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USB 2.0 vs. Firewire

  1. Dec 15, 2006 #1
    My girlfriend and I are contemplating purchasing a new computer. She is studying filmaking and needs a faster more up to date system than we are currently using. Chances are we will be purchasing an additional external hard drive so she can save her work at school and bring it home to continue to work on it. And video files and all those layers before finalizing take up gargantuan amounts of hard disk space. hence the need for an ext. HD. Question is is to get an ext. HD that interfaces using a firewire or a standard USB 2.0. She says everyone at school uses a firewire on their HD. But I thought that firewire wasn't as fast as USB 2.0. What are the pros and cons of either/or. I see that most ext. hd's are USB 2.0. But if firewire is better, no problem. I'm just not that knowledgeable with either of them, so I need a little advice.
    Thanx
    Jim
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 15, 2006 #2

    russ_watters

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    USB 2.0's thoretical bandwidth is higher, but firewire tends to perform better. The difference either way is relatively small, though.

    However, you may want to consider a SATA hard drive...
     
  4. Dec 15, 2006 #3
    Thanx for the info. I didn't think there was a big difference.
    I'm glad you mentioned that about hard drives. What are the differences between the different hard drives? Besides the obvious. I noticed there are just hard drives, then there are sata hard drives. Then I also saw sata II hard drives. And I guess the faster the rpm the faster the access speed??? Just another area I'm a little fuzzy on. If you could give me a little info that would be great.
    Thanx
    Jim
     
  5. Dec 15, 2006 #4

    chroot

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    Almost any hard drive you buy today (external) is going to be available in both USB and Firewire versions. If all you're concerned about is disk access, I really wouldn't prefer either over the other as far as performance. However, USB 2.0 is available standard on almost every PC these days, but Firewire is often an additional expense.

    You need to think about compatibility, too. Firewire is needed to interface with a lot of video cameras, etc. She might also want to be able to plug someone else's drive into her computer. If everyone is using Firewire, then it might be a good reason to get Firewire, too.

    - Warren
     
  6. Dec 15, 2006 #5
    Yes I think it was more of a compatibility issue with her. Cuz her lab partner is using firewire, it would probably be safest just to stick with that. And yes the mini-dv she will be using interfaces using firewire. A lot of puters I looked at had firewire and USB and weren't too pricey. But I could probably just install a card if it's not equiped.
    Thanx for the info guys.
    Jim
     
  7. Dec 16, 2006 #6
    For video editing eSata is the way to go IMHO.
    There are already external drives that support eSata and otherwise, which is often cheaper, you can buy an internal Sata drive and an external case that supports eSata.
     
  8. Dec 16, 2006 #7

    PerennialII

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    ..... getting a SATA drive would sound good, but if you're going external I've had very pleasant experiences running firewire 800 drives. Have found the interface really "stable" when requiring as much bandwidth as possible with 'huge chunks' of data (like occationally when running some calculation directly to an external drive, moving post-processing databases etc. .... ). So if you need to get some related equipment get 800 over the 400 if possible imho (usually have both ports and even usb pretty often). Although am going to get an eSATA next once some models am waiting for become available.
     
  9. Dec 16, 2006 #8
    Do you mean that I can buy a regular internal HD and put it into this case that adapts it and makes it function as an external drive for USB or firewire??

    Jim
     
  10. Dec 17, 2006 #9

    NoTime

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    Yes.
    Or you can get the case and drive for either USB or firewire.
    Some setups suport both USB and firewire.

    They make a nice backup device for video files over 2gig.
    20 minutes of DV video off a camera is around 10 gig on the HD.
     
  11. Dec 17, 2006 #10
    Cool. Thanx for all the great info folks. I'm sure buying an internal drive with one of those external adapter hookups would sure save a lot of money also. Not to mention having a drive that could that could function as an internal as well as an external.

    Jim
     
  12. Dec 17, 2006 #11

    chroot

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    You won't save much money by buying an internal drive + an enclosure. In fact, the opposite might be true. The benefit of the enclosure is that it gives you more flexibility.

    - Warren
     
  13. Dec 18, 2006 #12
    We use external SATA at work. They are very fast and I've never had a complaint. Can hot swap them without rebooting the computer too.

    A drive enclosure costs about $40 that includes a connection for USB 2.0, Firewire, and external Sata...pretty much every option is there. Look up the Vantec enclosures.
     
  14. Dec 18, 2006 #13
    I second that, the Vantecs are not only good priced but they are also pretty good looking, available in red and blue.
     
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