USB 2 or Firewire external HDD?

I’m wondering how much faster a Firewire drive will be than a comparable USB 2.0 drive?

Western Digital sells two variations of their MyBook drives, one with an extra Firewire connection.

I put my MP3s on external USB drives, and will need to purchase a larger drive in the next month or two. Will I see any speed increase with Firewire, or should I stick to USB 2.0?


Well according to this chart, there is not much difference between firewire and USB 2.0. However the newer Firewire 800, has a significant speed improvement.

OK, now I understand USB2 and FireWire 400/800 are competing communication models. There is some leapfrogging, but they’re relatively close in speed. I’m not going to get a drive that’s twice as fast by going with FireWire over USB2.

Looking forward to USB 3.0…

Thanks for the reply!

USB-3. :confused: … [USB is at its end. Period]
Think you better look for a external SATA enclosure though… :flower:


"[B]USB 3.0

  • USB 3.0 (Future version):[/B] On September 18, 2007, Pat Gelsinger demonstrated USB 3.0 at the fall Intel Developer Forum. USB 3.0 is targeted at ten times the current bandwidth, reaching roughly 4.8 Gbit/s by utilizing two additional high-speed differential pairs for “Superspeed” mode, and with the possibility for optical interconnect. The USB 3.0 specification is planned to be released in the first half of 2008, commercial products are expected to arrive in 2009 or 2010.

[B]* Backwards-Compatibility and Efficiency: [/B]USB 3.0 is designed to be backwards-compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 and employs more efficient protocols to conserve power."

USB2 is up to 30% slower than standard Firewire on sustained large file transfers. They tend to run pretty close for write speeds, but Firewire is much quicker for read speeds. This is due mainly to the fact that USB is a one-way connect, while Firewire is 2-way, meaning that the overhead will slow USB. In other words, Firewire delivers more throughput. Don’t be fooled by claims of fast burst speeds, which have almost no meaning except when the file is smaller than the drive’s cache.

Well, I personally have used both for both writing & reading & I promise that firewire performs way better with way less cpu usage. I will never buy a usb enclosure again unless future usb proves to out do 1394

Firewire is to prefer although if you only access it occasionally USB will probably be sufficient too. If you’re looking for performance eSATA or SCSI is to prefer.

I should have said: I use external USB 2.0 hard drives to store my MP3 library. The only problem is the time it takes to first access the files–I think Windows actually scans every file on the hard drive before Windows Explorer can list what is in even a single folder.