Subject: Re: IEEE1394 (firewire) vs USB2
To: Kevin Sullivan <>
From: Chuck Yerkes <>
List: current-users
Date: 08/02/2002 17:52:25
Quoting Kevin Sullivan (
> I'm looking to buy some external disks for my server at home.  3 years ago

Why external vs. internal?

> I would have gone with SCSI, but nowadays SCSI is very expensive and I
> really don't need the performance for my home system.  So I'm comparing
> firewire and USB2.

SCSI performs better.  It costs more.

> My new i386 machine (which will be the primary user of the disks) will have
> USB2 on the motherboard.  But my G4 Imac has firewire (and cannot be
> upgraded to USB2),

No USB2 PCCards will work? (yet?)

> and I already have some firewire cables for my
> playstation2.  USB2 drives would work in my USB1 laptop and other machines
> without additional hardware, albeit very slowly.
> The deciding factor may be NetBSD support, so:  using 1.6 (i386 mostly),
> which is better supported, umass via USB2 or firewire?  Is this likely to
> change soon?  Also, does one or the other bus have serious design flaws
> which will cripple it?

Neither works with 1.6 that I know of.  Let me also toss the
cup of gasoline that is Firewire2.

Firewire is very common in the video/film world.  Getting
firewire on any machine should be pretty easy.  Getting the
free (as in "like a bird") OS's support on it will always lag
the for-profit ventures.

USB2 drives should work with USB1.  That's a plus.  Firewire
is only 40MB/sec (slow SCSI).  USB2 is theoretically a little
faster. Does having a USB1 device kick that down to "slow

Me?  I'm poking around for a 3.5" firewire enclosure, but most
of them running the Oxford Chipset use IDE drives.  So I can
stick a regular IDE disk into them - 3.5" or 2.5" depending on
the enclosure. 

Perhaps you just want to get a large IDE drive and stick it
inside your i386 box.  80 GB is around $110 on sale.  Put in
in some enclosure later.