Skip navigation
This discussion is archived

Optical drive (external), Firewire versus USB

7788 Views 10 Replies Latest reply: Apr 18, 2009 2:56 AM by RoleneF RSS
RoleneF Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Apr 17, 2009 5:34 PM
Hi guys,

I'm thinking of getting an external optical drive cos my internal superdrive seems to have issues...

Should i consider getting a drive with firewire port or is USB enough and WHY?

Thanks.
Powerbook G4, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 17, 2009 5:44 PM (in response to RoleneF)
    Hi, RoleneF. If you want to be able to use the drive to start up your Powerbook, as for example to install an OS on the PB's hard drive from an Apple installer DVD, you will have to have a FireWire drive. A USB drive can't start the Powerbook.
    15" MBP unibody 2.4GHz/4G/250G; TiBook 1GHz/1G/120G; PTProG3 500MHz/768M/160G, Mac OS X (10.5.6), film and flatbed scanners, projector, graphics tablet, laser and photo printers
  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 17, 2009 6:09 PM (in response to RoleneF)
    That's the only one that matters. A FireWire connection transfers data faster, too, but an optical drive won't read data fast enough to take advantage of the difference. Bootability is a very significant advantage in any emergency situation.
    15" MBP unibody 2.4GHz/4G/250G; TiBook 1GHz/1G/120G; PTProG3 500MHz/768M/160G, Mac OS X (10.5.6), film and flatbed scanners, projector, graphics tablet, laser and photo printers
  • neuroanatomist Level 7 Level 7 (31,685 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 17, 2009 6:28 PM (in response to eww)
    eww wrote:
    A FireWire connection transfers data faster, too, but an optical drive won't read data fast enough to take advantage of the difference.


    Perhaps slightly, depending on the age of the PB G4. The older ones had only USB1.1 ports, and a 20x drive reads data about twice as fast as USB1.1. If it's a newer PB with USB2 ports, there's no speed advantage with FW.
    17" CD MBP, iPhone 3G, iPodTouch, Mac OS X (10.5.6),  since the ][e
  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 17, 2009 6:46 PM (in response to neuroanatomist)
    Neuro makes a good point about USB 1.1 vs. USB 2.0. The very first 17" PB, with a 1.0GHz processor, had USB 1.1 ports, and a USB drive connected to one of those would be ungodly slow: unusably so. If you have that PB model, don't even think about buying anything but a FireWire drive. All later 17" PBs had USB 2 ports, so if you have a 1.33GHz or faster PB and you're sure you'll never need to start it up from a CD or DVD again, you can get away with a USB drive and save a few dollars. But I wouldn't if I were you: it's hard to be sure you'll never need to start your machine from a CD or DVD.
    15" MBP unibody 2.4GHz/4G/250G; TiBook 1GHz/1G/120G; PTProG3 500MHz/768M/160G, Mac OS X (10.5.6), film and flatbed scanners, projector, graphics tablet, laser and photo printers
  • Silly rabbit Level 4 Level 4 (2,980 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 17, 2009 7:32 PM (in response to RoleneF)
    A USB optical drive won't be recognized by iDVD and will not burn DVDs. I have LaCie DL Firewire drive and it is at least four times faster than the internal drive ever was. Have a look at this link. Firewire optical drives start at $80. Cheap as chips! You can also get a drive that has both Firewire and USB2, so you can share the drive with a Windoze machine if need be.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/optical-drives/
    Aluminum Powerbook, 125Ghz, Super drive, 80Gb, Mac OS X (10.4.11), iMac 800Mhz, 2x5G iPods, iLife 08, 2 months of Leopard
  • Silly rabbit Level 4 Level 4 (2,980 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2009 2:36 AM (in response to RoleneF)
    ... any idea if they are as reliable as LaCie's...




    No idea at all cos I'm on my second LaCie drive and my previous older one (5 years old) is still going strong with one of my friends, so I cannot comment on other drives, but I know you only get what you pay for. I can't tell you which way to go, but if it were me, I'd spend the extra fifty bucks and go LaCie. The actual drive is made by NEC and they have a sound reputation in the PC world. Contact the guys at OWC and ask their opinion.
    Aluminum Powerbook, 125Ghz, Super drive, 80Gb, Mac OS X (10.4.11), iMac 800Mhz, 2x5G iPods, iLife 08, 2 months of Leopard

Actions

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)

Legend

  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.