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Thread: Firewire 400+16 MB cache, or 800+8MB cache?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    Firewire 400+16 MB cache, or 800+8MB cache?

    Hi,

    I was looking on Bizrate.com for external HDs. I want to get an external HD with 16 MB cache that has Firewire 800. However, the only Firewire 800 HD is Lacie and it offers 8 MB cache. Maxtor offers 16 MB cache, but Firewire 400.

    Is there a big difference between 8 MB and 16 Mb cache, or does it even matter? I would need the HD save large audio files (bigger than CD quality). The reason I'm going for Firewire 800 is because it is a newer version Firewire, and if I bought Firewire 400 -- I would risk that in a couple of years it might be obsolete.

    Both, the Lacie and Maxtor are 7200 RPM.

    So, what's your opinion? Thanks.

    -jms

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Hard drives can't read/write anywhere near 400Mbps, so you should be fairly safe getting the Firewire 400Mbps w/ 16Mb cache. It doesn't matter if Firewire 400 becomes obsolete like USB 1.1 has, because Firewire 800 is backward compatible.
    Every fight is a food fight when you’re a cannibal.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    When reading/writing large files, cache size isn't all that important. Sustained transfer rate of the hard drive is the spec of greatest importance. And, actually, there are plenty of reasonably priced drives that do have high enough sustained transfer rates (at least on the outer tracks) to bottleneck on Firewire 400. 400Mbps = 50MBps, and then there's interface overhead to consider.

    EDIT: That Maxtor drive will DEFINITELY bottleneck on Firewire 400.

  4. #4
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    No, the hard drive will not be bottlenecked by Firewire 400. Take, for example, my internal 160Gb Seagate Barracuda, it is a SATA hard drive, SATA transfers data at 150Mbps max and it cannot sustain that transfer rate for an extended period of time.

    So if we assume that the hard drive inside the caddy is also a SATA (150Mbps) hard drive that is converted to firewire (400Mbps) then it will not be bottlenecked, not by a long long way.
    Every fight is a food fight when you’re a cannibal.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2003
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    So at the end..

    should I understand that:
    Firewire with 400Mbps w/ 16Mb cache is faster and better than
    Firewire with 800Mbps w/ 8Mb cache, even though in the future Firewire 800MBps (being newer) will slowly pushaway Firewire 400Mbps. ...kind of like Windowx XP over Windows NT.

    -jms

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    1

    Big miscaculations about transfer speeds

    Just in case someone is finding this old post like i did.

    the little b vs the big B makes a big difference when it comes to information data.

    a little b stands for bits
    a big B stands for Bytes

    the firewire described above is in Megabits per second (Mb/sec)

    the harddrives should be described in MegaBytes per second (MB/sec)

    there are 8bits to each 1Byte

    so a 400 Mb/sec firewire connection is in fact only 60MB/sec

    not nearly the 150MB/sec that an SATA1 harddrive can transfer at.

    The advice in the previous posts is very incorrect. A firewire connection is a big bottleneck for an SATA drive.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    Other questions

    Other questions:

    1. If a computer gets infected with virus from the internet, is the virus going to infect the external drive too?

    2. Can external drives die and loose all written information?

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