Networking

Members respond: Should IEEE 1394 replace USB?

In the first edition of the Member Debate, we asked TechRepublic members for their thoughts on USB vs. IEEE 1394. So far, IEEE 1394 seems to be winning the battle. Check out some comments from both sides of the debate and add your voice to the mix.


In the very first edition of the Member Debate, I asked TechRepublic members which technology they felt was best for external data transfer and device connectivity: IEEE 1394 or USB. This week, we’ll take a look at some of the responses we’ve received so far and open the floor for more.
The purpose of this feature is to present a balanced discussion among our members on the topics that interest them, such as hardware, software, and the Internet. If you have a topic for Member Debate, feel free to send us a note.
Pro IEEE 1394
John P.
”As your article states, IEEE 1394, otherwise known as FireWire, is far superior to the present USB standard. Your article also briefly explains the fact that manufacturers are not taking full advantage of the available transfer rate presently provided by the USB structure.

I think manufacturers need to get their acts together before we give them a better standard like IEEE 1394 to dumb down! I can see it now.

First, they'll use one-fourth the total transfer rate.

Then customers will see a significant increase over the present dumb-downed USB and hail the IEEE 1394 standard as great!

And with that, the ship is sunk before it ever leaves port! We'll be stuck with a far superior device standard that will never see its full potential!”

Reggie G.
“I think the more popular consensus would be to go with FireWire, due to its speed. In the video industry, speed is our biggest adversary. So we need to fully utilize any and all standards to achieve the best throughput that we can. Although the technology is pricey, it still affords us the comfort of transmission speeds that are not obtainable using USB. Also, with the use now of IEEE 1394 hubs, we can attach multiple IEEE 1394 devices to utilize a full range of hardware.”

Mike D.
”I have tried both USB and IEEE 1394 for external connectivity. This is not a difficult decision. As the article mentioned, IEEE is great for devices that require speed, such as my 12x8x32x CD-R/CD-RW. Because my burner is connected by IEEE 1394, I can burn full-length disks in 10 minutes with no BURN coaster manufacturing (Buffer Under-Run caused by data not coming into the burner fast enough).

“Users should remember that their external devices, and their entire computer for that matter, are limited by the slowest component (the weakest link). So why not gear up with IEEE 1394 and be prepared for the future when our PCs can shove data at blinding speeds into peripherals? It just makes good sense.”

Pro USB
Bruce G.
”Using IEEE 1394 means paying Apple big dollars. [Editor’s Note: Apple Computer, Inc., does not own the rights to the IEEE 1394 standard. However, Apple has registered the FireWire brand name, and in order to use that brand name, a licensing fee must be paid.] USB 2.0 is 480 times faster than USB 1.0. The author of this one-sided article is clearly a salesman for Apple.

“Why must you have external power (hubs) for USB devices? The same reason that FireWire requires devices with external power! A computer has a very limited power supply. If you add 64 devices to your FireWire, your computer will crash because there is not that much power in it.

“USB actually supplies power to devices plugged into it but allows you to supplement that power through the use of hubs. I don't know how FireWire provides the extra power required by all the devices you might have plugged into it. I guess you just go out and purchase a 1,000-watt power supply for your computer. Then you won't have any problem powering all 64 FireWire devices attached to your port—with the exception that you cannot buy 1,000-watt power supplies. So I guess that the 64-device limit on FireWire is theoretical because the computer will shut down from insufficient power long before you plug in that many devices.

“At least the USB standards people are not lying to themselves.”

Anonymous
”IEEE 1394 sounds great, but with a price of $100, it will only jack up the price of desktops. Desktop computers are becoming more like a consumer product, where everyone is expected to have at least one at home.”

