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Firewire chip maker touts 1.6Gb/s silicon

Quick, get it out before USB 3.0 arrives!

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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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