Firewire to gain 3.2Gb/s bandwidth boost
If it weren't for those pesky kids and their USB 3...
Not to be outdone by rival peripheral interconnect technology USB, Firewire is likewise having its data throughput increased, the organisation behind the standard said today. But it's target speed of 3.2Gb/s falls some way below that of USB 3.0.
Firewire currently supports two speeds: 400Mb/s and 800Mb/s. Both use different connectors so they're not plug compatible, though chips capable of delivering the latter speed can also support the former.
The 1394 Trade Association said the third incarnation of the technology, dubbed S3200, will use the nine-pin Firewire 800 connector. Indeed, it also uses many of the same protocols - no great surprise since the IEEE 1394b standard that defines Firewire 800 allows for speeds of up to 3.2Gb/s, albeit over optical interconnects.
So S3200 essentially provides the extra technology to deliver that speed over electric links. However, the Association implied the differences are small, allowing chip makers to quickly adapt their current offerings for the third-generation Firewire 3200 - or whatever it'll be marketed as.
The Association said the spec is expected to be approved by the IEEE early in February 2008.
That will put it some months ahead of the USB 3.0 standard, which is expected to be finalised by the end of June 2008. However, USB 3.0 is set to deliver speeds of up to 4.7Gb/s - almost 50 per cent more bandwidth than S3200.
Of course, Firewire supporters maintain that their favoured technology is more efficient than USB and is superior in that it's a peer-to-peer system, allowing any Firewire device to connect to any other, and devices to be chained. USB is defined as a host-slave technology, and while a peer-to-peer version is available, it's not widely used.
And Firewire - even Firewire 400 - is generally faster in operation than 480Mb/s USB 2.0. The 1394 Trade Association clearly hopes that will be maintained, potentially allowing S3200 to deliver faster real-world file transfer speeds than 4.7Gb/s USB.
The 1394 Trade Association was also quick to point out Firewire is the "only" technology of its kind with the capacity to deliver full-resolution video data that's also copy protected. Once again, this is something the USB alliance is also now working on in a bid to make its offering less of a computer-centric technology and more suitable for the consumer electronics world.
Expect USB 3.0 to host HDCP-encoded video signals.
Firewire is a great technology. Even though I use USB for most items I use Firewire for intensive applications like high speed video, external HDD, etc. USB is far less efficient there due to it's CPU usage requirements.
a company with less than 2% of the market share convinced everyone else? Doubtful.
Firewire is faster, yes, but there are even faster technologies out there for data purposes and for everything else USB is prevelant. Its hard to convince manufacturers (and consumers) to shell out for another kind of plug that cameras and drives CAN (but usually dont have to) use on top of the one that supports 90% of the stuff they already own.
RE: Firewire? Never heard it!
you've obviously never used it, then. it has a much better _sustained_ transfer rate than USB2 (of which i have quite a few devices) and can daisy chain and scale without getting 'clogged up' like USB. for HDDs (or CDRW), it is a much better choice, even if it adds £10 to the cost of the device.
as with a lot of things (VHS vs betamax, anyone?), it wasn't the technology that prevented this becoming the norm, it was marketing and product drive. i think Apple were a bit arsey about letting people 'just use it' so it never took off that well outside of Macs. a shame.
Whats with the USB vs Firewire?
They are for completely different things. Sure, probably more people use USB than 1394 but that's because they connect mice, keyboards, printers, cameras, thumb drives and wifi cards. I wouldn't want to do a backup over it though.
As for external drives surely e-sata is the way to go.
They're both here to stay...
...because they both have their uses. The majority of mice, keyboards, pen drives and so on are USB, whereas video and high-end sound devices are Firewire. Since as Steve says, most modern machines support both we have little to worry about.