be assured tat it will get the amount of bandwidth it needs to pass data. A practical upshot of this is that FireWire audio interfaces exhibit less jitter due to transition over the cable than USB interfaces.

The downside of FireWire is that it's rarer and more expensive to implement than USB. It is also equally susceptible to what bridge chipset is used to get data from the SATA or IDE drive onto the wire.

Personally I'd run with eSATA if I really cared about performance as it's native from end to end. Also there's less in the middle to go wrong!

Other than that it's down to assessing if you really need the benefits of FireWire and are willing to pay for it over the ubiquity of USB drives. That's a personal choice we each must make.

Finally, I mentionined this in another thread - bigger numbers in specs are NOT the only way to judge performance. This is particularly true with USB/Firewire throughput numbers. For example, how many devices can you name that support streaming HD video over USB? Not many. Why, as surely manufactures would love to avoid paying Apple royalties on Firewire interfaces.
It's because even though on paper there is enough bandwidth to deliver the stream it can never be done as reliably as Firewire does.

None of my comments should be taken as me saying USB sucks. It doesn't, but both standards exist for different reasons and are intended to do quite different things.

Cheers,

Rob
Sure you posted correct data but application is what is important and that includes costs.

I run a full house video system, including HD video.

YES USB drives are JUST fine for the OPs needs. Does everyone forget the specifics of a thread to go off on how smart they are about specs?

YES USB connected drives can be used even for HD movie playback.

YES USB connected drives are 100% fine for ANY movie playback.

This debate reminds of a contract (Im and IT consultant). It was me against Big IBM. My solution was 50K and their solution was 500K. Mine was PC based and theirs was Unix based. It was a 24/7 operation and the IBMer was like you posting all the specs and not realizing/ignoring the specific requirements of that project. 15 years later that company still runs a PC cluster solution, I have made a HUGE living off being practical instead of throwing tech specs all over the place.

Firewire is great but there is a bigger cost and a little more complexities involved along with less comon options (external drives come standard with USB NOT firewire). I know you did post that and that is the key to not going with Firewire solutions.

USB does the job 100% and are extremely easy to use and find so why bother with firewire at all in this case???

I do agree that if eSata was standard (Its pretty close) then its a great way to connect drives too.

Last edited by doug20; 4th August 2010 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 4th August 2010, 12:51 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doug20 View Post
Sure you posted correct data but application is what is important and that includes costs.

I run a full house video system, including HD video.

I do agree that if eSata was standard (Its pretty close) then its a great way to connect drives too.
Not wanting to go around the houses on this I do need to clear up a few things .

1) If you had read what you quoted, I mentioned cost several times as a negative against FireWire, and that it's a trade off for performance

2) I explicitly said USB doesn't suck, but is different to FireWire for a reason, which I explained

3) By "streaming HD" I was not referring to reading files from disk and using something like CIFS/NFS/or multicast stream to view the content r the network. I was referring to the native FireWire communication used by video gear, and although not mentioned, in the back of my head was the FCC mandated FireWire port on STBs. This is one area USB can't touch it for performance. AT INCREASED COST

4) eSATA it a standard, just a newer one that you haven't much run into. Dell laptops come with it, many othe PCs do too. Even the Gateway my wife bought in Jan for $500 at BestBuy (for shame! ) has a couple of ports on the back.

If possible eSATA is the way to go, because you can't get simpler than a cable.
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