2 Replies Latest reply: Dec 19, 2013 4:16 AM by Winston Churchill
clarity23 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

I have an iMac (2008) that I am going to use as an iTunes server for streaming to AppleTV. Since the iMac only has a 320GB drive, I am planning on buying a new external hard drive to which I will transfer all of my media, which I will always leave connected to the iMac (I will just point the iMac's library to the media on the drive).


My question is whether I should consider FireWire 800 or USB 2.0 as the external drive. I know most macs these days no longer come with FireWire, and in the case that I end up getting a new computer in the next year or two, I'd rather have a drive that utilizes USB 3.0 and have that faster option in the future.


That being said, if the stream quality to the AppleTV is going to be so poor that I hate it (using the USB 2.0), then I would consider a FireWire 800. Does anybody have any experience with this?


Also, it should be noted that all of my devices will be wired to the local home network (not wireless).


Thanks for the advice.

AppleTV 2
  • 1. Re: Firewire or USB for Home Media Server
    diesel vdub Level 7 Level 7 (21,935 points)

    Purchase a drive that support USB3.0 and Firewire800 (if possible), then use the connection that works best on your network for your situation.  A little research is all that is required to find such a drive.

  • 2. Re: Firewire or USB for Home Media Server
    Winston Churchill Level 10 Level 10 (81,980 points)

    Personally, I don't think it matters. FireWire 800 is capable of almost 800 Mb per second and while USB 2 is theoretically capable of 480 Mb per second it only has an effective throughput of 280 Mb per second. If you have other uses for this drive, the difference between FireWire and USB may well be worth considering, however if you are just going to use it for movies to play to your Mac/Apple TV, you should remember that these movies will need no more than 10 Mb per second in order to play without issue.