Firewire chip maker touts 1.6Gb/s silicon
Quick, get it out before USB 3.0 arrives!
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.
@ firewire kicks...
"Firewire is by far the superior technology. Only dopes get fooled by the numbers, which remind me of the MHz/GHz arms races, which was meaningless when comparing different architectures."
Superior depends on what you use it for...
"Firewire is faster even when rated at a slower speeds like Firewire 400 (400mbps) to USB 2.0 (480mbps); Firewire uses Peer-to-Peer" architecture vs. USB's "Master-Slave" architecture."
OK, P2P is ideal if you want to connect devices without a computer, but USB host devices are more and more common (pictbridge as an obvious and basic example)
"Firewire does not use CPU cycles."
Nope, it allows DMA!! (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/03/04/windows_password_bypass_tool/). Besides, no hard drive data transfer on a modern PC is limited by CPU speed!
"Firewire can daisy-chain 63 devices off a single port."
All sharing the original bandwith. Also you can daisy chain 127 USB devices from a single host controller, most machines have more than 1 USB host controller. Why you would want to do this, I don't know as again, all sharing the original bandwith.
"You can boot the OS from a external hard drive powered by Firewire."
Yup, you can boot the OS from an external hard drive powered by USB. Providing the BIOS supports it, I've seen more PC's able to boot from USB than firewire.
"Firewire 400 & 800 are backward compatible."
Yup, so is USB"
"USB is junk, which is why it's great for keyboards and mice."
USB is cheap, which is why it's great for keyboards and mice and webcams and MP3 players and hard drives and digital pens and card readers and phone connecters and robotic hamster wheels and....etc, etc
Each to their own, firewire has its place but I carry a USB flash drive around because I know it will work with 99% of the machines I need to support. I cannot expect to find a firewire port on every machine I go to.
Firewire kicks USB to the curb...
Firewire is by far the superior technology. Only dopes get fooled by the numbers, which remind me of the MHz/GHz arms races, which was meaningless when comparing different architectures.
Firewire is faster even when rated at a slower speeds like Firewire 400 (400mbps) to USB 2.0 (480mbps); Firewire uses Peer-to-Peer" architecture vs. USB's "Master-Slave" architecture.
Firewire does not use CPU cycles.
Firewire can daisy-chain 63 devices off a single port.
You can boot the OS from a external hard drive powered by Firewire.
Firewire 400 & 800 are backward compatible.
USB is junk, which is why it's great for keyboards and mice.
Re: Backwards compatibility is king
So far all Firewire has been completely backwards compatable - you just need to get a cable with the right ends on it. That isn't exactly difficult or expensive, and as it stands there are far fewer firewire connectors than there are usb connectors. From what I understand Firewire devices should all be backwards compatable to FW400 until they go optical, which obviously presents a problem connector-wise.
And I doubt firewire will ever truely die out, since it has caught on a bit in the industrual control market, where they actually value the ability to chain devices to a high speed bus easily and cheaply.
Re: architectural differences
Yes indeed. That whole direct memory access thing from an external firewire device is certainly an intriguing design choice ;-)
The best thing about Firewire...
...is that it doesn't tax your computer so much on big copy jobs, because of its architectural differences as you say. I wish it was more prevalent; USB hard drives are a pain.