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USB 2.0 Vs FW 400 Vs FW 800


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Stetwin

 
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Iím looking to pick up my external Hard Drive this weekend and was just wondering how big of a difference (in terms of real time) the three interfaces are?

Also when it comes to home/day to day use is FW 800 really worth the extra money or would USB 2.0 and FW 400 be fast enough? Iím mainly looking for something to back up my music collection, photos and also use it when leopard arrives for time machine, Iím looking to buy one of the WD MyBook externals if that helps in any way to answering my question

/Ste
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goobimama

 
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I would say use a FW400 drive. Firewire 800 is only for high speed video editing and it also needs a drive fast enough to cope up with those speeds. For your purposes, a Firewire400 drive is perfect. Even USB is fine, but it will take up a USB port on your machine which you would need for some other device.
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http://www.barefeats.com/usb2.html

I have done many Timed tests here at my place using PC's and Macs. Don't go by the numbers. USB 2.0 claims to be 480 Mbps but look at the real life tests. Firewire 400 always wins in any timed file transfer test.

A close friend and I zipped up his MP3 collection and did a file transfer from his Internal SATA 10K drive to a USB 2.0 and Firewire 400 and later Firewire 800 external. Same Hard Drive in each case. USB 2.0 took 10 minutes to copy the 1.5GB Zip of Music to the external. Firewire 400 took around 5 minutes and Firewire 800 3 minutes.

Like goobimama stated, go with Firewire 400 unless you are going to be working with Video Editing of LARGE video files. USB 2.0 is fine for a small external drive to copy a few files, but if you want speed to backup a lot of files, Firewire is the way to go.
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Stetwin

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goobimama View Post
I would say use a FW400 drive. Firewire 800 is only for high speed video editing and it also needs a drive fast enough to cope up with those speeds. For your purposes, a Firewire400 drive is perfect. Even USB is fine, but it will take up a USB port on your machine which you would need for some other device.
After having a shop about I can still only find the MyBook FW400 USB2.0 for £70 excluding delivery, but Iím able to get the FW800 FW400 USB2.0 for £78 deliveredÖ before I take the plunge does anyone know where I might be able to get one a little bit cheaper (links would be awesome), also are there any other external hard drives I should take in to consideration?
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I'd say more the merrier since the price difference is small. FW800 is definitely faster and who knows. One day you might want to go into video editing.
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Stetwin

 
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So is anyone able to help on the price or is £78 delivered for the FW800 one very reasonable, also on a side not I can get the FW400 one for £65 New and £56 used (all prices are on Amazon.co.uk), obviously the £56 one is a good saving but would a used drive be worth it?
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You never know where a used drive has been...
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I have a GTech G-Drive, FW-400. Per the above posters, in real world work, it far exceeds the transfer rates of my USB2.0 hard drive. Now the G-Drive is newer, and that may be a factor, but still, the FW-400 interface screams along beautifully.

I use PathFinder as a "heavy duty" file manager and its file transfer dialog shows the real time transfer rate as it writes to the drive. On large files, where my Mac is just pouring data onto the drives (big MP3s, movies and the like) the interface runs as up to 33 MB/s, or approximately 330 Mbps. By comparison, my USB2.0 drive runs in the 10-15 MB/s range.

I realize that theoretically, FW-400 should go a bit faster, but this is the real world, not the theoretical world, and at the above rates, I can back up my full 50 GB or so of personal data (iTunes, movies, extensive digital photo collection) in about half an hour. It is excellent, and because it is so fast, I do it more often. If it was slower and more of a problem, I would do it less.

I would recommend FW-400. FW-800, if not a huge premium, is a nice add, but I read that in real world tests, it isn't THAT much faster.

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If you're not bothered about the extra few quid get the FW800. That port is just going to sit unused otherwise, and it is the fastest.

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If your going to buy a FW800 HD then make sure you have a FW800 port, because the macbook only has a FW400 port
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goobimama

 
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Yeah. And they are not compatible with each other (though the FW800 drive will most probably have all the three formats). It will save some money though..
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