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USB & Firewire

I had an interesting conversation with an engineer over the phone today concerning the differences between USB and Firewire. It started with a discussion on transfer speed. Some of the stats I’ve seen put Firewire 400 at 400 Mbps, and USB 2.0 around 480 Mbps, but this engineer informed me that even though USB 2.0’s top speed is higher, the transfer speed tends to fluctuate. Firewire, on the other hand, is a steady transfer. The way I understood it, when the speeds are taken on average, Firewire actually comes out on top. In addition to a higher overall speed, Firewire’s steady transfer rate is particularly useful for hard drive applications. Perhaps it’s time we looked into some Firewire enclosures.

The conversation also ranged over new revisions for USB and Firewire, and apparently USB revisions 3.0 and 4.0 are ready and awaiting implementation. USB 3.0 is supposed to run at around 1 gig speeds and 4.0 has been clocked at a mind-boggling 2-plus gig transfer rate. I think we are about to see a revolution in computer hardware design in order to keep up with these rapid changes in data transfer abilities. There should be some new terabit hard drives releasing in about a year, and hardware manufacturers are headed towards solid-state disks, which are, by some estimates, 150% faster than current drives. If my info’s off, put it in the comments, but in any case we have some revolutionary changes in computing to look forward to (what else is new?).

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