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View Poll Results: Which is better FireWire or USB
USB 13 59.09%
FireWire 8 36.36%
Neither 1 4.55%
Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 07-08-2008, 10:25 PM
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FireWire vs USB
Which is better Firewire or USB?

USB (Universal Serial Bus)
USB is obviously used more then firewire, but even with the specs for USB 3.0 released just a few months ago it will still only run at 4.8 Gbs. Although this a vast improvement over early earlier versions USB 2.0 only currently runs at ~480Mbs. USB more adaptive, it will work with any device and micro and mini USB means that it works with most cell phones and mobile devices as well. USB relies on a host proccessor to transfer data meaning the computer is responsible for the data rather then the device.

Details:
USB was originally seen as a complement to FireWire (IEEE 1394), which was designed as a high-speed serial bus which could efficiently interconnect peripherals such as hard disks, audio interfaces, and video equipment. USB originally operated at a far lower data rate and used much simpler hardware, and was suitable for small peripherals such as keyboards and mice.
The most significant technical differences between FireWire and USB include the following:
  • USB networks use a tiered-star topology, while FireWire networks use a repeater-based topology.
  • USB uses a "speak-when-spoken-to" protocol; peripherals cannot communicate with the host unless the host specifically requests communication. A FireWire device can communicate with any other node at any time, subject to network conditions.
  • A USB network relies on a single host at the top of the tree to control the network. In a FireWire network, any capable node can control the network.
  • USB runs with a 5 V power line, whereas Firewire can supply up to 30 V.
These and other differences reflect the differing design goals of the two buses: USB was designed for simplicity and low cost, while FireWire was designed for high performance, particularly in time-sensitive applications such as audio and video. Although similar in theoretical maximum transfer rate, in real-world use, especially for high-bandwidth use such as external hard-drives, FireWire 400 generally, but not always, has a significantly higher throughput than USB 2.0 Hi-Speed. The newer FireWire 800 standard is twice as fast as FireWire 400 and outperforms USB 2.0 Hi-Speed both theoretically and practically. The chipset and drivers used to implement USB and Firewire have a crucial impact on how much of bandwidth prescribed by the specification is achieved in the real world, along with compatibility with peripherals. Audio peripherals in particular are affected by the USB driver implementation.
One reason USB supplanted FireWire, and became far more widespread, is cost; FireWire is more expensive to implement, producing more expensive hardware.


Firewire (IEEE 1394c)
Firewire speeds on devince newer then 2002 run sustainably atleast 800Mbs currently and are compatible with data from and speeds with RJ-45 (cat 5e or cat 6). S3200 will bump this to 6.4Gbs when it comes out. It is the only viable option for quality streaming videos and is the best option for video and image transfering info. Outside of that, in part because of differences with 4 pin and 6 pin configurations, Firewire really isn't used, yet its potential is is near limitless as it doesn't rely on a host proccessor to manage data tranference like the USB.

Details
Although high-speed USB 2.0 nominally runs at a higher signaling rate (480 Mbits/s) than FireWire 400, typical USB PC-hosts rarely exceed sustained transfers of 280 Mbit/s, with 240 Mbit/s being more typical. This is likely due to USB's reliance on the host-processor to manage low-level USB protocol, whereas FireWire delegates the same tasks to the interface hardware. For example, the FireWire host interface supports memory-mapped devices, which allows high-level protocols to run without loading the host CPU with interrupts and buffer-copy operations.
FireWire 800 is substantially faster than Hi-Speed USB.


So I pose the question which is better? why? and will one eventually supplant the other? will the other die off? Is there something that will over through them both?
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  #2  
Old 07-08-2008, 11:37 PM
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it depends, on most applications you won't see much of a difference but I think USB pretty much has this won, its standardized into most cases and boards with at least 2 jacks while out of the 4 PC's I have at home only 1 has a single Firewire port.

