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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 11:05 AM   #1
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Question Question RE: Mac Mini & FW

is the Mac Mini firewire port FW 400? if so, isn't that slower than it's USB 2.0 port? and would that mean that running a USB 2.0 drive would be faster than running an equivalent spec FW drive? also can you boot the Mac Mini off of an Ext. USB drive? or only FW?
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 11:16 AM   #2
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Good questions! Enquiring minds want to know!

Anybody?

My guess is that you can boot off of USB, but the speed capacities of both interfaces (FW & USB) are theoretical and subject to the nature of the drive within -- and perhaps the driver itself.
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 11:19 AM   #3
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I think USB 2 is fater in bursts of data while firwire is a constant speed. Thats why video is still done with firewire. I dont think you can boot a USB 2 drive either.
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 11:33 AM   #4
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USB 2.0: Up to 480 Mbps (60 Megabytes/s)
FireWire 400: Up to 400 Mbps (50 Megabytes/s)

so is that sustained or burst?
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 11:33 AM   #5
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Hi,

USB 2.0 is theoretically faster than FireWire (480 vs. 400), but like any good theory it doesn't hold up in the real world. USB's claims are based on peak transfer speed whereas FireWire is based on sustained transfer. So although USB has the higher number, FireWire is going to be faster.
http://www.barefeats.com/usb2.html

USB will not allow you to boot a Mac. Generally, FireWire will allow you to boot, however, there have been grumblings lately that Prolific bridge chips in FireWire drives won't always boot either. Oxford bridge chips seem to be the standard for FireWire enclosures that will reliablly boot a Mac.
http://www.macworld.com/weblogs/edit...ting/index.php

s.
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 11:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.steevo
http://www.barefeats.com/usb2.html
eek, i just found that site while doing a search and was about to post it myself. did you read how USB sucks on Macs? and even the comparision where the USB on a G5 is slower than on a eMac??? what's with that!
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 11:52 AM   #7
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Beyond the sustained and burst speed items mentioned another really important factor in the equation is HOW USB 2.0 and FW 400 talk to your computer. NOTE: really simplified comments below.
FW can manage itself and does not need to chatter with you computer as much when it working, whereas USB is controlled through your computer. So when the USB drive is working it actually interrupts ( no pun intended for the wise ) you computer frequently so the overall performance of the machine slows down.

So yeah the USB 2.0 bus is technically faster but when put into actual use the overall performance of your computer using USB is slower.
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