Thank you both. Just a further question then. Just by looking at the USB cable, is there any way of telling whether it is USB 2 or 3? I ask because the fitting on the drive itself is shaped differently but the USB end looks like a bog standard USB2.0.
And am I correct in saying the USB3 port is coloured blue?
Unfortunately, this is not possible.
A little research on your part would've revealed that FW 800/400 drives are available.
Google's your friend.
You can buy hard drives that have FireWire 800/400 connections on them.
Three that come to mind is
OWC (macsales.com) Mercury Pro line of hard drives.
I have found, in my experiences, that most users buy USB drives because they are cheaper.
USB drives do not have a consistent, continuous streaming of data that FireWire drives have.
In real life, this tends to make FireWire drives data throughput faster.
That is why drives with FireWire connections tend to be more expensive.
Unfortunately, your comments re: speed are not correct.
A little research on your part would have revealed that USB 3.0 is faster in every way (sustained transfer rates included) than firewire 800. This is why apple dropped FW800.
Google's your friend:
I'm a video editor and also deal with multi track audio so consistent transfer rates are all I'm interested in. I can confirm these results on multiple machines (and both macs and pcs) as can anyone who has used both. I didn't think there was any need to respond to the OP's very polite question in the patronising way you did, but if you do I'd suggest getting your own facts straight first.
Additionally the reason firewire is more expensive is simply because it never became a mass market thing due to initial excessive licensing fees: http://firewireexpert.blogspot.com.au/2009/05/dollar-deal-that-almost-killed-fir ewire.html. Not because of the design of the interface.
usb is a pulling 1 master many slave system that intel made
firewire is a multimaster non pulling system which is based on the signaling protocol of old Scsi
typically firewire would use a lot less cpu time then usb and firewire 400 would in real world performance have a much higher sustained transfer rate then usb 2 even though it was 480Mbit/sec vs. firewires 400Mbit/sec
transferring a system such as firewire to usb3 would likely result in such a huge overhead of converting it could even end up being as slow as usb2 anyway
and would require maybe AC power and so much action conversion it would cost an arm and a leg
this one is your best bet for usb3 on a mac without usb3 ports
because thunderbolt is pretty much a displayport signal multiplexed with pci-express and that mean making a converter would be close to as easy as making a pci-express usb3 board
but that does not mean this belkin product is cheap
It's months since you asked this question but I see that there are options now with expensive USB 3.0 to Firewire 800 hubs.
Sorry to disappoint, but the NitroAV hub/repeater is just that, a hub/repeater, not a "USB 3.0 to FireWire 800" anything.
It's just a USB 3.0 hub and a FireWire repeater together in the same case. It does not perform any conversion or bridging between the two protocols, and it requires both USB 3.0 and FireWire connections to the host computer. USB and FireWire devices remain on two independent peripheral networks.
The NitroAV hub/repeater may be a convenience for some users, as it reduces the number of black boxes on the desk, but it is not an adapter and would not allow a device with only a FireWire port to use USB 3.0 devices, or vice versa.
BTW, to CSound1,
Yes. USB3 ports are blue.
Not always. This is a convension but not a standard, as is the presence of the initials "SS" for "SuperSpeed". USB 3.0 or 3.1 ports may meet one or both visual conventions, or (sometimes) neither. As an example, see section 4 of Apple Knowledgebase article HT5172 (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5172#4):
Some USB computer ports have a blue insert. Why don't I see blue inserts on my Mac's USB ports?
Some manufacturers use a blue insert to designate a USB 3 port or device. All USB ports on Macs that supports USB 3 are USB 3 capable and do not have blue inserts.
Apple has since adopted the blue insert convention on at least some machines, but I do not know off the top of my head which ones may still have unmarked ports. The best way to be sure on models from transitional years is to look at the USB section of the System Profiler report.
