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Old July 23rd, 2003, 08:37 PM   #1
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Firewire 800?

Is anyone using this and does anyone have links to new gear that is compatible with this? I know Lacie makes a new HD that supports it but that is it.


Thanks

Rob:D

ps-also usb2.0
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Old July 24th, 2003, 09:02 AM   #2
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Granite Digital has some hot-swap Firewire drives that I believe use it along with their own Firewire 800 controller card.
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Old July 24th, 2003, 09:19 AM   #3
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Personally, I'd wait a little while for the cards to come down in price, and for the external drive case manufacturers to catch up. It'll be a little bit before it's mainstream.

Also, most FireWire 800 controller cards come with at least one port that is FireWire400. If you get one, make sure you get one that has this, cuz you never know when you're going to need it...
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Old July 24th, 2003, 11:09 AM   #4
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Imran, I thought the FireWire 800 spec was backwards compatible with 400?..
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Old July 24th, 2003, 11:57 AM   #5
 
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why would you care? the firewire 800 standard won't give you any higher throughput from existing IDE hard drives. The bottleneck is in IDE HD thruput...not bus speed. Any claims from firewire 800 card makers is completely bogus and misleading.
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Old July 24th, 2003, 01:30 PM   #6
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Andrew, I'm not sure about the backwards compatibility. All the cards I've seen have the 6-pin port of 400, and the new 9-pin port of 800. As with new technologies, there will be a lot of experimenting and confusion before it all settles into a simple solution, which is why I recommended waiting.

Bill, if you're talking about straight data transfer, the difference between an external firewire 400 drive and an 800 drive, is that the 800 will transfer data almost as though it is inside your computer on an IDE channel. 400 just isn't that fast. While 400 may be plenty fast enough for straight DV capture, it isn't so fast that it's faster than the actual drive's capability of transferring data. 800 will push to that limit.

Doing a quick search, I found this link that might explain better than me:

http://www.island-mac.com/barefeats/fire34.html
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Old July 24th, 2003, 01:38 PM   #7
 
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Imran...

Thanx for the info. Dunno if that applies to a PC, tho'. My current WD1200JB tests out at 29 Mb/sec over ieee1394a, while as an internal HD, it tests out at over 49 Mb/sec. Hopefully, a 1394b will let external drive run at their rated speeds.
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Old July 24th, 2003, 01:47 PM   #8
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A little more research revealed an article that explains the 800/400 interface thing a little. While 800 has 9 pins, you can interface it with a normal 6-pin 400 connection with the right cable. I suppose the card makers provide the old 6-pin connection just as a convenience so you don't have to get new cables for your existing 400 hardware.

A quote from the article linked below:

"...LaCie North America said it will include three interface cables with the recently released FireWire 800 version of its Big Disk line of drives: an 800-to-800 cable; a 400-to-800 cable; and a USB 2.0 cable, since the drive also supports that interface. "

http://storage.ziffdavis.com/article...1005894,00.asp
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Old July 24th, 2003, 05:20 PM   #9
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Imran,
so I am guessing that 800 is backwards compatible with 400. Or do they just provide a 400/800 cable so you can plug in a 400 device through your 800 HD?

Now that I think about it that is most likely.


Rob:D
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Old July 24th, 2003, 11:13 PM   #10
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From what it looks like, you can take an older 400 device and plug it into a new 800 port using a 400-to-800 cable, which would most likely be a 6-pin to 9-pin conversion.

Whether or not you could reverse such a cable and have a new 800 device connect to an old 400 port, I'm not sure. But you CAN be sure that if it is possible, it definitely won't move faster than at 400 speeds, which would be an awful waste of an 800 device.

Ultimately, the number of pins in the cable connector don't matter all that much. For example, most current laptops that have a firewire connection, and most DV camcorders have 4-pin connections. However, with the right conversion cable, they plug right into a standard 400 6-pin port with no loss. So why have the extra pins then? I'm not sure. My guess would be because with faster and faster speeds, you need to have more internal cabling carrying the data to maintain speed and integrity, thus resulting in more pins. But if someone has real facts on this I'd love to hear.

Now seeing how the future of firewire is going to go 1600 and then eventually 3200, who knows how many pins we're ultimately going to end up with. If they add 3 with every doubling, we should be at 15-pin plugs by the time 3200 rolls around. :)

One good thing though... if we really do eventually go to 3200, the drives we have today just won't cut it, meaning we're going to have some seriously fast drives coming along with them. Or alternatively, solid state memory will be able to hold so much that cables as a whole become pointless.
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Old July 25th, 2003, 10:52 AM   #11
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Bill,

Firewire can handle 400 mbit/s which rougly translates to at
least 40 MB/s with a max of 50 MB/s, so it should not have
a decreased througput of your drive. But, a lot of cheap firewire
cards don't seem to support the 400 mbit but only 200 mbit,
which comes awfully close to the rate you found. Perhaps time
to test some other cards?

Keep in mind that DV "only" needs 3.6 MB/s. Even with a dual
stream you would be well under 10 MB/s.
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Old July 25th, 2003, 11:06 AM   #12
 
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Rob....

uncompressed needs A LOT more than DV does!! Thruput limits the level of compression...less compression...better quality. Therefore, maximized thruput is ALWAYS good unless one is constrained to working only in DV, in which the level of compression is fixed, yes?


Now, all firewire cards that I've investigated, use ATA100 as a max spec. None of the crop of 400 Mb/sec cards are capable of ATA133.
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Old July 30th, 2003, 02:22 PM   #13
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Ofcourse you will need a faster system for uncompressed. But
keep in mind [not saying you are] that if you have a DV camera
you have no need for uncompressed. Only with a camera with
component out and a uncompressed component capture board
will this be of any use as far as I know.
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Old July 30th, 2003, 02:35 PM   #14
 
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Uncompressed notwithstanding....
I don't edit from my firewire drives. I use my firewire drives for file storage and transfer from one workstation to another. When the files get large, as you know, transfer time is of the essence. Copying to/from a 29Mb/sec HD is significantly slower than copy/paste from 49 Mb/sec HD. The same arguements apply as those for internal ATA66 vs ATA133.

I have also, on your suggestion, investigated the 1394 card bus speed. If some cards support less than 400 Mb/sec, they certainly don't tell you they do...they all claim 400 Mb/sec.
Furthermore, it seems that altho' they claim to support ata100 hard drives, they, in fact can only transfer data at ata66 speeds. This is the nature of the TI OHCI bridgeboard.

Again, I say, we are being led down the garden path by unscrupulous manufacturers....so what els is new, eh?
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Old July 30th, 2003, 02:49 PM   #15
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Couldn't agree more with the statements you made. I'm just thinking
of another use for uncompressed: transfer of footage BETWEEN
applications.
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