I’ve mentioned this handy dandy little dock twice before, but now it adds FireWire 800 which makes it usable with far more computers than with just the SATA revision it previously received. This is good news.
Despite USB 2.0 being ubiquitous, test speeds have repeatedly demonstrated that it can’t even keep up with FW400. Now that you can treat your hard drive like a floppy (stick it in the slot- read the data) and do it at FW800 speeds. This little tool seems pretty darn handy at just $166.
There are many USB proponents who write me and say that USB is better because it’s everywhere. That’s fine if all you need is connectivity, like for a USB memory stick (they’re not drives, they don’t spin. they are sticks of memory.) But if you need to move gobs of video from one machine to another, or wish to edit video and have the computer be able to handle more than one clip in real time, or handle a higher-bandwith codec than MPEG-4, then you need speed. USB is not about speed.
BareFeats did head to head tests:
No matter a $3000 desktop, or a laptop, FireWire 800 consistently bested USB 2.0. BareFeats also tested the USB enclosure on a PC:
Today we tested the same USB 2.0 drive/enclosure on a Windows PC (3GHz Pentium 4) with built-in USB 2.0 on the motherboard, similar to Apple’s approach. We measured 33MB/s READ and 27MB/s WRITE.
That’s still several megabytes per second slower than FireWire 800.
This is the view of the back panel- not just one FW800 port- but TWO! And a FW400 port! which means you can daisy-chain them, something that just isn’t possible with SATA.
We’re looking to get a hold of one of these to test here at TechThoughts.
Now we just need someone to make a plastic little insert for underneath the drive to protect the motherboard from any static shocks that may kill the delicate controller electronics.
There’d be nothing worse than having a terabyte of precious data rendered completely inaccessible the instant you go to pick up the drive off the table after walking across the room and scuffing your feet on the floor.
A spark so small you wouldn’t even feel it can be like a tidal wave of energy to the processors that control access to the drive’s stored data. Cover it with a plastic shield, and those components are protected.