Dubya Dubya
”I agree that the speed of IEEE 1394 is great, but one reason USB is so popular is that you can use hubs, etc., to add many devices. I haven't seen any IEEE 1394 hubs as of yet, but if they were available, I'd definitely jump on the bandwagon.”
If you’d like to comment on any of these member responses, please post a note below or send us an e-mail with your thoughts.
In the very first edition of the Member Debate, I asked TechRepublic members which technology they felt was best for external data transfer and device connectivity: IEEE 1394 or USB. This week, we’ll take a look at some of the responses we’ve received so far and open the floor for more.
The purpose of this feature is to present a balanced discussion among our members on the topics that interest them, such as hardware, software, and the Internet. If you have a topic for Member Debate, feel free to send us a note.
Pro IEEE 1394
John P.
”As your article states, IEEE 1394, otherwise known as FireWire, is far superior to the present USB standard. Your article also briefly explains the fact that manufacturers are not taking full advantage of the available transfer rate presently provided by the USB structure.

I think manufacturers need to get their acts together before we give them a better standard like IEEE 1394 to dumb down! I can see it now.

First, they'll use one-fourth the total transfer rate.

Then customers will see a significant increase over the present dumb-downed USB and hail the IEEE 1394 standard as great!

And with that, the ship is sunk before it ever leaves port! We'll be stuck with a far superior device standard that will never see its full potential!”

Reggie G.
“I think the more popular consensus would be to go with FireWire, due to its speed. In the video industry, speed is our biggest adversary. So we need to fully utilize any and all standards to achieve the best throughput that we can. Although the technology is pricey, it still affords us the comfort of transmission speeds that are not obtainable using USB. Also, with the use now of IEEE 1394 hubs, we can attach multiple IEEE 1394 devices to utilize a full range of hardware.”

Mike D.
”I have tried both USB and IEEE 1394 for external connectivity. This is not a difficult decision. As the article mentioned, IEEE is great for devices that require speed, such as my 12x8x32x CD-R/CD-RW. Because my burner is connected by IEEE 1394, I can burn full-length disks in 10 minutes with no BURN coaster manufacturing (Buffer Under-Run caused by data not coming into the burner fast enough).

“Users should remember that their external devices, and their entire computer for that matter, are limited by the slowest component (the weakest link). So why not gear up with IEEE 1394 and be prepared for the future when our PCs can shove data at blinding speeds into peripherals? It just makes good sense.”

Pro USB
Bruce G.
”Using IEEE 1394 means paying Apple big dollars. [Editor’s Note: Apple Computer, Inc., does not own the rights to the IEEE 1394 standard. However, Apple has registered the FireWire brand name, and in order to use that brand name, a licensing fee must be paid.] USB 2.0 is 480 times faster than USB 1.0. The author of this one-sided article is clearly a salesman for Apple.

“Why must you have external power (hubs) for USB devices? The same reason that FireWire requires devices with external power! A computer has a very limited power supply. If you add 64 devices to your FireWire, your computer will crash because there is not that much power in it.

“USB actually supplies power to devices plugged into it but allows you to supplement that power through the use of hubs. I don't know how FireWire provides the extra power required by all the devices you might have plugged into it. I guess you just go out and purchase a 1,000-watt power supply for your computer. Then you won't have any problem powering all 64 FireWire devices attached to your port—with the exception that you cannot buy 1,000-watt power supplies. So I guess that the 64-device limit on FireWire is theoretical because the computer will shut down from insufficient power long before you plug in that many devices.

“At least the USB standards people are not lying to themselves.”

Anonymous
”IEEE 1394 sounds great, but with a price of $100, it will only jack up the price of desktops. Desktop computers are becoming more like a consumer product, where everyone is expected to have at least one at home.”

Dubya Dubya
”I agree that the speed of IEEE 1394 is great, but one reason USB is so popular is that you can use hubs, etc., to add many devices. I haven't seen any IEEE 1394 hubs as of yet, but if they were available, I'd definitely jump on the bandwagon.”
If you’d like to comment on any of these member responses, please post a note below or send us an e-mail with your thoughts.

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