USB, Firewire 400, or Firewire 800 Connectors

Most often than not when I buy a computer I’m a little surprise that the connectors for some devices won’t match. I always asked why there are so many connectors? What’s the difference between USB, Firewire 400, or Firewire 800?

The simple answer is that they all have different transfer rates, or copy speed, when moving data from one device to another. Here are the approximate rate differences from fastest to slowest:

USB, Firewire 400, or Firewire 800 Connectors1. Firewire 800 – 800 Mbps (or 75MB/sec)

2. USB 2.0 – 480Mbps (or 60MB/sec)

3. FireWire 400 – 400Mbps (or 50MB/sec)

4. USB 1.1 – 12Mbps (or 1.5MB/sec)

Okay, I’m a little familiar with USB so I won’t include it. But, I’m more interested with Firewire. The FireWire interface is a fast, cross-platform serial bus, and is ideal for digital audio, video and graphic applications that demand plenty of bandwidth. What’s the difference between the 400 and 800? Essentially the difference is the speed. FireWire 800 effectively doubles the bandwidth of the original FireWire 400 interface. The new FireWire 800 interface offers truly impressive results, with speeds up to 800Mb/s for a single bus, and even greater for several buses in RAID0 configurations.

Usually you will find FireWire on old Mac. Of course, you just wouldn’t ditch the old device just because of connectivity issues. Sonnet’s Yin•Yang firewire 800 hub to FireWire 400/800 mini hub solves both problems. Yin•Yang plugs into the single FireWire 800 (IEEE 1394b) port found on most new Mac computers and enables you to connect and use a FireWire 400 device (the Yin) and a FireWire 800 device (the Yang) at the same time.

Oh well, its that quite technical there. I almost lost in my research as I’m already using the new Mac and aren’t so familiar with the firewire. But, I’m a little enlightened over this one.