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  1. #1

    Member Since
    Jan 11, 2011
    firewire vs. usb for backup
    I am looking at buying an external drive for use for time machine backups. From what I understand firewire is faster than usb, but how much faster is it really in real world use? Is it worth the extra cost? I can get a 1TB usb drive for about half of the cost of a firewire unit as it seems the usb are always on sale. I can envision the initial time machine backup taking hours and hours but after that it should not be a ton of data so the speed difference shouldn't be that noticible or will it? Right now I have about 400 GB full on my hd and I rarely have more than 2-3 GB of changes in files on any given day.

  2. #2

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Get the USB drive. It's just a backup drive which you will probably be accessing very infrequently...and at half the cost...why not.

    If it was going to be an "every day drive"...and you had lots of large files to transfer back & forth...then every bit of speed might be a more important matter.

    My 2 cents,

    - Nick
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  3. #3

    RavingMac's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 07, 2008
    In Denial
    16Gb Mac Mini 2012, 13" MBA, 15" MacBook Pro OSX 10.7, 32 GB iPhone 3GS, iPad2 64gb 3G
    I agree with Nick and have a number of external drives (both USB and Firewire). For Time Machine backup I use a (actually 2) USB drive. Initial backup is a little slow, but updates are fairly quick.

    OTA for things like Aperture Libraries (which I tend to keep on external drives) I use Firewire for the speed.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  4. #4

    mrplow's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 01, 2007
    Mac Mini i5 (2014 High Sierra), iPhone X, Apple Watch, iPad Pro 12.9, AppleTV (4)
    +1 from me too - get the USB.

    If it was connected 24x7 I'd go firewire - much faster at copying multiple small files than USB and the power management of firewire drives is controlled by the OS so they spin down when not in use.

    For occasional backup etc. USB is better value

    Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - bottom left of this post

  5. #5

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Keller, Texas
    2017 27" iMac, 10.5" iPad Pro, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 7+, Numerous iPods, High Sierra
    I've got an iOmega triple interface drive (FW 800, 400, and USB). Yes, USB is somewhat slower, but not noticeable - for me anyway.

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