You can determine whether a port is USB 1.0/2.0 or 3.0 by visual inspection, however. USB 3.0 ports contain an extra set of five recessed contacts (consisting of two differential pairs and one ground) which are visible above the legacy USB pins, as shown here:
USB 3.x consists in reality of two discrete buses. One is a legacy USB 1.x/2.x bus (using the four standard pins). The other, USB 3.x specific bus is a physically separate, full duplex channel using the five new pins as seen above. USB 3.x devices are mandated to fall back to USB 2.x function if no 3.x bus is found, but the data transfer methods are entirely different between the two protocols, with USB 3.x using high speed differential signalling more like SATA.
I hope this helps.
Seagate does make an adapter that allows some of it's drives to switch from USB 3.0 to FW800. However, it is just that. It is a switch. You pull the USB 3.0 interface off the drive, and attach a FW800 interface. I bought these, and lived to fully regret doing so. They were a nightmare. My drives kept getting corrupted, and I couldn't figure it out. I had clones, so I kept transferring terabytes of data back and forth via FW800, which took forever.
Eventually I talked to someone at Seagate who told me the interfaces were the problem. They had released updated firmware for the drives to make them work (supposedly), but had done nothing to publicize the fact. So I gave up on the interfaces altogether. And I hate Seagate now. They cost me days of productivity.
If you're referring to the Seagate GoFlex/Backup Plus system, they undoubtedly did several bad things with that product line, primarily by obfuscating what the GoFlex system actually is.
GoFlex drives are nothing but bare consumer-grade internal 2.5" (laptop) or 3.5" (desktop) SATA drives in (poorly ventilated) cases. The SATA port is exposed on the mating side of the case, and GoFlex drives are sold standard with SATA to USB 3.0 adapters designed to mate up to this exposed SATA connector.
In addition to the standard USB adapter, Seagate offers a SATA to FireWire 800 adapter as well as a SATA to Thunderbolt adapter. All of these work as advertised, but it is important to understand these facts:
- GoFlex drives are just bare SATA drives. They do not "speak" USB 3.0, they "speak" SATA.
- GoFlex adapters are just SATA to USB, SATA to FireWire, or SATA to Thunderbolt adapters.
Seagate did not make this abundantly clear, or provide instructions for proper SATA hygiene, and as a result, many users believe the GoFlex drives use some other, proprietary connection protocol, and treat the drives and adapters as though they were hot-swappable.
While some SATA host adapters support hot swapping with proper unmounting, these cheap little GoFlex adapters do not. They are also not smart enough to reliably detect if one physical drive is removed from a GoFlex adapter, and another connected, without completely disconnecting and power-cycling the adapter.
As a result, if one attempts to hot swap a GoFlex drive, or even to cold swap one drive with another into the same adapter, without physically removing the GoFlex adapter from the host computer, data corruption is almost inevitable.
To complicate matters, Seagate dumped a large number of commodity drives from known bad batches into the GoFlex product line. I have seen half a dozen DOA drives sold in GoFlex packaging, all from known bad batches of the Barracuda consumer line, and many other GoFlex branded Barracuda drives that died under load.
The power requirements of the desktop drives sold in this line are at the high end of what can be supplied by the AC-DC adapters supplied with the drives, and it is my impression that any drives connected to the supplied power adapters are prone to brown-out under peak load, resulting in inevitable data loss.
Furthernore, all the 3.5" Barracuda drives of 1 TB or larger run hot even when well ventilated (>40°C) and Seagate could not have realistically expected any of those drives to survive heavy use when enclosed in tight cases with not even passive cooling.
That said, I have used and continue to use the 2.5" GoFlex adapters as a quick and dirty way to connect 2.5" SATA drives to both USB 3.0 and FireWire 800. If used properly and within its limitations, it's not an inherently poor system, but it has certainly been compromised by Seagate's decision to use this product line as a dumping ground for poorly performing hard drive lines.
I can't loathe Seagate entirely, but I am disappointed with what the current management is doing to the reputation of the company which, after all, was the incubator for SCSI. They should be upholding the standard once set by Shugart and Boucher.