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Old September 19th, 2005, 10:15 AM   #1
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using Firewire 800 cards in Win XP computers

I want to add external storage (preferably FireWire 800 G-Raid drives) to my Socket 478 P4 system. Is it true that to get full bandwidth in IEEE-1394b, the 1394b card must be used in a 64-bit PCI slot? I've never heard of 64-bit PCI slots. Is this the same thing as PCI-X? Correct me if I'm wrong, but most motherboards ship with only one PCI-X slot, which is used for video display cards. What do I need to do to get Windows XP to use Firewire 800? Do I need Service Pack 2? (Currently running XP SP 1a very well on a standalone/non-networked socket 478 Pentium 4 machine.)

Thanks,

T.J.
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Old September 19th, 2005, 11:26 AM   #2
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Yes, PCI-X is your 64-bit PCI slot. The boards that ship with them are considered server or workstation motherboards, and may have more than 1 PCI-X slot. The problem is that many PCI-X supporting boards do not have AGP slots (who needs fancy graphics on a server.) I know of no PCI-X video cards, so in that case, you would use a PCI video card, which are becoming scarce.
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Old September 19th, 2005, 11:52 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Borek
Is it true that to get full bandwidth in IEEE-1394b, the 1394b card must be used in a 64-bit PCI slot?
The maximum bandwidth of the PCI bus is 133MB/s, which equals 1064Mbp/s, though the PCI bus can be sometimes be saturated with 100-110MB/s (800-880Mbp/s). IEEE 1394b has a theoretical throughput of 800Mbp/s, though you will probably never reach that in the real world.

In short, you shouldn't need a 64 bit PCI card slot for an IEEE1394b card, unless the card has been designed to require such a slot. Check the system requirements for whatever card you are considering. The LaCie card I've looked at does not require a 64 bit PCI slot, while a SIIG card I've seen does.
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Old September 19th, 2005, 01:48 PM   #4
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Forget it then...

... I'll be content to archive via USB 2.0. USB 2 external drives are cheaper than Firewire or Firewire/USB combo anyway. I've found Firewire devices less finicky than USB devices.

Some Firewire 800 card reviews I've read on Newegg.com and similar sites are full of complaints that these cards only work at 400 Mbps on Windows machines. When G-Tech advertises a G-Raid drive handling 7 layers of DV, it's footnoted that it's using a Firewire 800 connection.

I wonder why more desktop PC motherboards don't have this capability to compete with the Macs. Oh well.
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