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Firewire chip maker touts 1.6Gb/s silicon

Quick, get it out before USB 3.0 arrives!

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Chip maker Symwave has claimed the crown for the world's fastest desktop data transfer now that it has begun sampling a Firewire S1600 chip.

The 2GHz part delivers data transfer speeds of up to 1.6Gb/s. That's double Firewire's current top speed, 800Mb/s, and, Symwave was quick to note, "nearly four times faster" than USB 2.0.

Nearly, but not quite... And still a cheeky claim given that 4.8Gb/s USB 3.0, which is due in the middle of the year, isn't much further off than products based on Symwave's offering. Symwave is only providing samples of its FirePHY-1600 chip. It didn't say when the part will go into mass-production, or when we'll see devices that incorporate it.

Symwave's part will nonetheless provide Firewire with a stepping stone to the standard's own next-generation specification, S3200, a 3.2Gb/s version of the standard which was announced back in December 2007.

While numerically smaller than USB 3.0's maximum bandwidth, 3.2Gb/s Firewire could well prove faster than USB 3.0 thanks to its peer-to-peer architecture. This technique helps Firewire 400 deliver typically faster data transfers than USB 2.0's host-centric approach does.

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