USB is fine for most day to day applications, external drive for playing music, interface devices and so on

Firewire has the speed for getting large files from external drives, video cameras and whatnot
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Old 07-09-2008, 07:38 AM
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Firewire is usually for videographers. USB is a more common port, so if you want to plug something into a random computer then your device better have a USB plug.
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Old 07-09-2008, 09:29 PM
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Firewire is generally accepted as being better for sustained data transfers, otherwise USB is cheap and nearly as fast, but of course with CPU overhead.

In a consumer-only market, Firewire would totally disappear because it's only a little bit better and more expensive. However, the things it's good at (video/photo/pro audio/etc) are applications where the cost of a firewire port is a tiny fraction of the system cost, so I don't see it going away.
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:12 PM
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Firewire as I recall, was never meant to be a mainstream industry port, as the devices that needed/required the type of data transfer it could provide where hideously expensive. The problem is that Firewire isn't needed on a great many peripheral devices, so its speed is a bit of a 'luxury' for a lot of people.

External Hard disks I think should have Firewire as a requirement, just for rapid transfer and back-up purposes of mass data, but instead damn near all models use USB. And with USB 3 looming in the wings, Firewire is just not as viable a transfer format anymore. For video camera's and hi-def streaming feeds into a laptop and pc, its still the dogs bollocks, but thats still too much a niche market and wont save it long term.

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Old 07-10-2008, 08:23 PM
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Apple built FireWire to replace USB, but ended up repalcing Parallel SCSI instead, and Sony agreed with them with the iLink. Even with USB 3.0 coming out FireWire 1394d, which is coming out before USB 3.0, will still be faster then USB 3.0.

So in comparison short (even with future tech coming out soon)

Speed - FireWire
Robust (amount of data) - FireWire
Number (of PPL using) - USB
Price - USB
Ease of use -IR / Bluetooth (yes you can use bluetooth to transfer data)

The only real thing I see with USB over Firewire is price, which I believe blu-ray is an example of how to the computer industry quality, speed, and amount of data are more important then price. As well prices will come down.

My question is which is better? which still really hasn't been answered reasonably.
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:44 AM
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Its all personal opinion. Honestly, the 'better' would go to the open format, which is the USB. More speed does not necessarily mean its an improvement. The original high speed SCSI hard disks where supposed to be 'better', but over the years I've seen more than a few reduced to paperweights because they didn't last longer then a few months after warranty.

The first and second wave of LCD screens for pc's where supposed to be 'better', but it took almost eight years before they could manufacture a screen that didn't produce dead pixels after a few months of use (usually, just left of dead centre, not really in the way but close enough to really piss you off).

Better is subjective. Like I pointed out before, its a niche, it just isn't worth the cost to make it the main standard. Think about the data the cable can handle, then think about how much data
Monitors
Printers
Scanners
Graphics Tablets
Webcams
Headphones (With mic)
Keyboard
Mouse
Card Readers
Biometrics
Skype Phone
and so on, think about the andwidth they use. Its bugger all really, USB can handle it comfortably as it is, Firewire is wasted on menial devices.

But if you need a 'Better' then Firewire for speed and performance... its wasted speed and performance. Its all very nice saying Sony and Apple use it, but you have to see WHAT they use it for to understand why they bothered using it instead of the USB.

USB is cheap, reliable, trusted and fool-proof*, its why it got my vote.

(Tested on 100 fools, all agree they had to use hammers to get the plugs in the wrong way)
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  #8  
Old 07-11-2008, 10:44 AM
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All my stuff is run USB.
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  #9  
Old 07-11-2008, 02:36 PM
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USB. My external HDD is e-SATAII at 3.0gbs, though my MOBO only supports 1.5gbs ATM.
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  #10  
Old 09-24-2008, 06:56 AM
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With USB 2.0 and an even better version on the way, I would have to vote for USB. Yeah firewire is supposed to be faster, but my external HDD works just as fast with USB as it does with firewire.
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