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Other Hardware and Peripherals Other Apple systems and peripherals discussion.

USB or Firewire Ex HD


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jkeep

 
Member Since: Sep 24, 2008
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Hi,
I need an external hard drive & was going to go for the
more expensive firewire but have heared USB2 is just
as quick & cheaper.
Any feedback would be appreciated.

Jeff
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chscag

 
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I have several USB 2 external hard drives which I use for backup and storage. In my opinion they're both fast enough. According to specs FW 400 is a bit slower than USB 2, however, FW 800 is faster. If you have a machine that can take a FW 800 drive you might want to consider spending the extra $$$ for a FW 800 model. Otherwise, I'd stick with USB 2.

Regards.
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harryb2448

 
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And you do not give details of your machine. PowerPC Macs, all G3, G4 and G5's, generally will only boot an external drive via Firewire and FW400 is faster than USB2. Macs do not handle USB all that well and Firewire was an Apple development.

Intel Macs will boot from an external just fine with USB2.
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hughvane

 
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My 2c worth - I agree with chscag, you won't notice a lot of difference between FW (400) and USB2 (480), but Firewire is more consistent in its speed, whereas USB2 is 480 variable (depending on a number of factors).

And yes, you can go more cheaply with USB2, especially if you use a 'bare' hard drive (no enclosure) and a USB2 adaptor kit.
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Santino

 
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You should also take into account the number of ports left.

For example in my iMac i have 2 out of 3 usb in use, if i where to get an external HD or enclosure i rather have a FW one, cause i have 2 out of 2 FW (400 & 800) ports free, and wouldn't have to worry about running out of ports or unplugging and plugging things all the time. Yes, i now you can buy a cheapo hub to get more usb's but then we end up with more cables and stuff.

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