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  1. #1

    Member Since
    Sep 24, 2008
    USB or Firewire Ex HD
    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.


  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    27" iMac i5, 3.2 GHz, iPad 3, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    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.


  3. #3

    harryb2448's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    iMac i5 2.7GHz, 16GB memory, OS 10.11
    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.

  4. #4

    hughvane's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 18, 2008
    Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
    MacMini 2.4, 8 Gb, OS 10.10 and 10.6; MacBook 2.4, 4 Gb, OS 10.6.8
    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.

  5. #5

    Santino's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 30, 2008
    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.
    Intel iMac 24" 2.8Ghz / 4gb
    PowerBook G4 12" 1.33Ghz / 1.25gb
    2Gb Black iPod Nano 1G
    Canon 30D, recently inherited!

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