External HD connect via firewire or usb 2?

  Ariis Zarai 03:11 23 Sep 2006

Hey guys, (and gals) - just wondering as I've ordered an external hd, what's the supposed fastest way of connecting the drive? usb 2.0 is rated at 480mbps and firewire is 400. I know there is a firewire 800 version but my pci card wont support that.

Some people have suggested firewire is better on bigger files? I haven't a clue... any ideas?!

Thanks in advance :D

p.s. the drive has usb2 and firewire ports so I will have a choice.

  terryf 05:55 23 Sep 2006

I use usb2 with no probs but shouldn't this be in the helproom forum?

  jack 06:38 23 Sep 2006

Fire wire is faster than USB2-
But the differential as for as use is concerned is nothing - simply go for the one that fits your machine.
If it is USB then that's the drive to go for

Both USB and Firewire ports are available as PCI cards- typically 4 external and 1 internal and cost £15-30 depending what you buy and where from- Computer fairs can be cheapest- High street stores are dearest.
Which to buy - well you could wind up with a 5 port fire-wire card and have only the Fire-wire drive attached other fire-wire stuff is pretty rare still- so my advice - USB for most practical uses.

  freaky 12:51 23 Sep 2006

Been using a Maxtor One-Touch external 80GB Hard Drive via USB(2) for over a year without any problems - and it is fast provided you have USB(2)available. If you have not got USB(2) on your MB, then get a USB(2) PCI Card....this is what I did. I find the Belkin PCI cards from PCW very reliable.

  anskyber 13:12 23 Sep 2006

It depends, click here

  freaky 18:27 23 Sep 2006

According to your link, then a firewire is better than USB(2) for external HD's.....interesting point!

Unfortunately my Maxtor external only provides a USB connection.

  anskyber 18:42 23 Sep 2006

Like you I use the USB 2 connector to my external HDD. Its a Lacie with a Seagate Disc.

The truth is it performs extremely well and if it is slower it is not something I have experienced as a practical problem. My HDD has a separate power supply which is not fed from the USB port so that may help.

  ade.h 19:16 23 Sep 2006

I think De Marcus provided some useful figures a while ago (if he reads this, he might post them again, because I can't locate them) that showed Firewire to have a better real-world data rate despite the slower on-paper figure, particularly in the sustained test, if I remember correctly. That is in addition to the benefits mentioned in anskyber's link.

  anskyber 19:22 23 Sep 2006

Yes this seems to support that view. click here

  wee eddie 19:23 23 Sep 2006

Firewire was faster with large individual files such as large.avi's and .wmv's, whereas USB had the edge on .jpeg's .doc's etc.

Given the same total volume.

  freaky 19:25 23 Sep 2006

My HD is the same i.e. own power suppy and on/off switch. I should imagine that relying on the USB to supply the power is asking a lot....unless of course you have a powered USB Hub !

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