USB 2.0 vs. FireWire 800

Discussion in 'Apple/Mac' started by Walter, Jun 21, 2007.

  1. Walter


    Jan 13, 2006
    Columbia, Maryland
    Walter Rowe
    I have to admit I have not Google'd this myself so I apologize for my laziness. Can anyone tell me the difference in speed (if any) between FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 connections to external drives?

    UPDATE: I did some Google research. USB 2.0 specifications support higher theoretical throughput vs. FireWire. Actual tests show FireWire achieving higher throughput for both reading and writing. Neither USB 2.0 or FireWire achieve the speeds that match internal drives. In order to achieve internal drive throughput from an external drive, you need to use eSATA (external SATA) technology.
  2. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Can't give you figures, but the FW 800 is noticeably quicker than USB 2.0 at downloading my D2x and Fuji S5 images to my Mac Pro.
  3. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005

    Much faster continous load speeds in Firewire, Consider USB 2.0 and FW400 closer to equal.

    however, some cf card readers make that a closer race with FW800, and the processor you use (intell vs G5 example) makes a difference too.

    FW 800 generally is faster than all external drives unless you are talking the new SATA drives, 100mbits vs 133mbits, or what ever it currently is rated, I am talking in general terms, not specifics, USB 2.0 was originally designed with 400mbits

    also FW can be bus powered, wheras I believe any external SATA drives require adapter.

    Once again talking in general terms...
  4. I have gone to all eSATA but still use a couple small drives in FW800 and USB 2.0. I think continuous throughput is higher in the FW but not a huge difference in average daily use.
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