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FireWire 800

Also known as 1394b, FireWire 800 is an emerging new standard for high-speed data transfer. FireWire 800 is essentially the same as FireWire (400), but twice as fast. Audio and video devices are already cropping up to take advantage of the bandwidth and ease of use. The good news for audio and video professionals is that FireWire 800 is not all that different from FireWire 400 except when it comes to speed. FireWire 400 compatible devices, such as MOTU’s 828 or most Firewire hard drives can still be used in FireWire 800 ports with the addition of an adapter. FireWire 800 shares the same well-known features of FireWire 400 such as plug and play connectivity, large capacity on-bus power (up to 45W) and large quantity single-bus connection (up to 63 computers and other devices). Due to a highly efficient architecture, FireWire 800 also allows for longer cable runs than FireWire 400 (up to 100 meters). Another difference is that FireWire 800 is a 9-pin protocol where FireWire 400 is 4- and/or 6-pin. Apple has simply improved on an already useful technology. FireWire 800 allows for more through-put at greater distances and is backward compatible.

USB and FireWire Bandwidth Comparison:

USB 1.1: 12 Mb per sec
USB 2: 480 Mb per sec
FireWire 400: 400 Mb per sec
FireWire 800: 800 Mb per sec

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