Firewire 800 and different chipsets; Speed questions

I am building an external enclosure to hold a few DVD drives and a hard disc or two and I needed input on some basic questions.

  1. If I am going to be connected to firewire 400 (1394a) on my computer, is there any benefit in speed or otherwise by having the bridge boards be firewire 800 (1394b)?

  2. Is there any benefit accrued by using the Oxford 911 Plus chipset over the 911?

  3. It looks like I can choose between the Oxford chipset or the Initio chipset. Is either one better when it comes to DVD.

For reference, only one drive, my NEC 3500, will be used for burning and at nothing over 8X. The other drives will be read only or will be hard drives, and no two drives will be used at the same time.

Thanks guys.


Don´t know all answers for all your questions, but I try to help you with this answer:

If you use Windows, you never can use the transferrate of 1394B, because Windows don´t really support it. Only with an Apple/Mac you have a better transferrate than with a 1394a.

Half a year ago I had a 1394B-PCI-Card from Adaptec (normally a very good brand), on the CD was no driver, I must you the Win-Standard-driver like I use with 1394A

You mean there is not Windows driver included with the controller card? I picked a random controller card from Newegg, compatibility is Windows 98SE and up

I read comments now that you need PCI 64 bit bus to achieve 800mps speed, on 32 bit you max at 400.

Yes, no driver in the package included.

1394a is supported like Win98SE, but not 1394b

The 1394b-card is funtionally, but only with 1394a-speed

Any of those firewire chipsets should work fine for 8x maximum DVD writing. :slight_smile:

Actually, it’s not as simple as that. 1394b speeds are achievable:

I admit I do not have experience with 1394b, but I know CPs :slight_smile:

Please tell me what is not working as they say for example here:

[Well OrangeMicro ( answered the call and delivered with their new OrangeLink FireWire 800/1394b PCI card for both Windows and Mac. This is one of the first FireWire 800 cards shipping for Windows

Testing this card on Windows XP, I expected several reboots and errors before the card would function. But to my surprise, all I needed to do was install the drivers from the included CD-ROM, and the card worked fine.


* One available PCI Slot
* 400Mbit/s - Windows 98SE, Me, 2000 or XP
* 800Mbit/s - Pending driver release


* One available PCI Slot
* 400Mbit/s - Mac OS 8.6, 9.x or Mac OS X
* 800Mbit/s - Mac OS X Pending driver release

Thanks for all your input. As assumed, there is no benefit to firewire 800 when my computer only has a 32 bit bus and will not support it. I ordered an Oxford 911 board and I will be content with 8X burns. If I want to go to 12X on my NEC I have a left over Prolific chipset I can jerry rig into the system but I will be happy with 8X for some time.

This was commplicated to figure out but easy to build once the nomenclature was figured out and I found a source for the case. It sure takes a load off my power supply.