USB vs Firewire

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by mdb, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. mdb

    mdb Active Member

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    Dec 23, 2009
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    Okanagan, Canada
    What are the core differences between USB and Firewire? How many I/O can each handle simultaneously, what are the data transfer rate differences, advantages or disadvantages of each? Are there limitations?

    From searching, I didn't find anything here that did a direct comparison of the technologies and think it would be a great resource for those trying to decide what type of gear to buy for their specific needs.
     
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

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    currently Billings
    USB2.0 has a theoretically higher bandwidth than 1394a (firewire 400). In practical usage that doesn't pan out even remotely because the fundamental difference is that USB 2.0 is not bi directional. Data cannot travel both ways at the same time. So reliable for more than four or eight simultaneous inputs is about as far as you get. Now, several companies have written better USB protocols like RME (Babyface, UFX, UC) but for critical projects firewire is the goto protocol-until you move into PCIe cards which win the race hands down for both latency and speed and stability.
     
  3. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget, there is USB 3.0 already about to replace USB 2.0. It is about 10 times faster ( 5 GBit/s ) and even a third quicker then eSATA connections.
    FireWire is quite a bit slower... Still, I definetely prefer to avoid FW and USB, all together.
     
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

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    I haven't even heard of a USB3 interface in R&D let alone production. Hard drives? Yes. I've seen those. I think everyone skipped it for Thunderbolt.
     
  5. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

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    Oh and eSATA over a SATA6 connection is pretty darn quick. Overall though, you're correct that USB3 is a vast improvement over it's predecessor.
     

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