USB 2 Or Firewire 400

  FatboySlim71 09:42 05 Feb 2007

I have already got this identical hard drive but I am wanting to purchase an additional one to keep a back up of my pc, the other one I own is used to store my large collection of Photos, videos, music.

As I have mentioned I already own a Western Digital My Book external hard drive 320GB Premium and I want to purchase the exact same one, with this drive you have the option to connect it either by a USB connection or a Firewire 400 connection, from what I have heard Firewire is supposed to be the faster connection. I have Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2.

I was wondering if anyone had experianced using a Firewire connection for a External hard drive and or having used a USB connection for the external hard drive as well, and was their a big difference.

I would be using my external hard drive to take regular back ups of my PC, so it would not be getting connected to any other PC. The other one that I own would also be getting connected via Firewire once I install a PCI Firewire card.

Has I have mentioned I would need to install a Firewire card into my PC as I do not have any Firewire connections on my PC, below is the one that I am thinking of getting, I have also shown below the external hard drive that I am wanting to purchase, will this work ok with the external hard drive that I am wanting to purchase.

click here

click here

  FatboySlim71 10:01 05 Feb 2007


  ed-0 10:11 05 Feb 2007

it's not worth paying the extra cost to get a firewire card IF all you are going to use it for, is the external hard drive. the drive is just firewire 400.

When external hard drives have emptied their internal cache, the transfer rates drop significantly. Reading or writing to large files can see the transfer rate drop down to around 20mbps. reading or writing smaller files will see the transfer rates drop down to as low as 10mbps.

So if you are going to work with large files, expect transfer rates of around 10 to 20Mbps. These will be the same speeds for either firewire or usb2.0.

  FatboySlim71 10:35 05 Feb 2007

Thanks ed-o,

But when I visited web sites and they have tested USB and Firewire, most of these tests have been done with an external hard drive and they show that the read and write speeds when using the Firewire connection are faster (quite considerable)than using the USB 2 connection.

  SURVEY 10:43 05 Feb 2007

FatboySlim71 - I have a 2 year old Western Digital 160GB external hard drive that is USB and Firewire. I use this almost exclusively for creating Norton Ghost images of my computer's C Drive. I have noticed that the Firewire is quicker to create an image than USB.

I am about to purchase another external drive and am tempted by the WD 500GB 'My Book' and reckon that it is worth paying that little bit extra for the Firewire version. However as time is not really of the essence for me, if a really good deal came along USB only then I would consider it.

  FatboySlim71 10:56 05 Feb 2007

Thanks SURVEY, the scenario you have described is the same scenario as I would be using the drive for. I can highly recommend the MY BOOK external hard drives, they are excellent.

Basically I want to get the fastest performance out of my drive SURVEY and you are saying that the firewire method would give me this ?

  SURVEY 11:07 05 Feb 2007

FatboySlim71 - Yes, I now use the Firewire in preference to USB.

Regarding my present WD drive - I wish that the 'brick' power connector had a longer cable. When I place the drive on a desk and the power connector on the floor, the lead is strained. Strikes me as being pretty mean not to give an extra 300mm or so of cable. Is the 'My Book' the same?

  ed-0 11:34 05 Feb 2007

" But when I visited web sites and they have tested USB and Firewire, most of these tests have been done with an external hard drive and they show that the read and write speeds when using the Firewire connection are faster (quite considerable)than using the USB 2 connection."

Then you have answered your own question. If you think firewire WILL give you better performance, go for it.

What I suggest you do is to rate the speed of the drive, via usb and then when you upgrade your next one to firewire, check the speed of that. You can do this through click here. it's free and you don't have to register.

  FatboySlim71 11:53 05 Feb 2007

Thank you all very much, you have helped me out alot.

I have decided that I will use the firewire option when I get this hard drive. Thanks ed-0 for the help and the link to the site that will allow me to rate the speed of my drive, I will do what you suggested when I get my new hard drive, I won't mark as resolved until I get the results of this test.

One last thing SURVEY, I have just measured the length of the cable on my, MY BOOK, and from the plug end that goes in the electric socket to the end that plugs into the back of the hard drive, is a little over 10 feet, I hope this helps you SURVEY.

  SURVEY 12:04 05 Feb 2007

FatboySlim71 - thanks for your note regarding the cable length. My cable is interrupted with a power supply block and the run from this PSU to the drive is what causes the strain on the cable/connection. By the sound of it your cable is not interrupted by a PSU so this helps me make my mind up about buying the 'My Book'.

  FatboySlim71 12:11 05 Feb 2007

SURVEY, mine is interupted by a power supply block.
The length from the power supply block to the drive on mine is 5 feet, I hope this helps you more.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Dell XPS 13 9370 (2018) review

Best Keyboards for Designers & Artists

What to ask Siri on the HomePod

Meilleurs VPN (2018)